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The Naming Game

Choosing a name for your bundle of joy can be one of the most enjoyable -- and, surprisingly, most stressful -- parts of pregnancy. Here are a few suggestions to take some of the bumps out of the decision:

  • Talk with your partner about his expectations regarding baby names. Is there a family name he'd like to pass on? Does he have any ethnic or religious traditions that he'd like to honor? Share your ideas too.
  • Before discussing specific names, talk about the categories of names you and your partner both like: Traditional names? One-of-a-kind names? Names that start with a certain letter?
  • Take advantage of the many books and websites that list thousands of baby names and their meanings.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that you and your partner have completely different approaches to name-choosing. You might like to snuggle up with a book of 10,000 baby names; your partner may prefer a more free-form strategy, such as listing the names of his best high school buddies. There's no right or wrong way to go through this process. If each person is patient with the other's approach, you'll agree on a name eventually.
  • Be open-minded. Avoid saying no automatically when your partner suggests what you consider to be a horrendous name. That name may grow on you with time.
  • Think about whether you'll tell others what names you're considering. Do you want to keep it a secret, or would you rather ask for lots of opinions about your possible choices? If you tell, be prepared for people to respond with comments such as "I hate that name! I went to school with a kid by that name, and he was a jerk!"


Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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