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Picking a name for your child can sometimes feel overwhelming. In addition to the possibilities you think up, it's likely that friends and relatives will offer suggestions of their own – whether you want them to or not.
There's no right or wrong way to pick a name for your baby. The most important consideration is to choose one you love.
Ultimately, your child will grow into whatever name you pick. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you decide.
Think about how the name will sound when you call your child: Is it nice to hear, or does it sound harsh? Does it go well with your last name?
Some parents think longer first names work better with shorter last names, while others think the opposite. And some people think combining a first name that ends in a vowel with a last name that starts with a vowel isn't usually a great idea because the names can run together.
You also might want to avoid choosing a first name that rhymes with a last name. And for your child's sake, skip puns: A name like "Holly Wood" or "Bud Weiser" might not seem so funny after a while – especially when your child is a teenager.
Many parents want to find a unique name that will distinguish their child. But sometimes an extremely unusual name can bring your child unwanted attention instead. Think about possible mispronunciations to make sure your child won't be subjected to a lifetime of correcting how others say it.
It's easy to research name meanings online to help you choose the perfect one for your baby, especially if you're having trouble finding one that feels right. For example, "Ingrid" might be a family name, but knowing that it means "hero's daughter" could also be the perfect way to honor family members who served in the military.
Naming a boy Zachary Ian Thomas may lead to an unfortunate nickname in school. And in case your child someday wants to put her monogram (in which the last initial is in the center, flanked by her first and middle initials) on her luggage, you'll want to avoid naming her Beatrix Dixon Adams. That would be BAD. Oops!
Names that age well
When you pick a name, imagine your child in a professional situation, at a job interview, or giving a presentation to a client. A name that suits an adorable baby or small child – like Binky, Bunny, or Lucky – might seem cloying when your child is an adult.
Look for win-wins
What can you do if you want your child's name to reflect her heritage, but family members are pressuring you to give her your beloved grandmother's name – which is not on your top 10 list? Give your child the name you want as a first name and your grandmother's name as a middle name. (Or do the opposite and call your child by her middle name.) You could also give her your grandmother's name but use a nickname.
Where to go next:
- 8 pitfalls to watch for when naming your baby
- When to choose and announce your baby's name
- What to do when you can't agree on a name
- Look up a name and see how it ranks