An Important Task: Naming Your Baby

Expectant parents often spend many hours preparing the nursery, reading pregnancy books and going to childbirth classes. Yet surprisingly, many decide their child's name quickly, often spending more time selecting the right car seat or stroller. You are probably wondering what should parents-to-be consider when choosing a baby name?

It is important to choose carefully and to find just the right name, even though this can be a challenging process, since their name is the first gift you will give your baby. Probably the simplest way to choose your baby's name is to choose a name that you've always liked. You could choose a name that has been in your family for generations or you could also choose a surname as a first or middle name for your baby. Ethnic names that are common to your culture are also a good choice for many parents-to-be. Another good choice is to choose a name that is important to you, such as a person or place that you would like to honor.

The baby naming books (and websites) of today are a lot more sophisticated than their former counterparts that merely listed names, usually over a thousand of them, from A to Z. The guides today are very targeted; you can find categorized baby name lists with names from Shakespeare's plays, celebrities' baby names, soap opera names, cool names, names from folklore, mythological names and names of the saints. There are a myriad of choices; it's a good thing pregnancy lasts nine months.

For some parents, religion plays a significant role in name choice. Did you know that the majority of people in the Western hemisphere have names from the Bible?

If you choose a popular name for your child, bear in mind this will increase the likelihood that there will be other children in your child's school with the same name. This may cause him or her to feel less unique. But on the other hand, a child with a popular name may be received better by peers than a child with a unique name. Many names create a positive or negative image and since a person's name is often their first introduction to others, always exercise careful consideration when choosing a name for your new baby.

It is also a good idea to keep in mind pronunciation when selecting your baby's name. Nobody likes to have their name mis-pronounced. Try to make sure you don't choose a name that ends with the same letter that your last name begins with. This can make pronunciation a challenge. Also try to remember that the initials of a person's name can spell words, so be sure that it will be a word that your son or daughter will be happy with.

Almost every name has a meaning; however, most people don't know the meaning of their names. Doing a little research may help in deciding between some of your favorite baby name choices. Make sure that the name you choose is one that your child will be able to grow with, a name that would be applicable for any age.

When choosing a baby name the worst thing you could do is to rush; settling for second best may affect your child for a lifetime. Don't commit yourself to the first name that you like. Keep searching until you find a name that you are one hundred per cent happy with, since you don't necessarily need to have a name for your baby before birth. Some parents have been known to wait two to three weeks before deciding on that perfect name.

Another good idea is to try and use one of the names that you like for a week or so instead of referring to your unborn baby as he or she or "the baby". You will have a much better idea of how much you really like the name if you say it out loud or use it in everyday sentences. Try to remember that some names look great when written on paper, but leave a little to be desired when heard.

The most important thing is to have fun during the name picking process. After all picking out your baby's name is one of the greatest joys of becoming a parent and also a great reminder that there really is a baby on the way.

Remember, your baby's name will be used his entire life, so think how his name will sound and feel once he is grown. You can begin by buying a few baby-name books or searching the internet for sites that list popular baby names as well as provide the meaning and origins of names. You can start listing some of your favorite selections. Begin mixing and matching the first and middle names along with the baby's last name to see how you like the various combinations. How do the names sound together? How do they look on paper? This is the time to ask others for their opinion. Keep an open mind and have a little fun considering a wide range of names for your child. It is also a good idea to have a back up name. Why? Sometimes the name that seemed perfect during your pregnancy just isn't the right match when the new baby finally arrives.

At the end of the day people tend to have very differing opinions as to the best baby names. A person's name is truly a lifetime gift, and it helps define your child -- within the family, to friends, at school and to the outside world. If you consider the options carefully and select with love, you really can't go wrong.

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