Sunday Summary: 12.6.20Did you wait to choose a name until you met your baby?

Should you?

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?

Elsewhere online:

No sooner did I publish my 2020 Celebrity Baby Names round-up than another dazzling choice makes headlines. Welcome to the world, Mint! She’s the daughter of Dutch model Romee Strijd.

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.

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boy names 12.6.20 girl names 12.6.20

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My parents couldn’t decide on a name so I spent 3 days nameless before they finally picked one. Mom still has name regret and I’ve tried to make sure we have a name for the baby well before the due date so I don’t have the same trouble… Though we didn’t settle on our daughter’s name spelling until about a week before she was born.

    1. Some couples insist that it’s easier to decide when the baby arrives … but I think that’s really only true if you were *thisclose* to a decision in advance. Spellings can be tough, too! My husband and I agreed on a name for our daughter … and then, days later, realized we hadn’t discussed how to spell it. Must happen ALL the time!

  2. Abby, your advice about hard conversations, especially when partners have different naming styles, is A++. That’s precisely why my husband and I are in a constant state of naming. It was super stressful to be expecting and unable to agree on anything. It’s a good thing too because in the last few years we have only agreed on one boy name.

    1. Thanks, Megan – and yes, my husband and I did NOT agree on names easily. So it was important to have at least an idea well before we had to make a decision!

  3. We waited 2 days after my son’s birth to name him. We only had 2 names on our short list and were hoping he would be born and ‘look’ like one of the names. I didn’t want to rush it as I’d had an emergency c-section and was a bit out of it. But it was hard to determine which name was his! Finally we had a moment of clarity and saw he was an Elijah not a Theodore 🙂 Thanks Abby for your blog which has provided much inspiration.