When’s the best time to announce baby’s name?

According to one site (and of course picked up by many others), John Travolta leaked the name of his son-to-be —Benjamin— several weeks before his birth, prompting us to pose this Question of the Week:

What do you consider to be the optimum moment to make your baby name announcement—and why?

Would you be certain enough of your decision, and impervious enough to namenapping and negative opinions, to pronounce it to the world at any time during your pregnancy (or even before)?

Would you, like the Travoltas, wait until the birth was imminent?

Or would you have a strict no-tell policy and not make the news of your baby name decision public until after the arrival and you’re absolutely sure that the name fits the babe?

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30 Responses to “When’s the best time to announce baby’s name?”

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Taye Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 1:27 am

I would definitely keep the name under wraps until bubs was born and we had decided the name fit him or her perfectly. That way, it would be too late for anyone else to make negative comments if they didn’t like the name. Having a policy of not discussing the name before the birth also ensures that persistent name-suggesters have nothing to feed on. If I did put the name out there before the baby was born I wouldn’t outright declare it as “the name”, I’d give people a short list of options. I think the final name should be announced after the child is born.

Ashley Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 2:44 am

I think with a name like Benjamin, both classic and popular, there is little chance of name-napping. There are already many, many little Benjamins running around. And if they change their minds, no biggie. They change their minds.

I can imagine after suffering the death of their son, they are basking in the joy of expecting again, and eager to “shout it from the mountaintops” so to speak.

Kristi Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 7:09 am

I love announcing the name whenever we have a final choice. I figure, why not? Its neat to experience people already calling your baby by his or her first name even prior to birth. Now, I think that just because you’ve said what you plan to name your baby doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s nothing stopping you from seeing that baby and suddenly changing your mind. So long as you love the name you’ve chosen, I don’t see a problem in announcing it whenever you feel like announcing it.

Kim W Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 7:21 am

I prefer it when people wait until the birth to announce the name. I enjoy the surprise. Now whether or not I can manage to have the patience to do the same is another story.

lo Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:04 am

With our first we didn’t know the gender and kept both names quiet. With our second we knew we were having a girl and planned to keep her name a secret but we began calling her by the name so of course when my mom was visiting about 5 weeks before her birth I said, “When Clare arrives…” With our third we found out the gender and told everyone our name right away. But, with our fourth we were unsure of which name to pick right until the end. Since one was a family name we kept both a secret until she was actually born and the decision was final. Since our boy name is a family name this time around if we are expecting a boy I’m sure we’ll remain quiet about his name. Our girl’s name isn’t a family name so we’re pretty much sharing her name already.

spotlightstarlit Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:21 am

I plan to wait to name the baby until she’s in my arms, or he is. I won’t be name leaking unless my sister-in-law has similar ideas.

Lola Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:46 am

I wait, with all of them. In our boys case it was just as well; I changed their names the instant I saw them. They were supposed to be Nicolas & James but they ended up Leo & Simon. Just a complete left turn there. With our daughter, we waffled and changed our minds until she was 12 hours old, so we had nothing to announce until after she was born. I figure if there’s a fourth, we’ll just wait until we see what the kid looks like and then we’ll pick the name!

tarynkay Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:47 am

I agree with Kim W. about preferring for people to wait until the baby is born, b/c it’s more exciting that way. Also, I would never criticize a name after the baby was born, but when my brother told me that he is naming his (unborn) son a name traditionally reserved for dogs, I felt perfectly free to make fun of him for this. I think that decoy names are a good idea, too, especially if you like something a little unusual- like tell your family that you are planning on something perfectly horrible and then “change your mind” once the baby is born. I really hope that this is what my brother is doing. But if he’s not, I promise I will lay off once my nephew is born.

Tiana Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 9:02 am

We never find out the baby’s gender until birth, and I never tell anyone the names we’ve picked accept my mom, my sister, and (this time) the older children. I know people who announce the baby’s name and gender as soon as they have their ultrasound, and to me, that spoils all the fun. I like surprising everyone. 🙂

septembergrrl Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 9:18 am

I think it’s better to wait, unless you have a specific reason to let a few people know. (Like, if you want to use a family name, but you have a sibling or cousin who might “steal” it if you don’t talk it through.) Basically I like being able to surprise people.

Also, by unveiling the name ahead of time, you’re opening it up for discussion. Which is fine if your friends and family all share your taste, not so fine if they have a more varied array of opinions. The last thing a hormonal pregnant woman needs is to have to spend time defending such a personal decision.

Brooke Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 10:15 am

I’m keeping mine under wraps. They are not unfamiliar and not totally unique (both in top 200), but they are not trendy. I would literally cry if someone I knew used them before my baby was born. And I agree with Septmebergrrl, it was enough for us to decide (and my mom’s opinion mattered), I don’t need any other opinions!

Mommato4boys Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 11:46 am

We kept our first two boys’ names a secret until they were born. It was a nice surprise and although we had a few comments or questions like, “Where did you get that name from?” or “That’s an unusual name! I’ve never heard that one before,” it was never a negative response. However, when we decided on a name for our third son while we were still pregnant, we shared it with everyone and had more than a few negative responses, a couple of them from family members, which as hard as I try I find hard to forget they said what they did. We were pretty solid on the name and loved it, and still do! Now that we’re expecting our fourth boy, we are waiting to share the name until he’s born so that we don’t potentially get the same opinionated people sharing their strong dislike of the name. But I have two family members and two friends due the same week as me, so I am just hoping we all choose different names!

Joan Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

We discussed the name with friends and family (and on Nameberry!) pretty extensively and honestly before our daughter was born, and I would definitely do this again next time–I felt like the input was really valuable, plus talking about names is just so much fun. But we didn’t say “her name is _______” until she was actually born–we went into the delivery room with a list of three.

We did have some negative responses to some of the names we’d considered, and a little pressure to name after certain family members, but it didn’t affect us very much. DH is a very confident person, and encouraged me not to let other people sway me.

My MIL has a friend whose daughter didn’t tell her she was pregnant until she could say, “You’re going to have a grandson and his name is Ryan.” My MIL thought this was very cool, and I do see the advantage of being able to call the baby by her name during pregnancy, but I just hesitate to name someone I’ve never met face to face.

Article: When’s the best time to announce baby’s name? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry « My Cool Baby Names Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

[…] the best time to announce baby’s name? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry http://nameberry.com/blog/2010/11/10/whens-the-best-time-to-announce-babys-name/ According to one site (and of course picked up by many others), John Travolta leaked the name […]

British American Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I like to announce the baby’s name after the baby is born. I think it’s nice to have the option to ‘change your mind’ if the name you’ve picked out doesn’t quite seem to fit, once you see the baby.

Picking the name ahead of time certainly seems to work for many people though. I have a pregnant friend who has their next boy name picked out since 2004, maybe earlier. I’m always interested to see if there will be a ‘last minute name change’ when the name has been announced ahead of the birth.

Personally I’d also hate to get negative feedback from family or friends on a name that had been decided on before birth.

jaime Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:16 pm

We’ve had our little squishy’s name picked out since about 20 weeks 🙂 and I tell everyone and their mom…it is so cute to have my four year old goddaughter pester me with questions like, “Does baby Everett like dinosaurs?” At this point, it’s his name and I couldn’t imagine changing it, so no worries there. Everyone has receieved it pretty positively too…but even if they didn’t it still wouldn’t change my mind.

babynamesrule Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I’d say to tell the world after the baby is born. Keep ’em guessing. Tell your favourite people after you’ve officially decided. But I definitely think it’s cool to bounce ideas off of other people for perspective.

Jenny Says:

November 10th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I am related to too many people who had pink, ‘Jane’-themed baby showers with a ‘Welcome Jane!’ cake and personalized onesies only to deliver a little John.

We’ll go in with a few names and not even we’ll know the name until we’re sure who we think we’re getting is actually who we’re getting.

Kim Says:

November 11th, 2010 at 1:58 am

I accidentally let my daughter’s name slip to my MIL and my mother before she was born and they ABSOLUTELY RUINED it for me. My daughter is now a month old and I am still waffling on her name (and still sans birth certificate). I love the name and can’t stop calling her by that name, but can’t rid myself of their negative comments :(. I didn’t have any doubts about my older son’s unique name, likely because I kept it under wraps until the birth. Keep it a secret until HOURS after the birth to keep the naysayers and insanity at bay.

Jasmine Says:

November 11th, 2010 at 6:57 am

I don’t care if someone ‘steals’ our names, but we do like somewhat unique names, so we don’t share until it’s final.

Before our daughter was born, we shared the boys and girls names we liked with my parents, and while they tried to be supportive, you could tell by their faces that they hated the names. I’d rather tell them while their faces are overjoyed looking at their new grandchild. Plus, I don’t want someone else’s opinion to get in the way of my love of a name.

Devon Says:

November 11th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I don’t have kids yet but I do have names picked out and I will no reveal these to anyone but my mum and husband. I would HATE if someone I knew chose one of my names before me and if I don’t say anything, then I can’t be mad because there was no stealing. The only other person I’ve told the names I like is one of my closest friends and I have no worry about her “stealing” the names since our styles are so completely different.

As for when I have kids, I think I’m going to wait until they are born to tell the names. Things can change, the child might not look like the name and you could have the wrong gender! Plus it’s a lot harder for someone to be critical of the name when there is a sweet bundle of joy attached to it.

ycw Says:

November 16th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Everyone knew our names ahead of time, and there were no negative comments really–our daughter is Hannah Jane (Jane is a 5th generation family name on my side) and our son is Peter Sidney III (so no one was brave enough to criticize it except one friend and my sister, and the friend framed it as not-thrilled-with-juniors-in-general. But, obviously DH would know if it’s a huge issue, right? I think if we were going for a more unusual name–which after family names, I’d like to–we might keep it secret until birth or only tell some people. While it’s fun to see reactions to the name Methuselah Mephibosheth when I’m having a Peter, I might like to not hear what my mom has to say about Shem or Hezekiah until he’s here (and those are both firmly in my top 10 first names).

ycw Says:

November 16th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

And I considered changing my mind when Hannah was born–I thought she looked more like a Mara–but we decided to stick with Hannah. The fact that we’d told people she would be Hannah was not part of that decision.

Rachel Says:

November 25th, 2010 at 1:34 am

My family already knew what my favourite names were long before I was even married. Due to our daughter’s offbeat middle name (Amira), we didn’t tell people the name until her birth. We are trying for another child and plan not to tell anybody his/her name and he/she is born.

Jen Says:

November 29th, 2010 at 2:58 am

I have a very, very close friend who has major anxiety if she doesn’t have the name picked out by the beginning of the 2nd trimester, and wants to announce it to the world the moment she decides what it will be. This is fine and good, I suppose. It’s always fun to discuss names with her. But she has admitted to running across some problems this way. For a long time she’s loved the name Lexi. Last year when she found out she was having a girl, she started telling people the name was either going to be Lexi or Ellie. Her father immediately said it sounded like ‘Sexy Lexi’ and the idea of her precious little unseen infant being called sexy by her grandfather was so repellant that it ruined the name for her forever. She was pretty crushed. In the end, she and her husband chose an entirely different name, but we were all still well aware of it long before the birth.

Conversely, my other friend is extremely secretive about her names. She admits to having chosen one, but absolutely will not tell anyone until after the baby is born.
While I adore my first friend and I love the discussions of names we have when she’s trying to decide, I think for myself I’ll be like my second friend. Far fewer opinions after the baby is already stuck with it.

Hannah Katsman Says:

April 27th, 2011 at 1:04 am

tarynkay—hope you will share the dog’s name of your future nephew LOL! Fido? Spot? Poky?

sunshinetina Says:

September 2nd, 2011 at 11:40 pm

With Matilda, we only told our family the style of name we chose. We didn’t give any other details. We just made it clear that if number 1 was a girl, she would not be named Martina, as had been my parents hope.

With Eloise and Walter, we polled family, friend and berries alike to see which names would be the best choice. So whilst we didnt really tell our families of our final choices until the day they were born, we did narrow it down alot.

deliasmommy Says:

October 10th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I live in a small town in Italy and here people start sharing their chosen names as soon as they know the sex of the baby. I am expecting a second girl and so people have been asking me for 2 months what I’m naming her. We haven’t decided, and honestly I don’t want to tell people anyways! I think once we do decide we’ll keep it under wraps until the birth.

alibaba Says:

December 14th, 2011 at 2:12 am

We’re keeping the name under wraps until the birth. However, I’m not a fan of my in-laws so I personally would love it if they hated the name. It would give me great pleasure to know they had to say a name that they hated every time they spoke about their grandchild.

HerMajesty Says:

December 28th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

My parents called me McKinzi until I was born, then they changed their minds.

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