Naming your baby can be very stressful.  For some lucky parents, they decide early on a name.  The baby has his/her identity before even being born and it never comes into question.  Others have a few names picked out and they decide on the right one as the baby comes out – sometimes getting a look at the baby helps them decide and make their final decision.  Still others take absolute ages to decide on their baby’s name.  They may wait weeks before announcing the name, sometimes even months!

I’ve heard some very funny stories about changing a baby’s name.  A family had picked a very generic name, let’s say Ben in this case, and was calling the baby Ben for the first six weeks of his life.  The father then took baby Ben to the registry office to get his official birth certificate and returned with an unwelcome surprise.  On a whim, he had decided that Ben wasn’t right and the baby was now called Oliver.  He didn’t think phoning was necessary in this case – it’s only his son’s NAME for goodness sakes.  Baby Oliver’s mum was less than impressed, but what could she do at that point??

Another friend of mine had her first baby and was proudly introducing him at playgroup.  They went around the circle and the parents had to introduce themselves and their babies and explain why they had chosen the name they had.  My friend proudly introduced her baby, “this is my son Marcus.”  After a few seconds, she realised that she had introduced him by the wrong name!  Marcus was the name her and her husband had originally chosen before deciding on calling him Leo.  Oops!

There are many different ways to pick a name for your child.  Some popular ways include:

  • Trolling through baby name books or top 100 lists (over and over and over again).  Unfortunately, my experience is that no new names ever really jump out at you.
  • Listening at the playground for names being called and seeing if you fancy any of them.  This is also a good way to hear the popular names in your area in case you don’t want 5 kids with the same name in your child’s year.
  • Jumping on the celebrity bandwagon and using any unusual name concoctions that they have come up with.  I warn you, they are usually lengthy and the middle names are equally as rare.

 It is always a good idea to:

1) Say it out loud with your surname (and middle name) and make sure it doesn’t make some word pairing that would embarrass your child later in life.  YES, it will be an embarrassment.

2) Read the chapter in Freakonomics about naming your baby.  It is very interesting and could maybe change your mind?  

3) Give your baby’s name the magnitude it deserves.  You are naming a human being and that is usually the name they will have for life.  So make it a good one!

How did you choose your baby’s name?  

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Please note:  Names in these stories have been changed.