How to Choose the Right Baby Name

Every parent wants their newborn to get the perfect name. Here are some tips on choosing the best name for the little one. Added bonus: scroll down to see the trending baby names for this year

By Team ParentCircle  • 11 min read

How to Choose the Right Baby Name

What are the criteria that most parents follow while naming their child? Is it tradition or popularity? Or, is it just a whim? Most often, it may be the latter. When Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff’s son Tiger was about to make his debut in the movies, there were a string of memes and jokes on the social network about his unusual name. Here is a sample -- “Give a round of applause to Tiger Shroff for an outstanding Oscar-winning performance in Life of Pi.”

That is just one instance. Celebrities are known to pick unusual monikers for their kids -- Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their daughter North West, Sylvester Stallone’s son is named Sage Moonblood. Parents often make the mistake of choosing a name for their child which might sound unique at first but is deemed outrageous later.

According to research done by last year, the most unusual names for girls were Adorable, Aviary and Reality, while some parents had given their boys names such as Emperor, Galaxy and Warden. Sometimes, parents name their kids on the basis of their ideology or because they like a certain author or literary character. But whatever nomenclature you might choose, it should not be one which adversely affects the child or one he detests all his life.

There are certain factors everyone needs to keep in mind while naming their baby:

1. Too common a name -- Apart from the fact that it is unimaginative, giving your child a name that is extremely run-of-the-mill can result in practical difficulties. For example in school, if there are more than one John or Geeta in the class, it may lead to confusion. Worse still, when the child has to be part of a group, he will be known only by his initials. This makes it essential for you to choose a name that is less ordinary yet dignified.

2. Names that are difficult to spell and pronounce-- Imagine having a name like Wojciech Szczesny! Most people address the Arsenal goalkeeper as Wojo. However, if a football enthusiast parent decides to name his child after the Polish footballer, it will lead to a lifetime of correcting pronunciation and spelling. A name as common as Jyotsna sounds fine till someone asks for the spelling -- is it Jotsna, Jyotsana or Jyoshna. It is the same case with Sreenivas, which could be spelt Shrinivas, Srinivas or Srinivasa. So, make sure your baby has a name that cannot be interpreted in different ways.

To make your task easier we have compiled a list of the most popular baby names of this year. Check out this article :  

Trending Baby Names for 2017 

3. Compatible with the surname -- Parents should be careful to check that the name they choose for their child goes well with the last name. It would be disastrous to have a name like Holly Day or Olive Green or a tongue twister like Deepshikha Dikshith. A person named Manana Chanana would never forgive her parents for life. Also, make sure that the child does not have to endure the embarrassment of having funny initials such as PK.

4. Common names with changed spelling -- Some parents will choose a name which everyone agrees with, then go ahead and change the spelling just to make it different. It has become a trend these days to take a popular name and change the way it is spelt. Many people are unfortunately buying into this practice because it is also a celebrity fad (read Shahrukh Khan’s son Abram). For example, take the name, Krishna. Some parents want it to sound cool so they make it Krsna or Krisnah. A simple Jack would not do, so it becomes Jaq or Jac. The onus finally falls on the child who must forever correct the spelling.

5. Names that are extremely unusual -- Every parent wants her child to have an offbeat or unique name. A lot of thought goes into naming the child but if the name is very rare and has to be repeated many times before someone actually gets it, then it is a problem. We love unique names such as Reyansh or Agastya but calling your little one Abhrakasin, Abhyagni or Dwaipayan can be a little unfair. Your child will have to spend most of his time explaining to people what the name means. Come up with interesting names but do not make it too offbeat.

6. Names according to tradition or numerology -- In India, it is a regular practice to name a child according to the time of birth or with alphabets suggested by their horoscope. That is not a bad idea at all. It gives you a good start on choosing a name. Checking the numerical compatibility is also common. But the trouble begins when you have to add extra alphabets and vowels to make it compatible. So Abhilash becomes Aabhilaash and Sanjana become Saanjanaa. This kind of spelling makes the name complicated.

7. Trend or event attached to a name -- Don't worry too much about a trend or a happening in the recent past that may be connected to a name that you really like and want to choose for your newborn. Public memory is short about events and trends are born and buried every day. So there's no reason to be wary of a name, which may be attached to a person or event that has a negative connotation. However, it is better to steer clear of names of characters in mythology or history that are seen in an unfavourable light because those stay forever in memory.      

8. Advice for a name -- While it is a good idea to ask for suggestions from family and friends for a unique nomenclature, do not be obliged to heed to advice. Naming your child is your responsibility and privilege, so you need not feel pressured to adopt a name just because a pushy relative insists on a particular name. Suggestions are welcome but finally, it is the parents, who make the ultimate decision about what their little one will be called.       

Naming a newborn is not an easy task. A lot of things need to be considered and pros and cons examined while scouting for a name. Since it is the first gift you give your little one, ensure it is something he will be pleasantly remembered by.

Baby naming traditions around the world

All over the world, different countries have different traditions when it comes to naming their newborn. Here are some of the interesting ones:

Greek -- The Greeks follow the practice of naming their babies after saints and the naming ceremony is held on the seventh or tenth day after birth. Some of them also get their grandfather or grandmother’s name.

Spanish -- This country has a peculiar tradition when they are naming either the boy or the girl. Children get both the parents’ last name, so technically they have two first names. The names are usually religious in nature.

Jewish -- The Jewish people name their boys only after the circumcision ceremony is over, which happens eight days after the birth. Newborn girls are named around 15 days after birth, once a special ritual of reading the Torah is done.

Nigerian -- In Nigeria, the Yoruba traditions of naming a child are quite unique. Children are named according to the circumstances they are born in. For example -- born with the umbilical cord around their neck, resembling a grandmother who died before the baby was born, born to parents who were longing for a child, born abroad and so on.

Chinese -- There is a lot of culture and tradition that goes into selecting a Chinese name as it is supposed to determine the child’s fortunes in getting a good education, career etc., in future. Each Chinese name is uniquely created after looking the time and date of birth, alignment of the stars and so on.

Indian -- In India, baby naming traditions are quite sacred and in almost all faiths, an elaborate ceremony is held to name the newborn. In Hindus, a horoscope is made based on the date and time of birth and the first letter of the name is chosen according to this horoscope. In Muslims, an Aquiqa ceremony is held to name the child on the seventh day after birth. Among Christians, a christening ceremony is held, usually in church, to formally give the name to the child.    

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