How Not To Name The Baby: Top 10 Baby-Naming Don’ts

How Not To Name The Baby: Top 10 Baby-Naming Don’ts

Since parents today invest so much thought and effort into finding the right name for their child, we get a lot of queries asking for advice on what to name the baby, and we do try to accentuate the positive.

But we also find it incumbent upon us to point out some of the pitfalls as well. So, here are what we see as the top ten baby-naming mistakes:

Bypassing a name you love just because a friend or family member doesn't like it

You’ll soon find that everyone wants to get into the naming act with suggestions and (often negative) opinions, but you’ll regret walking away from one of your favorites because someone else tries to convince you it’s not attractive or stylish.

Rejecting a name you love because it's too high on the national popularity list

Many parents today are obsessed with tracking popular names on official charts, discarding those they fear are getting overexposed. But truly loving a name is a more important factor in being content with your choice than its standing on any list.

Being too concerned with a name's literal meaning

So what if it means ”graceful” in Old Norse if it’s clunky in Modern American? Conversely, Calvin and Celia are great names despite meaning "bald" and "blind".

Naming your child after a car or a perfume or a TV sports network

Naming a baby Porsche or J'Adore or, yes, ESPN is taking the idea of branding far too far.

Bowing to family pressure to choose a traditional name

A family favorite or a name that reflects your ethnic or religious heritage can be a wonderful gift to pass on to you child, providing it’s YOUR choice and not your mother-in-law’s.

Not talking through the name decision with a spouse

Too often, couples get locked in battle over their name favorites rather than talking through the reasons they like the names they do — which would almost certainly lead them to a choice they can agree on.

Believing a name is unusual just because you've never heard it before

Trends change quickly and many names that were virtually unheard of by today’s first-time parents — Rowan, Remy, Sawyer — are epidemic among children of both sexes.  Check out popularity statistics — and keep an ear open in your neighborhood playground.

Choosing a name with a difficult spelling or pronunciation

Spelling Riley Rylea or varying Aidan to Aedin might seem creative to you, but it’s sure to make life more complicated for your child.

Thinking you can control nicknaming

You may insist on Theodore, but the world is likely to insist on Theo — and the world is much bigger than you are.

Naming a baby, not the child or adult they will become

A diminutive like Jojo or an endearment like Sweetie might be cute for an infant or toddler, but it’s better to choose a name that will serve your child on the more formal occasions of his or her future.

For more, check out our Pregnancy Week by Week Guide and Pregnancy Shopping List

About the Author

Elisabeth Wilborn

Elisabeth Wilborn

Elisabeth Wilborn can be found at her online homes You Can't Call It "It" and The Itsy Factor, and she has part-time residency at Nameberry and Apartment Therapy. In the real world she also enjoys painting, cooking, and raising her two little girls on their farm in Texas. \n