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Baby Naming Guidelines

Guideline #2: No Singular Sensations

It happens more frequently than you think. Either the bundle you end up with in your arms just doesn't fit the name you've selected, or it turns out to be a girl when you were expecting a boy. Don't get caught completely flatfooted by working toward selecting one perfect name. Develop a short list of several possibilities so you don't get locked into one name, only to be disappointed when you can't use it.

Guideline #3: Don't Fly Solo

Name Dropping

One way to get around a gender switch problem is to consider names that can work for both sexes, or names that lend themselves well to masculine or feminine variations, such as Paul/Paula, Philip/Philipa, Alex/Alexandra…there are many once you start looking for them.

If you're married or in a committed relationship during the time you're pregnant, make sure your significant other is involved in the process. It's an important part of moving beyond being a couple to becoming parents. Sadly, many guys say they feel left out of the naming process or that their input really wasn't all that welcome.

Even if you're in a situation where you are having your baby on your own, enlist someone else to work with you on selecting a name. It really is an experience you'll enjoy more if you share it with another person, especially if it's someone you treasure having in your life. Whoever you chose will probably be very honored that you asked.

Guideline #4: Don't Be Silly

Alphabet Soup

An elisim is a name that forms a phrase when spoken with a surname.

What's in a Name

Yes, there really was a lady named Ima Hogg. She was the daughter of Texas governor James Steven Hogg and a beloved patron of the arts and philanthropist in her home state. Contrary to the oft-circulated joke about this dear lady, she did not have a sister named Ura.

I grew up with a girl named Candance Barr. No one ever called her Candance. Candy Barr was cute for a little kid, but I always wondered what her parents were thinking on that one. Did they really believe that Candy Barr would be a name that would easily take their child through her adult years?

The list of cute names, and, for that matter, unfortunate name combinations that have been bestowed by parents over the years, is lengthy. Some of the better known include: Justin Case, Crystal Ball, Kitty Katz (sounds like a stripper), and, of course, the famous Ima Hogg.

I can't think of too many parents who would intentionally give a cute or silly name to their child, but it can happen inadvertently. It's another good reason for test-driving the names you're considering.

So, this much you know at this point:

  • You're going to choose a name you like;
  • You're going to choose more than one name;
  • You're going to do it with your spouse, significant other, or someone else who is close to you; and
  • You're going to stay away from being cute.

Beyond that, your canvas is probably pretty blank. Let's start filling it in!

More on: Choosing a Name


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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