Baby Naming Tips For The Modern Family


This is the fourth time I’ve done this and by now we have some tried and true techniques to baby naming.  (Great tips below!)

For our first, I bought one of those enormous baby name books (the thing was bigger than the Bible, folks) and systematically went through it with a highlighter, pen and piece of paper next to me.

This moment will be forever burned in my brain -I can see it like movie.  I was slogging through the first quarter of the alphabet in that enormous baby name book, curled up on the couch, tossing out names to my hubby while he was doing something in the other room.  All of a sudden -as you do when you’re pregnant- I felt it was snack time.  I stood up and just then was struck like a bolt of lightening:  Wilder Scott.  It flashed before me and it was absolutely perfect.

I was still in my first trimester, but that name was “it” for me.  My hubby?  It took him several months to warm up to it.  And that’s when we developed the Trimester Lists.

Each trimester we had a new baby name list.  First trimester it was filled with anything that even remotely appealed to us.  Second trimester was a bit more refined.  Once we found out the sex of the baby, the third list began and it usually only held 3-6 names.

Wilder Scott won, hands down.  And with every single child since, once the name appears and knocks me in the gut with the “knowing,” that’s the name.  It sticks.

With Waverley Jane, I had her name pegged before she was conceived.  But when it comes to convincing my husband, I don’t push.  I let the obvious genius of the names do their work (yes, that was tongue-in-cheek.)  It’s true, though.  I can’t make the man do anything -it’s got to come from him.  So the names stay on the list and they do eventually grow on him.

The name Tennyson was on Waverley’s baby list years ago.   Sometimes names have to wait for their right time.  Like when you have a fabulous girl name, but have a boy.  We jointly decided Tennyson Lee was the name for our third child only three days after finding out we were pregnant.  Worked for both sexes.  STILL, we kept the lists alive.  And this was finally in the age of smartphones, so our lists lived in our notes and traveled with us everywhere.  I don’t think we’ve ever had such an extensive baby name list.  Despite names like Milo, Happy and Everest, (go ahead, cringe away) Tennyson Lee won out.  (And he’s our ‘love child’ -conceived during a rekindling of romance in our relationship and he continues to be the happiest, sweetest soul in our household.  On that note, I’d say it’s a good idea to be as love- and joy-filled as possible during this pregnancy period.  It certainly seemed to have dynamite effects on Tennyson.)

I’m 9 weeks along now and we are 99% sure of both a girl and boy name.  We’re keeping our cards close to our chest at the moment, but I’m pretty darn excited about both options -and we haven’t had solid names for both sexes since Wilder.  (He would have been Cora Jane.)

Ah, names… It is one of my most favorite parts of making people.  I often joke that I want goldfish JUST so I can name them.  Maybe pet rocks.  I suck at cleaning fishbowls.

Baby Naming Tips

Let’s Get Physical:  I recommend having a physical list that hangs out in the kitchen -some place you both frequent and will find yourselves staring at often.

Anything Goes:  For the first evolution of the list, put down anything that rings your bell.  Anything that sounds interesting, that’s inspired, that’s meaningful.  You never know what it will spark.

Watch Out For Trends: This is totally subjective, but I prefer rare(r) names than what’s hip.  We go for classic middle names (that usually have family ties) and uncommon first names.  But if you like Bella, Sophia, Jack and Maddox, I mean, go for it.  Personally?  I recommend being outside the box.  Seeing what names were popular during the turn of the century (no, not this century, I mean the 1900s) can be pretty inspiring.

Listen to Your Partner: They may have some really great ideas, so be open -it’s a list, it’s not the final decision.

Do The Park Test:  My husband’s test for any name is if he can yell it out at a public park and not feel like an idiot.  It’s a purdy good way to feel out a name.

Baby, Child, Adult, Elder: Does the name work for all of these life stages?

Alright, now go have a blast naming that baby!  (Kelly skips off into the sunset along a curved path in the midst of grassy hills  filled with adorable cartoon forest creatures.)  I love baby namin’.

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