Who knew choosing baby names would be so difficult?
Imagine my dismay when my husband was not as thrilled as I was with the names I’d picked in middle school for my potential future children.
Seriously, picking baby names can be a huge stumbling block for couples. It’s tough to navigate personal preferences, family pressures, and past name associations.
Do you love traditional names, but your partner wants something unique? Or maybe they love alternative spellings, but you hate them? Or maybe the name you’ve been holding onto for years was also the name of their arch nemesis?
If it feels like your baby name fights discussions are just going in circles, it might be time to try out some of these techniques to break out of the cycle.
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Find Common Ground
Step one, put down the boxing gloves.
Make sure you and your partner are in a good mood when you start the discussion. You should both be a mindset ready to listen and compromise.
Names are very personal. It’s important to recognize different names set off emotions and specific associations.
Even if you’ve had the discussion previously, it’s time to start over.
A really fun exercise to begin with is the website Nymbler.
The neat thing about this baby name generator (and what separates it from all the others out there) is that you can add up to six “inspiration” names so the list is more tailored to your specific tastes.
I recommend giving three inspiration slots to your partner and reserving the remaining ones for you. If you already have some favorite names, you can put them in there.
Put the names you like even if your partner doesn’t like the name. Just make sure you are open to his inspiration baby names.
Or, if you’re open to new baby names – select the gender and then hit “find names”.
Nymbler will generate 15 names. With each name you can do one of three things: (1) Use the name as inspiration, (2) Favorite a baby name, (3) Block a baby name.
If either of you hate the name, automatically block it.
If you love the name and want to see more like it, use it as inspiration.
Or if the name works as a possibility for both of you, add it to the favorites list.
After you’ve gone through the 15 names, select “More Names” to begin the process over again and get more ideas tailored to the selections you’ve already made.
Choose Baby Names By Type
Another good way to start is by discussing the type of baby name you prefer.
Do you prefer a traditional baby name? Or maybe you’re more partial to unique baby names?
Trendy baby names? Popular names? Uncommon?
If you can’t agree on a type, have no fear.
Here are some ideas for compromise:
- Explore traditional first names that can have more unique nicknames (ex. Nicolas/Nico or Katherine/Kit)
- Consider a first name consisting of two names (ex. Lauren-May) or even two middle names
- Search for old-fashioned names that can be considered both traditional and uncommon
- Combine a traditional first name with a more unique baby name as the middle name (or vice versa)
- Look at popular names with alternate spelling (ex. Emily can be spelled Emely, Emilee, Emilie, or Emmalee!)
Also remember what one person may consider common, the other may consider unique.
For instance, I have loved the name Lily since childhood and always knew that would be the name of my daughter. Problem is, at the time I was pregnant with a girl ‘Lily’ was a super popular name.
While my husband prefered uncommon names, he didn’t know any Lilys so he considered it to be unique! Win-win.
Broaden Your Baby Name Search
It’s hard to just sit and brainstorm tons of names. My mind would just keep coming back to the same dozen or so names.
Look for new names to consider.
It may help to get inspiration from a baby name book or website, a quick google search will turn up tons of baby name sites.
A great place to look for names is your family tree. Ask your family about the names of great grandparents, aunts, and uncles. You never know what hidden gems you may find a generation or two back and a family connection might help you come to a compromise.
Another option is to look at your common interests for names. Literature, movies, music, and even sports teams are full of potential names. Your shared love of the source may help you find a name you’re both crazy about.
This is probably the most traditional method of baby name picking. Both of you make lists of names you love and then compare them looking for names in common.
If you’re using a baby name book (such as The Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World) or website for ideas, you’ll quickly notice that these lists are super long and trying to go through them looking for your perfect name can be tedious. Then comparing your lists can be equally frustrating.
Well, luckily, there’s an app for that.
The free Babyname app uses a tinder-style swipe method to pick baby names.
Both you and your partner download the app and connect, then swipe right for name you like and left for names you don’t. The app keeps compares your lists and finds the matches.
Seriously, this is app is ridiculously easy, fun, and, I must admit, kind of addictive.
While I did love playing with this app, the only drawback was that it does push the paid upgrades and I personally think it’s a bit too easy to accidentally buy them… whoops.
Browse Similar Baby Names
If you found a name you both really like but aren’t in love with, try to find a similar name!
There are many websites that provide this service, but one of my favorites is Magic Baby Names.
After making lists and comparing names, you might have a few “OK” baby names you have in common.
But you don’t have to settle for just “OK”!
Browse an individualized list of names similar to your chosen name. It might inspire you!
…So what if you STILL can’t agree??
While it may not be a perfect solution, this way each of you get to use your favorite name. One of you picks the first name, one picks the middle name.
If you plan on having more children, you can alternate who picks the first name.
Or you can just take turns picking their full names.
You’ll definitely want to have an idea of what your partner might pick before giving up full control.
Take Your Chances
If you and your partner are still unable to pick together, maybe it’s time to let fate decide.
Flip for it.
Or write down all of the favorites and draw from hat.
Or let the Baby Name Genie decide for you.