Best Baby Name Advice Ever?

The Nameberry Question of the Week: What is the best baby name advice you’ve been given–and where did it come from?

What was the advice and did/will you act on it?

Was it given by a friend or family member?

Did you read it in a book or magazine article?

Was it advice on a website–from a blog or from friends on a message board (nameberry’s, we hope!)?

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33 Responses to “Best Baby Name Advice Ever?”

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Megan Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 1:26 am

The best advice I have ever received about baby naming is that you are not just naming a cute baby/toddler/child. You are naming a person who will spend most of his/her life as an adult. That adult will have to be able to introduce himself to others and be able to have other people look at his name on paper (spelling and all!) and be taken seriously.

You aren’t just giving your baby a name. You are giving a future contributor to society the first impression others will have of him. Take it seriously.

Persephone Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 7:50 am

Don’t run the names by your very close family and friends. Try them out on interested strangers 🙂 No matter how thick-skinned you think you might be, the opinions of those close to you will affect your decision and your favourite name could be dragged through the mud.

Lola Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 8:58 am

The best advice I ever got was from my Pop: Name them something you love, you’ll be using it 10,000 times a day, (but I have no idea where he got that one)!

My Mom told me kids grow into their name but in my case it took nearly 40 years, so “grow into names” is subjective, at best. 😀

And yes, you’re really naming little pre-grownups! 🙂

Lori Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 10:14 am

Name an adult, not a baby! Also, use a name you would use to introduce yourself without feeling weird.

Liann Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 11:32 am

Choosing a name you really love is more important than choosing a name because it’s less popular.

Amanda Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Go with what you love!!!! I think I was told that or even just read it, here on the Nameberry Message Boards. It means a lot to me because I am a huge second guesser and I have had negative feedback from family and friends in the past. You have to remember this is YOUR baby, so name it what you love 🙂

Gina Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

The best advice I got was from a baby name book: choose a name that you would like to have yourself.

Carolyn Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Popular is not the same as trendy. There are many classic names that become more popular at a certain time (Abigail comes to mind) but they will always be stylish.

Invented names or Kre8tive names might sound cute and modern now, but could look very dated in at least 20/30 years time.

Other Carolyn Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Don’t worry so much! My problem has always been that I like boys names that either are unisex or teeter on the brink, and some people will always say “you can’t name a boy that — it’s WAY to feminine. He’ll be beaten up!” This bit of advice actually came from a 22 year old man named Ashley, who swears he was teased much less than his bff Michael. Teasing is circumstantial and unpredictable, is all I’m saying. No use naming to avoid it when something could happen between birth and the time your child starts school to change popular opinion anyway.

LKH Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I recieved some great advice from a friend who works in the hospital operating room. She said be careful about giving last names as first names- where one has hard time disguishing between the first and last names. At times the staff does question if they have the correct patient when the first name looks like a last name. I think this could be a problem as well with school files, human resource files, etc.

Lola Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

LKH – your comment reminded me of when my daughter Josephine was born. We didn’t finalise her name until she was almost a day old. So the hospital wrote her Last name on her bassinet: MacK-. I got at least a dozen “Oh what a pretty name”! comments from total strangers, only to have to point out “That’s her surname!” to them all. That’s what finally pushed me to finalise her name. Still, there’s a little girl in my neighborhood with my last name as her first. Her mom says she’s always having problems with it and wishes she’d named her Amelia instead. 😀

Laura Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Remember that you’re naming an adult as well as a child, so it is important to choose a name that ages well. I was also given the following test – place the name in the following:
“Hello, my name is ‘name'”
“Hey, Grandpa/Grandma/Uncle/Auntie ‘name’!”
“Doctor ‘name'”/”CEO ‘name'”/”President ‘name'”

If it sounds good (or at least plausible!) in those spots, then the name will work!

Natalie Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

This summer I worked with a little girl named Campbell. When I was asking the kids individually what their names were, she told me. I made the mistake of asking her her “first name, sweetie, not last name.”
Let’s just say we didn’t get along fabulously the first few days…

KateC Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Your family will grow to love the name you choose for your baby, because they will love the child.

(Within reason, of course.) I think that’s great advice, because often our closest family can be the most critical, and their opinions can seem the most important. But if you follow all the rules of considerate naming for your child, I believe this will hold true, that the baby herself will win your family over in the end.

My own advice: Don’t announce a name until after the baby is born. Keep an open mind. When my husband and I first saw our daughter, she couldn’t be anyone but Elsie, and that was not my top choice going in. There’s something incredibly special and intimate about choosing in the moment like that. Don’t be so focused so early that you close yourself off to that possibility.

Jennifer Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Say the name with Doctor in front of it. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with it, don’t use it.

Go to the park and yell the name. This will both let you know how popular the name is and how easy it comes.

robyn Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

The worst I’ve gotten is the painfully obvious “Remember, kids can be cruel.”

The best I’ve gotten was not to fret about the bullying thing too much – chances are, my kid will be made fun of for something. My kid will, sadly, probably also make fun of other kids. The best I can do is pick a name it won’t hate as an adult.

I also got the advice that my kid probably will be made fun of for its last name anyway (it rhymes with snout) :p 🙂

jpruitt76 Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Remember that your parents already had their chance to name their own children (ditto the in-laws).

sadiesadie Says:

March 10th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Don’t share your name choices before the baby is born and remember that if you and dad like the name that is all that matters.
Both from nameberry.

star Says:

March 10th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Think about what your baby means to you, and try to choose a name that has meaning to you. Don’t pick something so common that 2 of your friends have used the same name. Think of remembering a family member who was special to you when choosing a middle name. And go with what both parents of your child want, sometimes you have to give and take to name a unique fusion of the two of you.

Suzie Says:

March 11th, 2011 at 2:19 am

jpruitt76, I love that! My m-i-l always made a face when we talked about names. So we didn’t make the same mistake with our second! And it’s true that the name grows on family regardless of their first impressions–she now really likes our kids’ names. They’re so darn cute, how could you not?! (Kids in general, that is!)

Julia Says:

March 12th, 2011 at 5:19 am

Practice shouting the names you like down the hallway “Name, come and do your homework!’ ‘hurry up, Name, you are late for school!’ because once your child starts school that’s something you will likely be doing!

Nereida Says:

April 26th, 2011 at 1:41 am

What’s a good middle name that goes with Nereida?

Marina Says:

April 28th, 2011 at 10:29 am

In my family it is a tradition to name the kids after our dear departed relatives. In my case, my name is a derivative of my greatgrandfather’s name. My baby will be named after my greatgrandmother and grandmother. When my mom heard the name she said she didn’t like it, so I told her she had 12 weeks to find a suitable alternative. This should keep her busy, while we will still name our girl the name we already picked. :o)

Libbie Says:

June 7th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Best name advice I ever got was from a friend who is also a mother. She said, “Imagine your child’s name on a campaign sign, running for Judge. Would you vote for Judge [First Name] [Last Name]? Would you take that person seriously and trust them to be wise and respectable if all you knew of them was their name?” Granted, hopefully nobody is voting just based on names, but it raises a good point. Like it or not, people WILL make snap judgments about your offspring based on their names. It happens. So don’t cripple your child’s potential with a goofy name.

My sister also gave good advice. She has two young children, both of whom stand out among their friends named Lili and Kaylee and Brylee and Brayden and Boden. My niece and nephew have very old-fashioned names…vintage, but not very popular among today’s parents. My sister said, “In this family, we name adults, not babies.” A variation, I guess, on the advice above to try out the name with Grandma/Grandpa in front of it, or CEO or President in front of it. Can you see that name on a grown person through all phases of his or her life, in any occupation he or she might wish to have?

Elizabeth Says:

June 22nd, 2011 at 2:33 am

I will definitely try the whole “say the name with diff titles”. For me, I make lists of names and discovered that I love purely feminine names (with the exception of Brooke) although I was always a true tomboy. My rule of thumb is to imagine living with it. I have a boy’s middle name (in the traditional Arabic way) and being a very rebellious child, I LOVED it! But just make sure if you use a peculiar name, have a reason other than I liked it. My excuse was tradition. Also, know YOUR type. That will influence your child and a Delilah could grow to be athletic or a tomboy.

Gilly Smythe-Rice Says:

June 23rd, 2011 at 8:25 am

Help! I am expecting again and need a name to go with our son’s name Vaughan! I am stuck! Can’t think of girl or boy name that will go!!! thanks xx

Elizabeth Says:

July 4th, 2011 at 3:03 am


Christopher and Vaughan…
Charlotte and Vaughan…
Emery and Vaughan…
Griffin and Vaughan…
Sarai and Vaughan…
Eloise and Vaughan…
Emerson and Vaughan…
Spencer and Vaughan…
Adelaide and Vaughan…
Lillian and Vaughan…
Anastasia and Vaughan…
Josephine and Vaughan…
April and Vaughan…
Natalia and Vaughan…
Sylvia and Vaughan…
Isabel and Vaughan…
Delilah and Vaughan…
William and Vaughan…
Elizabetta and Vaughan…

OK I’m out. I know some up there may not match but that is all a matter of opinion. My fav is Charlotte and Vaughan. I think that goes together nicely.

amandaberry Says:

November 10th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

The best advice I got from myself. I picture the first and last name on a resume. Or imagine someone is looking for a doctor in the phone book and have nothing else to go by but the name. When you are only a large name on a paper in a sea of others, you really understand what impressions and images the name does or does not give.

P.S. in reference to using a last name as a first name or having two names that both look like last names that are used as first names, it really does get confusing at the doctors office (I used to work in one) and in other official matters especially when they list the names out of order on the file. It can get mighty confusing and a mix up is definitely possible. When thumbing through files all day examples like these can be befuddling. (i.e. Riley Richard or Harper Jackson or Morgan Cooper, etc.)

OddCreature Says:

November 13th, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Someone told me the “Doctor Rule”. Try saying a name with either Doctor in front of it, and see if it works.

I extended that, and tried to imagine that same name on the list of artists playing at the Big Day Out. Wishful thinking I know, but I’d like my kids to have names that suit both doctors and indie rock stars.

Something I worked out for myself… you can’t predict bullies. My name (Belinda) seemed bully proof. Until year 4, when a book was released about a cow with that same name. Kids at school that didn’t even know me delighted in calling me a cow. But how could my parents have known? So don’t try to out-think the bullies, it’s a waste of time because they’ll always find a way.

isabel_r Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Best advice I’ve ever been given is not to worry too much about the whole “I can only imagine that name on a baby”, I’m not talking about Posey or something cutesy, but names like Jayden or Mackayla or Peyton that you can only imagine on a baby. Because when you think about it, you only think that because those names are so popular now they are often seen on babies. So if you follow the trend, your baby will be an adult at the same time they are, and the name won’t seem like a baby name then, but a purely 30-yr. old name

does that make sense? I normally don’t even like those names, but it really made sense. At one time, people were probably warning Debbie & Barbara’s mommies that the name only worked on a baby, but now it’s a 50-60 yr. old name!

k8d Says:

April 23rd, 2012 at 7:07 pm

The best advice wasn’t actually given to me, but it was posted on a board asking about a name that we were going to use. The advice was that names are a whole package. If you hate the nicknames that go along with that name, you may not be able to control whether other people call your child by that nickname or whether your child loves that nickname and wants to be called by that name. For me, that was a deal breaker on that name.

AnaJo Says:

June 19th, 2012 at 12:39 am

The most eye-opening naming advice I ever read was on a Nameberry blog (topic name-napping, I believe).
It was in gist, names are meant for use so you can’t personally “own” any certain name (unless of course you make it up).
That was huge for me, because I’m the type of person who is always obsessing over finding that rare, yet perfect, yet not too weird name. I would start freaking out whenever I came across anyone sporting my precious monikers. So now that I’ve come to terms with this knowledge, I of course, am still conscious about not picking something too popular, though I’ve slowly been letting go of my firm and irrational hold on name-claiming. And I must say, it’s very freeing.

littlemrsB Says:

September 18th, 2012 at 2:27 am

The “resume test,” for sure. Picture the name on a resume. Would you hire that person? There are so many weird, cutesy names out there that might be adorable in a quirky way when the kid’s a toddler, but just sounds awkward as an adult. I’m all for unique, but it still has to pass the resume test.

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