Breaking baby name rules

Choosing a name for your baby can be a challenge for parents. But you don't have to take on the pressure of choosing a name before your child's birth or naming him after his great-grandfather. Laura Kalehoff, Executive Editor for American Baby, discusses how you can buck tradition and still find the right name for your baby.

One technique is to combine two of your favorite names. So many moms-to-be think they've found the perfect name, and then their partner hates it. It's tempting to think "I'm the one giving birth, so I should get the final say," but the name is a powerful bridge to both parents bonding with the baby. Neither parent should have to cringe or feel angry when saying their baby's name. The best alternative: combine your favorites. This trend started with celeb mashup names like Brangelina. Look for names with lots of vowels-they work best as a hybrid.

You may decide to bypass a family name. It's always a nice tribute to name a child after a beloved relative, but while some old fashioned names are back in a big way, some aren't. And even if a name is in fashion, you might not like it. You can honor a relative without giving your child a name you feel lukewarm about by using their name as your child's middle name or finding a name that is similar. If you want to name your child after your favorite Uncle Donald, but don't love his name, go with his nickname and name your child Donovan.

Put your last name first. A first name isn't the only way to memorialize someone you love. You can use a last name, if it's a solid one. One American Baby reader named her daughter Dempsey, after her maiden name. This is a really big trend right now. But, there is a limit to the surname-as-last-name-trend. You really have to have the right last name.

You don't have to come up with a name before your baby is born. It is acceptable to wait until you meet your child Many parents have a list of names and then once they meet their baby they find the one that fits him best. Taking the wait and see approach makes sense given that the more you think about a name, the funnier it sounds. Plus, if you open up your naming process to public debate, you'll get way too many opinions. But, once the baby is born all judgment goes away.

For more information on naming your baby and other parenting tips, click here.