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When You Cannot Agree on a Baby Name

Katlyn Joy |27, October 2010


When You Cannot Agree on a Baby Name

One of the first potential fights couples face as new parents is choosing a baby name. While most parents resolve the issue before the child actually arrives and the birth certificate awaits a decision, some couples really struggle to come to a mutual decision.

However, this can be a nice practice session for all the future disagreements to come. Try to listen to your partner's reasons for choosing or rejecting names without becoming overly emotional. For instance, if your man's first girlfriend's name was Lily do you really want to conjure up such memories with your daughter's moniker? Likewise, if the bully who made grade school torture for you was named Kevin, it's unlikely you'll ever compromise and settle on that name.

When choosing your child's name consider how the name sounds. Does it flow easily or does it sound sort of like a stammer or sneeze? Think about initials, too. If they spell out something equally unappealing, you might want to reconsider the baby name.

Choose an Alternate Baby Name

If you two have completely different tastes in names with no middle ground, you have a special challenge to face. One parent may favor the unusual while another thinks only familiar names are suitable. If his list consists of Anne or Richard, and yours is more Chyna or Jaden type-names a compromise may be hard to reach but not impossible. One of you could chose the first name and the other the middle name. Agree to switch up the picking order with the next child.

Process of elimination

Some parents prepare a nice lengthy list of favorites and exchange lists. The other partner strikes off the names they despise, and circle their top choices. A new list consisting of both partners' top picks is drafted. The whittling process continues until one name is settled on.

Name Combinations

Sometimes you can combine elements of both partners' favorite picks. For instance if you really want a "K" name and your partner wanted to name your son Quentin after his favorite uncle, you could go with Kwynton. Or maybe you could hyphenate a first name out of your two top picks, like Rachel-Lynn or David-Adam. With boys, you don't even need to hyphenate as lots of boys use both their first and middle names.


Ask the opinions of a few trusted advisors. If they are only offering opinions and thoughts make sure they know the deal. This is especially true of relatives, particularly grandparents!

Listen carefully to their reasons for liking or not liking the names suggested. If lots of people hate the name you've chosen and cite similar specific reasons, they may have a valid point and one that your child will likely encounter forever.

Use Baby Name Polls

If you can relinquish the ultimate control in order to resolve the difficulty, let someone else, or perhaps a small committee, decide between your final options for the baby's name through the use of baby name polls. Be careful about who you choose however, especially if you were thinking of asking your parents but not his or a similarly emotionally-charged situation.

Coin toss

If it's down to two names, and you're willing to risk it with a coin toss, dart throw or some random choice, you might resolve the issue. However, this will only work if the partners can live with the outcome.

Give it the face test

Sometimes parents have narrowed the name list down to a couple names and wait for a final decision once the baby arrives. Seems crazy but occasionally the favorite choice doesn't seem quite right after baby's born. My son Kyle was going to be Isaiah until we laid eyes on him. Similarly, daughter Danika was nearly Devon.


Be wary of only choosing one gender's name, no matter how certain the sonographer was that your baby is for certain a boy. Have a favorite or a few favorites picked out for either a boy or girl to avoid a father's frantic trip to the bookstore for a name book while your fretting in the hospital.

Reality checks

Are you being open-minded, realistic and fair in choosing your baby's name? Would you want saddled with that name for life? Can you see any potential downsides to the name, such as unfair rhymes, names that are too big for normal human mouths or a name that sounds better fitted for a Viking princess than the Italian-Polish girl she is? Consider all the arguments for and against any name and live with the idea of the name awhile before becoming settled on it.

Katlyn Joy is a freelance writer, and just graduated with a Master of Arts in Creative Writing. She is mom to seven children, and lives in Denver, Colorado.

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