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Choosing a baby's name

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Having a baby is exciting. Once the child is born, you’ll be faced with a number of questions – is it a boy or a girl, how big was it and what is the baby’s name.

You may not have a lot of say in the gender or size of your baby, but the name is totally up to you and your partner. And it is a big decision to make for someone else.

Getting started

As soon as you know you’re expecting, or even sooner if you are planning children, you can start thinking about possible baby names.

Initially, there isn’t much pressure so you can just list every acceptable name you think of – don’t write down any names you hate, of course! You can find name ideas in many places, such as:

  • The credits for TV shows and movies
  • Characters in books, TV shows, movies, etc
  • Overheard conversations
  • Shop assistants’ names
  • Look up the name registry for names in Australia
  • Phone lists for any clubs or organizations you belong to
  • Your friends and acquaintances- and their friends and acquaintances
  • Lists of famous singers, authors, actors and so on

And that’s without even mentioning the baby name books and websites available now!

The long list…

After a while, you may have a pretty long list – or two long lists if you write a list separately to your partner! So it’s time to get a bit fussier by removing names that are only ok or won’t work with your family name.

If you and your partner do have separate lists, don’t forget to swap them occasionally so you can each cross off any names you hate from your partner’s list.

Time to chose

Once you have a list of only a few names you and your partner agree on, the hard work starts.

Look at each name separately and ask the following questions to see if it will stand up to your family and your baby.

  • How does it sound with your family name?
  • What will be the baby’s initials
  • What nicknames will the baby face? How do they go with your family name?
  • Is the name similar/the same as a family member? How will other relatives react to that?
  • Would you trust or respect an adult with that name?
  • Will that name be very popular at your child’s school?
  • What does the name mean?

And of course, you will have to do all of this for two names unless you know the sex of your baby already…

 Really stuck?

What happens if you narrow it down to a couple of names and you can’t decide between them? Well, maybe one name will feel better than the other once you see the baby – many parents have changed their minds once the baby arrives and ‘doesn’t look like a Mary’.

Alternatively, one of the following techniques may work for you…

  • Leave it to fate. If baby is born before 12 noon, give it one name, or give it the other name if born after noon
  • Try blending the names to make one. For instance, if you can’t choose between Joan and Anne, maybe Joanne will work for you
  • Use one name as the middle name instead – experiment to see which order sounds better
  • Ask for others’ opinions if you are very brave! You don’t necessarily need to go with the popular vote but it may show you what responses the baby will get later in life with a particular name

Remember that you don’t have to register the baby’s name immediately. Throughout Australia, you have until the baby is 60 days old before you must register their birth so you could take this time to get to know your baby and choose a name.


Tash Hughes is a Melbourne mother of four. She is the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content. Tash also writes articles for magazines, newsletter and websites.
© 2007, Tash Hughes

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