Here are six points to consider when you put pen to paper and narrow it down to a shortlist.
1. Names are for lifetimes
By all means go for an unusual baby name if your hearts are set on it, but also remember to put yourself in your new baby’s shoes. Will they like their names as much as you do, when they get older?
2. Sit On It
If you decide to choose a baby name before the big day (more and more parents are waiting to see their newborn first) use the time wisely. Before sharing it with friends and family, let it digest between you and your partner for as long as possible. Do you still like it as much as you did the day you thought of it? If so, that’s a great sign.
3. Don’t Shop It Around
Another tip is to not share it at all. A number of parents have reported being put off by their friends and family when they have shared the name early. Think carefully about whether you really want to share it early or not. People won’t hesitate at proclaiming ‘I hate that name!’ but are a lot less likely to do so if you are introducing them to your already-named baby.
4. What does your partner want?
A good way to come to a happy medium is to create two separate lists before coming together to choose the final name. Remember, middle names are a good way to make a compromise when coming to your final choice… but always, of course, make sure that it works with the first and last name. Thinking of the most significant people in your lives is always a good place to start, and then you can work out from there whether you want a more classic baby name or go for something more unusual.
5. Better Letters
Names tend to sound better when the last letter of the first name is different from the first letter of the last name.
6. The nickname test
Sure the name itself might be good – but how good will it be if it will be just used as a nickname? Remember, it’s virtually impossible to control every friend and family member whose instincts may be to just shorten your child’s name. You may love Shakirat, but hate Shaki.
7. The tease test
Bullies are quick to find anything they can and use it against other kids. While you can’t change something just because it might happen, it is worth thinking about. Does the name rhyme with anything? Kids who come home every day saying they hate their names can make for some dramatic times!