Baby Names: How to Choose Your Baby’s Name

Pregnant couple choose baby name

Choosing a name for your new baby is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. While some people have had the names they want picked out forever, there are others who don’t have that sort of decisiveness and struggle to choose a name they are sure they will always love. With more baby names on offer than ever before, how do you pick the right name for your baby?

With a new study showing that between 11-30% of parents regret the name they chose for their baby, it’s vital to take the time to make sure it is the right choice.

Baby Naming Experts Bella Baby say: “There are many parents who worry about the impact changing a newborn’s name could have on them, even though studies suggest that you have up to six months to alter your baby’s name before it mentally confuses them.

“It is best to take your time when selecting a baby name, and following our advice should make it easier for you to find the perfect fit.

“We understand this can be a daunting decision for many soon-to-be parents, however, we advise them to enjoy this decision as much as possible and know that whatever name you end up choosing, will be the right one for your newborn.”

Baby Names: How to Choose Your Baby’s Name

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Here are all the questions you need to ask yourself before choosing your baby’s name and things to consider when picking a baby name.

Is it a passing trend?

It is important to figure out whether the name you are currently loving is from just adoration for the name and its potential or is it because it is in your new favourite TV show or movie.

If it is the latter that could be absolutely fine – but be sure to figure out if you think you will love that name forever.

Is there a meaning behind your name?

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This could be a great deciding factor if you are stuck between a few names.

While this may not mean anything to you and wouldn’t sway you otherwise, finding out your potential chosen name could mean ‘strong and protector’ rather than something negative could definitely sway you in a certain direction.

Will this name appear on fun holiday souvenirs?

While this may not sway anything for you, it is important to consider whether your child’s name will appear on souvenirs when you’re away on holiday, on mugs, bracelets, keychains and more.

What will the initials be?

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Thinking about the first, middle and last name, what does it spell? This is important because it could be something that your child has to deal with forever!

Be sure to make sure that you choose the right initials that don’t create any other rude, unusual or strange words or acronyms.

How does it flow with the middle and last name?

Having your first name flow with the middle and last name is key to a successful name.

It doesn’t need to flow so perfectly you are jeopardising a name you actually want just for what sounds good, but you don’t want to choose anything that is a tongue twister to say.

Do you want there to be a nickname?

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This is something to consider if you don’t like nicknames – or if you love them and know that whatever name you choose will become a nicknamed version.

For example, if you love the name ‘Jonathan’ but hate the names ‘John’ or ‘Johnny’ then this might not be the name for you – you don’t want your child to have to spend their life correcting people to use their full name.

Spelling is key

It might seem like a good idea at the time to choose a name that is more common but slightly alternate the spelling of the name, however, it is important to consider that your child will spend their life correcting the common spelling!

Don’t rush it!

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While this may seem easier said than done, it is important to not let it get to the last minute as this may lead to you making a snapshot decision that isn’t what you truly want.

Take the time to go through the process of choosing a name and even if you create a list of a few you like, one of those may end up being the one you choose when you see your bundle of joy for the first time.

Why is picking the right name so important?

So much significance is attributed to the name of your child, believes Mark Woods, author of Baby Names 2016. “As well as being the word we will have to answer to and hear more than any other throughout our lives, there’s evidence to suggest the type of name we have can have a big effect on how people view us, too,” he reveals.

“One study showed that some teachers mark the same work differently, depending on the name which sits on top of it!” And with almost two thirds of parents associating future success with their child’s name, it’s no wonder we find it difficult making up our minds.

How long do I have to pick a baby name?

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Thankfully, time is on your side as legally you have until six weeks after the birth to come up with the perfect gem, and if you have regrets down the line you can still change your baby’s name at a later date.

It might not be standard practice, but according to British law you can amend your baby’s birth certificate any time before their first birthday – although the sooner you make that decision the better, as once your baby reaches seven months it’s likely they’ll be responding to their name.

How to find the perfect baby name

The book

With over 8,000 listings, Baby Names 2022 offers tons of tips to help you make the right choice.

The app

Check for names while on the go with Babyname. Much like Tinder for names, when you and your partner get a match, it’ll be saved! Swipe away…

The hack

Here’s a trick to narrow down the shortlist inspired by David Bowie’s lyric-writing technique: “Place your favourites in a hat and see how they sound combined when you pull them out randomly,” says Mark.

The game

Make it you and your partner’s goal to meet two or three new people every day when you’re out and about, and you’re bound to find names that spark interest.

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