Baby names: The struggle is real.

Seriously, deciding on the perfect name for your child is tough鈥 and no one wants to make a life-changing mistake (no pressure!). Oh, and to add to that stress-inducing task, you鈥檝e probably also got an endless list of other things to check off of your pregnancy to-do list (nursery decor, planning a baby shower, managing your heartburn, etc.).

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Deciding on a name shouldn鈥檛 be as stressful as people make it out to be. Think of it as a new kind of creative task 鈥斅燼 marketing/branding project. And just like any task, everyone has their own process and end goals for ultimately landing on a name they feel will best suit their child. Whether that鈥檚 aiming for something traditional, giving a generational name that has been passed down through the family or opting for an up-and-coming creative name that鈥檚 so unique you probably (er, totally?) made it up.

With my second child arriving very soon 鈥斅爈ike weeks away soon! 鈥斅爐his topic is at the very top of my to-do list. To help make this pressure-inducing decision more efficient, my husband Dave and I have created specific criteria we run through that have guided us in our baby name quests.


The following six checkpoints are what helped us come up with our first child鈥檚 name, Ansel, and are helping us narrow down our list of names for Baby #2 as well.

1. The Starbucks Barista Test: Basically, if we feel like it would get misspelled on a coffee cup, the name doesn鈥檛 make it onto our potential baby names list. You should be able to say it and easily see how it鈥檚 spelled in your mind. I struggle with this one myself as a 鈥淏rittany鈥 鈥斅爐oo often, my coffee cups read 鈥淏ritney鈥 (thanks to Britney Spears), 鈥淏rittney鈥 or sometimes even 鈥淏rittni鈥 鈥斅爓hat?! My child should never endure such name shame ;)

2. Avoid the Too Trendy: When kids grow up, they don鈥檛 want to become the person at school with the too-popular name (i.e. our generation鈥檚 version of Ashley and Michael). So I tend to stay away from names that are currently having a moment or previously had a reign at the top of the baby name charts. My go-to name research site is Baby Name Wizard聽鈥 their NameFinder tools are the best I鈥檝e seen online thus far.

3. Personalization: Dave and I prefer to make our children鈥檚 names relate to US as a couple specifically. We try to find and think of names that merge our mutual interests 鈥 creativity and the outdoors, for example. Ansel falls right into this, as his name represents photography, creativity and iconic images of mountains and the American West. We鈥檙e using the same framework as we add name ideas to our list for our second child as well.

4. Career-Minded: You obviously have no idea what career path your child will take, so he/she needs a name that can work for all kinds of outcomes. I often ask, 鈥淐an this name work for both a future President or a future starving artist?鈥 If the answer to that question is yes, it makes it to the next round. If not, well, you can guess where that name ends up. (And yes, in the back of my mind, I secretly hope I one day have a strong little girl who grows up to be the future President. But to each their own!)

5. Perfect in Pairs: For anyone who wants more than one child, you should always keep in mind how frequently you will have to be using their name back-to-back with another. As we鈥檙e thinking up names for Baby #2, we鈥檙e looking at lots of names that begin with vowels, as those tend to match better with 鈥淎nsel,鈥 the name of our first son. Of course, you could always go with the theme direction as well. For instance, we鈥檙e debating naming #2 a name that also references a past creative icon, or something to do with mountains. If we go in that direction, I just hope we don鈥檛 have six kids, because we might run out of ideas after the first two or three!

6. Skip the Struggles: No one wants to be reminded of their ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, or any enemies from childhood. So this tactic basically eliminates all names that are associated with those negative feelings 鈥 no matter how original and in love with the name we may be. If it brings negative vibes, it鈥檚 out.

baby naming tips

So that鈥檚 it 鈥斅爏ix tips to guide you down the path to a better and more meaningful baby name. I hope it helps you on your own naming journey. And if you fail or realize you picked something really weird down the line, remember your child always has the ability to change their name. I mean, if Phoebe can do it, then anyone can do it ;)

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I personally can鈥檛 wait to share the name we landed on for our second child super soon! Stay tuned for updates on the labor and delivery front :)

What criteria do your potential baby names have to meet before deciding聽on the perfect one? Share them with me on Twitter.

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