You may love your name or hate your name, but unless you feel like filling out a lot of paperwork, there's no changing it. Naming a baby can be a frustrating task, especially if friends and family start offering their opinions. Suelain Moy, a contributor to American Baby Magazine and baby naming expert, has some tips for finding the perfect name for your child.
First, learn to compromise. "This can be one of the biggest battles and decisions you make, and it's one of your first decisions you make as a parent," says Moy. Listen to your partner's suggestions and make sure they take your ideas into consideration as well.
To figure out what works and what doesn't, try visualizing the name in everyday situations. "You want to imagine a teacher calling it out in September... to see it on a diploma, an I.D. tag," says Moy. Many people will consider names just because they're flashy and might look good on a billboard or on the cover of a book, but picturing a name in everyday situations can help parents weed out names that just aren't right for them.
In the same respect, say it out loud. A name might look good on paper, but once they're spoken out loud, they sound terrible. Take into consideration whether or not your child will face a lifetime of constantly repeating their name to strangers or spelling it out for them. "One woman I know... actually when she goes to restaurants, she makes reservations with different names just to see what people's responses are."
Another thing to consider is whether or not the name is "nickname proof". Some parents love nicknames, others hate them. Consider possible nicknames that go along with your name choices. For example, Madeline is often shortened to Mad or Maddy in real life. If you can't stand the thought of your child being referred to by a nickname, try to choose names that can't be shortened, like Erin or Adam. Or, pretend you're in the third grade again. "Channel that inner bully," says Moy. If you think that a name could be shortened or made fun of, it probably will be.
While every parent wants their child's name to be unique, it is possible to be too creative. "One woman I interviewed, she's 71-years old and she's still explaining ever week about [the background of] her name," says Moy. Sometimes simpler is better. "You want something fresh and different, but not something so off the wall and singy that it'll draw negative attention," she says.
As a couple, you don't just have to choose a name; you also have to decide whether or not to share that name with others before the baby is born. If someone doesn't like the name you've chosen, they'll tell you about it. "[People] are very agressive, actually," says Moy. "I've even heard of couples making up fake names for the baby until they can announce the real one."
Also, don't forget about the initials! You may think you've found the perfect name, but when someone hands you a monogrammed baby blanket and the initials spell out C.O.W. or R.I.P., you may reconsider. Initials can be a source of embarrassment as well, and you don't want you child to be teased about something they have no control over.
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By Erin Petrun