Here’s what I tell parents: it depends. If you have two or three names that you like equally, and can imagine feel content with any of them, then making the final decision in the hours or days after your child is born might make sense.
But don’t wait if:
- You and your partner are miles apart on names. Odds are you’re just avoiding a difficult conversation. (I totally get this.) Some women are euphoric post-birth. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve been exhausted, overwhelmed, emotional, even angry. Blissful, sure. But mixed in with a lot of hard stuff, too. Making a big decision at such a moment might feel impossible.
- You’re dug in on a name your partner has vetoed and are hoping for a change of heart. Yes, it happens. But what if, even post-birth, your partner still isn’t gung-ho on naming the baby after Great Aunt Drusilla? It’s not going to get any easier.
- Or you’re avoiding the conversation because you don’t want to give in to your partner’s favorite name. See all of the above. Often this is about family traditions – which, by definition – only apply to half of the new child’s family. If there is massive pressure to name your baby Gerald Huntington IV, let me assure you that it’s not any easier when excited grandparents start referring to your still-unnamed-son as little Gerry.
- Nothing feels right, and you’re waiting for inspiration. We’ve all been there. But it’s still better to narrow your list to a few maybes in advance.
When in doubt, do the work.
This applies to so many things in life. (And it’s a struggle!) But we all know when we’re avoiding something because it feels hard … and we also know that starting? That’s the toughest part. Have the challenging conversation. Make the list of names that feel okay, even if they don’t wow you. Working through a decision is always better than avoiding it.
What’s your best advice for someone who’s feeling stuck?
Casual nickname names as middles can be charming. Like this one in a recent British Baby Names birth announcement list: Adelaide Coco Elizabeth. Lately, I’m warming to combinations like Donovan Joey and Margot Annie. After all, if you’re honoring a beloved grandma Annie with your daughter’s middle name, maybe using Anna or Anne instead would diminish the meaning. Substance over style.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … Christmas Name Advent! Elea is running her annual look at names inspired by the season, starting with Robin. It’s a series to put you in the holiday mood, even while we’re all stuck inside.
Thanks to much to the lovely SJ for mentioning my list of 1921 girl names on her channel! Better still, she talks about her favorites from a British perspective. I always love learning about the subtle differences in naming from here to there.
X and Z are the new power letters. Namerology digs into parents’ rising preference for these two letters as go-to spelling substitutes. The big question, maybe … which Z-for-S spelling will be the first to become so common we forget it was every spelled differently. (After all, Kaitlyn started out as Caitlin.)
That’s all for this week! If you can’t get enough name chatter, please subscribe to my Tuesday newsletter, which is filled with more lists and thoughts about all things naming.