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How Do You Choose a Baby Name?

by Amanda on January 18, 2009
category: Pregnancy

babyname3.jpg Choosing a name for your baby can be the one of the most fun and hardest tasks when you are expecting.  As little girls we pick out our children’s names after we dream about our wedding.  Even on my honeymoon in Italy I was constantly picking up Italian names and storing them for future use.

Sometimes we even get upset if a friend uses the name that you have dreamt about your whole life. Remember when Charlotte on Sex in the City went to a baby shower and found out that her friend was going to use her unique, made up name, Shayla?

Some families have naming traditions. My husband is a junior and we will never have a “Third” or “III.” My husband and father-in-law’s accounts are constantly getting confused at the library, car insurance company, and our church. Even with nicknames, for our family having a junior is way too complicated.

My second child is due in about 8 weeks! I have checked out almost every baby name book the library has. At night I pour over these books while adding names to my list.

I have some pretty strict criteria for my child’s name:

1. It has to be easily pronounced in English and Spanish, so both sides of the family can say the name. I really liked the name Andres and when I mentioned it to my Anglo-momma she announced that she would just call him Andy. This of course made me strike it off my list immediately, since I didn’t want an Andy. For our Spanish speakers I have to be careful with J names and names with a double L.

2. I want a name that means something nice.  At least not some horrible meaning like “serpent” or “dimwitted.” I actually like the name Soledad for a girl but the meaning of the name is “to be in solitude”, so that name is off the list.

3. I don’t want the name to be too popular in the United States. When I was born the name Amanda was second in popularity, so there was always two or three Amanda’s in my class. In fact, the other Amanda in my class always hated me, because we had the same name. She became the Mandy, while I stayed just Amanda. I am constantly checking the Social Security Baby Names list. My first baby’s name was 236 in popularity when I named her. Now that name has climbed to 206 in popularity.

4. The girl’s name needs to be feminine and the boy’s name masculine. I know gender-neutral names are incredibly popular and some are beautiful. I just don’t prefer them. When I worked in Human Resources I had to input people into the system and I would have to check off the male or female box with only their name to go off of. I always fretted over getting this wrong. I also didn’t like second-guessing if I should address an applicant through email as “Mr.” or “Ms.” For me; it is all about eliminating confusion.

5. We also take into consideration what their nickname would be and if the name can be fun of very easily. I love checking Baby NamesWorld to find out this information, because they survey people who have that name.

For our second little one we currently only have four names on our list: two boy and two girl names. We have to select a boy and girl name since we didn’t find out the gender. I am currently tired of stressing over this and I am happy with those four. We have only let the names we have picked slip to a limited few and the others will have to wait to be surprised!

How about you? Do you have any strict criteria? Do you care about what other people think about your names? Do you tell what name you picked out before the baby is born? Do you get suggestions from other people? Was it an easy process for you?

18 Responses to How Do You Choose a Baby Name?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Wanda
    January 19, 2009 @ 12:17 am

    I’ve known forever that I wanted to have one little girl and she would be named Oceana. (o she AH nah)I knew I had the right man when he agreed to it. LOL.
    I don’t even know where I first heard the name. We don’t really care what others thought, but I think that most people give more leeway to girls with unique names than they do with boys. I grew up as the only Wanda in town and loved it. I wanted to assure that she would have the same privilege. The most obnoxious thing was that I could never find my name printed on anything, but these days, that isn’t an issue, you can just order it online.
    My family knew since high school. Most thought that I would change my mind, but when DH was the first to take me to the ocean, it was set in stone.
    My family calls her Ana. (AH nah) She can shorten it when she is older if she chooses. I think by then, the world will be global enough that there won’t be many “strange names” any more though.
    I love this site!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Stephanie
    January 19, 2009 @ 8:36 am

    Yep, I have really strict rules when choosing baby names! Here are a few:

    - It can’t start or end with the letter “R” since our last name starts with an “R.”
    - It can’t be a name that can be transformed into a cheesey nickname.
    - I’d prefer the name to be somewhat original, not too popular.
    - I’d also prefer that the name have some sort of Biblical significance.
    - The name has to have the correct number of syllables to sound right with a one-syllable last name.

    So, those are just a couple! Yes, that really limits the name selection for our kids! And, yes, I know I’m picky! :)

  • Comment by Dawn
    January 19, 2009 @ 9:01 am

    Stephanie, we have some things in common: our last name starts with R and it’s one-syllable also! It does complicate things, for sure. One time I liked the name Ezekiel for a boy (of course), and we’d have called him Zeke. But Zeke didn’t sound right with our last name. Stupid last name! :)

  • Comment by Dawn
    January 19, 2009 @ 9:04 am

    Amanda, as crazy as it seems, I went to school with another Dawn. We were always in the same class. We were called “Dawn C” and “Dawn W”, which really takes the beauty out of the name, let me tell you.

    The rising popularity of names is one of my concerns in choosing. I always shy away from ones that are at the top of the list. Basically, we like classic but uncommon names.

  • Comment by Amelia
    January 19, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    We have similar requirements.

    We didn’t want a name that started with a P because our last name starts with P.
    The first name couldn’t end with the “er” sound because our last name ende with same sound.
    The boys names had to definitely be masculine.
    The name had to have a good meaning.
    It couldn’t be too popular.
    No bad nicknames.
    Our kids have 2 middle names so they had certain criteria (family name etc.).

    If we have another boy then I don’t know what we’ll do because boy names are so hard for us-especially with all our criteria!

  • Gravatar January 20, 2009 @ 2:28 am

    [...] is on our minds here at The Mom Crowd this week: it’s time for another round of celebrity baby names!  About a year ago, I posted on this [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Katie
    January 20, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

    My husband and I had so much trouble picking out names. We only wound up with one boy’s and one girl’s name. Some of our criteria included:

    1. It couldn’t be too popular or too unique (we used the social security website to check name popularity).
    2. The initials couldn’t spell something weird.
    3. There couldn’t be any negative connotation (many names were crossed off the list because Nick or I knew someone that we didn’t like by that name).
    4. It had to “sound right” with the last name.

    The criteria might not sound too bad, but it’s sort of subjective and we really had a tough time agreeing.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Barb
    January 20, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

    Okay, so being named Barb and growing up being made fun of CONSTANTLY (Barbie Doll, Barb-be-que, Barbwire, Barbarella, Barbara Bush, etc.), I am EXTREMELY sensitive to the nickname factor. In fact, I have become a go-to person for friends considering baby names to come up with all possible nicknames. However, I have concluded that kids will ALWAYS find a way to make fun of other kids whether it be their name or something about them so …

    However, other factors I consider:
    -initials (for example, my married initials are BS)
    -not really a fan of girly names or names that end in vowels (I am Barbara, my sisters are Stephanie and Kelly; we go by Barb, Steph & Kel accordingly). I basically don’t want my daughter to have a cheerleader name or one that will sound wussy someday when she’s in the Fortune 500 :)
    -cannot start with an S (as our last night starts with an S and I just envision a kid with a lisp problem trying to say “Stephen Schlueter”)
    -a name from THIS era (hello, my name is Barbara; only other ones I’ve met are in the 50-80 set)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Dana
    January 21, 2009 @ 2:00 am

    No real strict criteria, I guess. A little unique, I guess, and we check the meanings. And we are struggling for a boy’s name right now. I think we have a first name, but can’t seem to come up with a middle name.

    And we have only 6 weeks to go so we better come up with something!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    January 21, 2009 @ 10:37 am

    In naming our first boy, I wanted something strong. He was named Benjamin Riley Anderson.

    With our second, we wanted another strong boy’s name. But we were also looking for something that would sound good with Ben’s name (for moments like when we’re having to yell for them to come to dinner). So the second was named Evan Christopher Anderson.

    They’re both strong boy’s names. And yelling “Ben! Evan! Get out of that mud!” sounded good to us. Those were our only requirements.


  • Comment by Dawn
    January 21, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

    Amy and Barb, y’all are funny! “Lucy! Eli! Get out of that mud!” also sounds nice. I’m pleased wth our naming choices based on that criteria. ;)

  • Comment by Amanda
    January 21, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

    Amy, thank you for confirming something I have always thought. I was just explaining the yelling the names criteria to my husband the other day and he thought it was silly! :)

    Barb, Morgan is a great name! :)

  • Gravatar February 16, 2009 @ 6:31 am

    [...] have mentioned before that I am currently in the process of picking baby names for my second little one coming in 4 weeks. We didn’t find out the gender so we have to pick out [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by baby names list
    March 3, 2009 @ 12:05 am

    It is nice to have a list of criteria on choosing a baby names because all of us are having an idea for a nbaby name but as a parents we think of the best name for our angel:)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by rahul khana
    March 6, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    I really liked your blog! thanks for sharing your beauty tips :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Wet Wipes
    March 31, 2009 @ 9:19 am

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by David
    August 23, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

    I am a huge fan of http://www.allthebabynames.com. It is a great site to help you choose a name for your new baby.

    I’m sure this would help!!!

  • Gravatar June 5, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    [...] sorted through advice from dozens of sources on how to choose a name for our [...]

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