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Category: Dos, Don’ts, Rules, & Guidelines

babysurprised

Ideally, choosing your baby’s name is a fun, inspired endeavor, but too often baby name problems get in the way.  Here are the problems we hear most often, and how to fix them:

Your family interferes with your name choice

Your mom wants you to name the baby after her.  His dad wants you to name the baby after his mom.  And everybody hates the name you’ve chosen….and isn’t shy about telling you so.  Name discussions with family can be an illuminating way to pass your pregnancy, but the minute family members start to act like they have equal voting rights, it’s time to cut off the talks.  Bowing to family name pressure is the Number 1 reason for name regret.

Your friend ruins the name you love

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Marissa Mayer baby name

Okay, you’re Berries, of course you wouldn’t.

On the other hand, if crowd-sourcing your baby’s name is good enough for the most powerful new mom in corporate America…..

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and venture capitalist husband Zack Bogue had their first baby, a boy, on Sunday, and took to Twitter asking for name suggestions.

Nameberry, of course, rushed to the rescue, with these excellent (we thought) suggestions:

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rainbowhat

Unisex names and the question of whether a child’s gender should be evident via his or her name is one that comes up frequently on Nameberry.  It’s an issue that’s changed a lot over the years we’ve been writing about baby names and that varies substantially in different cultures.

Starting with the baby boomlet of the 1980s, the first wave of feminist parents gave girls androgynous names like Morgan and Parker to make them more competitive with boys…..while parents of boys abandoned unisex names in favor of more traditional masculine choices.   Next came names that broke away from traditional boy or girl choices — Logan and Lake, Bellamy and Finn — but still somehow held onto a gendered identity.

Despite vast changes in naming practices around the world, some ancient cultures accommodate names that work for either sex — Japan is a notable example — while other countries such as Norway require that names carry gender identity.  Germany changed its naming laws in 2008 to allow the use of unisex names.

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yes-no

A few weeks ago we asked the Nameberry moms and dads to tell us their best baby names rules.  What followed were hundreds of suggestions, from the idiosyncratically individual (All middle names must be Celtic and begin with R) to rules so universal they might apply to everyone.

Rule Number 1, according to one berry?  No dumb names.  We’re down with that, along with these 21 other smart, sensible rules that every modern baby namer should follow:

1.     No yooneek spellings.  Name your son (or daughter) Peyton or even Payton.  But not Peighton, Patyn, or Paitynne.

2.     No made-up names.  Translating a meaningful place or word into a name is all right, but don’t manufacture a name from whole cloth.  Jaunel and Calton, we’re looking at you.

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Kids Montreux small (2)

Canadian guest blogger and name book writer Shandley McMurray offers some advice on global baby names–picking a name that will travel well. (And those are her beautiful kids in the illustration.)

Growing up with a name like Shandley in Canada wasn’t always easy. I became tired of correcting people’s spelling and pronunciation of it, and, of course, I bemoaned the lack of personalized products like pens and rulers that adorned the desks of my more traditionally-named friends. Then, the world’s increasing reliance on email made things even more difficult, with online editors and others I hadn’t met in person often referring to me as Mr. rather than Ms. in their correspondence.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’ve always loved my name. I’m a loud and opinionated free spirit and a quieter name like Elizabeth or Ashley just wouldn’t have fit. My name set me apart and I took pride in the fact that my parents had invented such a unique name.  So when it came time to name my own children, I thought long and hard about my decision.

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