the 7 stages of choosing a baby name

Being pregnant is hard work! What with the morning sickness, almost weekly appointments. And let’s be honest, that ice cream isn’t going to eat itself. But one of the biggest points of anxiety? Choosing a baby name!

Don’t fear! I'm here to offer a few insights on picking the perfect baby name for your future bundle of joy.

how i chose my baby’s name

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I thought I knew what the name would be. I was always 100% sure for our boy name of Wilfred, as was baby daddy…so obviously we were having a girl!

Fast forward and we were 37 weeks pregnant, still frantically searching the internet and baby books for a unique baby name having only one piece of criteria. The name had to be German as I’d be losing that aspect of my name when we got married. I knew her middle name was going to be Ella after my first dog but it took almost my whole pregnancy until I came across the name Ottilie and knew instantly with every bone in my body that that was her name.

I went home and told my fiance and he said, “No.” Now, I'd become used to this reaction throughout our journey of choosing a baby name after throwing suggestions like Galadriel at him. But I was not giving up; Ottilie felt right. After a little discussion, it turned out that he felt my name choice simply didn’t sound like a name but he gracefully relinquished his opinion knowing full well that our baby was called Ottilie the moment I saw it.

Ottilie and her mum's story of choosing a baby name

the 7 stages of choosing a baby name

Excitement stage: You’re pregnant! You have successfully started growing another life! Revel in this feeling, do not move on to the next step. I repeat, do not move on to the next step!

Panic stage: Feel ridiculously overwhelmed with the responsibility of choosing a baby name. WHAT WILL YOU CALL THIS BABY? It is such a big deal! They will be stuck with this name their whole life! It could make or break them! You are not worthy of naming another human being!

The internet stage: Proceed to Google things like “nature baby names.” “Alternative but not too strange baby names.” You turn to Yahoo for “feminine but strong baby names.” Then Bing for “boy names that give an impression of being in touch with feminine energy.” Totally overthinking. Back to Google for “nice baby names.”

Searching the town stage: Go for a walk around a graveyard. Leave feeling upset by all the babies that died in Victorian times. But also, write down Ethel, Margaux and Henry into your phone. Keep walking as your perspective on everything changes. Shops are suddenly inspiration for choosing a baby name. If your child becomes a barber, “Barbara” would be a great name! Or if baby grows up to own a book shop, it could be called “Peter’s Readers!” They could be or sell anything! “Rita’s Heaters”, “Willow’s Windows!” Try to think of a name that rhymes with any type of job and realise you have gone too far down rabbit hole.

Subtle asking of friends and family stage: Now you start dropping some of the names from your lists into casual conversation to see what the reaction is like. So far, everybody has an opinion, and an extreme opinion at that! Most of the names on the list are “hilarious” or “ridiculous” or “boring.” Sign in to mumsnet anonymously and ask what people think of “Huckleberry”. Everybody loves it and says “nearly called my son that!” Sigh of relief. Then become very suspicious, thinking maybe the internet strangers want your child to be the laughing stock of their generation.

Panic number two followed by who cares stage (approx. from 38-41 weeks): With your due date looming, you’re dreaming of baby names. Wake up every morning with new a name in your head. Go back and forth between whimsical, wonderful names, and traditional, serious name. Decide baby won’t come until it has a name.

Final stage: Now overcome by overdue-ness, decide husband can name baby.

baby name checklist

Before choosing a baby name, be sure to consider a few things. For instance…

• The name’s full initials. If you don’t check whether they spell anything, I can almost guarantee that mean secondary schoolers will. If your last name is Smith, maybe consider something other than Archie Scott for your son’s name—no matter how cool it sounds.

• Classic names. I know they're making a comeback and yes some names sound adorable on tiny babies, but they could be outgrown almost as fast as that new baby-sized sleepsuit. Sweet names that grow with your child may be a safer bet!

• Finally, trendy names. Everyone loves Isabella, Lily and Oscar, but things can and will get confusing when there are four kids with the same name in their class at school. If you truly love a popular name and know it’s the one for your baby, go for it! But consider choosing a unique middle name as a nickname!

Sure, it’s hard to not obsess on a decision that feels so important and final. But we should allow ourselves to relax a little because once baby’s here, a lot of parents say (myself included!) that they wish they’d known that their choice would soon feel right and natural and they couldn't imagine their baby with any other name.


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