Even though choosing a baby name is a serious decision, it should also be a fun adventure. One of the challenges of finding the right name is finding a name that both parents-to-be love.
There are no hard and fast rules for finding a name that will work well. It’s a trial and error process. Take an open mind and an honest consideration of your reaction to find a name that truly fits.
You can start by making a list of possible names and finding out common qualities that seem to draw you in. Are you partial to names that start with vowels? Long names? Unique names? Names with a strong consonant sound? Names that start with the same letter as the last name? Names that pay homage to a loved one from the past?
If you identify some patterns and recurring traits in your list of names, it can help send you down a path to find new possibilities. Ideally, the right name should just pop. Once you’ve found it, you will know. However, sometimes getting to that point takes a lot of time and effort.
While there is no “right” way to choose a name, there are some tried and true methods that often bring about good results. If you are just getting started in your name-finding journey, consider these five methods to pick a baby name.
1. Personal Significance
Many names have a special place because of the significance they have to you and your family on a personal level. If you have a relative to whom you’d like to pay homage, or an influential friend, naming your child after that individual can be a beautiful gift of respect and love. You can also go a little broader and find a name that is common in your family tradition, within your cultural background, or connected to your city or country of origin.
2. Personal Choice
Whether this is the deciding factor or not, personal choice usually plays a role in the final naming decision. We have personal favorites in music, food, and fashion. Choosing a baby name also taps into aesthetic preferences. You ultimately want to find a name that has positive associations for you. It can take a while to find out what your personal preferences are.
Start by researching baby name lists to find possible names. When you find a name you like – really check in on your gut reaction. You will start to identify what you like, and don’t like.
3. From a Category
This strategy is related to personal preferences. There are many broad categories of names. Think about what kind of name you’d like to eventually choose, as it can help you narrow down your search. Are you looking for a popular name? A unisex name? Something modern? Something cute? Often, these categories overlap, but if you know what you’re looking for as your primary quality, it can make your search go more smoothly.
4. By Letter
Many people choose names by their first initial. Maybe your baby has a sibling and you want to keep the first letters of their names the same. Maybe you want an alliterate name, where the first initial matches the last initial. Maybe you want to match the baby’s first initial to your own or to a relative. Maybe you just really like the letter “K.”
Whatever the case, many people find that narrowing down a list of names by letter can help make a daunting task seem more manageable. If want to choose your baby’s name by starting letter, start by researching girl names that start with the same letter and boy names that start with the same letter.
5. By Meaning
Many names have complex meanings that have been passed down through generations. Names can have meanings because of their associations with particular people who shared those names, or because they are literally tied to those meanings through linguistics and definitions. Choosing a name for it’s meaning can help ensure that your child goes into the world with a message that fits who they are, and who you hope they become.
Whatever your naming preference, it’s important to spend as much time as possible researching baby names. The more time you spend researching baby names, the less chance you have of overlooking an excellent choice.
When you find a name you like, give it time to sink in. If you still like it the next day, week or month – then you will know it’s the perfect choice!