Wednesday, 7 September 2016

How to Avoid Baby Name Regret


Many children start school for the first time this week. Will they be the child with the funny name or one of the many Amelia's or Oliver's? When you call their name in the playground will you wince or beam with pride? Mumsnet conducted a survey and it seems that 1 in 5 parents regret their choice of baby's name. There are those that wait until the baby is born to decide and those that have always known what names they wanted and have the clothes and nursery ready and personalised. If you are about to have a baby and really do not want to make a mistake then read on and I will show you how to avoid baby name regret.

Reading the report did make me wonder why anyone would regret naming their child as it takes so long to choose the perfect name. Starting when baby is just a few weeks old and a cute/ridiculous pet name is given. Then for some the task is halved as they learn whether baby is a boy or girl or double the trouble and it's both! To the moment that little Puffykins is born and you just know that Derek or Fanny just isn't right.

I must say that I never regretted my choices, or indeed my own name. So why do parents regret their baby's name?

Some of the names were originally a lovely choice but now mean something else. Isis, the goddess of creation, fertility and motherhood, has been used in Britain as a first name from at least 1497 but now it is the name of a terrorist organisation.

Another called her daughter Elsa, then Frozen came along.

Learning from others mistakes is the best way to avoid baby name regret.

How to Avoid Baby Name Regret

1. Too commonly used/not distinctive enough

A quarter of people regretted that their chosen name was too common and a further fifth thought it wasn't distinctive enough. A name becoming too common can happen to the best of us. A name is chosen that we think is unique and then we find half the baby/tot's club is named the same, or worse a celebrity then chooses the name and everyone starts saying you copied when in fact you started the trend.

I'm sure those parents who called their child Summer thought they were being unique but I found a child baptised Summer in 1674. There have been over 16,000 children called Summer since then.

Both my children had names that ended up at the very top (not number one) of the most popular names but it really didn't bother me at all. I liked the names. If it would bother you then do some research. Look at top names now and see what names are trending. Definitely don't choose Amelia or Noah. What about Derek or Fanny? I'm sure these won't be trending soon or ever!

There has been research that suggests that those with more common names are more likely to be hired and less likely to become juvenile delinquents. 

2. It doesn't feel right/ It doesn't suit him/her

Almost as many regretted their choice because it doesn't feel right. I am sure this is because parents are pressured into choosing too quickly, or they choose the name before the baby is born. Both of my babies had to wait about three weeks before we finally decided their names.
I can still hear my father saying impatiently "Hasn't that baby got a name yet? You had 9 months to choose".

Some of the names we thought we would love just didn't seem right and when we finally found the right name it was like a light turned on, the baby became that name.

So have a short list of the names you like but wait awhile and don't be forced to choose quickly.

3. I have never liked it - I was pressured into using it/I don't know why we chose it

WHAT!!! A quarter of those who regretted the choice of name didn't like the name they gave their child. Why would you do that? I can't imagine anyone naming a pet with a name they didn't like let alone a baby. 

If someone wants you to name a baby after great aunt Fanny or Grandad Derek and you don't like it then just don't do it. Choose a name you like, preferably one that you have liked for a long time. If you do have to use a family name then it can always be a middle name.

5. It causes him/her problems with spelling/pronunciation

This is always a problem with longer names and they are not very good for the competitive parent. If you want your child to be able to write their name by the time they are four then call them Ben or Amy not Christopher or Alexandria. 

If you are going to name your child after a famous person then at least spell their names correctly in the first place! I had a quick look at people registered after Elvis became famous, Elvis Aaron Presley surely it can't be that hard to get right but I found these

Aaron Elvin
Aarox Elvis
Aeron Elvis
Arin Elvis
Aron Elvis
Arron Elvis
Arun Elvis

Some foreign names are truly wonderful but many are quite difficult to pronounce correctly or depending where you live may not be pronounced how they are spelt. Some parents hear a name and make up their own spelling. How would you pronounce L-A? Ledashah of course. That's a real person.

6. Everyone calls him/her by a shortened version of the name, which I don't like

That is always going to happen at school and with friends. Even if you choose a name that "can't" be shortened they will find a way, maybe not shortened but adapted. So Sue becomes Suzywoo, Jack becomes Jacko and so on. It happens. You cannot fight it but you can minimise it. Choose a name that you do not mind the shortened version. 

7. There’s been a shift in public perception of the name since my child was born

I do not think you can avoid this as it could happen to any name. I immediately thought of serial killers like the Moors Murderer Ian Brady. What if you had called your child that name? So I looked it up and there were 15 boys registered as Ian Brady after 1966. I thought that was strange as he was notorious, there was not a person in Britain at that time that had not heard of him. 

8. It turns out that his/her initials spell out an embarrassing or inappropriate acronym

I had to laugh at this because didn't they check first? Nothing else to say except my friend who's surname was Cox did not call her daughter Ophelia.

One to think about is how your surname fits with the initial of their first name. All you Tinkers out there, don't name your child Sicily or Simon!

While I was reading about this I came across some great names

Agamemnon Elvis Crumpton 1996 - did they think that Elvis as a first name was too weird?

Adolf Frankensteine Reid 1968 - so Adolf wasn't spooky enough?

Queen B Clifton 1960 - Now that's a name with distinction!

So to sum up, when choosing a name make sure you like it, that it's not too hard to spell or say. If you want something a little different do some research and finally don't name your precious bundle Beatrice Ursula Marie.

Do you regret the choice you made? Do you love or hate your name? What's the strangest name you have come across?




  1. Oh this did make me laugh. I did once teach someone called Precious. I like to use people's names and not endearments, so this one was a tough one for me. It would have been OK is she was 4 or 5 but she was a grown woman. Choose carefully, parents to be.

  2. My name was one of those horribly popular names back in the 70's. There were always at least two of us in the class. So I decided to choose names that were not in the top 100 popular names for my girls, but they are not totally off the wall names either. That said, I didn't consider the issue with mail, as all of our names start with an 'L'. Oh well could be worse.

    1. Haha! My daughter has the same initial and it does cause problems with mail. I have wished we all had the same name then we could use each other's credit cards Lol


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