Baby names: do you live in regret?

We spend nine months (or more) agonising over the perfect baby name - but almost a fifth of parents feel like they might have got it wrong

We asked more than 1,300 parents about baby name regret, and found that 18% wish they'd chosen differently. For 2% the remorse was too much - they later changed their baby's name by deed poll.

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What's in a name?

As we await the release of this year's most popular baby names list, Mumsnetters say the greatest source of remorse (for a quarter of those regretting their decision) is that their child's name is "too commonly used". Sometimes this is because their choice has been hijacked by a celebrity - but it can also be that swathes of other parents have jumped on the bandwagon. 

Some wish they'd put a bit more thought into their precious offspring's moniker. "It's just a bit uninspired," says one. Although you can also go too far the other way - some parents wish they'd reined in their imagination, believing their child's name is "too distinctive, [with] no chance of anonymity!"

And, in a belated reminder to think things through, ten percent of parents discovered unexpected problems with how their child's name was spelled - while others have cringed at nicknames.

One Mumsnetter straightforwardly hated her child's name from day one; "It's a horrible name, but her father likes it." Oh... a 50% success then?

Well, this is awkward

For some parents, there could have been no predicting the issues with their chosen name. One mother says she subsequently found out that her child's namesake was - quite frankly - "a horrid person".

And, speaking of unexpectedly nasty eponyms, another mother laments the fact she seemedly named her baby after "a terrorist group, rather than an Egyptian goddess" - what, not the dog in Downton?

On a sweeter - albeit probably just as irritating - note, one parent came to regret naming her child Elsa due to the massive popularity of a certain film. She's refusing to Let It Go.

Starting as we mean to go on

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts offers some solace: "Choosing your baby's name is one of the first things new parents do, so in some ways baby name regret is great practice for parenting: you do a lot of hard work and research, try to please several people at once, and end up getting it wrong. The consolation is that most children grow into their names - and those who don't can always fall back on middle names, nicknames or (in extremis) deed polls."

View the full results from our baby names survey

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Last updated: about 4 years ago