Choosing a baby name is not an easy task.
Maybe you picture yourself sitting in front of a fire, flicking through a baby name book while your partner rubbed your aching feet, before stumbling upon a name you both loved. If so, you’re probably pretty disappointed right now.
The reality is more like two people shouting the word VETO at each other for a painful amount of time before running out of ideas, and out of steam.
There are so many names to choose from, it’s no wonder this is a difficult decision.
Picking a baby name yourself would be hard enough, but you have to find a name you both agree on.
9 Tips When You’re Struggling To Pick A Name
Choosing a name doesn’t need to be stressful, though. Keep reading to find out how to make this a painless process.
#1: Give yourself plenty of time
This isn’t a conversation to have at 39 weeks pregnant. As you begin your parenting journey, the sooner you start this conversation the better.
Nine months is plenty of time to choose a baby name.
If you’ve left it late, don’t panic! You’ll still be able to find the right name.
The more time you have, though, the less stressful it will feel.
Nobody likes to feel rushed. Big decisions are easier when you have time to think them over.
#2: Go through the lists
The world is filled with baby name lists. Check out BellyBelly’s baby name section for inspiration.
Grab a kids’ name book and have a flick through the sections on girl names and boy names. And you might as well get that foot rub while you’re at it.
Browse the annual list of popular baby names. Make a note of each name you like.
Depending on your personality, you could do this by jotting them down in the notes section of your phone or adding them to your color-coded baby names spreadsheet.
#3: Look through your family trees
If you want a name with meaning, try searching way back through your family trees. If you’re lucky enough to have a decent family tree in existence, you should be able to look back through generations to find a name.
Old-fashioned baby names have made a comeback, so you’re likely to get lots of inspiration from the family names throughout the years.
You could even find a first and middle name this way by taking inspiration from each side of the family tree.
#4: Keep your ears open
The world is full of potential baby names for your little one so keep yourself on high alert. TV shows, movies, books, and celebrity gossip magazines are filled with them.
Listen for names when you’re out and about, too. You might just hear the perfect name on your daily commute to work or see it written on the name badge of a friendly barista.
Think about your favorite writers, musicians, and actors. Could you take inspiration from any of their names?
Think of the people you’ve met and friends you’ve had in your life. Are there any names that stand out?
#5: Stop chasing perfection
There’s no such thing as perfection. Looking for it just adds pressure to the decision-making process.
Choose one name you like the sound of – one that has good connotations for you and makes you smile.
It doesn’t need to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be better than all the other names.
It just needs to be a name you and your partner like. It needs to be a name that will grow with your child, but it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect for every stage of life.
#6: Get your friends and family involved
You might not want to discuss with friends and family members what you want your baby to be called. After all, they could hate the names you like, and that just complicates an already daunting task.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be involved. If you’re really struggling to find a baby name, ask your parents and friends for ideas.
Ask others to write down name suggestions on slips of paper and fold them up so you can’t see. Once you’ve collected enough, you and your partner can open them up together and see if any of them stand out.
#7: Start with a nickname
If choosing a full name is overwhelming, simplify the process by starting small. Find a nickname you love. Or even just a letter. And then work backward until you have a full name you like the sound of.
For example, if you’re looking for unique or cute girl names and you like the nickname Bea, you could opt for Beatrice or Beatrix. Or even just go with Bea.
#8: Think about middle names and initials
Naming children is one of the great, but complicated, aspects of parenting.
You could try an approach many couples find helpful.
Consider middle names for your child, even if you’re not starting your decision there. Make a list of girl or boy names that you both like so that you can compare them and find a middle name.
Your child is likely to end up with a nickname, whether it’s one you decide on or one the child is given at school, so it makes sense to consider this during the naming process. Consider your family name and initials, and make sure they sound ok together.
Some last names can limit your first name choices. You will probably want to avoid rhyming names or anything that sounds silly (Ben Dover being an obvious example).
#9: Stop thinking about it
Sometimes, you need a bit of distance and headspace to come up with the answer.
Stop obsessing over baby names. There’s no such thing as the perfect baby name. You could do hours of research and still end up with a name you don’t think is the one.
If obsessing over names is ruining your pregnancy, push it to the back of your mind. Get rid of the name books, stop asking people for ideas, and just focus on other things.
The right name will find you. There’s no rush, enjoy your pregnancy.
What to do if you can’t agree on a baby name?
If you and your partner can’t agree on a name, you might worry your baby will be unnamed forever. If you have completely different tastes, it can feel impossible to find a compromise.
Some couples choose a name each and use one for a middle name. Arguably, though, the parent who chooses the first name will be the winner here.
Others try to compromise by finding a name they both like rather than love.
If you’re really struggling, you could each create a shortlist of potential names and then wait until after the birth to choose the name of your child.
You might feel some names simply aren’t right, whereas another you previously disliked suddenly seems perfect for your baby.
When should you start picking baby names?
You should start picking baby names as soon as possible. The longer you have to consider your options, the less stressful the process will be.
Of course, if you and your partner are both fast decision-makers, you might not need more than a few minutes to decide on a name.
If it’s likely to take longer, however, you’d be better starting sooner. Once you’ve found the right name, you can tick that off your to-do list.
What should you not name your baby?
Although you are the parents and you get to choose your baby’s name, there are some you should be wary of.
Yep, some names are considered so bad you’re actually not allowed to use them! The names vary from country to country but often include offensive, religious and royal names.
And if Nutella, Anal, or Robocop were on your list, then it’s back to the drawing board.
How long can you go without naming a baby?
If your baby is already here and you’re struggling to find a name that’s just right, you might be wondering how long you can go without naming your baby.
This will depend upon where you live.
In the UK, you have until your baby’s first birthday to decide on a name. You’ll need to register the birth by six weeks, but a baby doesn’t need a name to be registered.
In the US, people usually include their baby’s name on the birth certificate paperwork before leaving the hospital. If you don’t do this, you’ll receive a phone call after you’ve left the hospital.
In Australia, parents have up to six months to choose a name for their baby.