9 rules for choosing the perfect baby name

happy baby

Once you've whittled your favourite baby names down to a shortlist, check each one against these dos and don'ts to ensure you aren't making any terrible mistakes before putting pen to birth certificate

Say it out loud

“I wanted Phoebe, but it's not good with our monosyllabic surname that starts with a 'Bee' sound. Poor child would have ended up with a stutter.”
phoebe from friends spells name

Think about the spelling

“I have met a Danyal, Daniol, Naiphthan, Caytie and an Alivia. Why do people consign their children to a lifetime of 'No, that's Daniel spelt…'?”
marc or mark name on cup

And how easy it will be to pronounce

“My favourites are Aofie, Saoirse, Caoimhe and Aoibheann, but no-one is able to pronounce/spell them!”
Roisin or raisin name pronunciation

Look at it alongside your surname

“We seriously tried to convince my friend to call her son Max. His surname is Power.”
Max Power name tag

Write out the initials

“Alex Samuel Benjamin Olivers sounds lovely, but spells out ASBO.”
thug life - baby

Give up on finding a 'unique' name

“A friend chose 'Woody', thinking that would be unusual. He is one of three Woodys in his class.”
Woodys everywhere

If you want to be creative, maybe put it in the middle

“A friend is considering calling her son John Danger Smith, so that he can utter the immortal words 'Danger is my middle name'.”
middle name trouble

Keep your shortlist to yourself if you want to avoid an argument

“Do not discuss probable name choices in real life (on Mumsnet Talk 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.”
woman repulsed by what she's heard

And finally, run the name past someone who's not pregnant, for a reality check

“I met six-week-old twin girls at soft-play once called Dolce and Gabbana.”
baby twin girls look confused