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How to Choose the Right Baby Name


Updated November 29, 2014

Pregnant wife and husband looking at computer.
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Where to start with picking a name for your baby:

There are many ways to name a baby. Perhaps you stumbled on the perfect name. Maybe you and your spouse have already decided long ago. Or maybe you're like me and wrestling with the decision for a long, long time. I'd suggest starting with narrowing some of the names or types of names you don't like. If you hate certain names don't consider them. Start with the positive names. Then define your baby naming style. From there I'd suggest lists of baby names. Baby names books are great for that purpose.

Baby Names for Boys:

Names for baby boys are changing. Gone are the days of about 20 standard names. The names parents are choosing for a baby boy vary greatly. You still see the standard names like John and Mark, but now names like Ashton are creeping up the charts as well. There is still more pressure placed on baby boys when it comes to the perfect name, so take everything to heart when choosing an offbeat name for your child to wear.

Baby Names for Girls:

What's in a baby girl's name? Sugar, spice and anything, including nice or naughty depending on the parent. The names that are given to baby girls are more open to spelling variations (Caryn, Karen, Karen, etc.) and don't seem to be confined to any preconceived notions. That doesn't mean you should go wild, but know that the constraints are fewer. There is also a resurgence in older names that had fallen out of favor, like Olivia, Sophia, Lilah and Clara.

Baby Names for Twins:

Naming twins or other multiples puts a whole new spin on the baby name issue. Now you have many more combinations to come up with! That also brings up how do you go about naming twins. Do you give similar names or very different names? Do you use their birth order to name them (Baby A gets an A name, etc.)? My best advice is to really avoid similar initials, it saves on determining who owns what later on!

Baby Names that are Different:

The trend towards different names is definitely alive and well. We have so many boy names that have crossed to girl names, though this is an old tradition. (Think about Lesley, Whitney, Robin...) And don't forget unisex names. There is also the celebrity factor when it comes to baby names.

If you can't find a name that is different than you like, some parents consider different spellings. That could be Sara versus Sarah or it could be Christopher versus Kristofer. Just know you're never going to find anything premade with baby's name. (But the Internet is changing that!)

Baby Name Advice:

When you say you're pregnant, baby names is the first thing people want to start chatting about. It's a personal decision and one not to be made lightly, but people feel the need to give opinions. My best advice is to have a strategy for baby name advice. Accept it graciously. Ignore it. But have a plan.


Reader Stories: Baby Name Drama - Did you survive any baby name drama?

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