How Did You Choose Your Baby’s Name?
Today’s post is courtesy of Brian Donnelly, a Bright Horizons employee and first-time expectant dad.
I’ll preface this by saying prior to becoming first-time expectant parents, my wife and I never had baby names picked out that we’ve always wanted to name a future child. This is really where the dilemma begins. Up until now, it feels like the most vital naming we’ve ever been tasked with is creating a name for our wireless network or a fantasy football team – and we surely can’t name our child “56k Modem” or “Jamaal Charles In Charge.”
So where do you start? This is the 6-step process we’ve followed so far.
6 Steps for Choosing Baby Names
Step 1. Run through our “there’s NO way this baby will ever be named ‘X’” list. This list was a combination of old boyfriends and girlfriends, celebrity names that we feel have been over-saturated in pop culture, and any character from the early 00’s TV phenomenon, Laguna Beach (though we couldn’t commit to a complete ban of The Hills).
Step 2. Try to decide how much built-in “cool” we want this baby’s name to have. Obviously this is all subjective, but we brainstormed what’s at the top of the “cool name spectrum” and what’s at the low end. In our eyes, the traditional names tended to fall at the lower, more conservative end. An example of this would be “Brian” at the traditional end and “Hawkeye” at the pretty cool end. Either name can be cool because it’s all about the person who wears it…but we needed to start somewhere. Then we decided where we’d hope the ideal name would fall, closer to cool or closer to more traditional.
Step 3. Research the past. We decided to look up the most popular girl or boy names from the 1900s and then go up from there decade by decade. We figured this would help us see what names could still be out there that haven’t yet had resurgence. Did you know that Dorothy and Eugene both ranked in the US’s top 25 most popular names in 1930? We found this research to be invaluable – and when you start adding in the additional layer of most popular names by different countries you open a Pandora’s box of great baby names.
Step 4. Decide on the “nickname” name vs. the formal name. Do we call her Beatrice or Bea? Do we legally name him Henry and tell everyone he goes by Hank? Or do we legally name him Hank? Now for all we know we’ll call our child something nowhere near what their actual name is because of some incident that hasn’t even occurred yet, but the nickname is a big consideration.
Step 5. Be conscious of those initials. Will their initials spell something that could be considered obscene or offensive? I won’t go into the hundreds of name combinations that you could have a field day with. We only discovered this after we thought of a great name only to realize that our future daughter’s initials would be G.O.D. Just something to keep in mind.
Step 6. Pick a few name options you like and then wait until the baby arrives. We’re hoping that once we lock eyes with our new friend that one of the names will jump out as a winner. If not, we’re picking out of a hat.
How did you pick your baby’s name? Any suggestions on additional things to consider when choosing baby names?
I’m Brian – a soon-to-be dad. I’m excited to share my journey into fatherhood as I am half excited and half terrified by the whole scenario. Along with my wife and our Boston Terrier, I think I’m ready for our life to turn into a complete circus…but in the best way possible.