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Choosing a baby name is exciting for parents-to-be but, it’s not always the easiest decision to make. Some parents just can’t pick a name, others are divided on the names they want their little one to go by, and for others, one partner is forced to go along, which they do begrudgingly.

While we cannot name your baby for you, we thought it would be helpful to prepare a guide to make it easier for expectant parents to choose a name for their child and avoid getting into these problems. This article is part of a series here at MotherhoodHQ’s guides on parenting (effective parenting).

10 Tips to help you come up with the right name for your baby:

  1. Consider classic names

Choosing a classic name is smart because they generally remain well-liked over the centuries. Think George, Oliver, Noah, Elijah, Charlie, Edwin, and Miles for boys and Eva, Celeste, Charlotte, Olivia, Grace, and Sophie for girls. Some beautiful classic African American names include Aaliyah, Tiana, Imani for girls, and Malik, Jaylen, and Zion for boys.

  1. Avoid passing trends

Trendy names are nice, but they also tend to fade in relevance as the years pass. So, choose a name that will still make sense 10 years to come. You don’t want your child to have to explain what their names mean every day of their lives. The other problem with trendy names is that they might end up with a lot of kids in that generation, so it will be a very common name. You don’t your child to hear their name being called in a busy place only to turn and realize it was someone else being called.

Also, trendy names to avoid are grossly misspelled, have punctuations that have no relevance, pop culture references, those with strange spelling twists, etc.

  1. Consider names from your family tree

Another place you can get ideas is your family tree. It may be possible your parents may have kept old records of family names where you might get a few names that will capture your heart. Choosing a name that you not only love but that also means a lot for your family is really special.

  1. Honor your culture

You may also want to choose a name from your cultural background, which is a great way to honor your heritage. You can search online for names from your culture. For example, Marisol and Javier are top favorites for Spanish people, Wei and Li for Chinese, etc.

  1. Consider the significance of the middle name

While you may choose your child’s middle name based on the mere fact that it rhymes well with their first and last names, it would also be a great way to honor an inspiring family member. So you can give your child the middle name of your grandpa, a beloved uncle, or auntie.

  1. Look up meanings

It’s very important to look up the meaning of any name you are interested in so you don’t end up choosing a name with a horrible meaning. Some names sound nice, but they have a negative meaning. For example, did you know that Cecilia means blind and Kennedy means deformed head? Don’t overlook the meaning just because you love the sound of it.

  1. Think of all possible nicknames

When considering a name for your baby, think about the nicknames they will be called. Remember, school is one of the places they will earn a nickname, and kids can be mean and cook up all sorts of nasty names to bully your child. So don’t make it easy for them by ensuring that the name has pleasant nicknames they can use for life, not just when they are a cute tiny babe.

  1. Don’t forget to check the Initials

This may not mean much or affect your child in any way, but you need to consider how the initials will appear. We are sure your child would feel great to have a name with initials like JOY, WIN, FOX, WIT, GEM rather than BAD, ASS, PIG, DIE, SIN, etc. So write down the initials of all the name combos you are considering and see how they look.

  1. Say the name out loud

Do the first, middle, and last names flow out together when you call them out loud? For example, Hunter David Jackson sounds wonderful, but Jackson Grayson McMasterson not so much. And while at it, you may also want to search online to make sure there aren’t any despicable people who have the same name as your child. The last thing you want is to hear someone saying they know a serial killer who was called like your child.

  1. Don’t stress too much

If later you realize that you have made a mistake, don’t panic; you still have options. For example, you can decide to call them by their nickname and forgo their real name. Or, you could use their middle name instead of their first name, hence the importance of choosing the middle name thoughtfully. And if you absolutely cannot see your child living life with the names, you can always change their names legally, but it involves a lot of paperwork and money, but it’s possible.

How to choose a baby name based on astrology

If you are looking to name your child through astrology, you will need the help of astrologers. They construct the right name for your child by considering the child’s Nakshatras (birth stars) or Rashi (sun signs), and the name they give is believed to bring good luck and success in the child’s life. This is a common practice, especially for Indian people.

The birth stars have specific syllables that are considered lucky to start your baby’s name while Sun signs are interpreted based on the sun’s position. Using both Nakshatras and Rashis, Astrologers can give your child a name and paint a clearer picture of their personality. 

You can also this tool to pick a baby name based on astrology.

How to pick a baby name that goes with the last name 

Choosing a first and middle name that goes perfectly with the baby’s last name is often tricky, especially if the last name is hyphenated or if parents are choosing to create a unique last name for their family.

These tips will make it easier for you to choose a first and middle name to match the last name:

Read the name out loud If the three names are easily read out, it’s perfect, but you may want to choose another one if the name is difficult to read. Usually, short first names pair perfectly with longer last names and vice versa, so try inversely matching syllables. This trick also applies when you have a hyphenated last name. For example, Joe Holden-Bach would sound okay while Margaret Cavalier-Hardy would not.

Avoid all rhyming names- rhyming first and last names can look silly and be a recipe for bullying by mean children, so skip names that rhyme. Think Harry Barry or Hank banks-such matches are not ideal.

Check the initials- again; this is very important. It would be a terrible mistake to realize that you gave your child a name with initials that end up spelling some embarrassing words they will be bullied with, like CAT or BUM, etc.

Where to start when struggling to pick a baby name 

For most parents, the process of choosing the perfect name for their child is often challenging, couples have different ideas, and the process can take months before you reach an agreement.

That’s why it’s best to start the process as early as possible.

If you are really struggling, you could start by buying a baby name book(s) and check out girl and boy names they have listed there to serve as an inspiration. These books usually contain thousands of names for parents to consider. From the list, you can note down several options that you like.

Apart from baby books, you can consider the names from both sides of your family; that way, you will also be honoring your kin in the process.

Third, think about your favorite musicians, actors, athletes, or writers; you could get inspiration from their names. Even friends and people you meet in your life can have a name that stands out for you.

Friends and family can also help you come up with nice names for your baby. You can ask them to write down name suggestions on some slip of paper and fold them up so you can’t see. Then, once you have collected enough names, you and your spouse can open up the papers together and see if any of them appeals to you.

Writing down all the names that stand out for you will help you narrow down to the best one and match them to the middle and last name.

Once you have matched the first to the middle and last name, say them out and see if they sound good together. If you like them, that’s a hit. If not, continue matching with your other options until you get one that you like. Next, consider all the possible nicknames and initials.

Alternatively, think of the nickname that you would love to call your child, and then work backward until you come up with the full name. This is a great trick if you just can’t come up with the full name at first.

The most important thing to know is that there is no perfect name, seeking perfection only mounts pressure on the decision-making process. If a name sounds good and makes you smile and your partner likes it, that’s all that matters. Don’t stress too much about it!

What should I name my baby quiz?

Baby naming process is challenging and can ruin your peace of mind and cause havoc in a relationship. Luckily, there are many tools and resources online to help parents. One of these tools is online quizzes. These can be found on many websites and usually list different questions that cover a parent’s perspective on their life and child’s life. The answer provided enables the application to generate potential names that the parent can consider.

Are you ready to take the quiz to know the perfect name for your baby? Here it is!

How to choose a baby name based on the parent’s name 

If you are looking to name your baby after one of your parents or both, a name generator with parents’ names can be a great resource to you. These generators combine parents’ names to make a new name, making the baby naming process a piece of cake! You can use this tool for your child’s first or middle name.

Again there are different name generators applications online; some mix the letters of parent’s names and some parts of parent’s names to come up with a blended name for the baby.

How to choose a baby name with your spouse 

It is hard enough to choose a name you like, let alone one that you and your spouse both love! But it’s important to finally be on the same page when you name your baby.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to start the process as early as possible. The longer you have to consider your options, the less stressful the process will be. But if you and your spouse are both fast decision-makers, you might not need more than a few minutes to decide on a name.

If you and your spouse each have your own preferred name(s) that you would like to call the child. It would be helpful for both of you to each write your own list of names, swap the lists and cross the ones you both hate. Then try sorting from the remaining names for a favorite. 

It can feel like rejection for most people when their spouse dismisses a name they had chosen, but according to relationship experts, it’s only because they tie the name to their own identity. So that one has to remind themselves that their spouse’s refusal for the name has more to do with their own ideas and identity than merely assuming they are rejecting you. Perhaps it reminds them of a person who mistreated them or who misbehaved.

If the division is causing a lot of misery for you both, you can enlist the help of a professional. Or, you can decide to wait until the baby comes. Perhaps just looking at the baby will make you decide what you both want to call your sweet one.

Most times, in the end, it requires compromise. For example, one spouse provides the first name and the other the middle name. Then alternate in the subsequent siblings.

Should you consider income? 

There are many factors that will influence your child’s life and what career they choose or the income they earn, not necessarily their name. But, if you want to know what names dominate various industries, we did research in Linked in and considered about 300 different names working in over 25 different industries from politics, sports, media, construction, education, military, hospitality, travel, and moreover the past 30 years. This is what we found out:

Out of over 300 different names, Jake and Catherine earned the highest. They would typically take home £81,932 per year and normally work in political organizations. The second-highest-paid names were Joe and Alexandra, earning about £55000 per year and working predominantly in the sports industry. The third highest-paid names were Joe and Claire at £46,635 doing law practice.

Ann, Paul, Isabel, Christina, Sophie, Jamie, Eva, Luke, and Katie were other top earners with not less than £34303 per year.

We found that Joe was the most popular male name in almost every category from construction, transport, and law. Alexandra was the most notable female name to work in most industries, including sports, media, and mechanical industries.

While certain names appear to be doing so well in the workforce, it doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed. So many factors influence our lives. What’s important to know is that no name is perfect and everyone is special and unique!

In the video below, you can get some tips from a baby name consultant;

In a TedX Talk below, Eleanor Turner discussed how not to name your baby.

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