Considering Length When Choosing a Baby Name

Baby names have been getting shorter since 1990, reports Dan Kopf in his Quartz article “The rise of the 4-letter baby name.” The November 1, 2018 article examines a series of data and quotes naming expert Laura Wattenberg. It’s a fascinating take on the usual “top names of the year” articles I see popping up around this time of the year. In short, baby names are getting shorter, but this apparently is a return to a length that was popular before.

I’m guilty as charged! My kids have names that have 4 and 6 letters in them. While I did focus on whether their names were in the top 100 for the few years leading up to their birth, I didn’t focus on the popularity of the length.

Trends are trends—whether it’s a particular name or simply a particular style of name—we have cultural preferences. While some expecting parents will peek at the popular name list and steer clear (like I did!), I don’t know if parents would either choose a name with a style that wasn’t on-trend or, the opposite, select a name with a style that is on-trend so the name doesn’t stand out too much. (Surely some parents pass on a name simply because it’s too unusual, just as they’ll pass on a name that is too common!) Is popularity of name length a consideration, though? I don’t know, but I think style is a factor to consider. And, just by nature of names, length plays into style.

From this article, I learned about “liquid” and “raindrop” names, which are short and smooth monikers. Focusing on the style and not the length may be easier for parents while sifting through name options. If choosing the name for a second, third, (or more) child, sticking with a particular style of name may be a way to ensure the names of multiple children in a family “go together,” yet another consideration for parents adding more children to their family.

How about you? Did you consider the length of your children’s names? Were name length trends a deciding factor (whether you were on-trend or purposely avoided the trend)? I know subtle cultural trends do influence our decisions (and not just for our baby’s name!), but when it comes to choosing the most perfect name, it’s not an analysis of data that sways our decision, it’s our hearts.


Want to know more about honoring your heart when choosing a name for your baby? Read my short e-book, Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby. It lays out the groundwork parents can do to discover what type of name they want to give their baby. The guide describes the different types of names and details different evaluations parents can do as they sift through their baby name list. By following some or all of the process described in this guide, parents can find the most perfect name for their soon-to-arrive bundle of joy while listening to their hearts! Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby is available at Amazon.com*.

 

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Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby: Demystifying the Naming Process & Honoring Your Heart by Theresa Budnik Combs

*Of course I earn money with each purchase of my guide, because I wrote it. I appreciate your support and I hope that my guide helps you select the most perfect name for your baby!

When the Baby Name You Chose Starts a Trend

Some parents purposely avoid a popular name for their baby. So, they pass on names they’ve heard often and may even check the Social Security website for popular baby names. But, sometimes the name they choose for their baby ends up being the start of a name trend.

I recently read Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death, where she writes about this problem…albeit with her dog.

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The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro

One thing I did know, however was that I wanted to name her [the new puppy] something that I was sure every other dog wouldn’t have engraved on a tag around its neck in a year. When we brought Bella home, she was the only Bella we knew of, but by the time she died, every dog I ran into was named Bella. Now, it’s not like I invented the name, but it sorta sucks when you think you’ve found something pretty, nice, and uncommon, then the next thing you know, it’s in the top ten, right under Buddy, and you can’t say your dog’s name in the waiting room at the vet’s without six others answering you. Ask any mother of an Ashley what she would do if given the chance again in 1989, and you get the picture.

Notaro has done the work of equating naming a dog to naming a baby, even though I think the leap from fur child to human child is an easy one to make.

I wanted unique names for my children. And, yes, like Notaro, I worried about their names being popular at the time. While it hasn’t happened, if their names start trending, I won’t be upset, because ultimately, my husband and I followed our hearts. This is the last step I list in my baby naming guide, Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby. As with most aspects of parenting (and life), you can do your research, plan, and do the best you can do, but sometimes it doesn’t work out the way we think it will. Some kid will be one of three Mias or Masons in their kindergarten class. By that time, though, a parent would probably realize that, yes, they followed their heart when they chose the name, but also that changing the name would be ridiculous because it suits their child perfectly!

 


Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby is my short e-book that lays out the groundwork parents can do to discover what type of name they want to give their baby. It describes the different types of names and details different evaluations parents can do as they sift through their baby name list. By following some or all of the process described in this guide, parents can find the most perfect name for their soon-to-arrive bundle of joy while listening to their hearts! Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby is available at Amazon.com*.

Baby_Name_Guide_Cover_Final
Choosing the Most Perfect Name for Your Baby: Demystifying the Naming Process & Honoring Your Heart by Theresa Budnik Combs

*Of course, I earn money with each purchase of my guide, because I wrote it. I appreciate your support and I hope that my guide helps you select the most perfect name for your baby!

Do You Regret Your Baby’s Name?

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Rainbow Toys

Oh, my goodness! Are you here because you think, maybe, you kind of regret giving your baby the name you did?

See, every once and a while, I check the statistics on my blog. I can see that some people hit right onto my “Baby Name Regrets” post from Google. (I can’t see the search term they used, though.) And, I’ve thought to myself, who is this person? I wonder if they are a parent with all kinds of emotions swirling around about their new baby—including the name they gave him or her.

Sure, I’ve written a guide on how to name a baby, but if you stumbled upon my blog because a little pang in your heart is making you think that you may regret your baby’s name, that guide is not going to help you right now.

Instead, I’m going to give you my best advice as if you were a friend (pretty much the only thing I’m qualified to do).

First, take a deep breath. What’s the name? Okay, what do you think is wrong with it? Alright, I’m not going to disagree with you, because you’re the parent and I’m not. And, this isn’t anything that cannot be handled. Wait, are you thumbing through your phone right now? Is it the middle of the night? Are you feeding your baby? Look, I’ve been there—midnight feeding, thumbing through my phone researching all kinds of things I should NOT have been reading about when I was sleep-deprived. (Seriously, don’t ask about the crazy shit I obsessed over.) Nothing sounds right when you’re in that hazy, sleep-deprived, post-partum phase of parenthood. Maybe you should just put your phone away. Go ahead. Just keep pressing the button that will make it shut off.

You’re still here. So, in the light of day, your baby’s name doesn’t sound right to you. What about the middle name? Do you like it? Call him or her by that name. Lots of people do it. First initial, middle name, and last name looks and sounds sophisticated, not to mention mysterious!

How about initials? What are they? T.J., M.J., K.K., D.D. (totally cute version of Deedee for a girl!)? Initials can work on a daily basis and are personable and fun! (I ended that with an exclamation mark just to prove my point.)

A nickname? There are plenty of people who go by nicknames that are unrelated to their given names. I once met a guy who went by the name of a piece of construction equipment. (I’m not going to say it here to maintain privacy.) I don’t know the story behind it, but he seemed to be getting along well in life. I’ve know other well-adjusted adults who go by nicknames related to their real names, too.

Trust me when I say that babies grow into their names. It’s weird calling a tiny human ANY name. They just arrived here! And, it’s not like they stuck out their hand and introduced themselves, which totally makes accepting a person’s name a lot easier. Some parents choose an “adult-sounding” name and yet the baby is cute, adorable, and, well, an impossibly tiny human being. I often think it must have been weird to see my parents address their baby as “Theresa.” (My name, if you didn’t catch the header of this blog.) My name seems grown-up to me and not very appropriate for a baby. (I can only assume I was cute and adorable.) Maybe my parents thought so too, because I had a slew of nicknames growing up.

Please recognize that you just may be in that post-partum fog. Again, I’ll reference the irrational Google searches I conducted and fretted over when both my kids were fresh from the womb. But also, rest assured that legal name changes ARE possible. Here’s how to change a name in my area. (Who knew that it was that local of a process?) If you know in your heart that you need to change your baby’s name, try searching “how do I change my baby’s name in (your state).”

Good luck! And, don’t worry. Shit happens. All that matters is how we handle it. And, if that gorgeous baby you just BIRTHED (or just became the PROUD father/mother/parent to—I’m trying to cover all the ways you can become a parent here) is any indication, you are absolutely doing it right!

Baby Names Inspired by Movies

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DailyMail.com just published an article claiming that the name “Kylo” is fastest growing baby name in the U.S.–because it’s the name of the villain in the latest Star Wars movie.

I came across this article on DailyMail.com this week and it got me thinking that there must be a lot of people out there naming their babies after movie characters–maybe even characters from television series and novels.

So I ask, would you name your baby after a character (good or bad) from a movie or book–popular or not?

The article also mentions the decline of names that have received “bad press” of sorts. Like, ahem, “Caitlyn,” “Hillary,” and “Donald.” Which makes me wonder, would you avoid a name that was recently in the spotlight even if it had special meaning or significance to your family?

I truly believe that baby naming is part process and part matter of the heart. But, this is a tough baby naming issue. You don’t want the most perfect name to get away simply based on “principle”. I say, honor your heart before jumping on the bandwagon or letting it pass by! Because, your heart is never wrong and you’ll always be confident with your name choice.

Baby Name Regrets

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Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

Baby names and regret? Yikes. I’m not sure I would have ever thought it was possible to regret—or at least have second thoughts—about your baby’s name, but Pamela Druckerman discusses in her book Bringing Up Bébé her inner turmoil after naming her twins (boys, fraternal).

We settle on Joel—whom we’ll only ever call Joey—and Leo, who defies all attempts at nicknames. …Amazingly, I still find time to be neurotic. I’m obsessed with the idea that we’ve given the boys the wrong names, and that I should go back to the town hall and switch them. I spend my few leisure minutes ruminating on this. …Before the little ceremony [circumcision], I confess to the mohel that I fear I’ve given the boys the wrong names and that I may need to switch them. He doesn’t offer me any spiritual advice. But being French, he explains that the bureaucracy I’d need to go through to do this would be a labyrinthine and excruciating. Somehow this information, plus the consecration of the circumcisions, erases my doubt. After the ceremony, I never worry about their names again.

Now that I reread this passage, I don’t know whether Druckerman means she wanted to flip flop her twins’ names (Joey becomes Leo and Leo becomes Joey) or if she means she wanted to give them completely different names. I can find the humor in the situation: the self-admitted neurotic nature of this obsession. Been there and done that postpartum!

I can’t help to wonder, though, have any other parents regretted or had second thoughts on the name they gave their baby? What would you do about it—change it legally, call them by a nickname? Would you ever admit it? Do you have a “friend” who has experienced this? (Wink!)