Arguably, one of the most important initial jobs we have as parents is to name our child. Your child’s name is something that they will carry with them for their entire life. While a name doesn’t necessarily define you as a person, it can have an effect on your life and is something worth putting some real thought into. A baby name is a life long decision.

Things to Consider

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a baby name for your new bundle of joy. Does it flow nicely with your last name? Do you want the name to be of a specific cultural origin? Do you prefer a more common name or a more unusual one?

Family Names

Using a family name is a beautiful way to pay tribute to a family member or branch of your family. It’s important when doing this that you consider whether that name makes more sense as a first name or possibly as a middle name. If you feel like the name is more old fashioned than what you prefer, there could potentially be a shorten version of it that would work well. For example, if your grandmother’s name was Lucille, but you prefer something more modern, you could go with Lucy or Celia – still honoring that person, but in a more unique way.

Baby Name Spelling

This is a big one. Thinking about how easy or difficult it could be for your child to learn to spell their name as a child is one piece of the puzzle, but going on through life having to spell their name over and over to people (or just having it spelled incorrectly) can be frustrating. While it can be trendy to use that “y” instead of an “i,” think about how that may complicate things for your child later in life. 

Cultural Heritage

For some families, it’s very important to choose a baby name from their culture or religion. This can also include finding a name that has a meaning you are comfortable with. In different cultures, names can have different meanings, so it can be worth looking into to be sure you feel good about it all around. 

Nicknames

What you name your child and what your child will be called regularly are sometimes different things. Make sure that you select a name that has a nickname you can get on board with. You might name your child Christopher and plan to only refer to him as Christopher. Somewhere along the line, he may become Chris so it’s important to be sure that nickname is something you can live with! Additionally, kids can be mean sometimes and thinking through what kinds of nicknames other children might come up with can be a factor. You might want to consider what words the name you choose rhymes with, sounds like, or what other meanings it might have.

Classic Names vs. Unique Names

Another area of consideration is how common of a name are you looking for. Speaking as a person that was always one of multiple people in a room with the same name, I personally opted for less common names for my children. I never loved having to be known by my first name and last initial in order to be correctly identified. On the flip side, I have known people who have very unique names that feel strongly about their own children having more classic names that require less explanation of spelling and pronunciation.  

Making Your Decision

Who knew there was so much to think about when naming your little one! Prioritizing which of these factors are more important to you and having fun choosing a baby name that is meaningful to you is so important. There is no right or wrong answer for choosing your baby’s name. Most importantly, your child will have that name for years to come and it should be one that above all else, you love and feel happy with.

As you are preparing for the arrival of your baby, check out what you may need for their arrival. Here is a great baby checklist to begin with!

About The Author

Sarah PSarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.