Naming baby - how to choose the perfect name

Ask any school age child what they want to call their kids when they grow up and you’ll likely find they already have a ready list of names they like, and hate, and why. You may well have thought about it yourself, long before having a baby was any kind of a possibility. But now you’re pregnant, picking a name just got serious… Choosing a name for your little one is a big decision and can seem more than a little daunting. Some people know exactly what they’d like to call their baby and never change their minds, whilst others just wait and see what it looks like!

Don’t panic

Whilst it’s easy to envy people who’ve known all along what their child will be called, many parents-to-be still haven’t decided until days or even weeks after the birth. Although your baby needs a name so they can be registered, you shouldn’t be tempted to rush. After all, it has to be right.

Naming your baby after a loved one

If there is someone in your life who you love and respect, you may wish to name your baby after them. Whilst this is a beautiful tribute, you still need to make sure you and your partner actually like the name, and don’t forget, some names go out of fashion for a reason! Whilst many traditional names are now popular again there are many that aren’t, so you may want to think about changing Doreen to Dora, or Harold to Harry.

Disagreeing with your partner

You love Ellie whilst your partner’s set on Lola. Maybe you’ve dreamed of having a Ryan, whilst your partner likes Lee? Rather than offering them the option of choosing the middle name (which let’s face it just isn’t as good) why not combine the two. Take the first two letters of Ellie and add the last two letters of Lola and you’ve got Ella. For Ryan and Lee, you could have Rylee. If this isn’t possible, keep trying. You’ll hit on one you both love eventually!

You have a girl’s name but it’s actually a boy (or vice-versa!)

It might be that you’ve decided on the perfect girl’s – or boy’s – name but when your bundle of joy comes along (or at the 20 week scan) you find out you have the opposite! In this case it might be helpful to think about the opposite gender version of the name you’ve picked, like Ruby instead of Ruben or Patrick instead of Patricia.

How to spell it

If your child’s name can be spelt in a variety of different ways, you – and they – are going to rapidly get fed up of spelling it out. Chances are every card and birthday invite will have a different variation of it every year, which can get annoying! The same goes for pronunciation. It’s understandable that you would want to give your child a name to reflect your Irish roots for example, but be aware that people may struggle to say it.

Keeping it cute

When you look at your bump or your brand new baby, it’s hard to imagine that one day they will grow up. Tempting as it is to choose something cute for them, your adult child may not thank you for calling them Bunny or Booboo, especially when it comes to applying for jobs! Instead try to go for a name which is likely to stay fashionable and which would suit both a baby and a grown up.

Traditional v modern

Many traditional names like Alfie, Elsie, Mabel and George have become more and more popular. They often don’t vary much in the way they’re spelt or pronounced, whereas modern names can be more unique. It depends on whether you want your child’s name to be completely original, or if you don’t mind having 3 or 4 children in the class with the same one! It’s worth avoiding celebrity names though, as you can run the risk of them sounding faddy or out of favour in a few short years’ time and possibly then even regretting your decision.

Don’t worry about other people

When it comes to naming your baby, everyone has an opinion. As soon as your friends and family have heard the happy news, names will become a hot topic. Someone will always say a name reminds them of an ex-boyfriend or the school bully. Much as it can be fun to get them involved, don’t forget it’s a very personal decision and one that’s down to you and your partner only so try not to be put off. Just smile sweetly and look forward to your new arrival - whatever you decide to call them.