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Finding Inspiration for Your Baby's Name

Katlyn Joy |30, March 2014


One of my favorite possessions is a faded blue and pink hardcover book, mostly missing its cover now. It was my mother's and she bought it when she was pregnant with me. It is my favorite name book, for both sentimental and exhaustive reasons.

As a young aspiring novelist and short story writer, and a very young girl, I was thumbed through the pages and say the names aloud, then read the meanings and from those names chosen a story would arise.

Later in life it also gave me the odd trivia gift, "Oh Matthew? Gift of God. Katherine? The pure."

Now I doubt many people are the name-geek I am, so when it comes to baby naming, most people feel a bit under pressure. After all you are choosing the name your child will be called for his or her whole entire lifelong life. A daunting task, indeed.

You will want to choose a name with a nice flow that works well with the surname. Maybe it reflects part of your child's ethnic heritage. Perhaps you want to pay homage to a relative or other revered person. You want it to mean something pleasant and meaningful, rather than something like, "the crooked nosed."

Where to Find Baby Names

Besides the books on the name shelf at the bookstore, scour libraries or relatives' shelves for older name books. Read the credits for movies and television programs, or the liner notes of CDs. Not just for star names, but maybe the gaffer in the film has a great handle.

Consider other treasure troves. Plant and flower names are often lovely choices. Place names are another source of names. Look at atlases for inspiration, especially of your family's homeland.

There are myriad websites devoted to the topic including right here at Baby Corner. I would recommend getting a few confirmations on the meaning of any particular name, however. It would be terrible to chose a name because you trusted a site that said it meant "brave warrior," when a little checking would reveal later it actually meant, "the sinister and sly."

You could do like far too many do, and opt for names that wind up in tabloids or from characters of popular movies, books or TV shows. Those are fine, but remember; if you heard it and thought it was a cool name, hundreds of thousands of other women heard the same thing. If you don't mind your child having to include his or her last name initial throughout school to keep separate from the half-dozen other kids with the same name, go ahead.

Other places to name hunt? How about looking up crazy Aunt Louise who is the genealogy nut of the family? Scan the family tree for names that have a special meaning to your tribe.

Some people might dump up a giant box of Crayons and get inspired. Sienna. Mauve. Azure. Who knows?

The old standby, the big phone book, is a bit of an outdated device but the kernel of the idea still stands. Read through registries of names for ideas.

7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Name:

1. The way it sounds said aloud. The whole name. Some people seem to never have tried it out before hand and end up with tongue twisters.

2. Consider how the ethnicities blend between first and last name.

3. Is there any horrible villain from the annals of history with the name? If you aren't good at history, do a web search to make certain you aren't naming your child after a bloodthirsty dictator or infamous prostitute.

4. Look at how the initials read. Do they spell a bad or silly word?

5. Remember this baby will not always be a baby. Can you imagine someone calling a grown man or woman the name you've picked out? Dandelion may be cute now, calling her Dandie but what if poor Dandelion wants to be a lawyer someday, instead of running a glass blowing shop?

6. Don't rely on celebrities for advice on this area. They live in a bubble all their own where you can be an Apple or Moon Unit and live well. Your child does not live in La-La Land.

7. Choose something that feels right. And then pick a couple more for good measure, just in case when you peer into that perfect little face for the first time and realize he is not a Justin.

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