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Question of the Week: Can you reserve a baby name?

April 24, 2012 Pamela Redmond

You’re several months pregnant, when the conversation turns — as it often does — to names.  You don’t have a name picked out yet and you say you’re considering several options.  So your friend or sister-in-law or neighbor says, “Just don’t use Sophie or Sadie or Benjamin or Nathan.  I’m reserving those names in case I have another baby.”

Well, as it happens, Sophia is on your list.  And so is Nathaniel.  You may want to use one of them, you may not, but you certainly don’t want to be forced to take them out of consideration just because someone else calls dibs on them.

Should you stand up for your right to use whatever name you want, no dibs allowed?  Should you just quietly go your own way as if the claim had never been laid down?  Or should you back away from the newly-reserved names?

That’s our question of the week: What’s fair in baby-naming?  Can you reserve a baby name?  Should you respect someone else’s “claim” on a name?

When is using the name another person has mentioned okay, and when is it name-napping?  How can you deal with someone who tries to unfairly (to your mind) reserve a name, or who uses one that you feel you claimed rights to?

Does it matter how close you are to the other person, emotionally and physically?  Does it matter whether they’re actually expecting or not?

And has this ever happened to you, either as the person who tried to claim a name, or the one who had a name you were considering claimed out from under you?

Tell all!

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About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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