How to Choose the Right Baby Name

A few things to consider when deciding what to name your baby

Pregnant woman sitting in chair, using laptop, husband holding her hand
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There are many ways to name a baby. Perhaps you stumbled on the perfect name. Maybe you and your partner already decided on a family name, or have had a name in mind for a while.

If you're still thinking, try narrowing some of the names or types of names you don't like. If you hate certain names don't consider them, obviously. Once you know what you're ruling out, you know what you can rule in. Keep a list, and bring it with you, because you never know when inspiration will strike!


Here are a few guidelines if you're really stumped for a name for your upcoming arrival. 

Baby Names for Boys

Names for baby boys are changing. Gone are the days of about 20 standard names. The names parents are choosing for a baby boy vary greatly. We still see old-fashioned, standard names on the most popular lists, like John, Michael and Mark, but they've been joined in recent years by "new" old-fashioned names, and surnames, like Tyler, Noah and Jacob. 

Baby Names for Girls

The names that are given to baby girls in recent years seem more open to spelling variations than their male counterparts. Consider the many different spellings of Kaitlyn (Caitlyn, Katelynn, etc). They don't seem to be confined to any preconceived notions, which gives them a feeling of originality. There is also a resurgence in older names on recent lists of baby girls' names, such as Olivia, Sophia, and Emma.

Baby Names for Twins

Naming twins or other multiples puts a whole new spin on the baby name issue.

Now you have many more combinations to come up with! That also brings up the question of how to go about naming twins. Do you give similar names or very different names? Do you use their birth order to name them (Baby A gets an A name, etc.) The possibilities are many, and the pressure to choose just the right name is doubled.

Don't feel pressure to have "matching" names for your twins, each will be their own person, after all, and should get the same consideration for their names.

Baby Names that are Different

The trend towards different names is definitely alive and well. We have so many boy names that have crossed to girl names, though this is an old tradition. (Think about Lesley, Whitney, Robin...) And don't forget unisex names. There is also the celebrity factor when it comes to baby names.

If you can't find a name that is different than you like, some parents consider different spellings. That could be Sara versus Sarah or it could be Christopher versus Kristofer. 

Baby Name Advice (Everyone Has Ideas!)

When you say you're pregnant, one of the first questions you'll hear is "what are you going to name the baby?!" You don't have to answer everyone, after all, this is a very personal decision and one not to be made lightly. Just know that you'll get to hear everyone's opinion, whether you ask for it or not. It's not a bad idea to have a strategy when someone starts to give you baby name advice. Most people mean well, but don't get too deep into the conversation if you don't want to.