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Baby Naming Tips

How to pick a Name

The suggested method involves generating lists of names you and your partner love and then narrowing down the lists based on how well the names might work for your baby. It's a fun, easy way to come up with a name that has special meaning but is practical as well. Let's get started.

Step 1: Make a List of Names with Special Meaning

Make a list of names to consider by writing down your answers to the following questions.

Popular Names
What are your favorite names from the most recent Top 100 lists? What are your favorite names from the lists of most popular names over the past 50 years? If any of your relatives' names appear in the popularity lists from previous generations, what are your favorites?

Names around the World
What country are your parents or grandparents from? What country are you and your partner from?
If any of your relatives' names appear in the international lists, what are your favorites?
What are your favorite names that are currently popular in other countries?
What language (s) do you speak?
Where did you honeymoon?
Where do you like to vacation?
Where did you conceive?

Impressions Names Make
What might your baby's personality be like?
How might your baby look physically?
What impression would you like your baby's name to make about him/her?

Names Inspired by People, Places, and Things
Who are your favorite literary figures?
Who are your favorite historical figures?
Who are your favorite figures from religion and mythology?
Who are your favorite figures from movies and television?
Who are your favorite musicians? What are your favorite songs?
Who are your favorite sports figures?
What are your favorite natural elements and places?
What are your favorite trades?
What are your favorite pieces of pop culture?
What are your favorite other ideas for names (last names as first names, old-fashioned names, etc.)?

Once you answer these questions, turn to the Girls' Names and Boys' Names sections to find interesting spellings or variations based on the names from your list.

Step 2: Narrow the List Based on What Will Work Best for Your Baby

Now that you've each created a list based on personal considerations, it's time to narrow them down based on practical considerations. This way, you'll choose a name that works well for you and for your baby. You may love a particular name, but if it doesn't hold up to these basic criteria, your baby probably won't love it. It can be unpleasant going through fife with a name that for whatever reason doesn't work for you.

Make enough copies of the table on the following page for each name on your list. Have your partner do the same. Rate each name on twelve factors. Example: Consider popularity for the name Jacob - if you think there might be too many Jacobs in his school, check "too popular." Consider nicknames - if you love Jake, check "appealing." Another example: Consider sound for the name Rafael - if it's music to your ears, check "pleasing." Consider its fit with your last name - if you don't think it goes so well with Abramovitz, check "doesn't fit."

When you've completed the table, add up the score by giving three points for every check in the Positive column, two points for every check in the Neutral column, and one point for every check in the Negative column. Scoring each name might help make the subjective process of selecting a name more objective to you.

(Note: If you're pinched for time, mentally complete the table for each name, keeping track of a rough score. The important part is to narrow the list to your top five boys' and girls' names.)

1. Spelling easy medium hard
2. Pronunciation easy medium hard
3. Sound pleasing okay unpleasing
4. Last Name fits well fits okay doesn't fit
5. Gender ID clear neutral unclear
6. Nicknames appealing okay unappealing
7. Popularity not too popular popular too popular
8. Uniqueness not too unique unique too unique
9. Impression positive okay negative
10. Namesakes positive okay negative
11. Initials pleasing okay unpleasing
12. Meaning positive okay negative

Final Score: __________

Step 3: Make the Final Choice

List your top five boys' and girls' names in the chart below, and have your partner do the same. It's now time to share the names. If you have names in common, compare your scores; perhaps average them. If you have different names on your lists, swap names and rate them using the same table as before. In the end, you'll have a handful of names that work well for you, your partner, and your baby. Now all you have to do is make the final decision.
Good luck!

Mom's Top 5 Names

1. Mom's Score: __________   Dad's Score: __________
2. Mom's Score: __________   Dad's Score: __________
3. Mom's Score: __________   Dad's Score: __________
4. Mom's Score: __________   Dad's Score: __________
5. Mom's Score: __________   Dad's Score: __________

Dad's Top 5 Names

1. Dad's Score: __________   Mom's Score: __________
2. Dad's Score: __________   Mom's Score: __________
3. Dad's Score: __________   Mom's Score: __________
4. Dad's Score: __________   Mom's Score: __________
5. Dad's Score: __________   Mom's Score: __________
Anna (Girl)
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