Sharing Your Baby Name Before Birth: Is It A Good Idea?

You've finally settled on a name for your baby-to-be: do you tell people beforehand or keep it a secret until birth?


It either came to you in an instant or it was the result of lots of research and conversation, but one way or another, you have found your perfect baby name. Now the dilemma: to share or not to share?

As with anything parenting-related, there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. Some people will want to shout their chosen name from the rooftops, while others will want to keep it to themselves like a special secret. Most often, though, it's other people’s reactions that can create this dilemma.

In an ideal world, if you chose to announce your baby’s name, everyone you told would be happy for you and well-mannered enough to congratulate you without offering their own commentary or criticism. Similarly, in an ideal world if you chose not to tell anyone, the people in your life would accept this and wait patiently for the baby to be born.

Unfortunately we do not live in this world, and some of us will encounter relatives, coworkers, or even strangers who are less than respectful. If you opt not to announce the baby's name before she is born, people might badger you with questions or demands: “Oh come on, you can tell me! I won’t tell anyone I promise!” or even more defensively, “What’s the big deal? Why won’t you tell me?”

If you do opt to share the name, those same types of people might offer their “helpful” unsolicited opinions: “So you’re just calling her that because of Twilight, right?” “How do you even spell that?” “Oh, that’s so trendy right now. I’ll bet so many of his little friends will have the same name, too!” or the pointed, “Huh. Isn’t that … interesting.

Obviously the most important thing is that you love the name, and that it is special and meaningful to you. Other people’s opinions, associations or comments shouldn’t matter — but we’re all human, and sometimes they do. They have a way of burrowing into our brain and staying there. If you are the kind of person who is influenced by the opinions of others — and my guess is that the majority of us (including yours truly) are, so there’s no shame in it! — it might be best to keep the name to yourself. People are much less likely to offer commentary or criticism on a name once the baby is born and they are face to face with chubby cheeks and beautiful eyes that somehow seem to suit the name perfectly

However, if you’re a totally confident type who is positive that no one else’s opinion can faze you, then share away! You might even inspire other people to do the same. The only hard-and-fast rule? Never tell just one or two people and expect them to keep it from their friends and family. Most people find names fascinating, so a secret this juicy is one very few could keep!

Once you’ve made your choice, how should you deal with some of the potential responses listed above? Be polite but firm and respond with either, “I have decided on a name, but I’ve opted not to tell anyone yet. Everyone will find out at the same time: once the baby is born” or “I love the name and I know it will be perfect for my baby.” And then smile and change the subject. You may have to repeat this a few times with particularly persistent or ill-mannered types, but most people should get the message loud and clear.

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