The 1-2-3 Search For Your New Babys Name

By: Leslie Sprankling

The Think Tank

Get the views of your spouse/partner, your family, your spouse’s family, and all your friends. Write down all the names suggested. This is diplomatic because, even if you have no intention of naming your child after your father’s uncle Mangelwurzel, they’ll all think you are considering their wishes or suggestions.

Both parents need to set aside time with no interruptions, at a time when you are both relaxed and with clear minds, to consider the names that appeal to you and write them on a piece of paper. You will also want to discuss and eliminate all the unattractive names suggested by well meaning relatives and friends. Even if you think you know the gender of your baby (scans can be wrong), you should select a name for both boy and girl, even a unisex name.

? You may want to honor a favorite aunt, grandparent or close friend.
? You may want to choose a name with a religious meaning.
? Or perhaps you have heard a name before and thought to yourself that’s a nice name.
? Or you may want the name to have a specific meaning, for example ‘strong,’ or ‘precious.’ If this is your idea, then buy a book of name meanings, or do an internet search, or even look it up in a book at your local library.

Next, you should study the most popular baby names lists for the last few years. These will give you a good list of names that are being used. For a growing child, conformity can be a comfort, and while Mangelwurzel may appeal strongly to you, your son has to go through kindy and many years of school with a host of John’s, Billy’s, Roger’s, Derek’s, Peter’s and Tom’s. You will do your son a disservice if you make him an object of ridicule by saddling him with an outrageous name.

Another reason for checking the list of popular names is that many names that you thought were unique are actually very popular. We named our youngest daughter Emily because we liked the name, it is very feminine, but also because it is an old fashioned name that we thought had gone out of style. We were surprised to find another seven Emily’s within our local community. The same applied to our first daughter’s name. We named her Yvette (after an old girl-friend) then discovered my boss had a daughter almost the same age, also named Yvette. Since then we have met dozens of other girls and women with the same name. But we still like both names because they were chosen because we liked them then, and they are durable names.

But, if you really want an unusual baby name, you can surf the internet for sites with free or paid baby name wizards, usually you answer a few questions and the wizard suggests possible baby names, for more ideas. Or you can combine two names that you like into one, e.g. Mary and Anne can become Maryanne, Ann and Elizabeth can become Anneliza, Julie and Marie can become Juliemarie.

Bear in mind that children can be both cruel and vulnerable to ridicule. My first name is Leslie, which my mother liked very much. She planned to have a girl whom she intended to name Lesley, but got the second prize, me. So I was named Leslie with the boy’s spelling of the name. But this same spelling is also commonly used for a girl, so I went through school being laughed at because I had a girl’s name. It gave me an inferiority complex that took years for me to shake off. To this day I go by the name of “Les" because of that early experience. Another, famous, person was given the name Marion, definitely a girl’s name. I can imagine the discomfort and ridicule he suffered as a child. When he went into movies, the studio immediately changed his name to John Wayne.

Remember too, that cute sounding baby name may not seem so cute when your baby is a strapping 6ft 6in, 25 year old professional footballer. So please, be empathetic of your child’s feelings when you give him, or her, the name that will last a lifetime.

The Elimination Round

By now, I expect you have a good-sized list of potential baby names. Put it aside for a few days to allow your subconscious mind to sift through them and ponder them all.

After a few days, return to your list and strike through every name you really do not want your child to bear. It’s surprising, but several names that appealed to you a few days ago, now sound outrageous or unsuitable (I was going to name my first son Royce until I realized he’d get the nickname “Rolls.")

Now, on a fresh sheet of paper, write down the top 20 or 25 choices for a first name. In another column to the right, write down your top 20 or 25 choices for a second name (some of these may actually be in the list of first choices). Now, if you are English and would like your child to have a third name, do the same again in a third column.

Next, eliminate names in which the last letter of either the first or middle name ends with the first letter of the last name. Why, because it makes pronunciation difficult because there is no clear distinction where the last name begins and the first name ends, running the two names together. Examples: Tom Mix, Melvin Nelson, and Pat Thomas. Also eliminate names whose initials spell undesired acronyms; e.g. Robert Arnold Thomas = RAT; Samantha Iris Nelson = SIN; Michael Andrew Dobson = MAD. As mentioned before, kids can be cruel and you surely don’t want to make it easy for other children to poke fun at your child in school. Lastly, do some research to find out the meanings of your remaining names. You may want to eliminate names with undesired meanings, for example ‘naïve’, while you may discover others that are definitely keepers, for example ‘brave’. You can research the meanings of names on the internet or borrow a book from your local library.

D Day. (Decision Day)

At this point, again put your list away in a drawer for a few days. Deciding on your new baby’s name is not an easy task. It takes serious thought and some meditation. It’s a gift for a lifetime for your child and he, or she, has no input. After a few days break, reassess your list. You’ll probably be able to eliminate a few more.

Other considerations! Do you have a long surname, such as Featherstone? Then keep your child’s first name short. Jill Featherstone rolls a lot easier off the tongue than Samantha Featherstone; Ann Wilkinshaw than Elizabeth Wilkinshaw; or Jim Dobrzynskiiy than Jaroslav Dobrzynskiiy.

Then there’s alliteration! What’s that? It’s the repetition of initial consonants in neighboring or following words. In names, this means first and other names have the same consonant sound as the first letter. Here are a few examples: William Wordsworth, Candy Campbell (Cynthia doesn’t work because the “C" is sibilant, like “S"), Bill Baxter, Sam Simpson. Walt Disney knew what he was doing when he named Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. On the other hand, Cindy Solomon will work because the “C" is sibilant like the “S," as will Jim George and Roger Wright.

Will you name your son Andrew, because you want to call him Andy? Why not name him Andy; or Drew if you like Drew? Why name your son William, if you want to call him Bill? Edward for Ted? Or your daughter Samantha, if you want to call her Sam; Rebecca, if you really like Becky?

Finally, you need to decide on the spelling. Casey, Kasey, Kaysey, Kaisee, or Caisee? It’s your choice and the way you can “individualize" an otherwise common name. Peter is good for a boy, Peta is good for a girl. But Petr is also OK for a boy, and Peetah is nice and unusual for a girl. Then of course, there are the national variants, such as Pedro, Pietro, Pierre and so on.

Just remember though, if you use an uncommon spelling, your child may have to go through life (as I have) constantly correcting the spelling of his or her name.

And in closing this article, I want to remind you this one thing; the most important thing is that YOUR CHILD will be happy with whatever name you choose. It is she or he that has to bear the wisdom or the folly of your choice of name.

Want more help with choosing your baby’s name? Then go to
for a free and unique baby name generator.

© 2006 Leslie H Sprankling. Leslie Sprankling is a veteran author of several books. He is also a veteran father of numerous children, and the survivor of many pregnancies (not his, his wife's). They say experience is the best teacher, and Leslie certainly has plenty of hands-on experience; he also holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Hard Knocks (smile). His websites and contain a wonderful range of up-to-date articles on pregnancy and baby topics based on the experiences of his wife and himself, and his daughters over three decades. Website owners as well as on- and off-line publishers are welcome to reprint this article providing this resource box remains intact and the article remains totally unchanged. Please email me at if you use it.

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