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13 Things to Consider Before Choosing Your Baby Name

May 28 2014 - 7:51am

Naming a baby can be both fun and agonizing — and it's such an important decision that it can be totally overwhelming! So aside from the standard naming ideas [1], here are a few more things (that are not always considered) you just may want to think about before signing that birth certificate.

Source: Shutterstock [2]

Remember, Pregnancy Hormones Are No Joke

The highs are high, and the lows are low — and baby names are no exception. I always found it funny that I had to make such an important decision about my child's future while I was a raging, hormonal lunatic. Pregnancy hormones are no joke, and this whole naming process might be a little more trying that you dreamed about when you were naming your future children back in middle school. Speaking of, if you're not pregnant yet, now is as good a time as any to come up with a prehormonal list.

Source: Flickr user Judit Klein [3]

Consider All Possible Nicknames

You've heard it before — Richard or Dick? But there are a lot of other names that could come out of a name. Time to put on your middle school hats here and try to come up with the terrible things your child's peers might develop. My name is Denise, and when I was learning to write, an older kid noticed that my D's looked a lot like P's, and you can only imagine my embarrassment. I know you can't predict everything, but you might as well try.

Source: Flickr user jetsandzeppelins [4]

Consider Your Child

You might like a certain name because it's supercool or unique, but remember that it is not you who needs to go through life with this name. Do you really want your child having to explain herself to every single person who needs to write her name? "No, it's actually spelled G-N-O-R-A. The G is silent. My parents were hipsters."

Source: Flickr user Mike Fisher [5]

Research Its Meaning

Don't forget to look up the etymology of your favorite name. Nearly all names have meanings, and you'll want to make sure the moniker fits your family (and will not be a total loss when your tot has to look it up for a project in school). For example, the name Sharon means "plain" in Hebrew. Not exactly the bold female name you were going for? Look it up first!

Source: Flickr user Sonya Green [6]

Say It Out Loud

Definitely say any names you are considering out loud a lot. Like a lot, a lot. How does it sound saying it? How does it sound with your last name? How will it look as a Facebook user? What if he is famous and a crowd chants it? Uh-oh.

Source: Flickr user Meme Binge [7]

Write It Down

Just like saying it out loud, you also need to write it down. Write it over and over again — just like you did with your boyfriend's name in middle school. You'd be surprised how much you'll instantly love or hate it.

Source: Flickr user M Car [8]

Spelling Is Important

Anyone with a name that is spelled a bit uniquely can share with you how annoying it is to always be correcting other people. We altered the spelling of my daughter's name a tad, and she, a 5-year-old, already gets pretty offended. It's not to say that you shouldn't be different, but it's just something to consider.

Source: Flickr user Lars Plougmann [9]

Think About Monograms and Initials

Even if you're not big on monograming, you should still look at the initials and monograms of any considered name. A pal once told me she was seriously considering naming her son Brandon James and calling him BJ. It's a really cute name, but I also reminded her the implications of a middle school boy having the name BJ.

Source: Flickr user Liz [10]

Think About the Future

One of the things my husband was big on was if he could picture our child's name as the CEO of a company. I really liked a lot of cutesy names, but he always nixed 'em on the grounds for not being CEO-y enough.

Source: Flickr user Paul Inkles [11]

Strike Up a Deal

Many couples divvy up the duties in order to avoid conflict. One spouse names the first child, and the other spouse gets to name the second. One spouse picks the first name, while the other spouse picks the middle name, and so forth.

Source: Flickr user Nana B Agyei [12]

Keep It Under Wraps

Unless you are 100 percent sure of your choice and ready to defend it to the death, you might want to consider not sharing the name you've decided on. Name associations are strong, and you just never want to hear that the name you picked for your daughter also happened to be the name of the biggest slut in your neighbor's high school.

Source: Flickr user Paloma Baytelman [13]

Confide in Those You Trust

If you need a little assistance but still want to keep it a secret, then confide in a few trusted sources. Does your mom still not really understand how group texts work? Maybe she's not the best choice.

Source: Flickr user cortto [14]

It's OK If You Don't Love It

Believe it or not, it is OK if you don't absolutely love your child's name at first. I know it sounds odd, but many people who named their children something that was not their first choice (to honor a loved one, a spouse who always wanted a child with X name, etc.) have realized that it's not the end of the world. In the end, they always end up seeing their child only as their given name (even if it takes some getting used to).

Source: Flickr user Anna Maria Liljestrand [15]

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