Written by: Cally Worden
Choosing a name for your baby can be great fun. But where do you start? When I was pregnant with my first child I eagerly read books and logged into countless online lists for ideas. It quickly became overwhelming. At first I looked alphabetically, but there are so many options under the letter ‘A’ alone that I quickly lost the will to live. A new action plan was needed. Here are some of the tips for whittling down the options that helped us arrive at a decision.
Look at your Family
Opting for a first, or middle name that belongs to a cherished family member is a popular choice for many parents. If you have one in mind it provides a good starting point, as there are some name combinations that just don’t work – you may wish to continue the use of your Granddad’s name for example, but if this is ‘Donald’ and your surname is ‘Luck’, you’d probably think twice. This is a frivolous example, but you get the idea.
Decide on Traditional or Modern
Opting for a Traditional or Modern name will narrow your field of choice considerably. Either choice rules a whole bank of names either in, or out. Think also about what names are popular in your baby’s year of birth, whether you want to follow the crowd or go for something more unusual.
Check out the Meanings
If you are really struggling to get started, then consider the characteristics you imagine you’d like your child to posses, finding names that have similar meanings. Then add them to your list, or rule them out.
Try Names Out
We spent weeks calling my baby bump by a particular name before one of us confessed that, having used it for a while, we didn’t really like it after all. It was a close call. We opted for the second name on our list and could not have been happier. Try saying the names you like out loud, and imagine talking to each other about ‘Jane’ or ‘Michael’ or ‘Christopher’. How does it feel?
Make it Flow
Take care when selecting names to make sure that flow reasonably well. A mix of syllables and cadence generally works well, so ‘Michael James Houghton’ works better than ‘Andrew Anthony Angus’, for example. Avoid tongue-twisting mouthfuls that are hard to say.
Think about Nicknames
It’s common for longer names to be used in their short form, so be sure you like the options. ‘Nathaniel’ can become ‘Nate’, and ‘Elizabeth’ can shrink to ‘Liz’ (along with a number of other variations). Be sure you like them all!
Banish your Name Demons
There are some names that we simply cannot stand. We all encounter people in our lives who leave a less-than-positive impression. The school bully, the nightmare colleague or the nosy neighbour for example. Their behaviours can create negative associations with their name. These are obviously to be avoided at all costs, even if your most-hated is in fact the name of your partner’s dreams.
Consider the Initials
Some combinations of initial letters can be cute – JJ, for example (which I like, but appreciate others may not!). But others could become the bane of your child’s life as they grow – Carl Richard Yates, for example may have him CRYing in the playground. Think this through, it’s not you who will have to live with it.