The first and most lasting gift you will give your child is his or her name. There is probably no other event in pregnancy that evokes such strong opinions as the name of the baby. You will have to negotiate with your spouse or partner, especially if you have different tastes in names. Your mother, mother in law and the check out girl may have opinions as well. Whether you listen to these is entirely up to you.
One way to start is for each of you to create a list of baby names you like for girls and boys. Compare the lists. Are there any names on both lists? If there are, you are extremely lucky. As you are looking at each other’s lists, check any names that you like or may consider. During this process, each person should have the right of refusal. A name that invokes a strong negative reaction should be removed from the list.
If you can’t find a name you like, browse the family tree. The name of a grandparent or other distant relative may catch your eye. This is how we chose our daughter, Madeleine’s name. She is named for my grandmother. Her middle name, Isabella, is for my husband’s grandmother. A beautiful Jewish tradition is to choose a name with the first initial of a loved one who is deceased.
Baby name books or websites are a great source of ideas. You can search by first letter or language. If your family is of Italian origin, you can search to find a great name that fits your baby’s heritage. Some sites have a search feature that can be used to look up the meaning of a name or to search by meaning.
Once you have chosen a few [tag-cat]baby names[/tag-cat], try them out. When I was pregnant with our second daughter, my husband pretended to call her for dinner by the two names we were considering. Yes, I laughed at him. It was ridiculous, but it actually helped us make a decision. Say the first, middle and last names out loud. How does it sound?
Write your favorite names. Are they easy to spell? Will they be misspelled throughout the child’s life? Take a look at the initials to be sure they don’t spell a word. Andrea Sarah Smith or Pamela Irene Greene would not be good choices. Eventually someone will notice and your child will not be happy with you.
How do you feel about nicknames? Think of the possible nicknames and avoid any that have a very common [tag-tec]nickname[/tag-tec]. For example, if you love Christopher but hate Chris, you may want to reconsider your choice. You can instruct family and close friends to use Christopher, but eventually he will be Chris.
Choosing the perfect baby name can be a very challenging task. Imagine your child at every age, from birth through [tag-ice]adulthood[/tag-ice]. How will it work at each stage? A really cute name for a baby boy may not fit a grown man or someone’s grandfather. How would the first and last name sound on a college application or look on a business card? Congratulations on your new baby and good luck!