4 min read
How to Decide on a Baby Name
Choosing an entire name. For an entire baby person.
There’s so much pressure, isn’t there??
You might be one of those people (like me) who has a list in their notes app full of your favorites that you started years ago. Or maybe you’ve just been waiting until you happen across a name that you fall in love with. You could also be one of those moms that waits until your baby is born to really feel out how well a name seems to fit.
There’s a reason we feel so inclined to make a good decision when it comes to naming our babies. I feel like all of us understand, to an extent, the power of a name.
I’m going to share a few cool scientific perspectives, considerations, and tips that will hopefully help you feel more confident on your journey to naming your little one!
1. Consider the initials
You likely already know what your baby’s last name will be. This is a great place to start as you can eliminate certain first letters of first and/or middle names that would create undesirable results. (Watch for those vowels.) Unless you don’t think your child would mind having D.U.M. or L.O.B. or H.A.T. as their initials.
Spoiler… they’ll probably mind.
Interestingly, studies have shown that people with neutral or even positive sounding initials prove to live happier and longer lives than those whose initials sound negative.
2. Siblings and family
Do you have plans for more than one baby in the future? Maybe you have a few older ones already. Practice saying your new baby’s name next to everyone’s names in the family as if you’re introducing everyone. How does it flow?
Taking cousins’ names into consideration doesn’t hurt either, if your goal is to avoid picking something a bit too similar so there’s less confusion at family reunions.
Mary and Marie, Ashlynn and Saralynn, or Jackson and Braxton might become best friends, though!
3.Face-Name Matching Effect
Does your name match your face?
Studies have been conducted where people are shown pictures of faces along with a multiple choice of four possible names. If everyone chose randomly, they’d get the answer right 25% of the time. But the real, correct names of the individuals in the pictures were chosen almost 40% of the time, which was much higher than expected.
I really want to find a study like that and see how good I am at it. I feel like I’d be good at it.
But names are given before someone is grown up, right? How is it that so many people seem to fit their name really well? Well, in lots of ways, we actually (most often) grow up to reflect our names. The way we’re treated, the expectations we’re placed under, the way we think others with our names act… it all plays a part.
The mind has a way of associating more trust and positive emotions towards people with names that “match” their appearance, as opposed to people who don’t like their names or have names that don’t seem to match them very well.
4. Parents’ names
While it’s true you can never be absolutely sure of what your child will grow up to look like, you can get a pretty good idea based on the looks of both parents. A lot of the time, unintentionally, parents will pick names for their babies that could also work for themselves.
If your baby’s dad’s name is Jared, maybe he also looks like he could be a Liam. If your name is Bethany, maybe you look like your name could be Amanda.
Only you and those close to you can be the true judges!
A fun idea would be to ask family members and friends what your name (or partner’s name) would be if it was different. Maybe even gender swapped. See if you like the answers! They might surprise you.
5. Dealing with opinions
While I was deciding on my baby’s name with my husband, we did share a few of our ideas with family and friends. But ultimately, we kept our final decision to ourselves until she arrived. We didn’t necessarily think anyone would be rude or even give unwanted opinions, but there’s just something about a baby not being born yet that can make people think we’re wide open to their suggestions. We might do things differently next time because it was a little tiresome to keep it a secret for so long!
If you’re sure of a name and you’re deciding to share, say it confidently! It’s possible you’ll notice some slow or hesitant reactions but try not to take them personally. It takes some time to warm up to the idea of a name, whether someone likes the name or not. Regardless, it’s YOUR choice and not your mother-in-law’s!
Whatever name you choose for this new tiny person in the world, it will be perfect for them. And if it’s not, hey… some parents have changed their baby’s name a few months in! If it’s right, you’ll know it’s right. You’ve got this.