Pregnancy App Article: "Planning ahead: Baby names"

Week 24
Choosing a baby name
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Planning ahead
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Now your baby has been officially honoured with the name ‘baby’ by the professionals, perhaps it’s time to start thinking of a proper moniker.

Choosing a name for your baby can feel like a daunting undertaking. It's the first thing you'll give them, and they'll have it for the rest of their life, so ... no pressure.

Name books and lists of popular baby names are a good place to start, if you don't have any preconceived notions - but when you've whittled things down to a shortlist, run your possibilities through these test criteria (and perhaps check with someone who isn't full of pregnancy hormones, just in case your plan to call your little darling 'Moonbat' doesn't pass muster).

1. Does your baby name go with your surname?
Once you've decided on the surname your baby will take (yours, your partners, or both - in which case, in what order?) you need to put the whole thing together.

Paige, Tess and Warren are all relatively innocuous. Add the surnames Turner, Stickle and Peace and they become not only legendary but the stuff that classroom bullies thrive on.

Equally, alliteration and rhyme are best avoided, unless you want your child to sound like a storybook character. 

2. What about middle names?
Middle names seem to serve little purpose - until you're naming your own child, at which point their many functions become abundantly apparent. 

You can pick as many as you wish, and use them to placate pushy relatives, compromise with your partner or include a more creative option that you're too nervous to put up front. Just try not to choose one that your child will grow up cringing at every time she or he has to fill in a form.

3. Have you thought about initials?
Unintentional acronyms are an often-overlooked hazard: always consider how the letters will look written out together. Charles Ramsay Archibald Pearce, beware. 

Think about how the first and last name work either side of the middle initial, too. Chris P Bacon... not quite as cool as Samuel L Jackson, is it?

4. How will you spell it?
Yes, it's nice to give your child a unique version of a name, but think about how many times they're going to have to correct people ("No, that's Nathan with a 'P'..."). Remember, the child has to learn to write and say the name too, so be prepared for hours of sounding it out if you choose something more unusual. 

On the other hand, you'll never be pestered into buying them personalised tat in theme park gift shops.

5. Can it be shortened?
Common sense says putting the full length version of a name on the birth certificate will keep your child's options open. Let's face it, a five-year-old Effie is sweet, but she might prefer to be Josephine when she's running MI5.

Conversely, if you do opt to use the full variant of a name, be prepared for the fact that everyone - school friends, teachers, relatives, the lot - will shorten it, regardless of whether you mind or not. Jonathan will become Johnny, Thomas will be Tom, and nothing you can do or say will make a blind bit of difference. 
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Say it OUT LOUD. First thing. Make a list and say them all out loud. You'll be amazed what gets crossed off!
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Do not discuss probable name choices in real life (on Mumsnet is, of course, allowed) as someone will always say 'yuck, I know so and so with that name' or try to put you off. Much better to announce the name once the baby is born; people can't try to sway you then.
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Think about what your child’s name will sound like when calling it loudly across a park: 'Cardamom, stop hitting Flavian!'
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Does everyone agree?
If you and your partner (don't even START with the rest of the family) can't decide on an outright winner, try drawing up a shortlist of names you both deem acceptable.

Then one of you (and we're not saying who) should point out in no uncertain terms that the person who has carried the baby for 40 weeks and gone through a three-day labour gets the casting vote. RIGHT? The only proviso being that you can't use the names of past lovers or current crushes.
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Put your choices to the Mumsnet masses
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