There are many strategies to finding the perfect name. Some parents wait to see their baby first, some devour every name book they can lay their hands on, others pick something that reflects their religion or ethnicity, while still others choose the name of a favourite sports hero or entertainer. Some believe a recognisable and easily-spelt name will make life easier for their offspring, whereas others feel just as strongly that unusual spellings, or even a made-up name, will distinguish their child from the crowd.
But most parents simply pick names they like.
The name you choose will certainly say more about you than it does about your baby.
Here are some tips:
1. Your family tree is a good place to start when compiling a list of possible names.
2. If you want to acknowledge a favourite aunt or grandfather but you’re not fond of their name, use it as a middle name or choose a modern variation.
3. Some parents come up with a shortlist of two or three names, then wait until they meet their baby before making a final decision.
4. Be aware that what’s cute for a baby might not be appropriate for a grown-up guy of 21.
5. It can be helpful to check out the meaning of the names you’re considering.
6. Think about how the name will sound, both with and without its middle names. If you’ve got a long, unusual surname, you might prefer a short, simple first name, and vice versa.
7. A good test is to stand at the back door and shout the name a few times, as though calling your child in from play.
8. If you and your partner can't agree on a name, try a compromise: one of you gets to pick the first name and the other the second name, or maybe he gets to choose if it’s a boy and you can pick if it’s a girl.
9. By all means invite family and friends to make suggestions. However, many parents avoid unwelcome negative comments by keeping their final choice secret until after the birth.