Tips on how to pick a baby name

Fancy naming your kid after a Peaky Blinder? So do thousands of people around the UK, apparently. ‘Grace’, ‘Arthur’ and ‘Ada’ are all repping the show in the most popular baby name lists. It goes to show that most people, unless you’re Ross from Friends, don’t have their children’s names decided years in advance. It also shows that you can pick up a name pretty much anywhere, even if it is a violent BBC drama.

The deal with popular names

It is perfectly fine to pick a popular baby name. Oliver and Olivia are the unwavering king and queen of baby names, with Oliver being the favourite for the past six years, and Olivia topping the charts for the past three. Remember, it’s popular because it’s a good name. Do have a good poke around in the billion other names out there too but if you do end up landing something in the top 10, don’t stress it.

Don’t ask too many people about it

It’s good to get opinions, we get that. If your partner really hates it, perhaps steer clear of it. Don’t get too many mates in on the naming game. It can be disheartening if you’re really into a name and everyone disproves of it. Also, let’s face it: not everyone will like it. They may turn their nose up at the name during your pregnancy, but they’ll learn to like it. Or they won’t. Who cares? Some people will just never “get it”.

Spelling and pronunciation

Get ready. We’re going to come down on this one and say think carefully about spelling. For your kid’s sake and everyone they encounter that may need to spell their name, keep it simple with the most accepted spelling. It makes everyone’s life simpler and all the variations are pronounced the same anyway.

Do your research

You’ve found the name. You love the way it rolls of the tongue and the seeming impossibility to turn it into a nickname (forget it, all school kids manage to make one up). Now tell us: what does it rhyme with? Does it rhyme with a rude word? What’s the meaning of the name? Cover all possible bases. You need to give the kid a fighting chance in the playground, right?

Don’t worry about associations

Okay, maybe don’t name them after your ex-partner. We still think that should be a no-go. But if it’s the same name as some kid you didn’t like at school, an old boss, a b-list celeb, you shouldn’t strike it off. Once you’ve got a kid whose name you’re shouting one hundred times a day, old associations fade very quickly indeed…

Give it time

You don’t have to name your kid immediately. Textbook scenario: you’ve got your heart set on ‘Harry’; the baby arrives and you think, well he doesn’t look anything like a Harry. We definitely aren’t naming him ‘Harry’. Don’t rush. Cruise through a couple of weeks (or even months) of just calling them ‘baby’.