For those who are faced with this decision, picking a name for your child can be an overwhelming task. Though it can be changed later in life, the name with which a child grows up can have great impact on his life. As such, parents are (usually) very careful when picking a name. There are of course no hard and fast rules for picking a name; however, we have come up with a list of recommendation that parents-to-be should keep in mind when selecting a name for their bundle of joy.
Generally, this is one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to picking a name for a baby--parents don't want to select a name for their baby which may be overused or has no meaning behind it; however, the desire to pick a unique name can lead to unfortunate decisions, so the uniqueness of the name that you pick for your child should not be the main consideration when selecting a name. This is not to say that you should avoid being creative, but do keep in mind that what you think sounds good may not necessarily garner a lot of support from the society at large, so try and run your ideas by people other than your spouse, especially those who you know are at least a big different from you when it comes to personality and decision-making approach.
Naming your baby after a relative or friend can be an incredible gesture; however, the foremost consideration should be given to the impact that the name will have on the child's life. For example, you may be thinking of honoring one of your parents by giving your child one of their names (which is very nice), but do consider that a name that may have been the rage two generations ago, may no longer be a good fit for a child. Gertrude may be an appropriate for an old lady, but it's certainly not going to work well for a child.
Tradition and heritage can play a big role when it is time to pick a name for your child. Many parents would like to create a link between their child and their heritage, especially if they find themselves living somewhere other than their native country. This does sometimes pose an issue, if the traditional name does not fit in well with the culture where the child now reside, or is difficult to pronounce (correctly). But you do not have to give up on the idea of incorporating tradition and heritage into selecting a name--an easy solution is to use the traditional name as the middle name.
By far the most popular way to pick a name is based on its meanings. There are a vast selection of books, and websites (you are on one now!) dedicated to this topic. Even though less problematic, there are still pitfalls that parents-to-be should try and avoid when picking a name based on its meaning. Generally, the problem of picking a name with an undesirable meaning is not that the parents made a bad decision after carefully studying the meaning of a name, it is usually the case that they simply liked a particular name, but didn't check to see if the meaning of the name could be problematic. So if you are picking a name just based on how it sounds and its superficial attractiveness in general, do be sure to look into the meaning of the name as well.
It's tough growing up, so make sure that the name you pick for your child does not have the potential to turn into a bad nickname or initial-set. For example, if your last name starts with the letter 'J', it's best if you not pick a name for your child which start with the letter 'B'.
As mentioned above, none of these are hard and fast rules, but they can be a helpful guide when it is time to picking a name for your child.
Search our growing database of baby names to find just the right name for your baby or to find out what your own name means!