Posted by Yohannes Zewde September 07, 2012
How your baby's name sounds when it is said aloud is one of the most essential things to think about. Is it melodious? Harsh? Does it go well with your surname? Often, longer first names work better with shorter surnames, and vice versa. Combining a first name that ends in a vowel with a surname that starts with a vowel generally isn't the best choice - the names tend to run together, like Eva Anderson. Avoid first names that rhyme with your surname. It's probably wise to resist puns too. A name like "Holly Wood" or "Rosie Lee" will be fun for about five minutes, not a lifetime.
An unusual name has the advantage of making the bearer stand out from the crowd. Fran sometimes wishes she hadn't chosen the popular name Matthew for her second son. When he started school, there were three other Matts in his class. "It was years before he really understood that his name wasn't Matt B," she says.
On the other hand, a name no one has heard of and can't pronounce can draw unwanted attention. One way of striking a balance is to choose a familiar first name if your child's surname is unusual. If your son's surname will be Smith, you might want to consider something with more pizzazz than Joe for his first name. However, if his surname is Aytrivbsoan, then Joe might be preferable to, say, Archimedes, as a given name.
Many parents choose to name their babies after a grandparent, other relative, or close friend. This option can provide you with a good pool of names to consider. Take ideas graciously, but don't tell anyone what you and your partner have decided until after your baby is born - when it's too late to give in to any less-than-subtle hints. Never let anyone pressure you into a name you don't like. When it comes down to it, great aunt Hepzebiah won't have to live with the name, your baby will.
Your child's heritage is an essential part of who she is, and you may want her name to reflect that. Your religious preference, if you have one, could steer you towards a certain category of names. Or perhaps your family has a tradition of naming first-born sons after their fathers. If you love a name but it doesn't meet your family's traditional requirements, consider using it as a middle name.
No one is likely to treat your daughter Ingrid differently because her name means "hero's daughter", but the derivation of your baby's name is something you may want to think about. After all, if little Stockard finds out one day that her name means "from the yard of tree stumps", she may not be best pleased.
People, especially children, can be cruel when it comes to nicknames, so try to anticipate any potentially embarrassing ones. Of course, just because you don't think of something doesn't mean some clever classmate down the line won't - and he'll probably find it utterly hilarious. At least you can rule out the obvious problems though. Also, be aware of what your child's initials spell. Zachary Ian Thomas will more than likely get a lot of teasing, while Zachary Edward Thomas probably won't.
Remember, none of these are hard and fast rules. The most important criteria for a name is simply that you and your partner like it.