What’s Your Baby Naming Strategy?
We never quite thought of expectant parents having a baby naming strategy until we saw this question over in the forums.(So thanks, drhenry, for the inspiration.)
But then we realized this was an intriguing idea and that in fact, we’d had baby naming strategies of our own — different ones for different babies.
But enough about us: What’s YOUR baby naming strategy?
Spend months collecting every theoretical name possibility, researching and discussing them all, and then debating the final choice days after the baby is born?
Swapping Top Ten lists with the baby’s other parent until you winnow it down to one choice you both can live with?
And how did that strategy work out? Would you employ it again or try something different?
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on July 31st, 2013 at 12:02 am
Ever since my grandpa died when I was in sixth grade, I knew I was going to name my first boy after him and I did just this May…with my sweet baby Leo! 🙂 For a girl I was going to name her after my grandma, even though she hated her name, which was Alice, and went by her middle name. I haven’t decided if I will still name a girl Alice when/if I have one. I will keep looking up names in case I find one I like more. I think my strategy is definitely to have one name picked out.
on July 31st, 2013 at 1:07 am
I’m always researching, pregnant or not.
My list of names is always evolving as I grow and have new experiences that inspire me.
It’s a huge privilege to name another person, it deserves my time and research.
on July 31st, 2013 at 1:43 am
If I were to name a baby I would write a list of the names I loved, go through them, find any with notable teasing potential and take them out, make sure that the initials were safe (nothing like T.B or S.T.I) and then try pairing the names. I would do a lot of research and I would make sure that the names had good and perhaps strong meanings (sorry Cecily and Claudia, hello Irene and Bertha). I would probably glance over the popularity lists to see where they stand and decide whether or not I minded. One other thing would be to make sure that it was related to my heritage.
on July 31st, 2013 at 2:43 am
It would be cool to swap top tens with other Berries as if we were parents. It would be a bit like defending your top ten and trying convince the other that your names are ‘THE ONES’
on July 31st, 2013 at 3:10 am
Um so far it consists of thinking up random names to throw at DH until he feels completely pestered, and find one that I like and try to wear him down about it. He’s forbidden me to talk about it until we find out the gender of our baby this fall, so now the strategy revolves around me doing secret research.
on July 31st, 2013 at 6:44 am
I’m the baby name geek of the two of us, so I research names, then give my husband a “top 5” to pick from on a note card. He gets the final choice.
on July 31st, 2013 at 6:52 am
I bought your baby name book and I gave it to him and he circled all the names he liked / would use in there and put stars next to the ones he loved. I went through and sorted from his likings and what I’d use. In the long run, we didn’t even decide on our soon to be sons name from the book. I saw Archer online and I fell in love, and Mike just so happens to like that Archer cartoon. So to him he found a bad*ss name, though to me I see little old man “Archie”. We’re in love <3
For girls… eh. I just didn't care for the majority of his names. We settled that if in the future we have a girl we'd name her Elizabeth "Ellie", though I'd call her Elsie from time to time. He circled it, I love it most out of all the names he picked.
It was nice having his likes / loves in black and white. So any time I wanted to know what names he liked, I could refer to the book. Of course he's fickle and he changed his mind on a few, but y'know. For the most part its accurate 😉
on July 31st, 2013 at 8:18 am
No kids, and who’s to say how I’ll decide when the time comes, but I’m a name nerd and have done everything. I tend to overanalyze. If I ever hear an interesting name i mention it to the boyfriend and note his reaction (actually write it down so I remember!) I had a list of about 50 girl names I loved and was trying to do combos with that but it was overwhelming. Someone started a thread about your top favorite name for each letter of the alphabet. I did that, allowing my top 3 if I had them (some letters had many, most letters only had one favorite name). That became my new, pared down master list. I’ve narrowed that one down some too, and change it around.
I’ve also made sub lists. Names that have the ideal syllable count, names with shared vowels (i really like this one. For example last name would have the vowels e-a in order, and first names that share those vowels DO sound great with them!), ethnic origin names. Family names, middle name possibilities. Possible complete sibset lists (have a few different combos, goal is 2 boy names 2 girl names per set bc I’ll probably have just two kids total). I even have a list of names I acknowledge that I love but wouldn’t use because because friends with them or poor match with last name, or too much of a guilty pleasure.
But truthfully, I have 6-8 names (total boy and girl) that I just keep coming back to. But if I try to pin them down I can’t!
on July 31st, 2013 at 8:50 am
I complied a huge list of all the boys and girls names that struck a chord with me. Then once I found out the gender I took the boys list and made several first name middle name combinations for my husband and I to choose from making sure that each combination had a good syllable breakdown and a mixture of meaning and family history. Once we got it down to three first name middle name combos we tried them out for a few weeks (referring to him by various names, talking to him with various names, etc) until only one made sense anymore. Then I had everything monogrammed:-)
As we try for baby number two I thought at first that it would be easier and I would just choose one of those other two if it is another boy. I see now that won’t be the case…it will be right back to the drawing board:-)
on July 31st, 2013 at 9:50 am
I have decided not to find out the sex of my baby, (although I’m pretty sure it’s a boy!) I am so absolutely picky! For boys, I think about there life at all ages and I say it a million times, my boy style is nature, and uncommon. Not much of a strategy for boys but for girls,
I like unisex, names but I also like unique names, that are very well heard of but I guess not a lot of people actually use them, but since I like boyish names I always pair it with a sweet girls name, like “River Geniveve” that’s my strategy.
on July 31st, 2013 at 11:09 am
I have been doing research for years. My husband bought me a notebook that I write all name related things in. I have had several of them. We go through the book and discuss possible names and combos (we use 2 middles). This book was grabbed and brought to the hospital after I went into labour 6 weeks early. We used it to name our son in the hospital. I continue to do research and write in that book, but next time we hope to use it to name our child BEFORE they are born 🙂
on July 31st, 2013 at 12:39 pm
We’ve been talking about it on car trips for 11 years now… longer than we’ve been married. He doesn’t take the game seriously until we’re pregnant. And then he can’t even give me ideas until he has poured through all the books on the topic.
I came up with our son Weston, because I wanted to call him “West” which we’ve never done. 🙂
With these twins, we’ve settled on one boy’s name, Keegan, which is his favorite name. It just took me 5 years to fall for it. 🙂
I gather names from literature, family, pop culture – I absorb names.
on July 31st, 2013 at 2:04 pm
To quote strawberryroses: “I’m always researching, pregnant or not.
My list of names is always evolving as I grow and have new experiences that inspire me.
It’s a huge privilege to name another person, it deserves my time and research.”
My list is pretty set, I have 2 girls and 2 boys names picked after much deliberation between my husband and I. In a nutshell, we dug deep, choosing names that reflects us, our Christian heritage and family nationalities; ones we’ve always adored or had good associations with. In other words, I dug and reflected, he ultimately picked (lol). If a name means something to you and is a part of you, it is more difficult to fluctuate on your choice in the long run. Of these 4 names, there’s only one which we have absolutely made up our minds on a first/middle combo. I think that is the hardest part! I desire to find some that are meaningful, personal, underused and ultimately enhance his/her first name.
We know which names will be used for our first son and our first daughter (gotta find that middle name tho!); neither of us believe we’ll have more than 2 children, however because of the great possibility of having multiples, I feel it is best to prepare early, and have 2 names chosen for each sex – both my MIL and FIL have fraternal twins and I have a twin Aunt/Uncle!
My name fascination/hobby started out as something (without cost) I could do until we were ready to start a family. And since it isn’t, my husband isn’t too keen on discussing the details yet. In the meantime, I’ve considered it all: nickname possibilities, sibsets, syllable balance, popularity lists, ending sounds, etc. I got the so-called “baby bug” about a year and a half into our marriage, but him? not so much. He lets me know when I’m getting too obsessive, LOL, but between my dreams and his balance, I believe we have a good head-start when we do start TTC 🙂
on July 31st, 2013 at 4:22 pm
I am always researching baby names, pregnant or not. Mainly to see what is popular and not use it. But my general requirements are: it have a vintage flair, not be in the top 100 and be simple sounding.
on July 31st, 2013 at 5:28 pm
When it came to naming my boys I found that the biggest consideration was finding a name that complimented our surname.
Before becoming pregnant I had a list a mile long but realised that many of my favorites didn’t work with Hawkins. This was particularly true where the girls list was concerned. Names that ended in an N or S sound are problematic, they trip the tongue up and sound lispy. So Florence and Anais were out.
As a result the syllable rule has not been as important to me as the stress. I think names that vary or contrast the last syllable work best.
My strategy mainly centered on our surname but I also tried to have one classic name and one less conventional. I also chose names that had personal or cultural meaning for us, first as a couple and then ( with our second) as a family.
on July 31st, 2013 at 6:14 pm
The night of our engagement, my daughter’s daddy and I discussed baby names. When I said that I had picked out Calyssa Paige as a girl’s name years before, his immediate response was “I love it!” Seven years later, I delivered that baby girl; our Calyssa Paige is now almost 10. People often tell her that they’ve never heard the name before but that it’s lovely. She agrees and tells them that her name is special and pretty, just like she is.
on July 31st, 2013 at 6:39 pm
We chose three names to take to hospital. It took us two days to name her as we would call her one of the names for a few hours (then change it) to see if it felt right! In the end I said right she is Freya! My hubby said ok let’s ring our parents and just before he dialled I said ‘noooo she is Phoebe’! It turned out I loved both names equally until it came to giving up one. And giving up Phoebe was more difficult than giving up Freya..The other name (my hubbys favourite was Holly-our Phoebe was born Christmas day and I just could not have a themed baby so that was out straight away)!
on August 1st, 2013 at 3:15 pm
We put together lists for our top names and then don’t actually pick until we meet the baby. We did this last time, and none of the names on our list fit our baby!
She didn’t have a name for 2 hours.
Then when we did pick a name, the name we picked ended up a compromise between the first name I wanted as a middle name (Rose) and a name from his list that I didn’t hate and I thought sounded good (DH really liked names like Ember and Esperanza…I picked Charlotte as the least weird and the best sounding with Rose.).
Now her name is really super common and I wish I hadn’t compromised with the first name thing. If only I could have gotten him to agree with one of the names from my list that had Rose as part of the name 🙁
I’m a bit afraid for this time…we don’t know the gender. We’re having a hard time coming up with top 3 names for each gender.
on August 1st, 2013 at 5:57 pm
I am not pregnant yet but my husband and I both like going through our family trees and finding interesting names. Once I find a name I like I picture us calling our child that as a baby, elementary age girl/boy, teenager, 20/30 year old and then as an older woman/man.
My childhood neighbor had a hilarious system when she was pregnant. When she and her husband thought they had found a name they liked she would yell the first/middle name combo out the back door (they had a big back yard) and see if it sounded good. 🙂
on August 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm
The names I favor change as I grow and meet new people! I have loved certain names in the past, and then met someone with that name who, to put nicely, I don’t like…which of course strikes that name off the list! I, like many others on this site prefer ecclectic, non-popular names, so I always check top 100 lists. I try for convential spellings, because as a teacher I can attest to the annoyance of odd spellings. I always keep a list of top 5 names, and top 10 for each gender and then strike out whatever the hubby hates! We then mix and match those in the top 5, as first names and top 10 as middle names. Then the Southerner in me takes over and the big question looms…how does this look in a monogram? How does it look written out? One thing my Mama always said was if your last name dips below the line, aka Kennedy (the y is below the line) the first name should too (ex. Paige Kennedy)… Its all about the asthetics! Since my last name drops below the line I have been struggling with finding first names that I like that do as well and might throw that tradition to the wind!
on August 4th, 2013 at 12:09 am
When I started searching for THE name, my biggest concern was that it not be so popular that my child would share it with a couple other children in his/her class. As time progressed, I realized that meaning was the most important factor for us. There is no guarantee that my children will like their names but I think if they feel bonded with the meaning, it will go a long way with their feelings toward it. I am not even talking about literal meaning of the name necessarily, either, but an attribute you feel strongly about or the place that you and your husband met (what child doesn’t love thinking about their parent’s love-story?)
on August 4th, 2013 at 11:33 am
We spend years talking about names, just mentioning ones we like, new obsessions, and debating each other’s picks. Before I became pregnant with my son we had a boy’s and a girl’s name established for years. This time around, we didn’t have as clear an idea of what the name would be going in, but the process hasn’t really changed. Still just lots of talking and suggesting, continuing the same conversations we’ve had going on for years. I think we’ve narrowed in on a boy’s name. In a break from the past, we plan to go into the hospital with two potential girl’s names, should the baby turn out to be a girl.
on August 4th, 2013 at 11:57 am
Coll, I’m sure you’re the envy of many of your fellow berries. Sounds fun and companionable!
on August 13th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
I have always been a huge fan of all things NAMES! At the age of 5, I started my list of my future children, it has changed throughout the years (of course). I always have a list of favorites. My husband and I have a deal, I get to choose the first name and he gets to choose the middle name. It worked out perfectly for our first and only daughter, Vivien Abigail!
on August 14th, 2013 at 8:17 pm
At first, we just talked about naming fantasies; then we quickly realized that none of these fantasies aligned. So we got serious about listing our values/preferences and came up with a list: (a) family names, (b) names with obvious pronunciations, and (c) names with dominant, familiar spellings. Then I added a few rules about syllables, sounds, etc. He added a few rules about pretense and ex-girlfriends. Voila! The list went from 150 options to 5. Ha!
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.