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Home > Parenting Information > Naming your Baby


10 Things to consider
when naming your baby


1.  Popularity of the name

2.  Gender

3.  Meaning of the name

4.  Uniqueness of the name (Alternate spellings)

5.  Sound, Rhythm, and compatibility

6.  Initials and Nicknames

7.  Pronunciation of the name

8.  Religions; Ancestry (Nationality) and Heritage

9.  Family names and Friends (Namesakes)

10.  Stereotypes

Check out our list of baby names and meanings.

Popularity of the name

The popularity of a name can affect the child in good and bad ways.  With some names being very popular, your child might have several classmates with the same name.  Your child might feel like he fits in better with the more popular name and might be accepted more by his fellow classmates.  If a child has a very uncommon or unique name, he or she might feel special from the rest of his friends because the name is uniquely his or hers.  On the other hand the unique name might be looked upon as a strange and weird name by his classmates.  As you see, it can go both ways (good and bad).  The main thing to do is take your time, consider all of the topics below and make your decision.  With a little thought and research, you will find the perfect name for you baby.  Take a look at the most popular names for the current year and over the past 120 years.



While some parents feel that a unisex name like Robin, Dana, and Chris allow them to pick a name before the baby's sex is known and that these types of names "type" the child in sexual roles and expectations less than traditional boy or girls names; others argue over this point.  Some believe that it is unfair and harmful to have a child explain which sex he or she is.  Girls will typically not be bothered or insulted as much as boys when they are presumed to be the other gender.


Meaning of the name

While most people do not know the meaning of their own name; the meaning of the name is something to consider.  With most names having a direct meaning, some names are derived from other names or the combination of other names.  If you have chosen a name that means something embarrassing or funny, you shouldn't immediately change your mind because it will not drastically effect your child's life.  After all, how many times in your life have you been asked about the meaning of your name?  If you have chosen a couple of names that are equally attractive to you, the meaning of the name may help you in your final decision.  You can find a list of baby names and meanings from around the world here.


Uniqueness of the name (Alternate spellings)

While a unusual or unique name has the advantage of making the child stand out, you should also consider that a very unique name that is hard to pronounce or that no one has heard of can bring attention to the child that he or she would rather avoid.  One thing to consider is the complexity or uniqueness of the last name.  If you have an unusual or lengthy last name, consider choosing a familiar first name.  If you have a familiar last name consider choosing a unique first name.
Alternate spellings are another way to make a name unique.  Instead of Emily or Blake, you could choose an alternate spelling of the name, such as Emalee, Emillie, Emeli, Blaik, Blayke or Blaike.
For a list of names and alternate spellings, go here.


Sound, Rhythm, and compatibility

How the name sounds when it's said out loud is very important to think about.  Is the name Harsh?  Does it go well with your last name?  A general rule to consider is longer first names go well with shorter last names, and vice versa.  You shouldn't try to be cute with choosing names that rhyme.  While it will be cute for a while, your child will have to live with it the rest of their life.  Most naming experts agree that unequal numbers of syllables create pleasing rhythms.  When first and last names have equal numbers of syllables, a middle name with a different number will make a nice sounding name.  A final consideration is that combining a first name that ends in a vowel with a last name that starts with a vowel is usually not the best choice.


Initials and Nicknames

When choosing a name, think about what the initials of the name will be.  You wouldn't want to name your daughter Hannah Alexis Gannon (HAG).  The possible nicknames of the name you are considering should also be thought about.  Children can be very creative and cruel when it comes to nicknames.  Think ahead and try to anticipate some of the embarrassing nicknames that might come up.  If you like the name Madison, but don't think your child would like to be called Mady, then you might consider another name.  Also, names will tend to go through a cycle in the child's life. Your son's name might be Michael; but as a child he might be called Mikey, then as a teenager he might be called Mike and finally as an adult he might go by Mike or Michael.  Just take a little extra time and consider these things.


Pronunciation of the name

Take into consideration the complexity of the pronunciation of the name.  Nobody likes to have the name constantly mispronounced.  For example a child named J'esus (Hay-soos) might be called Jesus (Gee-sus).


Religions; Ancestry (Nationality) and Heritage

Your religious preference, nationality, and heritage may steer you toward a particular group of names, but try not to make the name unpronounceable or unspellable, which can be a burden on your child.  Your child's heritage, nationality or religion, might be very important to you but if the names you are considering for a first name do not go well with the last name, think about using it as a middle name, while giving the child a more familiar first name or vice versa.  For a list of names from around the world, go here.


Family names and Friends (Namesakes)

While a lot of parents choose to name their baby after their father, mother, grandparents, relatives, or friends, some people believe this might not always be the best choice.  It is the opinion of some people that exact reproductions of names, even when followed by Jr. or II, are often confusing and can make the child feel as if they have no identity of their own.  You will also find that everyone wants to give you suggestions on what the name should be.  It is sometimes best to not discuss the names you are considering; this is between you and your partner.  Take in the ideas and be thankful for the suggestions, but keep the final name to yourself until your baby is born or about to be born.  At this point it is to late for people to give you negative feedback about the name.  Finally, do not let anyone ever pressure you into a name you do not like!



For most people names call to mind a certain personality trait that often comes from a well known name sake be it fictional or real.  For instance, a name like Adolph will never outlive the terrible association that comes with this name.  Since the name will forever affect its owners self image, always consider what associations come to mind as you are deciding on a name.


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