How to Choose a Meaningful Baby Name

Choosing a baby name can sometimes seem like a daunting task with so many factors swirling about: Will it stand the test of time? Is it too trendy? Too dated? Do the initials spell something embarrassing? The good news, of course, is that if you choose a meaningful name that embraces sentiment, purpose and character, the rest kind of all falls into place. Here’s how!


1. Consult your family tree.
Do some digging into your family’s heritage and you might uncover some surprisingly great names. (Hint: The 20’s generation spawned a particularly adorable set of girl names like Hazel, Ida and Pearl!) Even better? You might uncover some family history gems or interesting facts about your ancestors – all the better to share with your baby someday!

2. Reminisce about your childhood.
What are some of you or your spouse’s favorite childhood memories? A vacation to Europe? An afternoon spent with your favorite childhood book? Conjure up a few sentimental memories and brainstorm words that might reflect those feelings. My good friend’s baby is named London after a particularly inspiring trip as a 13-year-old, and another was named Clover – a reminder to always search for childhood whimsy.


3. Break open the thesaurus.
What type of personality can you envision your baby having? What sort of aspirations do you hold for him/her? Consult the thesaurus to look up similar words or phrases that hold a special meaning to you. (Hint: A simile for the word “Light” is “Aurora,” which makes for a beautiful name, yes?)

4. Consider your interests.
Are you a lover of flowers? Perhaps a garden-inspired name like Rose, Violet or Fern would fit the bill. Is your spouse a history buff? Check out a few Presidential names like Franklin, Grover or Harrison. If you acknowledge you and your spouse’s hobbies or interests, naming can become representative of your family’s unique character.

5. Peruse a few lists.
Sometimes it helps to consult a few lists when you’re stuck, and often times, a meaningful name will pop from the page quicker than you realize. Here’s a list of the most popular baby names of the year – a great place to start!

6. Start googling.
Baby name meanings are incredibly easy to research with our handy Google friend. Have a particular word that inspires you, or one that holds sentimental value? Perform an online search for baby names closely associated with that word. (Hint: Here‘s a list of baby names that mean “happy”!)

7. Ask around.
What would your closest friends or family name your baby? Chances are, you won’t end up with a winning name, but sometimes starting the conversation with those dearest to you will help introduce other ideas or possibilities you haven’t considered. (Fun fact: I had the privilege of naming my dear friend’s second baby and we brainstormed for days!)

8. Get creative.
Finally, put on your thinking cap and have fun. Who knew everyday objects in your own home like Cash, Penn or Cord would make such great names? Look to your own environment and clear your mind. You’d be amazed at how many inspired baby names might be right before your eyes!

Happy naming, friends! And tell me – how did you decide what to name your little one? I’d love to hear!

p.s. (Don’t forget to consider middle names!)

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