How To Choose a Meaningful Name For Baby

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Naming your little bundle of joy can be exciting, and at the same time frustrating. There are so many names out there - common names, unique names, never-before-seen names. Then you start thinking - do you want your child to have the same name as three others in their class? But what if you choose a unique name instead, and then others struggle to pronounce and spell for your child's name for their whole life? And what are your friends going to think of that name?

I get it, there are a lot of thoughts swirling around in your brain regarding name choosing. You and your partner will have to get on the same page about what to name your baby-to-be. But how? Here are a few ideas that may help you discover the perfect meaningful name for your child.

1. Consider Family Names

Think about your family, as well as your partner's family. Are there any names in either of your families that have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation? If so, you may want to consider using a family name for your baby. A family name ties your baby to generations that have come before him or her.

This seems to be pretty common with middle names. If your partner and his father have the same middle name, for example, he might like your first son to have that same middle name. Or, maybe there's a first name that has been passed down on either side of the family that you would like to use.

Perhaps there's even a last name that you'd love to name your baby. Sometimes, a grandma's maiden name has a nice ring to it. Using a family surname as a first name for your baby can be a great way to honor family and ensure that the name is meaningful.

Remember, though, that the name of your baby is ultimately up to you and your partner. You do not HAVE to choose a family name that you don't like, just for the sake of making family members happy. Don't feel pressured. Just at least consider these family-based naming options, and then decide if that's what you want or not.

2. Discover Name Origins and Meanings

Another great option to consider when choosing baby names is to research the meanings of names you like, and then choose your baby's name based on what it stands for.

If you want to incorporate your cultural heritage(s) into your baby's name, you may want to choose a name with a specific linguistic, ethnic, or religious origin.

Here are some great websites for researching baby name origins & meanings:

And to get you started, here are some of my favorite baby names, along with their origins and what they mean:

Girl Names:

Amelia - Dutch - hard-working

Lucy - English - light

Nora - Irish - honor

Clara - Latin - bright and clean

Hazel - English - protection and authority

Boy Names:

Milo - German - merciful

Noah - Hebrew - rest

Arthur - Celtic - bear

Theodore - Greek - gift of God

Leo - Latin - lion

Neutral Names:

Charlie - English - freedom

Finley - Irish and Scottish - fair-haired hero

Quinn - Irish - intelligence

Riley - Irish - courageous

Drew - Greek - strong

3. Infuse Your Personalities

Another great way to get started with choosing a baby name is to think about your personality, as well as your partner's. After all, your baby will be a combination of the two of you and will likely hold some of the same personality traits as Mommy and Daddy.

Maybe you are both energetic and fun-loving, so you might want to choose a name that reflects that. Or if you're nature lovers, you might want to choose a natural, woodsy kind of name for your baby.

If you love traveling, consider some cities you've traveled to as possible names for your baby. If you're artistic, think of some color-themed names. The possibilities are endless!

4. Use Teamwork

If you're planning on giving your baby a first and middle name (or two), then you can use a combination of the name choosing ideas above to choose some first and middle names you love.

Now get your partner involved! Try choosing a first name and then having your partner choose a middle name. Then, swap roles. See what kinds of fun combinations you come up with!

5. Think About the Cadence

Once you've found some first and middle name combos you like, say them together so that you can hear how they sound. Do the names flow well together?

I like to think about this in terms of cadence, such as in a song. Is there a kind of rhythm to your baby's name? Try adding the last name to the end, too, to see how it all sounds and looks written out.

Are there any elements of alliteration (all starting with the same letter)? Is that something you want? Are the lengths of the names, in terms of syllables and letters, compatible with one another? This is all up to your personal preference, but make sure that you love the full name in all its forms before you decide for sure.

I hope you've found this helpful! Drop some of your favorite baby names in the comments below.

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