Choosing a name for your baby can be a lot of fun and daydreaming about baby names is one of the perks of pregnancy. But let's be real, too—along with the fun factor, it can also be tough to pick the perfect name for someone you haven't even met yet. Whether you're just starting to think of names, or you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start, these eight tips can help you narrow down the choices until you've found the right name for your newest family member.
1. Look to your family tree
For your loved ones, there may be no greater honor than to discover that their new family member is named after them. You may already have a relative's name in mind, but if not, dig deeper into your family tree—you may be inspired by your great-grandfather's cousin's name, or an ancestor's last name just might be a perfect middle name for your baby. Carrying on a family name is a tradition worth considering, especially because it brings the whole family together.
2. Remember your relationship
Certain moments and places are important for a couple, and they may inspire a special baby name. If you fell in love during a trip to the desert, for instance, Sedona or Zion could be beautiful choices. When you think about your relationship, what memories and words make you smile? Thinking about this could help you find a meaningful baby name you love.
3. Honor your heritage
As you brainstorm potential baby names, consider your heritage, culture, and family origin as inspiration. Is your family Italian? Consider traditional Italian names like Enzo or Beatrice. If you're Mexican, Xiomara and Alejandro are gorgeous options. And for babies with roots in Africa, a Swahili name such as Malaika or Omari could be the right fit. Whatever your heritage may be, you'll find an abundance of possibilities.
4. Draw upon culture
Whether you're a bookworm, cinema buff, or a hip-hop lover, your most-beloved stories and songs are filled with ideas. Artists, musicians, authors, and other creative people may lead you to the name that's just right for your baby. One word of caution: Don't be too quick to name your baby after the most trendy character of the moment, as the name could seem passé when the cultural frenzy dies down.
5. Consider nicknames and initials
Most people get at least one nickname, so keep those in mind—you may love them, but you may not. It also pays to consider initials. Paloma Olivia Owens is a pretty name, but your daughter probably wouldn't appreciate going to school with a monogrammed POO backpack.
6. Sound out the full name
Speak potential baby names out loud to see how they'll sound. Listen for a pleasant rhythm of the full name and watch out for any sounds (such as T's, D's, and B's) that awkwardly bump into each other as one name glides to the next.
7. Be aware of trends
Every era has certain names that suddenly seem to be everywhere. To get a sense of what's trending now, look up the popularity of baby names on the Social Security Administration website. Also note that creative spellings—like Alyzabeth instead of Elizabeth or Jaxon for Jackson—may be unique like your child, but they may also create challenges if your child has to explain their name over and over. Finally, pay attention to celebrity pregnancies, because certain names often become more popular once they're given to a famous baby.
8. Stay relaxed
As you daydream about possible baby names, don't put too much pressure on yourself to decide on a name before your baby is born. When you meet your newborn baby and get early glimpses of their personality, you'll know when a name is the right fit.
Baby names are just one part of getting ready for your baby's arrival. Be prepared for everything with these prenatal planning guides.