From the moment you find out your pregnant, your mind begins to race—what will you name your newest family member? For some parents, names have been picked out since before conception. For others, the idea had never crossed their mind. Whether you’ve got something picked out or not, there are a few things you may want to consider. To help, here’s 11 tips on how to pick a name for your baby.

  1. Stray Away from Trends

    Baby name trends come and go and unfortunately, many do not stand the test of time. While you might enjoy the trendiness of a unique name, think about how your child will feel in the next 5, 10, and even 20 years. Will they be stuck with a name that makes people arch their eyebrows in confusion? Will they need to give an explanation every time they meet someone new? Yes, some trends do hold up over time but for the most part, they don’t. If you are going to choose an extremely trendy or unique name, consider adding some balance with a more neutral middle name.

    Another thing to consider is how your baby’s name will be spelled. Grossly misspelling a name that’s pronounced the same as it would be spelled correctly is a little unnecessary and will likely lead to confusion or even potential ridicule. With that being said, if you want to use a trendy or alternatively spelled name, it’s your decision.

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  3. Consider the Classics

    These days, when people think of classic baby names, they think of boring or dull ideas. Classic names can still be fun. There are hundreds of beautiful names that were used centuries ago, and many people don’t even realize it. There’s a reason that classic names are considered timeless, so don’t write them off until you’ve done some research.  

  4. Revisit Your Family Tree

    To spark some ideas, pull out your family tree and go back a few generations. While you don’t have to use names verbatim, it’s a good way to get some inspiration and revisit your family’s history. You may learn a few names of family members you didn’t even know you had. Choosing a name off your family tree can be a special way to incorporate the importance of family into your baby’s name.

  5. Examine Cultural Names

    If you have a strong cultural background and still participate in traditions, naming your baby a cultural name can be a great way to continue honoring your heritage. There are hundreds of beautiful names adhering to cultures of Spanish, French, African American, Jewish, and Italian descent. However, if you’re not a member of a certain culture, do not name your baby off someone else’s. Although it may strike you as beautiful, it can cause problems in today’s society. If you’re struggling to find cultural names from your heritage, a simple search online will give you thousands of results. You can also discuss options with your family to get insight

  6. Contemplate Potential Nicknames

    If you have a few names in mind, take some time to contemplate any and all potential nicknames. While you’d hope that only nice, flattering nicknames are used, the playground can be a rough place. Once you have a name picked out, try to brainstorm all of the nicknames to better understand any potential problems in school.

  7. Add Harmony with a Middle Name

    While middle names aren’t technically a legal requirement, most American’s are given one. Since they’re rarely used, middle names are a fun, stress-free way to add some harmony to your child’s first name. Middle names are great ways to add individualism to children given a family name. They can also be used to honor a family member you feel obligated to naming your child after without having to use it regularly. If you’re not passing down a family tradition, middle names are a great way to get creative and have some fun. If you’re using a creative or unique first name, consider making the middle name more traditional. This allows your child to have a “fallback” name in case they want to be referred to as something else in the future.

  8. Try Saying it Out Loud

    Once you have an idea of what you want for a first and middle name, try saying it out loud. There will be a certain flow to your baby’s name and if you have complex names for each, it could get muddled. While the flow isn’t exactly essential, it’s a nice way to see how it rolls off the tongue. Doing this will also give you a chance to see if there are any associations with the full name rather than the first and middle name on their own. Plus, vocalizing your baby’s name will give you a better idea of whether you like it, love it, or will grow to hate it. Say possible names out loud often to help solidify your choice.

    Another benefit of saying your baby’s name out loud before you decide is to see if it rhymes with anything. While names have gotten increasingly diverse and—one can hope—bullying isn’t as prevalent, you never know. Smelly Shelly is something that will stick with a child for years.

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  10. Double Check Initials

    While you might not think about initials as much, it’s still a good idea to know what they’re going to be. Most initials aren’t going to add up to anything too crazy, but sometimes three names combine to create something disastrous. Write down the initials for any potential name combinations that you brainstorm, just to be safe. You don’t want to get stuck with names that spell bad words or are associated with common euphemisms.

  11. Triple Check Meanings

    There have been countless instances where someone looks up the meaning of their name only to be horrified and absolutely shocked. You’d be surprised regarding the underlying meaning of some names and while it’s not an absolute game-changer, having that background information before you solidify your choice is always better than finding out later. Regardless of what you find, you may still decide to use a name, but at least you’ll be prepared if someone brings it up.

  12. Understand Last Name Legalities

    Sometimes, you can choose whether your child will have the mother’s name, father’s name, or a hyphenated version of both. Unfortunately, in other situations, there are laws in place that require the baby to either have the father’s last name or the mother’s last name. These rules vary from state to state and even country to country, so double check with your local regulations prior to making a decision. 

  13. Have Some Fun

Choosing your baby’s name should be fun and a bonding experience that allows you and your partner to grow together. Try not to stress too much about what you’re going to name your child. When you see them, you’ll know and oftentimes, the names you choose fit so perfectly that you couldn’t imagine calling them anything else. If you and your partner are in a disagreement about certain names, work together to find something that you both love. At the end of the day, if you decide that you don’t like the name you choose, you can always resort to a nickname. If you really don’t like the name you end up with, there are options to change your child’s name legally. However, if this is the route you decide to take, do so as early as possible to avoid confusing your child.

Choosing a name for your baby can seem intimidating at first, but it’s really quite fun. Follow the above tips and try to enjoy the process. You can always pick out a few names that you like and wait until you finally meet your bundle of joy to decide. You can change your mind up until the minute you sign the paperwork when you leave the hospital, so you have time.

Throughout the process, don’t worry about other people’s feedback. It’s amazing what some people will say regarding considerations or suggestions in favor of your choice, yet everyone’s quiet once your baby is born and legally named. If you want to avoid any feedback, just tell people that you’re still deciding and announce their name after birth. In the end, it’s up to you and your partner so you should never feel like you’re being swayed by other people’s opinions. To help prepare you for parenthood, Byram Healthcare offers insurance-covered breast pumps through an easy, 3-step ordering process.

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