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10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Baby Name

Choosing your baby's name can be a time-consuming decision. Naming a person you know nothing about is a huge responsibility—and getting your spouse to agree with your top baby names can be difficult. When you're coming close to zeroing in on a boys or girls name, we have a few more things to think about before you sign the birth certificate.

1. Are There Any Unpleasant Associations?

a man in the dark holding an axe

The most obvious name that has been taken out of regular use is Adolf. Nobody wants their child to be associated with the most reviled person in history. When you have a top few names in mind it might not hurt to enter them into google to make sure you're not accidentally naming your child after Charles Manson or Elizabeth Borden.

2. Are There Any Famous Associations?

a baby dressed up as a football player

While Jude is a great name, are you setting your son up to have strangers sing "Hey Jude" at him whenever they're introduced? If you love the name enough to risk it, be forewarned, it's going to happen. The same attention will be given if your last name is Brady and you name your son Thomas. It's not wrong to do it, but be aware of how your top pick may affect your child.

3. Is it a Popular Pet Name?

two dogs with hats on

Bailey, Max, Bella, Molly, Lucy, Chloe and Charlie are the most popular pet names out there. They're also quite popular for non-fur kids, too. It's not bad to choose one of these names—but it's something to think about. When your child goes to their friend's house to find that their buddy's pet has the same name as them, it might be upsetting. Or it might be fun. It's up to you how you react when it happens.

4. Is It Easy to Spell and/or Pronounce?

a person writing on a pad

Are you leaning toward a "You-neek" name? The trend in names is moving far away from traditional names like John and Mary. Some people like the sound of a traditional name but want a new or creative spelling. Check in with your family and friends to see if "Mykhieal" is too much of a departure from Michael. If you're thinking of creating a new name, make sure "Tremly" won't make most people think you're saying she's a bit shaky. You might not like all of the feedback, but sometimes it can help steer you in a better direction.

5. Is It Overly Popular?

a bunch of babies

Sophia and Mason have been the top names for a few years now. They're lovely names and are perfectly on trend. Other top names for boys are Liam, Noah, and Aidan. Isabella, Charlotte, and Emma are top picks for girls. They're great names, which is why so many parents are choosing them—but figure out if you're okay with your child being one of many with that name.

6. How Easily Can You Figure Out a Matching Taunt?

a homemade toy elephant

Kids can be cruel. If you and your family are larger people, Ella may not be ideal as it's so easily changed to Elephant. Bullying is a real issue, even more now than before. Due to the anonymity and large audience provided online kids are finding ways to be meaner than ever. Find a name that's bulletproof.

7. Different Isn't Always Better

a girl dressed like a punk

Edgy and cool names are an attractive choice, but remember that your child is going to have to get a job with that name someday. Names like Riot, Beretta, or Temptress are not going to impress future employers—and it is highly unlikely that there will ever be a President Bear [your last name]. Maybe super edgy names work better for a middle name, or a nickname.

8. Are You Trying to Be Funny?

a stack of pancakes

Joke names are only funny to you—your child has to live with it. If you love the name Antoinette, don't pick the middle name Jemimah just to be silly. James Beam, Johnny Walker, Ben Dover and other cutesy names will get old quickly. No matter how much you love "Seinfeld," Seven is probably a better name for a beloved pet. Toss these ideas around when you're still expecting, but toss them out before baby arrives.

9. Will You Still Love It Tomorrow?

a mom holding her baby

If you've closed in on the name that you think is the winner, say it, use it, write it—anything to make it part of your day. After a few weeks, if you're starting to waiver on the name, pick a new one. Baby name regret is real. Don't let it happen to you.

10. Are You Being Unfair to Your Spouse?

two parents kissing their baby

Naming a baby can sometimes create a rift between expecting parents. Dad is adamant he wants a Junior, but mom is set on something trendy and current. Who wins, and how? Don't use threats or ultimatums. This is important to both of you. Maybe you can use dad's first name as a middle name, or you can use the trendy name for his middle and call him by that. There are compromises and solutions to make both of you happy. Don't let naming your baby draw you apart when you need each other now more than before. Work on solutions together so that you're both happy in the end.

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