The Top Ten Baby Name Problems: And how to solve them
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
It can seem to be more pleasure and less pressure to talk about baby names with friends, but if your friends trash the names you love, you can end up feeling terrible about your name choices and your friends. Start off name discussions tentatively, reserving talk about the names you really hold dear. If the tone turns harsh, seek out online baby name discussions like the ones on our forums, where you may get advice that’s both better informed and more gentle and where your friendships are separate from your everyday life.
You’re a victim of name-napping
When you’ve chosen a unique name and discover your neighbor or your cousin has grabbed it for their own, you may feel as betrayed as if they’d robbed your house. The more original your name choice, the closer you should hold the information.
You and your spouse can’t agree on names
Rather than talking about names, talk about the reasons behind your choices. Names can symbolize deep feelings about family, ethnicity, gender identity, our childhoods. Exploring those feelings may lead to more agreement on names and a greater understanding of each other.
You have a name for one gender and not the other
Which of course is a sure sign that your baby will be the gender for which you have no name! One approach: start with the qualities you want in a name rather than name-first. Here are strong girls’ names, for instance, and classic names for boys.
You keep changing your mind about names
In Month 2 you decide on Walter but by Month 3, it’s Arthur. By Month 7, it’s between Sebastian and Theodore, though by Month 8, you’re back to Walter. Changing your mind about names, especially after talking over your choices with your partner or in Nameberry’s forums, is part of the adventure. But you have a deadline and that’s the day – okay, the week – after your baby’s born. Even if you can’t settle on a name during your pregnancy, you can settle on a date by which you’ll settle on a name, and if you change your mind again after that, blame your own fickle nature and not the name itself.
You choose a name and discover it’s too popular
We’re always a little bit surprised when new parents are surprised that a name is so popular. Even though national and state popular baby names lists are freely available, many people think, Well, I’ve never met anyone named Josiah, so I don’t believe it’s popular where I live. But that’s probably because you haven’t been hanging out with many toddlers. Check the popularity lists, and believe them.
You discover that no one can understand, pronounce, and/or spell your name
If you vary the spelling of a name thinking it will help people pronounce it the way you want it pronounced, you may be dismayed to find it does just the opposite. This is the prime argument for trying out your name ideas on family, friends, and in baby name forums before you settle on a choice. That way, at least if people have trouble with the name, you’ll be fully aware of it when you make your decision.
The name you love has an unwanted nickname
You love Susannah but hate Sue. Want Edward to be called Ned and not Eddie. You can control for nicknames, with effort, when your child is small (though if your family insists on using an unwanted nickname, and there have been tales of this on our forums, you may be fighting a losing battle). But once your child goes off to school, it may be difficult to keep other kids from calling your daughter Sue, especially if she likes the name Sue. Then again, this can happen with any name and there are so many nicknames you can’t anticipate. Our advice: Try your hardest, but ultimately let it go.
You regret your name choice
The other nine problems often lead to baby name regrets. But sometimes, the reason for regretting a name choice may be that the name you picked just doesn’t feel right. What to do? The sooner you act to correct the problem, the better, by either changing your baby’s name completely – a pain, but worth it if you’re really unhappy with the name – or using a nickname or middle name. Just be sure you have a new name picked out that you are happy about, because this is one switch you don’t want to make twice!
Have you gone through any of these baby name problems? And how did you solve them?
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on April 8th, 2013 at 11:50 pm
I have a tip if you’re concerned about name popularity: ask the nurses or assistants at your OB’s or midwife’s office what names they’ve seen more frequently lately. That can give you much more specific data on what’s popular in your own area, especially if you’re not regularly hanging out with families with little ones. I’ve worked in women’s health for nine years and seen a lot of freshly named babies come into the world; I feel like I could easily advise on the most popular names for boys and girls in that specific area.
on April 9th, 2013 at 1:54 am
Thank you shyshutterbug I’m going to do just that. Great advise.
on April 9th, 2013 at 8:34 am
The closest I came to baby name regret was realizing that Katies were everywhere and mostly in their 20s. We switched her to her full name when she was about 3. It took a bit but not only has it stuck it has allowed new nicknames — namely Kat– to emerge.
on April 9th, 2013 at 9:41 am
The not realizing the popularity of a name is silly, but it comes up all the time! And it’s always from those people who admit they knew how high it was on the list! My sister in law is a 1990 Brittany, and her mom thought the name was unique because she was the only one in her tiny town. Well, of course sister in law eventually went to college, moved to a big city, and every other girl she knows is a Brittany. My mother in law still laments that it was uncommon at the time.
on April 9th, 2013 at 10:33 am
I second asking the nurses. With my sister I recently toured a new labor and delivery wing at the hospital. It is part of a group of hospitals spread across a wide region. I asked one of the nurses what are the popular names you are seeing right now. She had an interesting report on names being a bit different at this new hospital from the one closer to the urban center where she had transferred from. Her top list at both hospitals had 8 of my sister’s choices. So she quickly quizzed about the outliers and none were there. She went home and got her husband to lock into one of them.
on April 9th, 2013 at 1:07 pm
Although in my family we tend to use popular names, and it’s not a big deal.
A few examples (keep in mind there were popular at the time) are: Mary and John, Rachel and Jennifer, and now recently Anthony and Elizabeth. (There are a lot more popular choices I only picked a few highlights.) The point is I don’t think it’s really a big deal people learned to deal with it. I wouldn’t let popularity stop me from using a name I really loved. I think it’s mistake to ditch a name for popularity. But that’s just my opinion.
on April 9th, 2013 at 3:36 pm
I never heard of my son’s name (Weston) when we chose it. It’s not popular, but it’s growing and everyone seems to know someone who has a Weston. He’s the start of a trend.
But, we were playing, and there was this adorable little girl playing with my son. And he dad calls out her name – “Emme”. And I commented on how cute it was and how it suited her (she looked adorably 1930s with her super blonde pageboy hair cut.)
Her dad thanked me and then said it was actually all up to her sister.
He said that they had named her Trinity when they were in the hospital and liked it. But their eldest daughter said that they had her sister wrong. Her name was Emme, and she would only be called Emme. She corrected everyone who called her by Trinity. and soon enough, Everyone was calling the baby Emme. They ended up changing her birth certificate and everything.
i don’t think I would ever go so far as changing it. but I think names are funny like that. I have a cousin Charlie – his real name is Jeff. I found that out when I 27 years old. I’d always had known him as Charlie. 🙂 His brothers called him what they wanted too.
on April 9th, 2013 at 5:50 pm
It is so much easier to know what’s popular now than it was 20 years ago. The internet makes it so easy for us to steer clear of the popular names if we want to. My cousin Tessa was born in 1991. Her name was not very popular at that time as far as her mom was concerned. Of course, they didn’t have a computer at that time. If she was looking into girls names today, she sure wouldn’t pick Tessa. It’s easy now to just Google the percentages.
on July 19th, 2013 at 4:42 am
Liam Minchington… Does it matter that the first name ends in m and the last name starts with m?
on July 31st, 2013 at 6:56 pm
I was a name nerd ever since grade school, when I used to check out baby name books from the library. I settled on Calyssa Paige for a girl when I was about 15 or so.
Fast-forward another 15 years, and my older sister and I became pregnant at very nearly the same time. A month before my sonogram, my mom called to tell me that sis had learned that she was expecting a girl and had chosen to name her Alyssa soon. Mom then announced that Calyssa was “naturally” out if my baby was a girl – since sis found out the gender first and “had dibs”.
So I called my sister to ask her if it mattered to her whether we had an Alyssa and a Calyssa in the family, born just a few months apart. Sis was floored by what mom had said to me, and assured me that she was well aware of my choice and was fine with it; after all, our kids would have different last names.
Guess what? My baby was also a girl; sis and I have daughters, nearly 10 now, named Alyssa and Calyssa.
on April 29th, 2014 at 11:32 pm
I have nixed Theo and Margaret just because of how my grandmother pronounces both. She has a Texas accent, and although it is only a small difference in how she says both names, they just sound off when she says it. I have a lot of family in Texas, so if my grandma says it with a Texas drawl, so will most of my family.
Baby Name Remorse: Helping Your Children Love Their Names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on March 12th, 2017 at 11:13 pm
[…] too, yes, and we’ve all heard stories of name regret and read strategies to help avoid it, or manage it and move on, or start afresh by changing the name, but in every aspect of this process—the planning, the […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.