Top Seven Tips for Naming Your Baby Girl

By  //  February 18, 2020

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While we all haven’t been pregnant or expecting a new baby, most of us have probably known someone pregnant or at least thought about what we might name our hypothetical babies.

Friend 1: What are you going to name her?

Friend 2: Sharon? 

Friend 3: Oh, I love the name, Sharon! 

Friend 4: No, Sharon was the name of that horrible PE teacher. 

Friend 3: But you could call her Shan for short. 

Friend 4: Or Ron. 

Friend 1: Not very helpful. 

Friend 2: What about that song – the “Ma, Ma, Ma my Sharona”? Isn’t that song about something dirty? 

Friend 1: Yeah, but we aren’t suggesting the name Sharona, we’re suggesting Sharon. 

Friend 2: Tomato, Tomato 

Friend 3: You’d have to be famous to name your kid Tomato.  

Friend 1: Ugh, what do you think [insert name of expectant mother-to-be here]?   

[expectant mother-to-be sits blankly and blinks. She wishes she could have a cocktail, but alas, she is the expectant mother-to-be].   

While we all haven’t been pregnant or expecting a new baby, most of us have probably known someone pregnant or at least thought about what we might name our hypothetical babies.

You’d name it something edgy and creative, right? But you would still make it classic and not too weird. You’d want them to stand out in a crowd, but not so much they get bullied, right?

And you don’t want her to hate the name, but who knows what she likes and dislikes? Can a name change a person’s personality? What’s in a name? What is the name? You see where I’m going with this.   

It can be very difficult to come up with a name for your new bundle of joy. We all want to come up with unique baby girl names and unique baby boy names and also maybe unique unisex names.

We want some unique names! But we also want classic names and—see, you’ve got me started again. Below are some tips on how to find a unique baby girl name and how to not drive yourself bananas in the process.

1. Family Archives 

Listen, I know talking about babies with your family can be stressful. Everyone who has had a baby has lots of thoughts on how one parent best and everyone who doesn’t have a baby can’t believe you’re actually having a baby. 

However, family names can be a great source of inspiration for your little love. Some families may have names that run along gender lines (all the men are called John, all the women Winnie). However, I suggest a deeper dive into the archives. What was your grandmother’s middle name? 

Your great grandmother’s? Were there any wonderful nicknames you can, well, nick? No one in your family up to date on family history?

Try using resources like 23andMe or Ancestory.com to help you in your search. A rediscovered family name can be a wonderful new tradition for future generations.    

2. Don’t ask your family and friends 

Ok, so this is very contrary to number one. Obviously, in order to access these histories often time you are going to need to consult your family (parents, grandparents, great aunts) on where to begin. 

However, sometimes this can lead to too many cooks in the kitchen with too much invested in the outcome. When my sister was pregnant with her first child, she had two simple rules: no suggestions and no information. Meaning, she didn’t want our input on the name, and she wouldn’t tell us what she and her partner were thinking. 

Now, this led to some frustration and a lot of teasing, but it brought her a lot of peace of mind. There was no worrying about pleasing or offending anyone with her choice.

There was no finding the perfect name and then being reminded about that horrible camp counselor you all had with the same name. Keeping the naming process private can provide a lot of relief and clarity for parents to be. 

 3. Websites or Books 

This is a very practical approach, but it definitely gives you the most options in the shortest amount of time. If you’re a book person, buy a baby name book.

If you’re hip to the digital age, check out a baby name website, such as https://bitsybugboutique.com/blogs/mom-to-be/unique-baby-girl-names. With so many options, you can quickly find the names that speak to you. Are you looking for a classic name for your baby girl? A unisex one?

Flipping through books or scrolling through websites will help you discover you and your partner’s preferences quickly and efficiently, giving you more time to demand foot rubs or avoid building the crib.

Find a few favorites? Try referring to your stomach as this name for a few days and see how it feels. You may tire of that trendy new name sooner than you think. 

4. Films, TV, and books 

Similar to number four, but ever so slightly different – consult the artists. Turn to your favorite films, tv shows, and books. What are the heroine’s names?

What sort of women and characters would you like your little girl to be inspired by? There are some excellent databases, such as the Best Female-Led TV shows, the Best Films of the Decade, or the Best Books of the Past Decade.

Fun bonus: searching for a name this way can create new activities to experience with family or friends. Suggest a baby naming book club or a baby naming film night! You’ll be surprised by how enthusiastic everyone will be when your baby provides them with an excuse to binge-watch the latest TV show. 

5. Nickname City 

This is a better tip for when you are stuck between a few names. Which names have the best nicknames? Which have no nicknames at all? And which, most importantly, are easily transformed into playground insults. It can be a tough world on the playground, and a name that is easily transformed into a naughty word can follow a little kid around for years. Even decades. 

I have adult friends who still have playground nicknames they are trying to outrun. Now, a bad nickname isn’t a reason to abandon a name entirely, but if you are stuck between a few names, it is worth considering which one can be transformed into an easy, lovely, pet name and which one might lead to angst and concern.

Also, many people go by nicknames, so a silly pet name could be the name your child loves most! 

6. Top 3 and Wait 

Again, this number may come after employing any of the above strategies. If you can’t quite decide what the name should be, wait. It’s hard enough finding names you like, but finding one that suits a tiny human before she has even entered this world is extra tough. 

I recommend making a list of your top three girl names and top three boy names. Now, you might wonder, why would I make a list of boy and girl names if I know I have a little lady?

Well, sure, a doctor can get these things wrong from time to time, but more importantly, boys’ names can be girls’ names. The trend of gender-swapping names and more unisex names is on the rise. 

By having these two lists, you are giving yourself more options. Yes, you may have thought your girl would be a Grace or a Milly or a Rebecca, but perhaps Billie suits her better.

Also, making lists takes the pressure off both before and after birth. You don’t need to be 100% sure before, but trust me, that list will be helpful when you’re both exhausted and just need to write something other than “baby” on the birth certificate.   

However, you choose to name your baby, don’t fret too much. Yes, names are important, but names also evolve as we do. Perhaps as a kid, she will like to be called Becky, but as an adult only wants to be Rebecca. 

Or perhaps everyone will take to calling her by her middle name, Marie. Or perhaps people will call her by her last name, ignoring your efforts entirely.

We all have nicknames, pet names, some of us even have stage names, and these vary from situation to situation. 

Our names are a beautiful template for our entry into this world, but they evolve as we do, and they reflect our relationships to specific groups of people.

Sure, perhaps you are set on naming your daughter Veronica, but if her toddler older brother insists on calling her Lou, chances are she will end up as Lou. 

Whatever method you choose, I would encourage you to approach it with flexibility and an openness to the personality of your unborn baby. She will have a personality and opinions all her own. She will have a self that she is desperate to express. 

She may express it through art or work or sports or fashion or school or perhaps even her name. Share how you arrived at her name with her.

And share in her quest to express herself. Whatever her name is, she will be marvelous. Congratulations and best wishes to you and yours! 

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