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Picking a Baby Name

Tips for Picking a Baby Name


With thousands of names to select from, choosing a name for your baby is an extremely daunting task. It is something that your child will carry with him/her forever and it is the first thing presented to strangers. You have so many choices with names ranging from Apple to Yahoo, anything goes! With so many options to choose from, it can be extremely overwhelming. But it’s okay...we’re here to help!
Even though your family and friends will all have some advice to throw at you, the final decision is always up to you and your partner. Keeping this in mind, here is a list of some things you may want to consider or just some general tips for choosing your baby’s name:




Start discussing names as soon as possible with your partner. This way you can set some guidelines and have a full nine months to think about a name.

Keep Track of the Names


Keep a list of your top names in hand so that you are ready to add to it when the inspiration hits. Plus, seeing is believing! Seeing the name on paper will help you decide. Is the name too long? Does it just look funny? Writing the names down will give you more information to play with.

Sound and Compatibility


Say the name aloud – a lot! How does the name sound? Is it melodious? Does it sound harsh? Does it match your last name? Often, a longer first name matches a shorter last name well and vice versa. Most of the time, a first name that ends with a vowel and then a last name that begins with a vowel don’t work well together – Anna Ali sounds like Anna Lee. When you have a name, play around with it for a couple of days to see how it sounds. Love Anna and Harry? Refer to your baby as Anna and then Harry for a few days. See which names fit your own personal style the best. This way, you will think twice about naming your child after a pun, such as “Holly Wood.”



An unusual name will make your child stand out from the crowd. Oftentimes, you will find 3 to 4 Jeff's or Matt's in a class. On the other hand, a name so unique that no one has heard of it or no one can pronounce it can expose the child to a lot of teasing. One way of reaching a compromise is to choose a unique first name if your child’s last name is more generic. If your last name is Smith, you would probably want to choose a first name with more of an impact than John. If your last name is Geldof, Jack would be a more preferable first name than Rodolpho.

Relatives and Friends


Many parents name their baby after their grandparents, other family members, or friends. This gives a huge list of potential names to consider. Also, consider the ideas from your relatives and friends but don’t tell them what you and your partner have decided until after the baby is born. Keep in mind your family’s and friend’s advice, but don’t let them choose your baby’s name for you.

Find a Confidant – selectively


If you really have an urge to tell someone the names you and your partner are considering, find a confidant or a close circle of family and friends to bounce ideas off of. Having a conversation with your confidant might sway you or confirm reservations that you may have over a certain choice. Having a naming party where you can get together with your friends and go through a list of names can also be very helpful. But make sure to not extend your circle too far. Keep the naming circle tight so that you don’t have too many opinions. Make sure to remind them that whatever name you choose at the end of the day may not make it to the final round. ALSO, keep your partner in the loop. Remember, at the end of the day, the decision is up to you and your partner.


Take a Poll


When considering a name, a simple poll or just asking on a forum will provide you with a lot of helpful and unbiased information. With other’s help, you will encounter ideas that you didn’t even consider! You can post a poll in MedHelp's pregnancy communities today. Just follow the instructions below.

Call in the Experts


If you really can’t decide, contact someone who gets paid to make these kinds of decisions. A simple search will reveal a surprising number of “professionals.”



The meaning behind a name may not make too large of a difference, but can help sway your choice between two names. For instance, “Ingrid” may not get too much special treatment even though her name means “beautiful,” but Stockard might not be too pleased to find out that her name means “from the yard of tree stumps.”

Initials and Nicknames


You’ll find that younger children can be especially cruel when it comes to nicknames. Try to anticipate any embarrassing ones when considering a first name with a last name. Though you may not figure out all of the nicknames, you will at least eliminate the obvious possibilities. Also be aware of your child’s initials. Zachary Ioda Thomas (Z. I. T.) will have a harder time than Zachary Jack Thomas.
Listen to your Heart: No matter how cliched it sounds, choose a name that makes you smile. There is no such thing as a list that can tell you how to name your child perfectly (besides this one). Instead, see how the name affects you emotionally. Which name do you love the most? Go with the one that you really resonate with and when the baby comes, you’ll love the name even more.

Use the Middle Name


Make use of the middle name. You find that you’ll be able to combine a lot of your favorites this way. You will also be able to please more of your friends! Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin famously named their child Apple Blythe Alison Martin giving their daughter, not one, but both of their grandmother’s names!

Name your Next Child!


If you are stuck between two good names, name your first two kids at once (if you’re planning on having more than one child)! Use one name for this first child and use the other for the next.
Keep in Mind the Alphabet: If you’re at a total loss, utilize the alphabet rule. Know that if you name your child Anthony or Anne, they will more than likely be at the front of the line while Zachary and Zoe will be at the end of the line. Keep in mind that sometimes the line ends up reversing, so a middle letter, M for Michelle or Matt, or N for Nick or Natalie, would also be a safe choice.



Don’t make your final decision for your child until your baby is actually born. When you see your baby’s gorgeous face, you will find a new sense of clarity. Looking deep into your baby’s eyes will often give you the final confirmation for a name.


Hopefully, these little tips have helped you a little bit in deciding your baby’s name. Remember that there is no such thing as a “wrong” name and that this decision is only one that you and your partner can make. Best of luck!   

Top 10 Names for 2008 

If you're still stumped, below are the top 10 names for 2008 in the United States. Whether you want to go with the popular vote or avoid it, you'll surely encounter several Emma's, Isabella's, Jacob's, and Michael's around the same age as your child.



Male name Female name
1 Jacob Emma
2 Michael Isabella
3 Ethan Emily
4 Joshua Madison
5 Daniel Ava
6 Alexander Olivia
7 Anthony Sophia
8 William Abigail
9 Christopher Elizabeth
10 Matthew Chloe

How To Take a Poll on MedHelp

If you're still unsure about what name to choose or would like to get more input, you can create a poll in any of the Pregnancy Communities.

  1. Click the Post a Question button at the top of the page.
  2. Choose the "Post a poll" option.
  3. Enter in a brief title. This can be as simple as "Baby Name Poll".
  4. Choose a topic: Other.
  5. Type in more details in the Question box. This can include the name of their siblings, any reasons for why you've chosen this set of names (family names, characters from a book/movie, etc.). This will provide more context to others who are voting in your poll.
  6. List the options you want people to vote on. If you need more than 4, click "Add more choices". You can enter up to 8 options for your poll.
  7. Add some tags. Suggested ones might be "baby name".
  8. Make sure the box for Add to Watchlist is checked. That way, you'll be able to access the results of your poll very quickly.
  9. Visit often to check up on your poll results and see comments from others.


Still undecided? Take another poll! You can create multiple polls in different communities, too.

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