Choosing Your Baby’s Name – The Only Rule You Need

Pregnancy Podcast – Baby Names

Why this podcast?
The Pregnancy Podcast has featured many times before because I love it! It’s fun and easy to listen to whilst providing clear, evidence-based information for all your pregnancy, birth and postpartum questions.

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I decided to feature a fun episode on choosing your baby’s name.

Why this episode?
Naming your baby can be a really enjoyable part of pregnancy or early postpartum but it can also be stressful finding just the right name. This episode gives some great hints to help you along the way.

The episode
In this Q&A episode from the Pregnancy Podcast, the host, Vanessa Merten, responds to a listener who is twenty-one weeks pregnant and struggling to decide on a name for her baby.

When she finds one she likes her partner vetoes it and vice versa.

Sound familiar?

The one rule when naming your baby – 


You and your partner should love it.

Now, you might be thinking, well that doesn’t help much! But actually, if you really take that to heart, it just might.

So many people worry about trying to make their family happy; not choosing a name that is too popular or avoiding names that sound like the names of their friends’ kids………try, if you can, to throw these rules out of the window and just follow your heart.

I appreciate, however, that Vanessa shares a few things to take into consideration when naming your baby.

#1. Traditions and family names
If it is important to you to incorporate a name that has been in your family for generations or if you have specific familial or cultural traditions, this may be something to take into account.

However, some creative thinking could help smooth the way.

If that family name is not one you love, could you use another version of it? Eg if the name James runs in your family could you name your baby Jamie? Or, maybe you could use it as a middle name and use the name you have your heart set on as the first name.

Try and keep an open mind and see what might work.

#2. Popular names
If the name you love happens to be very common you might want to consider if that is an issue for you or not. Yes, there will likely be a few more children in your child’s class with that name, but how much does that matter to you?

I love that Vanessa points out that, even with a really unusual name, you can never guarantee that the child who sits at the next desk over is not going to have that exact same name.

One option could simply be spelling your child’s name in a slightly more unusual way. Sarah could also be spelt Sara, Emily could be Emilie, Oscar could be Oskar…… the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Get creative!

#3. Pronunciation
Spelling your child’s name in an unusual way or choosing a less common pronunciation could make your child’s name stand out more but it could also mean their name being mispronounced or misspelt.

Only you can know how annoying you might find this.

#4. How does it sound with your surname?
Or with your other children’s names? If you have a daughter called Kate how do you feel about giving your baby boy the name Nate? Again, consider how you feel about it not how you think others might feel.

#5. Initials
Something to look at could be how the initials of your child’s name work together.

For instance, Vanessa points out that a boy with the name Benjamin Andrew Douglas would have initials that spelt the word BAD.

Is this an issue for you? Could it be an issue for your child later on?

#6. Meanings
It might be worth doing a quick google search of your chosen name just to check out the original meaning.

You could also consider common abbreviations for people with your chosen name and see how you feel about them.

For instance, if you love the name Elizabeth but really dislike the name Liz, how do you feel about correcting those who shorten your child’s name to Liz?

#7. Nicknames
Parents often worry that their child might be made fun of at some point because of their name.

I love that Vanessa points out that this is likely to happen no matter what you name your child. Kids are creative and will come up with something funny for almost any name you can think of.

Whilst this is not the most comforting thought for a new parent it does at least free you from the pressure of avoiding certain names.

To wrap up
This was a short but super fun post to write, I hope you enjoyed reading it.

One last helpful tip from Vanessa is to include the pronunciation of your child’s name in any birth announcement. That could definitely save you some hassle down the road.

How did you choose your children’s names? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time!

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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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