Choosing A Baby Name: Tips For Deciding What’s Right For You

Everyone has an opinion on baby names. That’s why so many parents wait until the baby is born, the forms filled out and the choice finalized before announcing it to the whole world. To some, it may be an easier route than telling people the names you’re considering before the baby arrives.

Parents have a limitless number of options – naming the baby after a beloved family member, for example, or choosing one that is gender-neutral, like Taylor.  There are also trends, spellings, and even celebrity leanings you should consider before deciding what to name your baby. 

In this post, we offer some tips to remember when it’s time to name your baby. Ultimately the choice is yours, of course. But your little one has to carry their name for the rest of their lives, so doing all you can to make that easier is both wise and compassionate.

1. Careful with celebrity names.

An actor or musician might be able to get away with choosing something unique like Apple or Moon Unit, but ask yourself: would that work for my little one? Staying away from unpronounceable monikers is smart, like the one Grimes and Elon Musk gave their first child (which had to be changed anyway, to be in line with California birth certificate rules). This brings us to our next point.

2. Will their name get your child bullied or teased?

 It seems silly to adults, but certain names are prone to becoming indelible sources of mean humor. That is particularly true if the name rhymes with a pejorative, like “Smelly Shelly,” or “Drew Poo.” Bullies can make your child hate their name if they become the target of these cruel rhyming couplets. The Internet is full of lists of names that have caused torment to children for years, so check them out if you’re worried.

3. Be aware of name trends.

In the 1990s, the most popular names for girls were Madison, Ashley, and Rachel. Every decade has its own naming trend, so what sounds unique today might be commonplace in a few years.  If that’s not a concern and there is a baby name you love even though you know other parents have chosen it, don’t worry about potential future commonality. Go ahead and choose it.

4. Consider technology when pondering names.

 Imagine how your baby’s name might appear in an email address. While no one could have predicted that the name Alexa would become synonymous with a virtual assistant, it’s smart to mull over how your baby’s name will appear in a Google search. Speaking of Google: if you’re concerned that your baby’s name never appears on “most hated names list” (and yes, those lists are all over the Internet too) be sure to peruse a few before deciding. Right now, the most hated name for boys is Jayden and Braden. For girls, Nevaeh (heaven, spelled backward) and Destiny top the list, according to the online website Live Science. ( According to Live Science, names earn these dubious rankings for several reasons: unusual spellings; sounding fake or made up; ascribing a virtue or noun (like Faith or Destiny) to a person, and a host of other reasons. If you truly don’t care what others think of your baby’s name, don’t even check out these lists – go with your preference!

5. Are family names a tradition?

If there is someone in your family – your mom or dad, let’s say – whom you would like to honor by naming your baby after them, the choice becomes easier. However, if their name sounds old fashioned or isn’t pleasing to your ear, you may be in for an awkward conversation, particularly if the individual hints they are expecting the tribute. Tell your family well ahead of birth that you want your child to have their own name because they are a unique individual with a brand new life. Putting a positive spin on your decision in this way avoids hurt feelings and ensures no one is let down once the baby arrives.

6. What will their initials be?

One example we found is the made up name Felicity Anna Tate – which sounds nice, right? However, consider how monogrammed towels would look: FAT. It may seem trivial when you’re choosing names, but how the first, middle, and last names sound together, coupled with how the initials look and what (if anything) they spell, may be a source of embarrassment for your child down the road. Try to anticipate all these factors before settling on the baby’s name. And of course, it’s equally important to consider how the baby’s first and last names sound together.

7. When you see your baby, you’ll know what name suits them.

Studies have shown that many parents know the instant they see their newborn which name is right. That’s why so many have their selection down to two or three names rather than just one. Seeing your baby for the first time reveals in an unspoken way which of your choices suits them best. So, if you haven’t decided on one name absolutely, don’t worry. Your baby will help you choose the moment they’re born.

Ultimately, you should set aside suggestions (or requests) from others when you choose your baby’s name or names. You’ll intuitively know what name is right when you see your baby, even if you’re unsure right up to their delivery. Try to imagine how the name will sound, what it will tell the world about who your baby is, and whether they’ll be proud of their name. That your child and you are happy with the name is all that truly matters.