Into the Unknown: Basic Guide for an Awesome Baby Name

Picking a name for your baby is an unknown territory especially if you’re a new parents-to-be. It can quickly turn from fun to overwhelming.

You have a lot to think about. How would it sound with your last name or look on a college application? Will my child be bullied?

Plus, everyone seems to have their opinion.

It can be challenging to balance personal preferences with family naming traditions. After all, choosing a baby’s name is both your privilege and responsibility.

But, dread not! If you’re stuck between trend and tradition, we’re here to help you decide on the perfect baby name.

Here’s the complete basic guide to kickstart your baby-naming adventure.


Baby Naming Basics: Don’t fall into that ‘Trap’!

That kind of ‘Baggage’

Soon-to-be parents may hit a wall when choosing a name for their child. One might like a certain name but your partner is against it. The reason behind this is that names hold on much deeper and powerful emotions than we realize; and many parents were simply not expecting to encounter such feelings on the subject. Liam might sound sexy and innocent name to you but it may have been your partner’s worst enemy in his childhood.

Some names have an emotional effect on you or your partner, meaning you are likely hard-wired against it. So be vocal with your partner if you have certain names you don’t like and listen to them as well. As they say “Communication is the Key”.

The Family Business

Choosing a baby name might be exciting to you but also to your extended family. They might feel that it’s their “duty” to join the naming process and this can easily go south if you won’t see eye to eye. Here’s a tip if ever you found yourself in that tricky situation, don’t tell them what baby name you picked until after your child is born. In this way they will be more focused on the little bundle of joy and you can easily wiggle out the baby naming problem.

Stored Name Phenomenon

According to Leslie Dunkling, an authoritative author when it comes to names, some girls at age 12 to 13 have already decided on what to call their future children.

There was a popular TV show in America involving three heroes, Jeremy, Jason, and Joshua. Years later when their fans started to have kids, these names appeared in great numbers. While there’s no harm on that, but you might want to consider your partner’s choice as well.

DON’T Go Overboard!

You may have a good intention picking up the name Covid Bryant for your child or Corona, but imagine how others would react. Your child may be teased about it growing up. Also, some countries will have to approve of your baby’s name. There was a case in Brazil where a father was banned from naming his child “Saddam Hussein”.

The challenge here is to choose a great name that even the government can’t disapprove of!

It’s not always about YOU!

Let’s face it, coming up with a unique name is a-game-that-must-not-be-named among parents. Much more than they care to admit parents are sending a signal through the name they gave to their child. A signal that sends out how hip or culturally aware they are, sometimes it can be at the expense of their child’s future.

In the 1940s, a Venezuelan communist sympathizer named his three sons Vladimir, Lenin, and Ilich. Young Ilich grew up with an international left-wing terrorist nicknamed Carlos the Jackal.

So, parents, it’s always okay if you want to impress your family through a baby name that you will come up for your child and we are here to help you find it.

Problems with “Junior” 

There was a time when naming a child after a parent was common or compulsory to do so. No wonder why John is a very common name in 1377, where 35 percent of English males are called by it. However, there are two problems with naming a child after an alive parent.

First, a simple confusion that arises concerning personal information like having a credit card. Second, naming a child after a parent is questionably to be in the child’s best interest as suggested by the researcher.

A research led by psychology professor Zweigenhaft at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina; concluded that a child having Jr. attached to it might question their own identity. Interestingly, this problem doesn’t seem to affect children having a roman numeral at the end of their names like I, II, III, and IV.

The researcher speculated that having the Roman numeral in their name can be interpreted that the bearer may feel special, he may believe that he is part of a tradition; a valuable link in a long chain. In contrast, having a Jr. attached to the child’s name reminds the bearer that his title meant that he is younger, smaller, and lesser than the person he is named after.

A child needs to see their own individuality and one way to help them do that is to give them their own name.

Baby Naming Basics: Things to Consider

Keep it in Tune!

The first thing to consider is if the name sounds pleasant. Do you have that warm cozy feeling when you hear and say the name? Or does it turn you off?

Second, does it go well with your surname? Or does it flow into your last name?

Lastly, is it easy to pronounce or spell out? You don’t want your preschooler to be having a hard time writing his or her name out.

It is actually easy to find a harmonious name for your child if you follow certain rules.

First, if your surname starts with a vowel you might want to avoid a name that will end with one. Like Cynthia Adams or Lara Onder.

It’s a problem as well if the last letter of the first name and the first letter of the surname is the same. Like Jonas Smith or Krystal Landon. These names just don’t slip off the tongue easily.

Also, it’s best to steer clear with names that have a similar effect when whole syllable sounds are repeated. Ray Murray and Darwin Unwin. People may not get your child’s name if you spoke it quickly. The rationale behind this is people often associate names that they hear for the first time to sounds that are familiar to them.  

Usual or Unique?

Choosing between usual or unique name hang on your surname. It’s often best to choose the first name with a little finesse: like Aphrodite or Kailani. But choosing an unusual name is also a double-edged-sword.

According to a psychology professor and naming expert, Helen Petrie, people with unusual name finds it a hassle to have them, particularly when they are growing up. They were usually teased at schools, however, as adults they say their name is distinct and makes them stand out from a crowd.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has the same sentiment, which may explain why she calls her own child Apple. As the researcher simply puts it “Parents are eager to stand out, but kids are still perfectly happy to fit in.”

Contrarily, having a long or unusual surname will generally sound better with a simple name like Anna MacQuiod for example.

The ‘STRESS’ of syllables

The matter with syllables boils down to two parts: which syllable is emphasized and how many syllables are in each name. The golden rules are: first, it’s best to have different numbers of syllables in each name. Charles Dankworth sounds better than Charleston Dankworth. Depending on the sex of your child, it is best to have stress on the first syllable of each name, like the example Charles Dankworth. And lastly, if you have a surname with just one syllable, the first name with two or more will likely sound best – mostly for girls. For example, Amanda Smith or Xyleena Tan.

The thing about syllables is that once you master them you can easily avoid their danger.

 

Cultural Roots

Another consideration would be your ethnic heritage. You may want to look up names that speak of your cultural background.

Sometimes, it’s ‘easier’ to pick baby names because family tradition sets the tone. Some adorable gender-neutral names drawn from culture are Aki (Japanese), Lei (Chinese/Hawaiian), and Kai (Greek/Hawaiian/Navajo).

Or your family may have emigrated from Russia or the Middle East, in which case you might prefer something in line with your heritage.

Andrei and Ivan might just be two of our favorite Russian baby boy names. While for girls, Sophia, Misha, and Natasha make the cut.

Meaning

What does your baby mean to you? Is he a miracle? A gift from God?

Perhaps, she brings joy and purpose to your life.

Giving your baby a meaningful name shows how much you care. You took the time and effort to find that name that stands for something. Besides, a meaningful name shows everyone what you value.

You might also think about qualities you’d like your baby to possess. While there’s no guarantee he or she’ll live up to it, it’s a good reminder to have.

Longevity

While you may possibly want to have your cute little baby stay that way forever, he or she will grow up. So, you need to pick a timeless name and ages well.

Poppy, Timmy, and Princess are delightful baby names or nicknames, but they might cause issues in the long run. He or she may have some difficulty finding a job or be taken seriously at work.

Initials and Nicknames

Do the initials of the first, middle, and last names spell anything? You might want to reconsider naming your baby ‘Harmony Ava’ no matter how melodious it sounds if your surname starts with ‘G.’

While we’re at it, think about possible taunts your child’s name or nickname may have.

First, run it through a rhyme test. Think of words that end with a similar sound. Kids can be really clever. Don’t want sweaty Betty or odd Todd, right?

Next, think of any popular songs or movies that can be used to make fun of your little one. Her middle school classmates might be singing and dancing Billie Jean while your daughter named Jean enters the classroom. Yes, that’s not what you want.

Once your tentative baby name passes these tests, it’s time to find out if this name has a two-in-one function. Does it already have a nice nickname you love? Or would you need a middle name to complement it?

Siblings

Lastly, think about the present or future siblings. There’s this new concept of sibling sets or sib sets. It’s having a set of names that have much the same style and feel.

Some might find it exciting to have a theme. We know of couples who use the initials of their first names in their children’s names. Some parents look for a certain ending syllable such as ‘-ie’ or ‘-ed.’

But please, don’t overdo it. Kelly and Shelly may not like their rhyming names.

You might also want to go with names from a certain category. For example, a classic name sib set for twins might be Elizabeth and Isabella.  Their nicknames could be Liz and Bella.

Steps in Picking An Awesome Name for Your Baby

1. Discuss this with your partner

Since naming a child is a joint responsibility, it would be good to talk this over with your partner.

Ask for their opinions on the things to consider. Perhaps, he’s thinking of naming your son after his grandfather Owen who was a war hero. Listen and understand where his heart is.

You could also put together your favorite names to make one that you both love. Go for a win-win!

2. Do your homework

This will be a breeze because BabyNamesPedia has an extensive online database of boy and girl names organized systematically into categories. You could start with the alphabet and work your way through our themes.

We do our best to make baby-naming fun and enjoyable for you! By the way, we have an ‘add to shortlist’ button which you can use when narrowing down to your perfect baby name.

You just might find a few that stand out and feel right for your baby. Before you make your final decision, it’s a good idea to run these baby names against the points we mentioned above.

It’s also advisable to know the trends and popularity of the name. You may want to steer clear of names of high-profile celebrities or those that are too common. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even want to run a poll on your social media to see which name resonates with your followers.

3. Wait Until You Meet Your Little One

Some parents like to go on standby until they see their baby face-to-face before deciding on the right name. Somehow, they could tell what name suits their little darling best. You could have a list of names prepared beforehand and when it’s time, you’ll know.

Baby Name: Ideas and Inspiration

Time Period

You could draw inspiration for your baby’s name from the past or the present.

Let’s dive in.

Medieval Baby Names

The Middle Ages or the Medieval Times is from 500 AD to 1500 AD. It got its name being the period between the downfall of the Roman Empire and the modern period. This is the time of knights, jousting, castles, warriors, and ladies in waiting.

So many names were used during these 1000 years, but it’s interesting to know that surnames were related to one’s occupation. For instance, John the Smith became John Smith. And babies were named after their chief grandparents!

By the 12th century, the names from the ruling Normans were common – Robert, William, Matilda, and Joan.  But there are so many other beautiful and enduring medieval names that can fit a baby born today.

Classic Baby Names

When we talk about classics, we usually refer to exceptional masterpieces from the Greek, Roman, and other ancient civilizations.

For baby names, we could refer to those from the Bible or of an earlier time period. So, we can have classic baby names from the Victorian era to the rockin’ 50s. In a broader sense, traditional baby names have been around for a long while but are still captivating 20th– century parents.

Biblical names are popular these days since parents are looking for names that are meaningful yet out of the ordinary. On the other hand, vintage, or retro baby names are those that are sophisticated or cool for their time. Some classic baby names have evolved into variations that have a modern appeal.

Gender-neutral Baby Names

Now, you could also search for trendy names for your baby. One category that’s all the rage is gender-neutral names. These are also called epicene, androgynous, or unisex baby names.

These are names that are suitable for both girls and boys. They are common in English-speaking countries.

The trend has been growing in popularity in the last decade or so, especially in the US. The rise may be from the influence of mainstream media and celebrities.

Celebrity Baby Names

For celebrities, whatever trending is fair game, even if their children are named after a color (Jay Z and Beyonce’s Blue Ivy) or an occupation (Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf’s Pilot Inspektor).

Celebrity baby names can somehow get away with sounding strange yet cool (it’s called being unique!). Think Maddox and Shiloh!

We love our celebrities. So when someone like Miranda Kerr decides to have her son sport a name like Hart, you can be sure we’re digging it. Might you be, too?

Royal Baby Names

Who doesn’t want a touch of royalty in their baby’s name? Royal baby names have caused such a stir in naming trends in recent years.

From princesses to queens, we’re all fascinated by the luxury and prestige of royalty. We are drawn to them, and many parents continue that connection through their baby’s name.

Millennial-Inspired Names

Millennials, also known as Gen Y, are individuals born from 1981 to 1996. Millennials are born into the digital age of technology.

When it comes to baby names, many millennial parents are becoming bolder and creative with their choices. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that this is related to the quest for individuality and the need to stand out. Some millennials have named their children after salad ingredients, video games, and even Instagram filters.

Events

After considering the trendy names, you could go for names that are based on events. If the holidays make you feel giddy, check out baby names related to New Year’s, Independence Day, Christmas, or even Halloween.

Lastly, you could opt for names that are considered unique. Some parents may want a name that stands out in the crowd.

Interests

Nature

What catches your fancy? Is it nature? You could look for names that go with the seasons (winter, spring, summer, or fall) or those that are as brilliant as gemstones. How about Sapphire, Ruby, or Jade for your little girl?

Maybe you’d like your baby to have a name inspired by celestial bodies. If you’re an environmentalist, you could look for animal names or those that represent land and water formations.

Perhaps you might like to have colors for a name. Ash or Indigo for your son?

Food

A fun way to name a child would be based on food, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter named Apple. There are fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, and even desserts that could be baby names.

Places

Places you or your loved ones came from, grew up in, holidayed in, or met other wonderful people in—these locations may hold the key to the perfect baby names.

Sydney and Brooklyn have topped the charts for quite some time, and we expect Kanye and Kim’s choice of Chicago to ride the wave of popularity too.

Increasingly, baby girl names inspired by some exotic locations like Avalon and Catalina are making a splash. And don’t they sound awesome too?

So, whether it’s a city, village, or town — your favorite places could be the final pit stop to your name selection process.

Sports

If you’re a die-hard sports fan or an athlete yourself, you might consider naming your little one after a favorite sportsman.

You might like your little trooper to grow up loving sports too. Perhaps you’d like your little daughter to have that competitive spirit. Giving your baby a sports-inspired name can be a powerful way of encouraging them towards that path.

Culture

This could be a treasure trove of inspiration for baby names. Music, literature, movies, languages, astrology, and TV shows all influence baby names today. For instance, some cool and interesting names could come from your favorite books, Netflix shows, or even Bollywood movies.

Preferred Character or Personality Traits

Whether courage, generosity, or joy, there are tons of names to suit every trait and taste. Hope, Faith, and Love are common examples.

There are even names that mean negative traits. Take, for example, Leah, which means ‘weary,’ or Claudia, which is the female form of the Latin name, Claudius, which means ‘lame.’

Yes, certain cultures deliberately choose to give their children negative names as a custom to discourage attention from evil spirits. For some Chinese and African families, this is one custom that dies hard even with 21st-century modernity.

And a side note: We’re not sure what is the motivation behind naming any baby ‘an evil man,’ but there’s a Germanic name, Ubel, for that too.

And One Final Point…

Wherever you are on your name picking journey, always, always consider how baby names sound when they are read out in full before settling on a winner.

There will always be names worse than Chris P. Bacon, so run a check on the acronyms too while you’re at it.