Five things to consider when choosing baby names

How many times have you heard people’s names and then wondered what parents were thinking when it came time to signing that all-important birth certificate?

Now I’m not talking about the names that you think are weird because they aren’t really to your taste, I’m talking the accidental mishaps that occur when every angle of a would-be name has not been scrutinised. 

Sometimes the excitement of having found a name that both you and your partner not only agree on but like might overshadow any potential strangeness or embarrassment attached to said name. So here’s a sort of check list of things that you should think about when choosing baby names:

1) Watch out for embarrassing initials – both words and monograms. When choosing a name for your child, it must be considered as a whole: first name, second name(s) and surname to weed out any potential for mockery; say the name out loud so you can hear how it sounds.

Figure these out:

  • Alison Sarah Smith
  • Levi Saul Donaldson
  • Donald Key (donkey)

2) Think about potential nicknames. Sometimes when a name is shortened and applied with a surname it turns out tragically:

  • Seymour Butts (see more butts)
  • Sam Manilla (salmonella)

3) Complicated spelling will inflict your child with a lifetime of forced correction. It’s nice to be different but sometimes the consequences are just annoying. That said, you may be attached the cultural spelling of a certain name because it reflects your heritage – in which case you (on your child’s behalf) might be happy to put up with mispronunciations and misspellings:

  • Amy or Aimée
  • Kayla or Kaela
  • Jackson or Jaxysan
  • Rory or Ruairidh

4) Consider who else has the name you are thinking of giving your child. It could be a dictator, a terrorist, a dodgy politician, a mass murderer or could be a rock star, a TV chef, an A-list celeb or a sporting superstar – whether the vibe is positive or negative consider the likelihood of your child being associated with the connotation of the name you have chosen, and how happy you are with that.

5) Contemplate the meaning of the name you like. It is totally okay to choose a name just because you like the way it sounds as opposed to the meaning behind the name but it is nonetheless always good to check what the name means – it could be a game changer.  You may not want your child to be associated with meanings like ‘darkness’, ‘anger’, ‘bitterness’ and the like.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to share the name with someone you can trust; someone who will tell you the truth – who will let you know if there is anything not quite right with the name you have chosen before you share it with the masses and finalise it on a piece of paper.