The Name Game

A big decision for your little one.

Why choosing a name is one of the first and most important decisions you'll make as a parent.

One of the hardest parts about each pregnancy hasn’t been the uncomfortable aches, the sleeplessness, or the lackluster stretch marks.

It’s the name.

I’ve always wrestled with the aspect of naming another person. How do I choose something that will be theirs for the rest of their days? What sort of name will be cute for a baby, but meaningful enough to grow into?

I once did an exercise where we introduced ourselves to others by relating the story of our names. I hated it. As mine is told, “We didn’t have a name and just weren’t sure, and we liked Jessica so we decided to go with it.” Basically, there isn’t a story.

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I decided that wouldn’t be the legacy I leave for my little ones.

What We’ve Done

Faced with so many baby names, we decided to choose a key letter and found a name that fit within that letter. We chose “A” because, after all, what better place to start than the beginning of the alphabet. Adalyn was born. 

It turns out we have an affinity for vowels.

When choosing our second baby’s name, everything we liked began with a vowel. We decided to run with it: our kids would be the vowels.

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Our vowels were bonded together, an invaluable part of a group. Naming our kids in this way would help us live out the belief that together we are strongest.

So, Adalyn was followed by Elliot, Isaac (my rainbow baby), Oakley, and Upton.

Go With the Flow

One thing we always consider is how a name flows. The combination of first-middle-last name needs to sound intentional and put together. As my grandma repeatedly reminded me, also make sure the names you choose don’t have initials that would spell something undesirable.

When discussing potential names, we do a trial run of how it sounds with sibling’s names. We might say their names as if we were calling our children inside for dinner to see if they flow well together. I want to make sure I’m not creating a tongue twister for myself!

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The Popular Kid

You may also want to consider popular names versus unique names and decide what direction you want to go. Are you okay with your child being one of several in his/her class or do you want to choose a name that is more uncommon for him? Just as important is how you spell the name. Is it spelled conventionally, spelled to easily translate into a nickname, or something new altogether?

As your baby grows, he’ll likely use a nickname around friends. Think through all the potential nicknames and decide if you’re okay with them as substitutes as your child grows.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

The concept of family names is also something to consider. Is there a tradition of keeping with a family name? Is there someone you want to honor in your family? We chose to keep some family names as middle names if they flowed well.

Think through if there’s a naming tradition you want to keep alive through your little one.

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Finding the Perfect Name

When all is said and done, take a deep breath, look at your baby, and choose a name.

While naming a baby isn’t something to take lightly, I’ve found that most babies grow into their given names with ease. I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering if had chosen the “right” name for our first baby. I slowly learned that, as she grew, the name really did belong to just her. 

Her name will be perfect because it’s hers and she will grow into it beautifully.

What will guide your decision when choosing a name?

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.

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