What Name Should I Choose for my baby?

What Name Should I Choose for my baby?

Charlotte Torris

There are cultural, regional, familial, and religious reasons that people choose a particular name for their child. These are usually personal, irrational, and highly subjective!

Whatever imperative is at work, one mandate should be clear: Never, ever tell anyone the name you are considering for your child. If you do, many curious well-wishers will quickly begin offering opinions on the name. It’s rare that these comments will persuade you to change your mind. It’s simpler to say, “We’re keeping the name to ourselves until the baby arrives.” Or just as truthfully, “We’re not sure yet.”

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Here are some considerations for making your selection:

■ Nicknames. If you name your child William, are you comfortable with Bill or Willie? It may be out of your control when your son decides to adopt (or is given) a nickname. Same with Elizabeth: Be prepared to end up with Betty, Betsy, Liz, or Bette.

■ Initials. Pay attention to what the child’s initials will be. Peter Ethan Evans (P.E.E.) may wish his parents had opted for Stanley.

■ Avoid contrived-sounding names. Think of how the first name goes with the surname. If your last name is Kane, avoid Candace. Remember, your child will have to use this name through all stages of life, not just when she’s a cute roly-poly baby. If your last name is Payne, avoid Helmut or Hart. Think: Will I still be laughing after my epidural has worn off?

■ Spell it normally. It’s unkind to burden a child with a difficult or unusual spelling of a simple name. Stick with the basics and rest easy that your child will get plenty of chances in life to show how unique and creative he or she is.

■ Choose wisely if considering a name associated with tyrants, despots, and criminals. You may want to avoid giving your child a name shared by well-known evildoers. Or just people you and your partner don’t like.


From the Pregnancy Instruction Manual by Sarah Jordan with David Ufberg MD Published by Quirk Books.

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