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Picking the Perfect Baby Name

By Erin Ollila

For many people, choosing the name of your child is no easy feat. Think about it: a name lasts forever! If you’re stuck trying to figure out how to name your future little one, here a few tips from real-life parents on how they decided what the perfect name would be for their babies.

Naming Your Baby After a Loved One

One way to choose a name for your baby is to think of all of the people that have played a significant role in your lives. Would you name your baby after any of them? Many of the parents we interviewed chose to honor a loved one by giving their babies the name of someone special.

Kate Berard, mom of two, says, “For our first, it was easy. Peter was a family name of an uncle who passed. He was jovial, musical and loving. It was a no brainer to carry on the classic name.”

Middle names are also a popular place to honor a friend or family member. New mom Kristen Costa says, “We knew we wanted our son’s middle name to be after my dad so it was easier to throw around names to see how they sounded with David as middle name.”

You’re Special Too: Name the Baby After You!

Some parents want to pass along their own names, but they aren’t sure how. Good news: there are many options, ranging from the traditional copying of the name and adding “Jr.” as a suffix to more creative options, as you’ll see from these two parents.

Caitlyn Lentz, mom of three boys, found a way to name one of her children after both herself and her husband. She says, “Dan and I really wanted a unique name for our first child. We ended up combining our names, taking the first three letters from each and making ‘Caidan’. It’s definitely a pretty popular name now, but his spelling is unique and it is very meaningful to us.”

If you’re more traditional and prefer to pass your name on directly, but can’t do so because the baby is a different sex, consider using the feminine or masculine form of the name instead.

Rebecca Bergeron and her husband found out they were having a girl, after hoping they could pass the husband’s name down to a son. She says, “Driving home from the ultrasound, my husband said, ‘Why don't we name her Kylie Michelle?’ His name is Kyle Michael. This way he got his ‘junior’ and the name is still feminine and beautiful.”

Choosing Based on the Meaning Behind the Name

At some point in your child’s life, they are going to have a school project where they will have to research the meaning of their name and discover if there are any cultural ties to it.

Melissa Whaley, says, “We use a site called Behind the Name to research the etymology of names. Meaning is a big deal to my husband and me, so we make sure to pick things that have meaning or a story. And while the meaning was important to her, the cultural significance was just as important. She says, “We’re just generally obsessed with Celtic and British names.” Knowing this, Whaley and her husband could look for names that specifically belonged to one of those cultures.

Liking the Sound (or First Letter) of the Name

Alliteration, which is the repetition of the same letter or sound in words and phrases, is another way to choose your baby name.

Suzy Alba, mom of one, says, “I settled on the fact that I wanted an “S” name, which made things both easier and harder. I always loved when I would come across people with name alliterations, and always knew that I wanted my children to have the same (Sawyer Stanley).”

Another popular way to pick the perfect baby name is by making sure all of your children’s names start with the same letter, such as the pop-culture Kardashian sisters who all have first names that begin with the letter “K.”

Worried You Won’t Agree on a Name?

If you’ve narrowed the list down to just a few names, but can’t come to an agreement on which is best for your baby, there are a few options for choosing the perfect name.

Whaley offers this suggestion: “Usually tie breakers happen by saying the names out loud and in sequence with our other kid’s names to make sure it flows and fits.”

Similarly, Costa and her partner used their top names throughout the pregnancy to determine which they liked best. She says, “We had a lot of names and throughout the months of pregnancy, we would chat about the baby and use the various names to see how we liked the sound of it.”

Have other little ones at home? Maybe you’re close with your extended family or circle of friends. If so, you can always let them help you choose your future babies name. Let your children, friends and family weigh in on their favorites. Just remember to keep the options to your two or three most favorite names. And don’t worry—you have all the veto power if you decide their final choice just doesn’t fit after all.

Remember: the perfect baby name isn’t one that’s popular or favorited by your friends; it’s the one you choose. You may find the name fits right away or that your baby grows into it. Just trust your intuition and you’ll have a name you love forever.

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