What's In A Name?

Many parents struggle to find the right name for their child, but the choices can be overwhelming. Tricia O'Brien, Features Editor for American Baby Magazine, has some tips.

First, if you have your heart set on a name, keep it to yourself. "Your sister might say, "Oh, I knew a boy in school named Jeremy and I couldn't stand him!'," says O'Brien. You'll be more hesitant to choose a name you like if other people are associating negative feelings with that name.

If you can't choose a name because you like too many, sit down with your partner and allow each other to cross names off of the other person's list. "Then, sit down and see if you have any cross over," says O'Brien. "Maybe pull out a dictionary - a name dictionary - and see what the meaning is." If you love a name but hate its meaning, it may make it easier to eliminate.

Many parents say they want a unique name for their child, but keep in mind that there's a difference between "unique" and "over-the-top". "Try to find something that's a little between plain vanilla and wack-a-doo," says O'Brien. In the end, you have to be happy with your decision, so if you're leaning towards a less-common name, go with the flow.

Take into consideration the baby's last name, too. "If you have a really long last name, you're not going to want a really long first name," says O'Brien. "Some names just sound really funny together, so take any potential names and say them out loud." Envision yourself yelling it from the bottom of the stairs at dinner time, a teacher using it to call on your child in class, etc. Do the same for any possible nicknames. If you find yourself hating the way it sounds, drop it from your list.

Much like fashion, certain names come and go. Check your baby book or look online to find this year's most common names. If you don't want your child to be one of five Emma's or Max's in their class at school, stay away from those choices.

Finally, consider honoring your heritage - to a degree. While ethnic names can be wonderful tributes, they may be too hard for other children or teachers to pronounce. "Google different names, and maybe you can come up with something that can really honor your heritage but it's a little easier on your child," says O'Brien.

For more information on naming your baby, visit www.AmericanBaby.com by clicking here.
By Erin Petrun