How to Name a Baby?

Updated on July 02, 2009
S.L. asks from Boise, ID
6 answers

My husband and I have major problems when it comes to picking a name for our kids. The big ultrasound is tomorrow, so hopefully we get to start the process again (if we can see the gender).

In the past, we've tried going through baby books and each writing out a list of name's we'd consider. But with the way my husband's brain works (he's an engineer and has a lot of preconceived ideas) that didn't work out too well. First of all, I'd have a list of 40+ names, and he'd come up with 7. And none of them matched. He chose his names based on being the shortest possible name, or having two letters in a row, etc. For example, he wanted Ty because how cool is it to only have two letters in your name? And Aaron, because how cool is it to have two A's in a row?

The other possible names on his list were all nicknames of football players, like Jim. Not James, but Jim. He also has impossibly outdated names on his list (no offense, anyone) like Nancy and Bob.

I've got to come up with a different method for this. We agree that we like traditional names, that are spelled the traditional way (I grew up having to spell out my first and last names constantly, it's a pain!) and that's about it. He's against family names, so that's not an option. He thinks they're "worn out."

Does anyone have any creative ways to help us get through this? I've considered letting him make a list and hoping there's something on there that I like (that way I don't get my heart set on anything just to have him crush my hope). But it's not all that different from what we've done before. And I'd really rather not argue about this like we have in the past.


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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the ideas, ladies!
I didn't list all the rules my husband has. I have ONE rule, that isn't even entirely written in stone. I don't want a name that ends with L, the first letter in our last name. Because the sounds run together.
His rules are that it can't be longer than six letters, and he thinks that we should name the baby what we'll call it (no-nicknames). That wouldn't have been a problem if his parents and mine hadn't taken all my favorites! They took Kelly, Todd, Sarah, Laura, Scott, Anna and Ryan. We could have used all of those happily to name quite a large family, but they're all out! He won't reuse a name (and I probably wouldn't, either, unless it was from a grandparents' or higher generation), except he seems to think that there's no problem naming a son Aaron when we have a SIL (who's quite close to us) named Erin.

But most of his preferences are arbitrary, like most peoples are. You just like it or you don't.
By the way, I REALLY HATE TY as a name. And he won't compromise for Tyler or Tyson (which I don't really like, either, but they're better) and I really hate the fact that he is naming a kid after Ty Detmer (football players are NOT heroes in my book! Even if they won the Heisman!)

I haven't quite decided what to do. But I have some ideas that will hopefully narrow things down and open up his mind!

Oh, and I still appreciate more input, even though I've written "what happened." Keep the ideas comin'!

More Answers



answers from Missoula on

Hi S.,
I think I have an idea what you are dealing with, my husband and I had a really hard time selecting a name for our son. He has some really rigid ideas about names, for example, my sister's name is Maggi. Just Maggi, not Margaret, and it's spelled without the "e" at the end. As far as my hubby is concerned, this is totally outrageous. Any name that was the least bit unique, or spelled differently was out, as were any names that were even a little ethnic-sounding. We were left with a pretty short list to work from. In the end, I decided I really liked the name Harry. Simple, traditional, seems like it would have been right up hubby's alley, right? Wrong. Apparently it was too short, my husband considered it "a nickname." We finally agreed on Harrison, which made both of us happy, and was definitely the right choice for our little guy.
I would suggest trying to have him make a list of his favorites, and see if there is anything you like. If there isn't, maybe negotiate with the middle name? You pick the first name, he picks the middle, or something like that? One other little thing that I found helpful was to point out names I liked to my husband anytime I heard one, I would just mention the name and talk about why I liked it, and how it would work with our last name. It seemed that the more he thought about names the more he opened his mind about names for our baby. It may also help to find some common ground on names you both dislike, sometime once you can agree on what you don't want it can be easier to agree on what you do.
Good luck with the name and the rest of your pregnancy!



answers from Casper on

Some things I have heard are that short names are more popular for boys. think one syllable, they matched up pictures with names and inevitably the ones with shorter, one syllable names got higher ratings. Positive things in a name can help people be successful and even live longer, according to statistics. Doctors spent 5 minutes longer discussing patients whose surnames were at the beginning of the alphabet. Weird, but true. The double A, or Ty are both good names under these rules. Also consider your last name and that names that have a positive meaning are also best, and names that have negatives are hurtful. Best of luck.



answers from Denver on

It can be tough to agree - I've been there. I ended up getting to name #1 (at least my preference and he had veto power!). Then we reversed the plan for #2. I love both names and it worked for us.

Maybe you can choose 10 names each - then the other picks the one of the list. If it's a girl - use your list of names. If it's a boy - use his.... although you might need to decide that before tomorrow's ultrasound. How exciting! Good luck.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Coming up with names is very difficult. It's something they live with for the rest of their lives. When we had our first child, we discussed names at first and settled on a girl's name right off the bat. Of course we found out we were having a boy. I had a list of probably 20 names and my husband came to me with a list of probably 7. We each had the right to veto any name. I only liked one name on his list, the very first one and that ended up being the name we gave our son. I picked out the middle name because it was a name I'd always loved and it went well with our son's first and last name.

In a strange course of events, we took one name out of the running on the way to hospital to have our first child and decided that would be the name our second child would have. Yep, we'd named our second child before we had even had our first. When it came time to name our second child, we still agreed on the same name, but we were having a hard time deciding on a middle name, until my sister came up with a suggestion and it worked well.

We have friends who agreed that the husband would name all their boys and the wife their girls. They ended up with three boys and now the wife regrets going that route because they don't plan on having any more children.

Anyway, I think once you find out the sex, that will help. If writing a list doesn't work, then start looking everywhere for names like the end of movie credits, magazines, books, etc. Then bring up any name that interests you. You never know where a name is going to pop up that you both like.

Good luck and best wishes!



answers from Denver on

We have friends who let him name a boy and her a girl. He got the boy, so next baby is hers to name. Hope you figure something out!



answers from Salt Lake City on

Do you have the book "The Baby Name Wizard"? In my opinion, it's the only name book worth looking at. It's not just another dictionary--the author has categorized names and then listed sibling name suggestions with them. So, you could say "I like everything in this category," to narrow it down, or look closely at the suggested names for brothers and sisters, since you already have managed to name two kids.
Your husband doesn't sound THAT crazy, probably because I live with MY husband, who kept declaring that certain names "sounded fat," or "stripper-ish" or "like a kid who gets picked on," but rarely came up with his own ideas. (Sigh.)
I bet some of the categories in the Baby Name Wizard will appeal to both of you--some of them are just as arbitrary as your hubby's preferences--there's a "short and sweet" category that has names such as "Ty." There's a Web site, too, but it mainly lists names according to popularity in the U.S. The book has a lot more info and is definitely worth borrowing or buying.
Best wishes and congrats on your growing family!

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