A One-Step Recipe for Baby-Name Contentment

May 2nd 2013

I spend a lot of time trying to help you find a terrific baby name. Today, I'd like to shift focus to helping you enjoy it.

"Namer's remorse" is on the rise. Parents of infants write to me, agonized that they've made the wrong name choice. This epidemic arises from the wide-open array of name choices that today's expectant parents face. If you can choose anything -- anything -- how can you be sure you made the best possible choice? How do you even know when to stop looking?

The best time to protect yourself against namer's remorse is before you've settled on a name. At some point between brainstorming and decision making, you'll find yourself with a list. This "short list" represents the names you and your partner felt were worthy of serious consideration. The next natural step is to narrow the field by thinking of reasons to eliminate most of the names.

Don't do it.

Sure, you have to narrow your choices, but there's a better way. Go through your list, thinking about anything you particularly love about individual names. Trim your list by moving names up, not down.

Does your love of Much Ado About Nothing give the name Beatrice a special glow? Is Austin a happy reminder of college, where you first met? Do you want to say Ariella over and over because of the way it rolls off your tongue? Is the initial X in Xavier just too cool for words?

When you narrow down by finding fault, you're planting seeds of doubt about your options. If you're too successful at nit-picking, you might even end up wiping out your whole list. But when you narrow up by finding delight, you build excitement. The decision may be just as difficult, but you know your final options are wonderful. Whatever name you settle on will come with the glow of delight -- and a story you can tell yourself, as well as your child, about why her name is so special.

Comments

1
May 2, 2013 11:32 PM

This is great advice. When naming our first we pretty much followed this approach. Started out with a long list of names and narrowed it down to ones we were both prepared to seriously consider. We then discussed the pros and cons of each name and decided whether we were still happy for them to go on the list, and whether as a first name, middle name or either.  Once we had our short list, we didn't discuss them further and didn't seek any other opinions. We waited until our baby was born and picked 2 names from the list that we felt worked best and we loved. We did this by essentially moving names up until we had 2 names agreed that we both loved and felt worked for our baby.

It is very easy to focus on the negatives of any name but I think once you have decided it is a name that CAN work for you it is better to try and focus on the positives

2
By MMO
May 3, 2013 10:10 AM

We are looking at our "list" tonight and will follow this...great advice!

3
May 3, 2013 3:08 PM

I love this advice! I don't have a baby to name, and we never really even needed a list for our daughter's name, so the specifics don't apply, but I think it can be generalized to other facets of life: don't eliminate options, move them up the list instead.

Thank you, Laura!

4
May 4, 2013 5:22 AM

I love this advice! but I  have a dog to name,this name will suitable for the recently dog coats [spam link removed by moderator, who doesn't appreciate the plagiarism in the first line, either] that i brought for him.

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By momo
May 5, 2013 7:25 PM

You're absolutely right! It's better to think about the positives so you'll end up with a name you're sure you'll love. Because let's face it: there's pros and cons for every name, and if you only focus on the negatives, you're missing out on the upsides of a name.

 

Also, when's the new SSA list coming out? It should be like next week, right? 

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May 13, 2013 2:11 PM

Very good advice. We just recently named a daughter after taking my favorite names off the short list (for reasons I agree with) and I'm surprised to find myself feeling a bit of namer's remorse, as in I still feel wistful about the names we didn't choose. I'm going to start focusing on all the reasons we chose THIS name. We had very good reasons.

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October 21, 2013 3:24 AM

This is really a nice and interesting advice. I would be glad to follow your advice and came up a good name for my baby. - Aldo Disorbo

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