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What did/are you taking into account when choosing a name for your baby?

(30 Posts)
LentilsLennie06 Mon 19-Jan-15 13:19:31

Hi I have a two fold reason for posting this thread, and I am really hoping you can give me some help!! Apologies for the extremely long post!!
I am due to pop a little boy soon and we are having trouble with choosing a name... his sister is called Lennie which I consider to be different without being too made up??!! She sometimes gets on at me for it being a boys name, but I loved it when I had her, not really for a baby but because I thought it would be different for when she was a girl, a teenager and older. I haven't come across another one yet. I had settled on Rex for the new baby, and despite being told by EVERYONE that it is a dog/dinosaur name I still loved it. But I live on the same street as a lady who is pregnant, due before me, and is also planning on calling her baby Rex. As her child would be in the same class as mine at school this is now a total no no for me!!
I am currently studying a degree and have been given an assignment on language, and the way we name our children is the direction I have picked to go in!! Thus, my second reason for posting this thread. Having looked at the subject in depth I have found research that suggests names affect life paths, job chances and university attendance, amongst other things!!
From reading books, info on the internet and lots of other threads I can see quite a few themes which affect the way people name their child, some prefer biblical or traditional names, people like place names or surnames and some avoid popular names preferring to give their child their own unique identity. What influences your decision??

Hobby2014 Mon 19-Jan-15 13:22:11

I really wanted a name we liked (obv!) but that nobody else we knew had. Wanted one that had variations, ie Thomas/Tom/Tommy. Chose the longest version. And didn't want it in top 100.

steppeinginto2015 Mon 19-Jan-15 13:58:53

1. not top 100
2. recognisable, so they wouldn't have to keep repeating it/ spelling it out
3. a meaning or association we liked
4. we are a bi-lingual family and lived in a third language country, so the name had to work in 3 languages!
5. a name that works on a child and an adult, and would sound good on a high court judge!

BananaHammocks Mon 19-Jan-15 14:04:19

1. not in the top 100, in fact as far down as possible...
2. ...But not seen as weird/made up/crazy
3. Easy to spell and pronounce
4. no obvious class association, not seen as posh or chavvy
5. Not a nickname/shortening
6. One we both agree on
7. Not currently rising in popularity (see darkgreener website!)

We went with Tessa so slightly failed in point 5 but overall pretty happy!

twinjocks Mon 19-Jan-15 15:33:59

From most important to least important:
1. Unusual, not boring but not completely wacky.
2. That we both liked.
3. That went with our surname and didn't make any unfortunate abbreviations.

Put no credence whatsoever into "future-proofing" i.e. how it would sound if they were a high court judge, etc. If they want to be high court judges without boring, staid names, I'm sure they'll manage ok, and if it's really that much of a problem, they can change their names.

RedToothBrush Mon 19-Jan-15 15:37:08

We almost certainly over thought it but ultimately DS's name was the right one. We took into consideration:

1) Had to be unusual. I didn't want something common as I've always been one of many and hated it
2) Something that didn't scream a particular background - for the life opportunities thing that you mentioned
3) Easy to spell/pronounce and people were familiar with it.
4) Out there, but not too out there
5) Meant something to us
6) Travelled well, in case they ever decide to live abroad and in a world which is getting smaller through technology
7) Something that works for an adult or a child (eg not too cutesy)
8) On trend, so whilst different, they will fit in with their peers.
9) Did have any unfortunate joke/nickname that could be used for it or otherwise invite bullying
10) Would suit the physical characteristics they were likely to have

We did eventually find the perfect name for our family and managed to tick every box. However I was nervous about using it, and it has raised a few eyebrows. I think it is a bit marmite. Some people love it, but there are a few who you can tell are biting their tongues. But I think the people who know us, recognise that it reflects DH and I and hopefully DS will make it his own in time.

I think the thing is, if you choose to go for something that isn't popular you have to be a little brave about your name choice as people are more likely to be rude about it. Its probably not the best idea to tell people in advance what you are considering for that reason, as they'll always have 'helpful advice' but its not about them.

Spindelina Mon 19-Jan-15 15:51:50

This was our list of criteria...

- first name of Sanskrit origin (reflecting heritage).
- first name had to be obvious how to pronounce, if you were an English speaker looking at it written down.

Given that DD has an exotic "forrin" name, we wanted her middle name to be a bit dull, to give her the choice...
- middle name had to be "English", by which I mean it had to be name which was in common use as a girls' name in England.
- middle name had to be unambiguously female.
- we ended up with a two-syllable first name and our surname is also two syllables. So we wanted a middle name that was either 1 or 3 syllables to make it flow.

- neither name to begin with a particular letter (which both mine and DHs names begin with).
- neither name to rhyme with our surname.
- initials had to be sensible.

And beyond that, something we liked!

Kim82 Mon 19-Jan-15 15:58:45

The only thing I took into account was "do I like it?" And "does dh like it?". Job done.

Jackieharris Mon 19-Jan-15 16:07:26

1) like the sound
2) no bad nicknames
3) not too popular (but this didn't work as dd has another in her class)
4) meaning
5) doesn't remind me of anyone I've ever met I didn't like
6) not something which would limit careers opportunities or pigeon hole them
7) a properly spelled name
8) not an old fashioned 'granny' name
9) nothing too girly or macho

RiverTam Mon 19-Jan-15 16:07:40

similar to Kim82, did DH and I both like it. It had to flow (so not a tongue twister first name surname combo) and not end up with stupid initials. I didn't want a foreign name that we had absolutely no connection with.

DD's name is regularly panned on MN as being too popular, but it's a beautiful name and although we've come across some others, I can say the same about some more unusual names too.

Popularity is such a hard one to gauge it seems daft to make it an issue. A lot of names regularly cited on here as being too popular (Olivia, Amelia) I've never come across a single one at nursery or school.

comeagainforbigfudge Mon 19-Jan-15 16:10:40

My two things are : not a top 100 name and does it pass the nickname game

As in if it's an unusual name will kid be subjected to potential bullying.
I won't give an example in case I offend anyone though needless to say I have not come up with any names. Thankfully still got 20 weeks to go!!

loislines Mon 19-Jan-15 16:20:58

We picked names we liked, which happen to be unusual but definitely real names with normal spellings. Something that didn't sound too odd with our surname and that didn't make silly initials.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 19-Jan-15 16:44:14

Not an answer to your question, but have you read freakanomics on names and life outcomes?

carbolicsoaprocked Mon 19-Jan-15 17:20:17

In order of importance:
1. We both have to like it (not putting too much importance on what others think - they can name their own children or pets)
2. If a family name is being considered we have to ensure nobody gets hurt, eg. we won't use one grandfather's name and not the other
3. Has to go well with surname and not have unfortunate initials
4. Not top 20 but not too unusual either
5. Not obviously linked to any particular social background
6. Middle name after a Saint

Pyjamaramadrama Mon 19-Jan-15 17:27:13

For me

1. Something timeless, so something that's not fashionable but not old fashioned, that's remained popular throughout the years.

2. Something in the top 100 but not the top 20.

3. Something biblical

4. Something that isn't deemed upper or lower class

5. Something the dc won't end up hating, they've got to live with it not me

6. Something two syllable that can be shortened to something nice too

7. Something that doesn't make for silly initials

Guin1 Tue 20-Jan-15 14:11:56

Mostly the same criteria as pp:

Something not too popular (not top 20-30).
Something we both like.
Something that provides suitable options for baby/child/teen/adult.
Something that is a proper recognised name (not a nickname), with a standard spelling.
Something that works with our surname - doesn't rhyme, make the same name as someone famous, etc.
Something with good nicknames.
Something that doesn't lend itself to obvious piss-taking or give initials that spell/stand for something that could be used for bullying.
Something not already belonging to close family/friends. (Although we have used family names for mn.)
Something that is clearly a boy's name/girl's name, without being too macho or frilly.

Also preferable, but not essential:
Something with a nice meaning.
Something that has an obvious spelling and pronunciation.
Something that transferred to other languages.

SK28 Tue 20-Jan-15 18:42:31

Similar things here:

- Initially we were looking just at Greek origin names as DH's heritage is Greek Cypriot, although we did relax that...
- ...and instead focused on finding something that would be easy to pronounce in both countries (ie not TOO Greek, but wouldn't sound totally different in Cyprus)

- Something that would work for whole-life, whether on its own or using a nn
- Something reasonably uncommon/interesting but not too unusual (our girls' names were mostly around the 500-700 ranking, although our boys' names vary between top 20 (which we probably won't go for) and about 500/600 ranking)

It wasn't too important to us whether other people we know have used it - although we don't have too many friends with babies so it's not a big issue for us - may have been a more important criteria if we weren't among the first.

In the end, we've actually chosen a girl's name that is a family name on DH's side (which I was initially adament I didn't want - turned out a name on my list that I liked was a family name so DH pushed for that) - so we've made sure to be 'fair' by using a middle name from my family.

HeyMicky Tue 20-Jan-15 18:47:01

My name is hard to spell and has various pronunciations. So I wanted a name that had only one variation of spelling and read as it looked.

It also had to pass the High Court judge test grin

ChickenMe Tue 20-Jan-15 20:13:53

Aside from us both loving the name I also considered, subconsciously:
1. Would I be happy to have this name?
2. Who is the name associated with?
3. Not top 100
4. Not gender neutral
5. Easy to spell and traditionally spelt - no crazy spellings
6. Name is flexible in many settings, so it's well-heeled and respectable but not too posh. So, interesting is the order of the day but not too extreme.
7. Name gives a good impression because, like it or not, first impressions count and I think some names give a negative impression. Rightly or wrongly I would make a negative assumption about a Cuthbert and I would too about a Britnee-Mae.

Freakonomics has an interesting section on names if you haven't read it?

dreamingofsun Wed 21-Jan-15 20:21:56

1. both liked it (hardest criteria as i come from affluent southern area, husband from very poor, working class - so completely different styles)
2. from husband's country, but possible to spell and pronounce in my country
3. goes with surname
4. not too popular - didn't want them known as name + dreamingofsun
5. not totally unheard of
8. no close friends or family with it (though godparents screwed this, by choosing for their child)

it got harder and harder the more kids we had

maggiethemagpie Wed 21-Jan-15 20:31:00

I wanted a name that was not too common. I originally liked Ella but then realised it had got too popular.

However I did not want a name no one had heard of or was unable to spell.

For my son I wanted a name that had a long and short version. I knew I'd only abbreviate it anyway, so now we call him by the short version and if he wants the longer version when he's older that's up to him.

In both pregnancies names would grow on me and then fade, my daughter in particular I had several favourites which faded out before the end.

crapfatbanana Wed 21-Jan-15 20:40:39

I think my reasons changed. To begin, it was simply the sound of the name, then its meaning.

I then became drawn to family names and names from a generation or two back. I also feel drawn to Celtic/Gaelic names. I love Biblical names but wouldn't use them. I also like unusual and striking names, although I have not been brave enough to use them.

Greenandcabbagelooking Wed 21-Jan-15 20:40:39

Must be able to spell it from the pronunciation
Must be abe to say it from reading it
Not so popular that he/she will be Sue A for the rest of her life
Must not contain the letter S
Must not be biblical

Names in the running are Cora, Carrie and Caroline, Fraser, Alexander and Dillon.

Gingergeek Wed 21-Jan-15 20:44:42

Don't think I had any rules with DD, for DS I wanted something that went with DD's name without being too matchy.

This time however I have a rule list as long as my arm!
1. Nothing too popular, prefer outwith top 50, but not unknown/made up sounding
2. Must not be too matchy with other two's names, or our surname (strong R sound)
3. Short name, as I'm not a fan of this preoccupation with giving children long names then calling them a nickname anyway, or obsessing about what if someone else gives them the nn I don't like.
4. Can't reuse the same initial to avoid postal confusion...probably not that important anymore as people don't get letters but it's on my rule list
5. Nothing that sounds awful in a Scots potential dropped Ts, over rolled Rs etc...all things I'm guilty of btw and which has ruled out many nice names for me such as Etta or Elliot sad

Ps interesting read regarding names and future career prospects. 100% behind this campaign myself to hopefully lessen the Katie Hopkins style "chav name" or "ethnic name" discrimination that certainly goes on in HR depts.

Letmeeatcakecakecake Wed 21-Jan-15 20:50:19

1) not boring
2) not common
3) not a name a friend or relatives child has
4) not a name that can be shortened to something I dislike (ie love Natalia, HATE Nat)
5) a name people can take seriously in any job role.. Army major, investment banker, doctor,

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