7 Mistakes to Avoid Making When You Name Your Baby

nameShortly after finding out you're pregnant, you likely start thinking of names (if you haven't thought of one already). And while these days, it may seem like anything goes when it comes to choosing a name for your baby, there are still a few guidelines parents should follow.

We spoke with baby naming expert Sherri Suzanne, founder of My Name for Life, about what parents should -- and shouldn't -- take into consideration when making one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

  1. Not testing your baby's name in the real world. A name that seems nice on paper, may not work well in daily life. It's true for both traditional and unusual names. "Parents need to 'lift names off the page' and make sure they can be said easily and with confidence," says Suzanne. If parents can't say a name comfortably, their child, and their peers, may not either. Imagine using the name as your own, and say it out loud. Be on the lookout for tongue twisters, rhymes, and strong incompatibility with your last name, taking nicknames into account. For example, if your last name is Penn, you may want to rethink the name Benjamin ... Ben Penn.
  2. Using bizarre or nonsensical spellings just to be different. Many names have more than one accepted spelling as a result of passing through several languages. Some parents prefer these alternative spellings, and the distinctiveness is worth the need to specify Steven or Stephen, Emily or Emilie. "However, invented or rare spellings like Emmarly or Emalee (for Emily) should be avoided," notes Suzanne. "Not only is the connection with the original name lost, but the unpredictable spelling guarantees errors. If you want to be original, better to just pick an uncommon name."
  3. Not learning what's popular today (to avoid surprises tomorrow).  "When kindergarten starts this fall, parents of Jaydens, Noahs, Avas, and Chloes may be surprised that their child is sharing their name with several classmates," explains Suzanne. "That's because names that seem different and unique in a parent's generation may, in fact, be a 'Top 10' name among today's newborns." But that doesn't mean you have to reject a popular name you love. In fact, statistically speaking, a Top 10 name today is held by far fewer children than in years before. But it's worth noting that name remorse can happen when if you're striving to be original and learn you are not.
  4. Forgetting the technological world we live in. Parents have always been told to look out for unintended words created by initials. Nobody wants their future businessman or woman to carry an attache embossed with H.A.G. or A.S.S. And that still holds true, but nowadays parents have another issue to take into account: Email addresses and log-in names. "Parents should look out for names that pair the first initial and the last name," says Suzanne. "For example, Sebastian Cary's email address may be scary@emailaddress.com, and Grace Reed's user name could be "greed."
  5. Not checking for infamous namesakes. A quick Internet search of the first/last name will alert you if your new baby shares the name of history's worst dictator or most notorious bank robber.
  6. Succumbing to last-minute pressure. Post-birth is a busy, emotional time. Name remorse often happens when parents abandon their long-planned name just before leaving the hospital after hearing remarks from visiting friends or family. "I tell parents to decide on the name or at least one to two finalists and stay on the path unless they come up with something better," remarks Suzanne.
  7. Polling others for baby name input. Parents troubled by anything less than a unanimous thumbs-up will find name polling causes needless anxiety. Like anything related to personal tastes, not everyone will like your names. However, if you feel confident about your choices and enjoy feedback. feel free to ask friends and family members for input. If not, best to keep your name under wraps until after your baby is born.

Does the baby name you're thinking of make any of these "mistakes"?


Image via Gael Conrad/Corbis

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Katriena Young

I work at Starbucks and had a couple who were excepting a boy put different boy names on the cups to see how they sounded when called out.

Amber Richardson

We are going with john(After baby's grandpa who died 4 years ago) or Aehly. 

Sarah... SarahHall58

You have to pick something that is relatively normal. These kids have to grow up and get jobs. If someone had a resume on their desk with Tajahaney or Michael who is most likely to be chosen? Michael. Hate to say it but it's true. I see some of the most ridiculous names these kids have when admitted into my hospital and to be honest it says A LOT about their parents.

sterl... sterling21

I hate nick names, I grew up with a nick name and found it very confusing. We had to find a name that could not normally be shortened. We also had a hard time with his middle name and made a.quick decision in the hospital. My son loves his name, it rolls of his lips smoother than ice, I think it was more luck than planning when it came to.the right name. Keeping it secret is also important, no one can criticize the babies name and make you change your mind. My sons whole name was not known until after the.birth, everyone was surprised but quickly loved it too.

nonmember avatar Reader

The picture made me cry! Helena (Huh-LEE-nah)was my mother's name. It was constantly mispronounced. Even to the day we buried her. The officiant went through "HELEN-ah" and "Hel-LAY-nah". I had to correct him as one last act of respect for her!

nonmember avatar anonymous

@Amber, Yikes. Please go with John.

Stashlee Stashlee

My initials are A.S.S but I married into the last S. I think it is hilarious but I wouldn't do that to my child.

TMK919 TMK919

I made the mistake of telling my mother and brother the name my husband and I like for the daughter I am pregnant with. Apparently it's "ugly" and sounds like I'm obsessed with comic books because her first and last name would start with a "K." (Not her middle name though, that will be an "L") 

eem8605 eem8605

My son is Liam (Irish) meaning strong willed warrior, Andrew meaning manly, and his initials are L.A.D. which is a young male. My husbands initials are G.O.D. (Gregg Owen) I was E.E.M. (Erin Elyse) before and E.E.D. now.  

nonmember avatar Sarah

I agree with the common name one. I hated being Sarah B. all through my school years. Especially when another Sarah B. came up, and all of a sudden they started abbreviating my last name, than just calling me "Bart", the abbreviation they use. Not my favorite name.

My parents had wanted to name me Alexandra and call me Sasha (which is a nickname for it) but my grandma could only pronounce it "Cha-cha" so that went out the window. I don't plan on having children, but if I did, I love Lorelei for a girl or Tristan for a boy. Neither are so common last initials would come up a lot, but they're not so insane that people will think they were made up.

Also, my middle name is "Kay" which has created more than a few "whose on first" situations when people see my middle initial. Finally I just have to spell it out for them.

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