Pregnancy and you blog

Baby names: Picking the perfect name

By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M. September 24, 2013

When I was a girl, my friends and I liked to play house. First, we would decide which Beatle we'd be married to and then we'd name our children. Looking back, the names we chose — Cathy, Patty, Theresa, Thomas, Joseph — were pretty traditional.

Today, it seems that many people choose baby names that are exotic or unusual. That might be true or it might be that now we hear names we never would have before the dawn of social media. Twenty-five years ago would we have had a reason to know baby North West?

I have been working with newborn babies and their moms since I was 16 years old. During those years I have heard a lot of baby names and seen a number of naming trends. As a result, I've developed some recommendations. For example:

  • Consider the common nickname. If you name your child Edward, someone is going to call him Eddie. Also, consider what your child is likely to be called on the playground.
  • Reconsider unusual spellings. When I named my daughter Aimee I chose the French spelling because it translates to 'beloved'. Sounds good, except Aimee never had a pencil or a bike license plate with her name on it. Few people ever spelled her name right, either.
  • Skip the puns and political statements. Your child will have to live with and up to this name. Perhaps there are better ways to share a joke or your beliefs than naming your baby Misty Dawn Frost or Recycle Herman. And there are already more Harley Davidsons out there than you can imagine.
  • Try it out. Call it out the back door. Say it fast. Say it slow. Yell the first, middle and last name together as one word.
  • Check the initials. B.U.T., P.I.G., A.S.S. You might consider checking the initials in monogram form, too.
  • Seek meaning. Choose a name that means something to you and your partner.

Remember, your baby's name is going to follow him or her through life. It will appear on his or her resume. He or she will likely have to explain how you came up with it — in some cases over and over again.

Whatever you decide, I can guarantee this: I will always think your baby is beautiful and that the name you choose is perfect for your baby.

Sept. 24, 2013