Bradley and I actually chose our favorite boys and girls names almost a year ago, long before we were ready for kids. So we have both a boy’s name and a girl’s name already chosen.
There are millions of names in the world, and if you live in a country like the United States that does not have restrictions on naming, you may find yourself wondering how you can choose the perfect name for a baby that will one day grow into his or her own person.
I have loved names since I was in middle school, probably because I love to write fictional stories and choosing the right names for characters was a fun challenge. One of the first books I ever bought at a Goodwill was a 25,000+ baby names when I was eleven, and I used that book so much that it literally fell to pieces! Though naming a fictional character and naming a real life human may have some similarities, it is also different.
Like many, I have slowly developed my own naming preferences over the years. Certain names, whether based on sound or meaning or spelling, rose higher on my favorite list and other names, perhaps due to a jump in popularity, sank lower.
There are many different methods for choosing baby names. Some couples decide on names long in advance, others take suggestions from family after announcing the genders, and some cannot decide until after the little bundle of joy has arrived. No one method is correct, and everyone will find a way to name a child that works for them.
Bradley and I choose our names long in advance. Less than a year into our marriage, Bradley and I decided to throw about names and come to a consensus on our style. I scoured the baby name sites, used generators to find similar names, looked up origins and meanings, and came up with a short list that I read aloud to Bradley. He either approved or rejected names and threw in some of his own.
Naming a human being can be a bit challenging. After all, this is a name that this little one will most likely carry with him or her from infancy throughout their life. You begin to wonder: Will s/he like the name when s/he is older? Is it good/cute for a little kid but would it also work for a professional applying for a job? Will it fit his/her personality?
Eventually, we whittled our preferences down and created a style that fit us. We actually decided on two boys names and three girls names, so we were ready whenever we would get pregnant. This gave us time to figure out what naming style we preferred without pressure, and when we did find out we were expecting, we already had names we loved!
No, I will not be sharing our specific name choices yet. (No spoilers!)
I will, however, say that Bradley and I discovered that we like classic names that are familiar but not overly popular. We also like slightly longer names that allow for multiple nickname options, so the child will be able to choose what he or she wants to be called as they grow older. This tip I took from my mom. She named my sisters and I all three syllable names with nickname options, and this has definitely been useful to my sisters who both had extremely popular names.
Anyway, we are both very satisfied with our boy and girl name choices, and we sometimes call the baby by both (m/f) to get used to hearing the names and nicknames. We will be finding out the gender in a few weeks.
Here are some fun name resources for the curious.
Swistle is fun because she gives out naming advice, and is especially good at providing options on naming siblings. Her advice is thoughtful and diverse, and she encourages her readers to share their naming tips, too. It is just fun to read.
Social Security Administration: Baby Names
The site shares the top most popular baby names in the United States by year. Also available is downloading a list, with the numbers, of every single name registered with Social Security. It is quite hefty to wade threw, but also interesting as you can see spelling variations and some truly bizarre names.
Baby Name Genie
A random name generator that comes up with some funny combinations. It is more good for a laugh. 🙂
And the usual sites that give names, origins, meanings, and sometimes popularity:
Behind the Name
One of my favorite naming sites. It seems more reliable than some of the others.
This site has some fun lists of names, like “Classic Boy Names” or “Spunky Girl Names”.