As a leading maternity photographer in Kent https://www.hannahcornfordphotography.com/maternity, one of the conversations we have most often with parents during sessions is what they plan to call their new baby.
Choosing a baby name can be one of the most challenging decisions ?for parents, so it’s never too early to start making a list of favourites.
If you’re nearing the arrival of your little one and still asking yourself, ‘what baby name should I pick?’, we have put together a list of tips and suggestions for finding the perfect name.
Current trends or something traditional?
When deciding what baby name to choose, you should consider whether it will stand the test of time. Something that is popular now may be less favourable in a few years time and may end up being a choice you regret.
Naming your baby after TV shows or literature characters that are popular now carries the obvious risk that in a few years time when your little one starts school, they will be in a classroom filled with other children bearing the same name.
Opting for ‘out there’ name choices, including highly unusual spellings and unnecessary punctuation, can also have a negative effect on your child’s options as they progress through life. A Marquette study called ‘The “Name Game”: Affective and Hiring Reactions to First Names’ https://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&;context=mgmt_fac found that those with unusual names are often seen as less desirable and as having a lower class status. A different study https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article found that those with easier to pronounce names were often judged as being more honest and likeable and held higher positions within companies.
The studies noted that longer versions of traditional names such as Christopher, William, or Robert connoted ethical caring and more success.
If you’re opting for a traditional name, it doesn’t mean it has to be boring! There are many classic names to choose from, including Everett, Leon, Nathaniel, and Theo for a boy, or Beatrice, Elodie, Orla, and Violet for a girl. You can find more classic but uncommon names here https://nameberry.com/userlist/view/30382.
Keeping it in the Family
Opting to use the name of a family member is a popular choice. Whether it’s honouring a loved one that has passed away or naming your baby after a grandparent or aunt/uncle, it’s a touching way to choose a name.
If your new baby already has a sibling, another popular choice is to give your children names that all begin with the same letter. A famous example of this is the Kardashian’s where all the girls’ names begin with the letter K.
Another great source of baby names that is often overlooked is the family tree. Many people have misconceptions that all of the names listed will be old-fashioned names, but you’d be surprised just how often something unusual pops up.
Just as we have trending names now, you’ll sometimes come across something you have never heard of before. There are also a host of names with biblical connotations, as well as children who are given a family friend’s surname as a forename or even the odd reference to travel. Some names used just 100 years ago are now unused; these include Rube (a variation of Reuben), Icie, Yetta, and Hildreth. It’s definitely worth exploring.
Baby name meanings
Pretty much every name has a meaning, so it’s worth checking each name on your list. Some names have less than favourable meanings that your child may be unhappy about in years to come. For example, Cameron means ‘crooked nose’, Mallory means ‘ill-fated’, Emilia means ‘rival’, Calvin means ‘bald’, and Portia means ‘pig’.
On the other hand, there are many baby names with positive meanings. For example, Bella means ‘Beautiful’, Ellie means ‘Shining light’, Lillie means ‘Purity’, Benjamin means ‘A favourite son’, Caleb means ‘Whole heart’, and Zayn means ‘Beautiful’.
Consider the negatives
When choosing a baby name, you need to think about the different ways the name can be changed and how it can be used negatively.
Children are the quickest to pick up on any weakness in a name and use it to poke fun. Think about things that rhyme with the name, whether the spelling is similar to other negative words or if the name can be shortened to something unfavourable.
Think about your babies’ initials; will they spell something unfortunate? You can always use Google to check if the initials are an abbreviation for something else.
If in doubt, run through your suggestions with an honest family member or friend and see if they come up with anything you have overlooked.
If you are torn between multiple names for your baby, including one or more as a middle name is a great compromise. Try out different combinations to find the one that flows the best.
Middle names are also a great way to pay tribute to family members or friends or to include a family name that has been passed down through the generations.
When you’ve decided on one or more name combinations for your little one, do some final checks just to make sure you’re truly happy with the name you’ve chosen.
Google the name you have chosen to see what comes up and make sure there are no results that conflict with your values.
Write it out, say it aloud. Does it still seem like a good choice?
Still wondering what baby name should I pick?
Having a baby is a happy time, and stressing too much over the perfect name can remove some of the enjoyment. Although the tips and hints above can help you choose a name, there is no right or wrong answer. If you do find that you become less happy with your choice, you can always opt to use a nickname or a middle name instead. And if your child finds the name problematic in the future, they can always decide to change it legally!
Welcoming your newborn
When your baby arrives, we can’t wait to meet them and discover which fabulous name you have chosen. Book your newborn photography session today https://www.hannahcornfordphotography.com/contact/ and let Hannah Cornford Photography capture a beautiful collection of images that highlight every precious detail of your baby.