How Do I Pick Baby Names?

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Choosing a baby name can bring out major personality differences in parents-to-be. Sometimes, a partner wants a traditional name while the other wants a contemporary name. Some people appreciate literary references while others go for pop culture. Having a currently popular name seems like a great idea for some, while others want a truly distinctive name. What parents should not do is succumb to pressure, either by in-laws or by friends, because settling on baby’s name is a highly personal decision.

Step 1

Brainstorm potential baby names. Keep a notebook or a piece of paper and write down potential names. This process can continue for the course of the entire pregnancy, if you wish, with pages for girls’ and boys’ names, as well as gender-neutral names. During the brainstorming process, nearly anything goes, although each partner should reserve the right to reject the three most odious names from the list.

Step 2

Supplement your list with information from outside resources. Poetry, fiction, film, art and songs provide rich possibilities for baby names. Look through the family tree for any interesting names from the past, or potential combinations of names. You may also want to consider names from around the world.

Step 3

Say the names out loud. Written and spoken names have distinctly different effects, and you should make sure you appreciate both forms.

Step 4

Pair the baby name with potential middles names as well as the last name. You want to make sure that the name sounds and looks right in combination with other names. If it’s important to you, you may want to check to make sure the initials do not spell anything you dislike.

Step 5

Heed the danger of nicknames. No matter how much you remind family, neighbors, friends and teachers, they will often shorten your child’s name. If you really dislike the short form of the name, you may be better off shifting it to your child’s middle name.

Step 6

Narrow down the list of names to your favorites. Then, look up the meanings of the names to see which one resonates for you. The reference tool at Meaning of Names.com features the etymologies, history and meanings of 45,000 names.

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