There's more to your perfect baby name than just the official name—so think about what you might want to call your baby for short. Discover what's new on the nickname front.


When you're picking baby names for your future son or daughter, odds are that you're probably also thinking of what people may end up calling your little Elizabeth or Alexander. And in fact, some parents-to-be purposely pick kids' names that come with cool nicknames -- and that's what they're planning to call their babies from birth.

Here's a peek at some of the most popular trends in nicknames -- and how to pick the right one for your son or daughter.

Try skipping the formal name for the nickname.

Some people are skipping Charles and going right for Charlie as the official name, or trading in Grace for the more casual nickname Gracie. In the top 100 names, you'll find top nicknames such as Liam, Jack, Leo, Alex, and Max for boys -- and for girls, Ella, Bella and Ellie.

Consider an "ee" nickname for your daughter.

Parents of girls are all about nicknames with the ee sound: Abby, Addie, Katie, Maddie,Maisie, and Millie, to name a few.

Don't necessarily go for the obvious nickname for your child.

Alex or Al may be the most common ways to shorten Alexandra and Alexander, but what about Xan or Xander? Hal makes a sweet nickname for Henry and Daisy is a less common way to shorten Margaret.

Consider names with some flexibility.

A longer name such as Seraphina lends itself to a ton of great nicknames, including Sara, Fiona, or simply Fi -- while a shorter name like Kara has more limited nickname appeal.

Don't fixate on a particular nickname.

You'll have some control over what people call your little William while he's a baby (and you can insist that his grandparents trade in that Billy for Liam), but keep in mind that your son's classmates -- and your son himself -- may have other ideas of what his nickname should be when he gets older.

Take a look at the most-popular-names list for clues to what's already hot for nicknames.

Name such as Adeline, Addison, and Adele all lend themselves to the nickname Addie, while top names like Madeline and Madison are meant to get the nickname Maddie. So even if you pick a unique name such as Eliana, if you plan to call her Ellie, you may discover that your Ellie will be just one in a sea of Ellies, with all the Elizabeths, Ellas, Elenas, and Ellens in their class.

Make sure your choice is "bully-proof."

Consider running your chosen name by the neighborhood pack of elementary-school students, to see if they can come up with any potentially negative nicknames for it. For instance, pairing the name Jackson with the surname Hoff sounds fine, but "Jack," a common nickname for Jackson, might lend itself to some serious mocking.

Don't feel limited to your child's first name.

Consider the middle name as well as the surname when you're coming up with a great nickname. (That's how cute nicknames such as "J.T." come about.) And, of course, you could always come up with a nickname that has little relation to your child's name -- for instance, Buddy or Sonny for a little boy.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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