Deciding on a name for your baby is a momentous task. You’ve probably been mulling it over from the moment you found out you’re expecting – or quite possibly for a long while before that. But now the clock’s ticking…at some point before or shortly after your baby’s birth you’re going to have to make a decision, and it’s one that will stay with you and your son or daughter for the rest of their lives! There are loads of books and websites out there for inspiration, but you may want to think about why you’re choosing a name as well as what you like the sound of.
Some people narrow their choices down to a short list of contenders and then make the final decision after baby’s arrival, depending on which name they feel ‘suits’ their newborn. Others choose a name and stick with it before birth, often calling baby by its name while it’s still in utero. One thing’s for sure – your baby’s name will be a defining part of their identity so you need to make a choice that will suit them during every stage of their life. Try picturing yourself calling out your favourite name after a toddler at the park… then imagine them being called up on stage for their graduation or invited into a job interview, or getting married… does the name still sound good? Of course, you also need to think about the surname. You might find that you love a name but it could sound silly, or worse – rude, with your surname. Joe and Annette may be lovely names but Joe King or Annette Curtain? Perhaps not!
Maybe you want to name your child after a celebrity, a place, a film, or a song that means something special. That’s great – having a personal reason or memory behind the choice of name makes it all the more special and gives you something you can share with your son or daughter when they’re older. But just make sure the association is definitely one you’d like to make – for example, if it’s a song make sure you know exactly what the song’s about or you could end up naming your child after a lady of the night, a serial adulterer or a murderer – sometimes a catchy melody belies the meaning behind the lyrics!
You may well have a preference as to which types of names you like – modern or traditional, unusual or popular. Traditional or vintage names have seen resurgence in popularity of late, while some parents prefer a more modern moniker. Many choose popular names, not worrying whether or where they feature in the top 10 baby names of that year, but for some parents-to-be the idea of bumping into another child with the same name at toddler group is their absolute worst nightmare! Creative or unusual names are more likely to be unique to your child if that’s what you’re after – with some people combining letters from existing names to create something entirely new for their baby, or tweaking spellings to bring a new twist.
Renowned for their kooky choices, names such as Sparrow, Satchel, Apple, Blue, Blanket, Rocket and Puma appear on the list of celeb’s baby names. There certainly won’t be any confusion over the handing out of party bags at celebrities’ birthdays! Love them or hate them, these names are certainly individual but it takes quite a character to be able to carry off such an unusual name outside of the celebrity world.
Many names have associated meanings that can be traced back to the origin of the word. Erin means ‘peace’ in Gaelic, while Edwin is German meaning ‘happy friend’. You may like to look for names that represent admirable character traits or special qualities. Parents often choose to give their babies names with family associations or in memory of loved ones, either as a first or middle name, or mothers choose to use their maiden name as a middle name to preserve the connection to her side of the family.
Whatever you decide on, it’s a very personal choice and you certainly shouldn’t allow yourself to be coerced by other people. Of course you want friends and family to like the name, but ultimately the decision is between you and the baby’s dad (you might find agreeing between just the two of you is difficult enough!). Practise saying it, practise writing it and, if you like, try it out on baby for a few days after they’re born to make sure you’re 100% sure that you’ve made the right choice. After all, a name is the first gift you’ll give to your child and it should be the most treasured.
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