How to Pick the Best Name for Your Baby

Whether you go trendy or traditional, here's how to select the ideal name for your child.

The Name Game

pregnant mom reading book on couch

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a daughter named Victoria. Elegant and sophisticated, "Victoria" seems fit for a princess. When I found out I was pregnant last year, I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to talk names. Luckily, my husband, Matt, loved "Victoria," too. Our family and friends had heard me talk about the name for years, so they weren't surprised when we announced it as our top pick for a girl. Matt and I even went as far as laying down the law on nicknames: "Vicky" was verboten, but we'd consider "Tori" when she was older. So you can imagine their surprise when we introduced everyone to our daughter, Mackenzie Elizabeth.

Yep, I have a daughter and her name isn't Victoria. Why not? Like many expectant parents, Matt and I spent countless evenings discussing names. I suggested Paige or Reid, a clever nod to my work as a writer, I thought. Matt just rolled his eyes. I rejected his suggestion of Skylar. Then I remembered a former coworker naming her daughter Mackenzie. I didn't think it was Matt's style, so I was shocked when he said, "I love it!" Though we immediately agreed on Michael for a boy, over the next few months we agonized over our girl's name. I would often ask, "Are you leaning more toward Victoria or Mackenzie for a girl?" and Matt would say he wasn't sure. And the weird thing was, neither was I. Our two picks were so different -- Victoria, traditional and feminine, and Mackenzie, more of-the-moment -- but we loved them both. Deep down, though, I wondered if I could really give up the name I'd loved practically forever.

Baby Arrives, Plans Change!

The answer came the second I locked eyes with my newborn daughter. I knew instantly that she was Mackenzie. It's hard to describe, but she just didn't look like a Victoria. I don't know whether it was the mischievous glint in her big blue eyes or the excited kicking of her skinny legs, but there was something so spunky, so exuberant about her that she had to be Mackenzie. When we told our families the name we'd chosen, they all agreed: Victoria is a beautiful name but our little imp is completely, undeniably Mackenzie.

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