Choosing a baby name for your soon-to-be son or daughter is a daunting task. You can spend months searching through baby books, the family trees, or grabbing inspiration from any possible source in order to find the absolutely perfect name.
And that's totally understandable. You are, after all, naming a human being. And on top of that, you don't want to face baby name remorse and find that you totally hate the name you've chosen for your new one as soon as you get back from the hospital. But luckily, there are a few surefire strategies you can use to make sure the name you choose will be tops.
According to Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby, anxiety over name choices is very real for parents. It's not a decision that should be taken lightly.
But here are some things you can do to make sure that your baby name is absolutely perfect:
- Hold a focus group. Just like companies do focus groups on their products, so should you run your ideas past some respected sources. "Grab a group of trusted friends, and make sure that the name gets the reaction you want," says Wattenberg. If you want to keep the name a secret until the baby's born, run several ideas past friends and family. You'll easily be able to tell which names are a hit and which ones are duds.
- Make a short list. Don't narrow it down to just a singular name. You never know if you'll look down at your newborn and immediately realize that the only name you've chosen just simply doesn't fit. With a couple options (be careful not to have too many either), you'll be able to perfectly match the moniker to your babe.
- Stay positive. "Focus on what you like about names versus what you don't," says Wattenberg. "You don't want to sow seeds of doubt about individual names." When narrowing down, pick your favorite part of each name and then choose which of those characteristics is most important to you. That'll help rank the names.
- Google it. The Internet, people. It's here and alive. So use it. "I know someone who chose the name Aurora for their daughter before realizing it's the name of a Disney princess," says Wattenberg. That's a no-no. Always, always, always do a quick search of the potential names to make sure it's not associated with anything you can't accept. But if you have to make it to page three of the search results, chances are, no one will make the connection, says Wattenberg.
- Say it, then say it again. And again. First, middle, last. First and last. First and middle. Say it all together, over and over again. Try all the different combinations. Make sure you like the way it rolls off the tongue. They'll have to introduce themselves forever, so confirm that it's great.
- Pair it with siblings. The Walker brothers will always be referred to as "Noah and Jackson." Say the names together and check that you like the way the group sounds in tandem.
- Be aware of difficult names. If you're choosing a unique name or a different spelling on a conventional name, make sure you know that your child will always have to spell their name. In school, for friends and family, at work, they'll always have to correct and pronounce their name.
- Consider initials. Isabelle Louise Logan is a wonderful name. But any monogrammed gear will read "I.L.L." Careful, there.
- Think about the future. Many schools and companies create email addresses based off names. Most often, they take the first initial and the last name and place that before the at symbol. Ethan Atwood may be a great student and worker, but email@example.com better be ready for some inevitable jokes.
- Above all, love it! Before you officially sign that birth certificate, be sure that you love the name you've chosen. "A name is a big part of a child's, and person's, identity," says Wattenberg. "It's the public face we put out in the world, so make sure it fits."
How did you go about choosing your baby's name?
Image via jetsandzeppelins/Flickr; ©iStock.com/badmanproduction