Pretty much every single person who has ever had to name a baby has, at some point, felt overwhelmed by the long list of potential monikers. On one hand, it's great to have so many options to choose from. But on the other hand, your growing pool of baby names can seem impossible to narrow down as the impending arrival of your little one draws near. But how do you narrow down your baby name choices? Surely it has to be a bit more sophisticated than flipping a coin or throwing a dart at a board, right? (Though no judgment if that's what you want to do. I mean, it is pretty easy.)
But for many parents-to-be, the name selection process can be the source of stress, fights, and even possibly offending relatives who want your child to carry on their moniker. Clearly the last thing you want to do when you're pregnant is worry. So is there really an easy solution that will leave all involved parties satisfied? Or is your child going to have seven middle names and one very confused birth certificate administrator? Thankfully, there are some truly awesome hacks for narrowing down your list of baby names that will (hopefully) keep everyone sane and happy.
1. Say It Aloud
Sometimes a name can look great on paper, but when you actually say it out loud, it might not sound as great as you had imagined. Nixing any options that just don't have a great ring to them can significantly cut your list down.
2. Picture The Future
If you are in love with a really cute and adorable name, consider how it will age as your child grows. Susie may sound sweet for a child, but would your adult daughter prefer something more sophisticated like Susan instead?
3. Consider The Spelling
Some parents put their own stamp on a child's name by spelling it uniquely. But for others, a complicated or non-traditional spelling could lead to pronunciation issues in school or clerical errors on paperwork.
4. Find Out If It's Like Or Love
Some names are added to the list simply because you saw it one day and thought it was a cool option. But if you review your choices, you might actually find that there are quite a few names that you only like but don't love. Cut the ones that you don't absolutely adore and your list will definitely be shorter.
5. Don't Discount The Middle Name
If you and your partner are at odds over a name and are equally passionate about your choices, don't forget that it's not all about the first name. A middle name can be just as meaningful and can even allow you a little wiggle room if you're stuck.
6. Consider Family
This one may not hit home for you, but carrying on a legacy or honoring a family member who has passed on is prime inspiration for some people. But if there are some who might be offended by your choice or you feel like it just might not be worth it to explain, then you can cut out any names with family ties and start fresh.
7. Save It
If you are for sure planning on having more than one child, you can actually take some names and set them aside for your future children. It can also help you narrow things down by deciding if your choices sound good together as sibling names.
8. Divide It
One of the first things you can actually do to cut your list in half is to split it into two lists — favorites and backups. This can be a great jumping off point to weed out names you don't really like.
9. Make It A Surprise
Admittedly this is a rare option, but I know a couple people who actually swore by this method. If you and your partner just can't get your name possibilities under the double-digit mark, give the list to a trusted friend, family member, or godparent and let them pick it. It makes for a fun surprise and great story, too.
10. Do A Trial Run
This is a great way to test things out once you've gotten down to the final name options. For a week or so, pick a first and middle name and try it out to see how you and your partner feel about it. You might be surprised to find which combinations you end up loving or hating after the week is over.
I know, I know, this isn't necessarily the most popular choice, but it's a sure-fire way to keep the peace between you and your partner. Give your partner and yourself a set number of vetoes and stick to them. If your partner absolutely hates a name, show a little compassion and cut it from the list. And likewise, if there's one you can't stand, your partner should be willing to compromise, too.
12. Mix It Up
Once you've eliminated most of your options, you can whittle them down even more by playing around with combinations. Which do you like better: "Justin Leonard" or "Justin William" or neither? Switching names around can help you trim the fat and get down to the names you truly love.
13. Work Backwards
Instead of just looking solely at the names, consider what meanings or characteristics really strike a chord with you. If your partner, for instance, wants a name that means "strength," find the names on your list that share the meaning and then narrow those down. By working backwards, starting with the meaning first, you can get rid of a lot of duplicates.