Before You Name Your Baby, Here's What You Need to Consider
Naming your children is an important endeavor. After all, they have to live with it for their entire lives. It isn’t always as easy as going with a name you like, either. Here are some important things to think about before choosing a baby name.
What’s in a Name?
Naming your children is an important endeavor. After all, they have to live with it for their entire lives. It isn’t always as easy as going with a name you like, either. Here are 20 things to think about before choosing a baby name.
Has the name been used in pop culture? This includes songs, books, movies, television shows, etc. My friends Lola and Jolene get serenaded every time they meet someone new. It has to get annoying.
Initials and Monograms
You probably don’t want a B.U.M., P.M.S., or A.S.S. on towels or luggage.
Names with accent marks will, more often than not, be written with the accent marks left off — just ask Beyoncé or Khloé Kardashian or anybody named Renée or José. If it bothers you that your child’s name will usually be slightly inaccurate, maybe come up with another name.
What does the name rhyme with? I knew a “Fatty Patty,” a “Pissy Chrissy” and a “Boozy Suzie.” Just saying.
How many syllables does it have? If your last name has four syllables, you might want to shy away from a long first name or your kid will end up with a tongue twister. Same goes with the middle name.
Mull over what possible nicknames could be. This could include anything from Tara(ble) to Chad(erbox), or even a Richard being called “Dick.”
What will they call him or her for short? My sister named her daughter Brooklyn, but did not want her to be called “Brook” for short. Sometimes, it’s worth choosing a name you love, but nipping nicknames in the bud as soon as someone tries using one can be a hassle. There are some names that people just naturally want to shorten.
Word Names and Brand Names
The same sister mentioned above is named Angel. And she’s a registered nurse. So, every patient comments on how she really is their “angel” (which admittedly is not terrible, just tiring). She also hears the old pick-up line, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven, ‘cuz baby you are an angel.” And try not to be tempted to name your child after a brand. Sure, they’re nice to say — that’s why they are brand names. But it is a little pompous to be called Mercedes, Armani, Chanel…
Popularity matters. Refer to the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names. This doesn’t bother a lot of people, but when there are six girls named Olivia in her kindergarten class, she’ll have to go by Olivia (last initial).
Has a celebrity used the name? Two weeks after my best friend named her daughter Camdyn, both couples Nick Lachey/Vanessa Minnillo and Kristin Cavallari/Jay Cutler named their sons Camden. If you want to name your daughter Suri, people will always wonder if you got it from Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
If you name your child Reagan, Kennedy or Lincoln, is it in adoration of past presidents or do you just like the name? Those are some big shoes to fill! This goes the same for less-admirable namesakes, like Cain or even Scarlet.
Puns and Idioms
Does the name have obvious puns or idioms? For example, a Penny for your thoughts?
If you live in a country where English is the primary language, consider how people will pronounce your child’s name. Saoirse, for example, is a beautiful Irish name — but most native English speakers will never guess that it’s pronounced “seer-sha”. So if little Xiomara or Joaquin grows up having to correct literally everyone on the pronunciation of their name, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Meaning and Inspiration
The meaning of a name could also be a deal breaker. Here are nice names with unfortunate meanings — Claudia, Blaise, Cecilia, and Calvin, to name a few.
Using an inspired name is always fun. Maybe you’re an avid sports fan. The name Patriot, Jet or Titan could be cool, but I can’t say the same for Bengal, Seahawk or Buccaneer (though I have heard of Bear, Lion and Raven). Use your discretion.
First and Last Name Compatibility
If your last name is Pitts, please don’t name your son Harry.
It’s hard enough to grow up in this world, and then your kid has to spell Katie as Cayti or Michael as Mykel. Keep it simple.
Sibsets are a big deal these days. If your firstborn son’s name is Ryder, you might not want to name your next son Walker. Many parents want to make sure the names have a nice ring when said together. If one child has a very classic and Biblical name like Rebekah, it might seem strange for her sister to be named something modern and unique, like Zephyr. You probably don’t want your kids’ names to rhyme … Pam and Sam, Kim and Tim … you get the idea. And if a brother and sister’s name are literally male and female versions of the same name, i.e. Michael and Michelle, Brian and Brianna, you may want to rethink.
Origin or Ethnicity
I loved the name Giada, but we’re not Italian. Loved Evita, but we’re not Hispanic. We didn’t want people to hear our daughter’s name and expect to meet an exotic foreigner with a cool accent, when we’re pretty much the opposite.
Choosing the perfect baby name can be nerve-wracking — it’s a big decision, after all — but if you consider these things beforehand, you can feel more confident that you’ve made the right choice for your little one.
From Camden to Corinne, here are a few “Old Money” inspired baby names for your little one.
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