Gender and Baby Names: Does knowing help you choose?

baby names and gender

Most parents today have the choice of whether to learn their baby’s gender long before birth, even without invasive tests.

Other reasons for finding out the gender aside, we’re wondering whether it helps or hurts in choosing a name.

What’s your experience?  Did you, would you, find out your baby’s gender before birth?

Did it make it easier to find the right name….or maybe harder?  Did you announce both the gender and the name before your baby was born, or keep the name announcement separate?  

Why or why not?  And how has that decision worked out for you?

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32 Responses to “Gender and Baby Names: Does knowing help you choose?”

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epowell Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 12:51 am

I wouldn’t have minded waiting until the birth for the name/gender but I’m a planner and wanted specific things for a boy or a girl. We had a boy name picked as well as a girl name picked before we found out the gender. So, once we knew, they just became that name.

CassieHenifin Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 1:53 am

We waited. We had a boy name picked. Struggled with a girl name the whole pregnancy and ended up with a GIRL. Of course she would be since we didn’t have a name for a girl! Ha! Took us 36 hours to make our final decision.
I am so glad we didn’t find out and didn’t have to rush into name picking. And that we didn’t tell the world any names before birth because it makes it harder to change your mind… You know when everyone has been calling baby girl “Sally” for months and she doesn’t look feel a Sally after birth!
We planned to find out with our second to change things up, and ended up loosing her at 14 weeks, though we had gotten a blood test for gender before and found out a week after she passed that she was a girl. I prayed about her name and it just came into my head and I knew it was hers. Much easier than my first girls name.
If we find out gender with future children we won’t be announcing (or likely deciding) on a name until after birth! I don’t think knowing will make it easier. My favorite names change like the direction of the wind and my lists on Nameberry are extensive! The same names are added and subtracted over and over! Being a name nerd and trying to name a baby just a first and a middle name is tough!

puzzlesarecool Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 1:55 am

For my first two, my hubby and I decided to find out the gender. For our first 2 kids it was helpful to know the gender personally because like @epowell said, we are both planners and it made it easier for us to just (this isn’t the right word, but) assign a name. (also it is kind of fun to pick out the pink and blue clothes and decorations for the nursery, etc. :)) But, for our third child, my friend told me how fun it was to wait until birth to find out the gender. For me, it wasn’t fun. The suspense was awful!! I got tired of the question “so what is it?” and I got tired of the unisex color yellow. But, I do have to say, it was fun to find out that we were having a girl (that we named Milena, Btw :)) Now that I’m pregnant with our fourth, we found out the gender because first, the kids wanted to know. Second I wanted to know. Third, the first outfit–pink or blue (for us its blue!!) and like I said, we got tired of yellow with our 3rd.
So, I guess the point of all of this is that for us, it was easier to find out the gender before delivery, but don’t let that sway your opinion! Congrats, expecting mothers!! 🙂

jtucker Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 2:58 am

We found out the gender at 20 weeks and then told the name at the baby shower at 34/35 weeks. It helped us decide on a name. We had narrowed down lists of like 3-4 names for each gender, but knowing our baby was a girl allowed us to just worry about one gender of names to discuss, which for us was definitely less
stressful. Additionally, we ended up having the first girl in my hubby’s all boy family. Finding out allowed them time to get used to the idea of a little girl.

AmandaChristine Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 5:17 am

We found out the gender of our son and our current pregnancy (it’s a girl!). We keep the name a secret until the baby is born though (except I tell my mother ahead). We don’t want many outside influences when naming our child, and we want to feel free to change the name if it doesn’t suit our baby, without feeling awkward because we already announced another name.

BeckWeant Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 6:25 am

My Husband and I believe in a “sex positive” household where we do not support the cultural categorization a of sex determining cultural gender roles; that being said!

Sorceress Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 7:56 am

Knowing could be helpful if parents want to chose unique name and they have more girls names than boys names on the list. So if you have girl, you don’t need to worry finding perfect unique boy name, if you have boy, you could concentrate on boy names, and not be distracted by pretty girls names.
Not knowing might cause tensions between parents – why argue whether Romeo is too romantic when you got girl and you do agree Seraphina is perfect for mommy and daddy princess.

Charisma Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 7:59 am

My mother always waited, and I thought I would want to as well because I have so many good memories of finding out the gender after 9 months. I waited with my first, Emmeline and second, Astrid. When I was pregnant with Astrid, Emmeline was 8 and she hated waiting. I decided not to do it again because I didn’t want to create bad memories for my kids. I think it is easier to name a baby and shop for a baby when you know the gender. I’m very fickle and always at 4 or 5 months I certain I have the right name for Emmeline is was charisma and threw the months I have more that I’m certain of. For Emmeline they were Sadie, Leah, Lauren, Grace etc. And when we went to the hospital I was sure her name would be June, but when she came she wasn’t June she was Emmeline. This is my constant cycle when I pregnant.

Essa Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 8:36 am

I’ve not had any children yet so maybe my input isn’t all that helpful but I know that I’d love the surprise of waiting. I also know that I’ll get really frustrated not being able to buy all the boy/girl things early on or decorate their room how I want so for that reason I think I’ll have to find out.

I really think it must help to know, concentrating on only one name is surely half the effort that concentrating on two is!

cyoung325 Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 9:18 am

I don’t have any kids yet, but I do plan on finding out the gender. As is I already have a long list of favorite name for each gender and so cutting half of those out of the equation will help a lot. Of course, being a planner, I would keep in mind what boy names would be out if I chose a specific girl name and vice versa (ex. I pick Jane so John and James are out). It would also be nice to decorate the nursery and get clothes for that gender. I know that I am not a patient person and just waiting for him or her to arrive would be plenty for me to wait for let alone finding out the gender and then deciding on a name. I think it would be more fun for others to find out the name and gender once the baby is born, but I’m horrible at secrets and I’d want to know before hand if it would make everything more comfortable for me.

Waverly123 Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 9:40 am

I have no kids, but I’m sure I’ll want to know before hand. I think the suspense of waiting would kill me! You can’t find out the gender for a few months anyways (right?), so that would be long enough waiting. Also, I plan on going to the hospital with like 3 names, not just one, just in case the baby doesn’t fit the one name. I’m sure I’ll have one I like the most, but going to the hospital with just one name doesn’t seem like enough. I’m planning on announcing the gender before hand, but not the name.

cmhinken Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 9:49 am

It’s been a family tradition of ours to keep the gender a surprise. My mom waited for all of us as did my aunts and my cousins. So I think I’m a bit biased in thinking it’s more fun to wait. Practically, it is more of a pain to not know the gender in regards to outfits and such, but my mom was able to reuse outfits child after child no matter the gender right when we all were born. Babies grow so fast at that point that economical it made more sense to have gender neutral clothes. Same goes with nursery decorations. I think naming wise it’s more fun because you have more options to consider for both genders. I totally understand people wanting to know though. Either way, babies are so exciting that it doesn’t matter either way.

marisarose Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 10:27 am

I found out the sex of my baby at 20 weeks. I wanted to name him Jason Thomas, but his father’s family has a tradition of carrying over the father’s middle name, so he became Jason Anthony. And then his father decided he really didn’t like the name Jason and wanted to call him Thaddeus. I refused and we agreed on William, to be called Liam, but then we just started calling him Liam and decided to go with Liam Anthony. Of course, he was born in 2008 and the next year and ever since Liam has been super popular which upsets me.
And my husband (Liam’s step-father) HATES the name Jason, so I feel like I should have stuck to my guns and called my Liam “Jason” instead. However, Liam does fit his name “protector” and I know I’ll find out the sex of any future children, if only because Liam is, if possible, more excited than I am to have another child in the family! But, I’m not letting anyone influence my name choices this time, except the hubs, you know, because he helped me create the little guy/girl lol

lisaskye Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 11:01 am

I’ve found out the sex but I can’t imagine how it would be easier to choose a name. I’d actually have to see and hold the baby in order to determine what the name will be. I probably won’t be telling anyone the sex or any potential names simply because the blue and pink crap is so nauseating. It’s a baby. They don’t know colors, they don’t even know differences in sex or gender. What point at all is there in forcing socially chosen gendered colors on infants? Do people think parents will forget their child is a girl if she isn’t covered in pink? Will other people become enraged if they see a boy not covered in blue? It makes no sense at all. It makes me feel so horrible that my child will be faced with a society that is more concerned with specifically defined gender roles than they were in the 1950’s.

But back to the name, I have some floating in my head. Maybe I’ll just confuse people by giving them potential names for both genders. But I still couldn’t imagine choosing a name until the baby is born. I probably won’t even choose before leaving the hospital.

chi1127 Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 11:10 am

I didn’t even want to discuss names until we knew gender. If we couldn’t get a clear identification of gender, I would have had to think about both sets of names, but it was so much easier for me to concentrate just on boy names.

mulme944 Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 12:03 pm

With my first son, we had picked boy/girl names by around 6 weeks pregnant (Travis/Amity.) I’m not kidding- it was that easy. We told everyone both names from the beginning. Then we found out the gender and announced immediately. We never had second thoughts. With this baby I’m carrying, we found out the gender and announced it again, but we are withholding the name until birth. I’m surprised by how much I like the feeling of not being “locked in” before we meet the baby this time around. If Angus doesn’t “feel” like an Angus, we can easily change it without judgment or pressure. We are also enjoying NOT hearing the rude comments about our choice ahead of time. We did not, and will not, share our “girl name” for Angus, either, since we may want to use it in the future. This is the way we should have done things the first time around!

bjoy Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

We ended up finding out the gender of all four of our kids. I found that I had a hard time bonding with the baby I was carrying until I knew what it was, as strange as that sounds. As soon as I knew “son” or “daughter” I was able to connect much more and became more excited (yay for weird pregnancy emotions). However, once we had our first three (a girl and two boys) I really wanted to be surprised with our last (currently 22 weeks along). At the 20 week ultrasound, though, it was very obvious we were having another boy! We were thrilled, and I’m really glad we found out. We also didn’t have a boy name selected, so knowing for sure that we’d need one was helpful. We kept our first child’s name a secret which was really fun. She spilled the beans on her baby brother’s name, and with our second boy we named him after my grandfather, who was dying, so we announced his name to family so that he would know he was being honored. With this last kiddo we’ve talked about name ideas with a lot more people and have gotten a lot more opinions and ideas than in the past, mostly because we were stuck for a while. It was a bummer getting some names we loved shot down, but we think we have a name now and the reactions have been very positive, which is encouraging. We won’t share it with the world at large until after he’s born, however.

miloowen Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

With my first child, it was back in the days when you didn’t know. However, my husband and I always felt, from the very beginning, that we were having a girl. We’d picked out a name honouring my great-grandmothers for a girl, and a name honouring our grandfathers for a boy. However, the day she was born was the day of my husband’s grandfather’s Yahrzeit, which was a little spooky. I said, “How can we name him George today?” and my husband said, “Don’t worry, we know it’s a girl.”

I lost the next child, a girl, at seven months, but we were able to name her, after my grandmother and two family cousins.

With the last child, there were several ultrasounds, because I was again having trouble with the pregnancy. So I knew his sex from about 18 weeks. We were going with Thomas, after my grandfather, but his middle name remained in dispute until two days after he was born.

So knowing his sex really didn’t help.

degrasswizkid Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I could never decide on a name before the baby was born, even if I knew the sex (I’d prefer to wait til delivery)…I would have to see the baby first before I name her/him…also, I wouldn’t let others’ opinions dictate what to name my child, if my sister hates my baby’s name, than all the more reason to choose it 🙂

DrHenry Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Best surprise of my life!! Greatest moment of my life & marriage was hearing my husband announce we had a little boy.

I love the surprise for the name planning as well. It was so fun getting to think of names for both girls and boys!! It was my favourite part of bejng pregnant. I liked discussing names with everyone I know. i liked not having to keep the name ideas secret since we had the big gender surprise. And we were undecided on our top few names anyway so we had got to announce gender and name as a surprise which was such fun.

I’m a planner too but I like having one last element of surprise in life. i have a hectic busy life and career that requires constant planning and scheduling. It’s nice to have the pregnancy to just relax and say go with the flow.

BethCrosby87 Says:

December 24th, 2014 at 10:44 pm

For me, I would be stressed out if I didn’t know the name or gender for my little one so knowing really helps me.

indiefendi2 Says:

December 25th, 2014 at 4:57 am

I’ll absolutely want to know the gender before I start planning names. No question about it!!

JH Says:

December 25th, 2014 at 4:37 pm

We found out the gender of both of our sons at 20 weeks, although we already had names picked out for either gender long before. I’m due next month with our second (another boy) and I’m already thinking about what boy #3 would be named if he comes along. We love the girl name we had picked out, so if the next one is a girl, we already know her name.

I had my first son’s name picked out ever since 6th grade when my grandpa died, who he is named after.

I can’t imagine having a list of names ready and deciding when the baby is born. How can you not like one name more than the others?

heatherjoy92 Says:

December 25th, 2014 at 8:55 pm

There’s no way I could wait. I tried coming up with names before I found out the gender and it was nearly impossible for me. As soon as we found out she was a girl names were a lot easier for me. We told everyone the gender as soon as we found out, and I think her name a week later and that was only b/c we couldn’t agree on a middle name.

vc2013 Says:

December 26th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

we fell in love with our baby’s name right around the time when we got pregnant. it felt like “this baby’s name” right from the start. it’s a unisex name. we thought we were having a girl and decided to find out, and found out we were having a boy! following that revelation, we went to look if there is perhaps a “more suited” boy’s name out there. after a bit of a search, we went back to the original name because we’d loved it from the beginning and because it felt right for this baby.
we didn’t tell anyone the name before the birth. after the birth, only family members visiting at the hospital and my far away living parents learned the name. everyone else had to wait for the birth announcement (a week later). and social media still doesn’t know it 🙂
we would find out again, and we’re keeping our naming approach of “feeling out” what we perceive to be the baby’s energies and then trying to find the right name for it. since we like unisex names and colors, it’s not really about “knowing which color to buy”, but still it was fun to find out.

FairyBlood Says:

December 26th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

My husband wouldn’t even discuss names with me until after the ultrasound at 22 weeks. We knew then that we were having a boy, but we still didn’t decide on a name until two days before he was born! We were much more united on girl’s names than boy’s names.

Catastroffy Says:

December 26th, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I have not had any children and won’t be having any for a good decade yet, but I would definitely not find out the gender before birth. I won’t choose a name, either.

marypoppins Says:

December 28th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

We didn’t find out for either of our sons and loved the surprise both times! It didn’t make a difference at all, we just had a shortlist of both boys & girls names, and both times didn’t settle on a final one till baby made his appearance. And as I don’t care much for pink or baby blue, it didn’t make a difference either to preparing the nursery etc.

amf0224 Says:

December 28th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I don’t have any kids, nor will I for a LONG time (I’m only a teen), but I know I will have to find out before hand. The suspense would kill me and I have so many favorite names, it would take me a long time o narrow them down. Plus, I am a planner and would have to choose pink or blue and make everything pretty.

AmLou031 Says:

December 28th, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I found that it was far easiet to make a decision on a name knowing the gender. We found out with our first daughter and it was easy to narrow down and imagine what our little bundle would look like as an “emilia” knowing she was a girl. With bubs #2 we couldnt narrow down a name until she was here as we didnt know what gender she was here. It was far more stressful narrowing down her name as i had more time to explore names.

LiLDoe Says:

December 28th, 2014 at 10:02 pm

We did not find out the gender with our first. We had 2 boy names we both liked and picked out (each our own pick) and the girl names we could not agree on so no definite picks. We agreed on middle names for both genders at least. Finding out at the moment of your baby’s birth is completely worth the wait. Sure its nice to prepare and all the other reasons people find out before hand but it’s nothing like the surprise. On that note not finding out didn’t make the name picking easier or harder. When Roman came into the world I held him and knew his name. I’m 22 weeks pregs and we didn’t find out with this one either. We’re tossing around names but no definite picks as of yet. 2 for each gender is a nice way to give options to see how you feel when you see their little face!

germanstar Says:

September 18th, 2015 at 8:54 am

I think it helps. When I was pregnant, me and my late boyfriend had never discussed about the baby’s name. We were too young then (just 17-18 years old), so we wanted to organise everything perfectly in order for our parents not to decide about us. Knowing the gender, made it easier for us to buy furniture for the baby’s bedroom, paint it and buy some clothes. As far as names are concerned, we had never discussed about it, although we both knew that if it had been a boy, he would be Christian Daniel and if a girl, Daniella Christina. I know he loved the names Christopher and Amalia though, which I also love, so he decided to name the baby after it was born.
My boyfriend died suddenly when I was 7 months pregnant. Then I knew I was expecting a girl. My boyfriend’s name was Marianus Daniel. My daughter is Maria Daniella Amalia, her late father’s first and middle name and the name he used to love. I never got married or had another relationship, so Maria is my only child.

My sister, on the other hand, has six children. Her firstborn is two years older than my daughter. She and her husband had decided that they would honour one family member each with their childrens’ names. So, my first nephew is Raphael, after his paternal grandfather. Then, my sister was pregnant to boy/girl twins, Daniella (after our mother) and Bruno. Each time she was pregnant, she used to ask me about my opinion on the names, so we were both anticipating to know the baby’s gender. After Thomas and Daniella, they had two more girls and finally a boy. Their names are Isabella, Christiane and Lukas. Knowing the gender helped us very much.

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