How Long Should It Take To Name Your Baby?

Despite the pressure to pick immediately, Rebecca Eckler says there's no longer a deadline for baby naming

Traditionally, there are three camps of parental types when it comes to naming babies. There is the first camp of parents who decide on baby names before they even conceive, those who choose a name 48 hours after they find out they are pregnant, and others who have had their baby names picked out since they were eight years old.

Interestingly, there seems to be a new camp of parents who cautiously take their time, not rushing in the least to name their baby, sometimes even waiting weeks after they give birth to decide a name they love for their newborn. These parents want to maximize their decision time and are even admitting that nine months doesn’t feel like enough time to choose their baby’s name.

This latter camp of “taking-as-much-time-as-they-want-la-de-da” parents now seem to be a forming a trend. For some, it’s not that they can’t come up with a name, but that they want to wait and see their newborn before making a decision. After all, for the rest of your life, you’re going to be the one who is calling/yelling/screaming their names. And for the rest of the child’s life, that’s what they are going to be called; in the playground all the way through to (possibly) a law office one day.

It is sort of funny when people argue that they, “want to see the personality and looks,” of their baby, before naming them. But that also makes sense when you think about it. Newborns don’t exactly have “personalities.” What kind of personality can a newborn possibly have at two hours old?

All newborns are basically blobs who kind of look alike, aside from maybe having a lot of hair or a different skin tone, which can often change over the following few months. But if you do wait to name your child for weeks, perhaps parents can and do get to recognize some sort of personality trait.

I think we all know parents or have heard stories of parents, who picked out a name for their newborn, only to hold them for the first time and say, “Um, no. Just no.” Or, “She is so NOT a ‘Summer!’ She’s definitely a ‘Lily.’’” Or, “What were we thinking? This little dude is obviously not a ‘Jude!’ He’s clearly an ‘Owen.’”

I say kudos to this new trend of parents, who take their time choosing their baby names, with as much thought as choosing a new car. One woman I know went into the delivery room with a “short list” of baby names that she and her partner came up with, as well as reviewing her “long list” of names, solely to make sure the name felt and sounded right when she was holding her child. In fact, this trend of waiting until the baby is weeks old before solidifying the name includes a lot of imminent parents who bring lists of possible names to the hospital.

There is no deadline, that I know of, for naming your baby.

Another mother friend, who is awful at making a decision of any sort, admits that nine months didn’t feel like enough time to make probably the biggest decision of her life. (It takes her at least fifteen minutes to decide what fruit she wants to eat, so imagine how long it took her to name her first born? The answer is 15 days after birth.)

I also say kudos to these parents, because they are not bowing down to friends and family and society in general, all of whom probably ask these new parents every hour, on the hour, if they’ve “chosen a name yet?”

Of course, there are many parents who just KNOW their choice of name is perfect for their baby. But I bet just as many parents who name their baby immediately, spend a moment or twelve having second thoughts. I say, take all the time you need to choose the name you want. There’s no rule that you need to have that figured out immediately after popping out that baby. And it would be much harder to change a name when your child is five years old, as opposed to five days or five weeks old.

Did you have trouble choosing your baby name? How long did it take you? Or were you one of those who planned your baby’s name before you’d even conceived?




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