How to Decide on Baby Names

It takes some parents the entire nine months — and sometimes a bit longer — to come up with that perfect name for baby. Considering the fact the child will live with that moniker for a lifetime, it is a significant decision. Complicating that factor is that it’s usually two individuals making a choice that needs to please them both.

Step 1

Eliminate all the categories of names you don’t want to even consider. For instance, you might not want to name a child after any member of the family. Another example: Your last name is Jones and you do not want to end up with a three-part alliterative name like Julie Jennifer Jones. Or perhaps you don’t want a long name that will eventually find your child answering only to a nickname; for example, Jonathan will inevitably become Jon and Abigail often becomes Abby.

Step 2

Decide whether it’s important to you to know what your chosen name means, rather than just the sound of the name you’re considering. For example, you might like the sound of the names Irena or Jason and be pleased to find out that Irena means “peace” and Jason means “healer.” However, if you like the sound of Dolores, it might change your mind if you know that its meaning is given as “sorrow.” Mallory, today used as a unisex name, carries the meaning “unlucky.”

Step 3

Consider what significance it is to you that your child’s name reflects your heritage, your beliefs or values. For example, you might want your child to have a Hispanic, Greek or Arab name to reinforce your teachings of and pride in your ethnic heritage. If your faith is a significant part of your lives, you might want to choose a meaningful name from a religious text. You may wish to name a child after a personal hero whom you would like your child to emulate.

Step 4

Check to see the relative popularity of your child’s name. You can do this at the Social Security Administration website, which has been keeping records of what people have named their children since 1880. You might check the site because you want your child to have a currently popular name or, on the other hand, you might want to name your child something very few parents are currently naming their kids. For example, from 2000 to 2009, the most popular names in the U.S. were Jacob and Emily; the least popular, coming in at 200th place in popularity, were Martin and Jasmin.

Step 5

Try out the name. Write it out by hand; type it up and print it out using various fonts. Make sure that the three-letter monogram doesn’t spell out something that might embarrass a child. Ask friends and family for input, keeping in mind that the final decision belongs to the baby’s mom and dad.

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