A sweet little baby girl is about to come into your life, and you need a name. So how do you go about choosing the perfect name? Because uncommon names have become so much more the norm, there simply are more names to choose from. As you narrow down your list, here are some criteria you might consider as you select a name for your baby girl.
Unusual or Popular Names
Here’s something to consider: do you want your child to have a fairly common name or a very unusual one– or perhaps somewhere in between? There are advantages and disadvantages to each. A popular name will be easier to recognize, and children often enjoy having names that help them fit into the pack. On the other hand, an uncommon name lends itself to individualism and may lead to fewer bureaucratic hassles that result from having the same name as someone else. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing between an uncommon or popular name.
Of course, one thing you’ll need to know is which names are popular and which names are not. Name popularity varies quite a bit by country, so browse the Internet in search of a current list of the most popular names where you live. If you live in the United States, a great resource is the Social Security Popular Baby Name Index.
Should you avoid trendy names– and, if so, how do you do this? Keeping on top of name trends is harder than you might think because trends are coming and going very quickly these days. It’s very common for someone to hear a “unique” name they love for their daughter, and realize after she’s born that there are hundreds of people in the area who fell in love with the same name. If you want to avoid a trendy name, keep a close watch on the baby name lists and talk to some people who spend time with young children (like day care providers, OB nurses, and, of course, parents). Here’s information about common baby name trends in the United States, and some unusual alternatives to trendy names.
Of course, there are advantages to trendy baby names too. These names suddenly become popular because people like them, and having a name that people associate with positive things can be an advantage for a child. On the other hand, keep in mind that a trendy name may sound outdated in a few years, and your child will still be stuck with it.
Serious Names Versus Cute Names
When choosing a name, keep in mind that the name will have to last a lifetime. A name that might sound adorable when your child is a baby may sound too cutesy when she applies to law school. Try to choose names that are versatile. Often, you can make a name less cute by avoiding ultra-feminine endings– for example, “Kelly” looks more serious than “Kelli,” and “Ashley” looks more mature than “Ashlee.” Names that are intentionally misspelled– like “Mashell” or “Maygun”– may look way too cute on a resume someday.
When choosing a name, keep in mind that people will defer to nicknames whether you want that or not, so don’t choose a name if you hate the nicknames. If you love “Gabrielle” but are horrified by the thought of a Gabby, choose another name. On the other hand, you might choose a name because you like the nickname but want to give her a more formal given name as well. If you want to have a “Lexi,” a name like Alexandra will give her the option of using a more classic name and other nicknames as well.
Names that Reflect Heritage
It’s becoming much more common for parents to give their children names that reflect their ethnic or religious heritage. The advantage to this is that it gives children a built-in connection to where they came from. On the other hand, these names can cause kids to stand out, which might not always be desirable. If you choose a name that reflects your heritage, consider choosing one that’s easy to pronounce and not terribly different than common names.
Common Sense Considerations
When choosing a name, always pay attention to practical considerations about how that name sounds, such as:
- Make sure the initials do not spell something negative.
- Make sure the first, middle, and last names sound well together and do not contain an weird rhyme or other unpleasant combination.
- Keep potential “teasing” names in mind that may come with a name.
- Be wary of unusual spellings of trendy or popular names, as they will inevitably lead to misspellings.