How do you ACTUALLY pick a name?

I’m pregnant with a little girl due in [name_f]April[/name_f] and after years and years AND YEARS of cultivating baby names lists, being on forums and pouring over baby name websites it’s finally my time to name a real-life baby. But now I’m struggling.

The lists of names I’ve lovingly put together and adored for years now suddenly don’t seem right for a real baby. I’ve always loved long romantic girls name, but now I can’t decide if they feel too lofty, too much for such a tiny person.

I just wondered how all you ladies with named babies actually picked the name. Was it a name you had loved forever? Did a new name seemingly come out of nowhere when you were pregnant? [name_f]Do[/name_f] they really just ‘look’ like a name when they are born?


I went with my gut, with what filled me with the most joy in the moment. It’s tough. I definitely felt some name regret with both of my daughters but then I remember how I felt in the moment that I picked their names and I can’t feel that regret any more.

If nothing feels right, keep looking. Something will feel right eventually.


Settling on a name can be a bit of a journey. Billions of names (especially for girls) and one person to name! This is my experience of naming a person:
I am one of six girls and I was always interested in names for girls. When I found out I was having a boy I was shocked! I found somewhere between 5 & 10 names that I really liked (he’s 17 now, the details are hazy). Then I saw his name, [name_u]Beck[/name_u], in the credits of a TV programme. I really liked it and we started calling him that. The name did not get a good reception from anyone and I experienced a dose of name doubt. However, we didn’t find anything we liked more. When he was born, he looked like a [name_u]Beck[/name_u]. I let my two best friends at the time each choose him a middle name. They chose more popular names and I thought that if he didn’t like his name he could go by one of his middles. He does like his name :slight_smile:


This was definitely my experience too. I didn’t love super-frilly names, but definitely liked longish names with cool meanings… [name_f]Astraea[/name_f], [name_f]Alethia[/name_f], [name_f]Elysia[/name_f], [name_f]Athena[/name_f]. But also liked some shorter ones like [name_f]Chloe[/name_f], [name_f]Ida[/name_f].

Suddenly with a real baby I had to think more about the actual wearability, as well as flow with my partner’s surname, AND his tremendous list of vetoes.

The way we ended up doing it was to come up with a list of names we both kinda liked - a LOT or me suggesting and him vetoing. Thought about wearability, flow, meaning (as meaning is important to me). Went to hospital with a shortlist of 3 names. One I’d liked quite a lot for a long time ([name_f]Elsie[/name_f] after my great grandmother), another was much more recent ([name_f]Sylvia[/name_f]) that I’d liked for a few years since meeting a [name_f]Sylvie[/name_f] and I liked the meaning.

Baby did not come out just looking like an anything, she just looked like our cute little smooshy faced baby. So we still had no idea for like 3 days and then just went with one of them.

This time around, with a boy, we have a shortlist of 2 names. Neither are ones that I’ve loved a long time. One is my partner’s suggestion that has really grown on me, the other is one I’d heard of before but when suggested here in the forums I was kinda like… actually maybe I do kinda like that name, maybe it’s a possibility. And since then it really grew on me.


Naming a real baby is so different from compiling lists, I definitely agree.

I’ve been creating lists with names and combos ever since I was a teenager. I never planned to be a mother, so naming an actual child was not something I really thought about. Then I got pregnant unexpectedly, and suddenly I had to name a real person that would have to live the rest of their life with the name I gave them. I was completely overwhelmed and all of my lists were useless, because there were so many new things to consider: did I want to honor my heritage and/or SO’s with the name? Which names are wearable for a child? Did my SO like the name?

I started out by answering the first question: I wanted to honor my heritage with baby’s first name. So I made a list of Icelandic names I liked, my now ex-husband told me which ones he liked, I picked my absolute favourite, and he agreed.
Later I got divorced, and naming a baby with my new SO was a different experience: he made lists himself which we compared, and came up with new names he liked almost every week. In the end we found our common ground. We’ve now named three babies together, and I like to believe we make a good team :smile:

I’m sure you’ll find the perfect name in the end. If you haven’t a name that feels exactly right, don’t settle for one that feels okay, just keep looking until you find the right one.


For me, I have to meet the baby first. I just recently decided on a name for my second son and it wasn’t until he was 3 days old we were sure. And both of the names we picked hadn’t been on any of my long,long lists until the very last month of pregnancy. With my first child, we didn’t find out the gender and I had 3 of each name picked out with a definite favorite of each. When he was born, my favorite boys name was definitely NOT the right name for him. It took us a few days to name him as well. That’s how I choose. Meeting the baby, seeing their physical and personality characteristics. Yes, infants can have personality!


I eliminated all name sounds I did not like, I made a list of name sounds I did like. [name_u]Baby[/name_u]’s father has to be consulted (if he is interested) I found I liked best soft feminine names that were classics. When I found a beautiful name I just knew. I did consider some alternatives, but I always came back to the absolute favourite of the pregnancy. [name_f]My[/name_f] daughters were named [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f], [name_f]Melissa[/name_f] and [name_f]Celia[/name_f]. I would have loved, loved loved [name_f]Catherine[/name_f] for one of the two younger but he didn’t like it. You will find a beautiful name.

@Sunday_Cami I’m having a girl in [name_f]April[/name_f] too!

We have picked a name, but it was tough! [name_f]My[/name_f] hubby wasn’t/isn’t inclined to research name lists himself but he did want to be involved. Basically, I read him names while he played video games (he has ADHD and focuses best while doing something else). I only read him names I liked and he was meh about most of them. But once we found one we both liked, we just knew it was right! We already knew an honor middle that we wanted to use so at least that was easy.

Of course, we had both agreed on a boy name much much easier lol

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I agree naming a real baby is totally different. I have beautiful combos that I could never see using on my own baby. With our first I had a name that was always going to be ‘the’ name for my daughter, but my husband just never loved it, and I couldn’t name my baby something he wouldn’t love as well. So we ended up compromising, I got the nickname that I was in love with and we changed her full name to something we both could agree on (I typically get full say on middle names, as long as it has no negative connections for my husband, he’s pretty open minded)

This time around we’re having a harder time. We both have names we love, but there’s no compromise between the two, and so we’re hoping she’ll ‘look’ more like one or the other at this point

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Just wanted to chime in to say that my mum felt EXACTLY that way about a long name when I was born. She went in fully intending to name me [name_f]Tatiana[/name_f], but saw how tiny I was after I was born and named me [name_f]Tiana[/name_f] instead :joy: my nana’s nickname for me was then Teeny [name_f]Tiny[/name_f] [name_f]Tiana[/name_f] (for the record, I’m not a small person, just was a relatively small baby for my family)

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I’ve collected names all my life, but I always told myself my lists were just playthings and idea-starters since I definitely intended my future babies’ father to be involved. I got lucky in that my husband really ended up liking two of my most favorite boy names, and so our first two sons were pretty easy. I did have to scrap a couple of my beautiful combos since we used family names for their middles.

Names have to pass the “playground test,” especially for him. [name_m]Can[/name_m] you imagine using it in real life? Yelling it across the playground? Does it work to imagine it in your social circle?

This third baby is way harder. We already have a girl name picked from my other pregnancies; my husband spotted it as a middle in one of my combos and nominated it for first-name status. But going back to the drawing board for a third boy pick has been tough. Nothing is clicking yet. I have a feeling if it’s a boy this name may be more of a compromise than the others, and if we both like it that’ll be ok. I would still like to find a name I’m as excited about using as I was the first two.

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For our first daughter, the name we chose wasn’t even remotely on the list or really all that similar to others we had considered. I just came across it one day, a middle name popped into my head, I shared it with my husband, and that was that. He loved it and so that became her name. haha With [name_u]Baby[/name_u] girl #2, we’re struggling a lot more (I say we, but really it’s me), but there’s still a name that just seems stuck in my head when I think of the baby, so we’ll probably end up going with that one. It’s not one I would consider a “perfect combo,” but neither is my first daughter’s name. It just stuck and ended up being perfect for her. So I guess we really just went with the name that seemed right at the time, regardless of whether it was on any list or matched what we thought was our style or anything like that.


Thank you for all the insights, this has been so useful! It’s really interesting to see how different everyone’s experience has been. Thinking of how the name is something that your child uses their whole life really has made me question how usable some of my favourites are in our actual life. Obviously I theoretically knew this already but there’s nothing like a real life wriggly baby in the womb to really push that message home!

At the moment we have somewhat of a shortlist but both of us have different favourites. I’m really hoping just meeting her and spending a few days with her will make it clear which name to go for because I don’t want either of us to feel like we are compromising - argh it’s so difficult!

Or I hope in these last few weeks a new names jumps out of the ether and becomes ‘The One’!


Thought I’d come back with a little update now I’ve actually been through the process :grin:

[name_m]Little[/name_m] [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] is now 6 months old and currently asleep in my arms. We went into the hospital with four top favoured names in the end and it took us about a week to actually pick one! Much to my disappointment she didn’t immediately look like any of the names on our list, in fact I remember thinking ‘she is far too perfect for any name I can think of’ :yellow_heart: and she was nearly ‘Baby’ forever.

We ended up going with my favourite name from the list, one I had loved for ages. It did take me a while to commit to [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]. As much as I loved it, it felt like such a big name for a tiny baby. But I’m so glad we did, it fits her so well and of course I adore the name even more now! I did find the process somewhat stressful though making such a big decision during that first hormonal and emotionally-charged week. Next time I think we’ll try to make a more solid decision before baby arrives!


I think any name can be useable. For longer names I like to consider if I can deal with every potential nickname, Because they might end up going by one of those. I got a loooot of grief from people on my life about my son Sequoia’s name and now people tell me they absolutely love it everywhere we go. He’s 7 next month so have had plenty of opportunity to yell it lol. He also likes nn “Koia” which I think is adorable.
His name was easy for me, though. I had a strong affinity for it since about 7 years before he was born.

This one (I’m due on May) I’m not so solid on, but like a few others have said, I have some things that bug me that help:
[name_f]My[/name_f] last name starts with L so I cross off all names ending either with a letter L or “elle” at the end.
I’m not super fond of alliteration so all names starting with L are mostly crossed off. (I still have Lunaria on my list but it gets an exception for being so pretty and 4 syllables).
[name_f]My[/name_f] last name only has one syllable, so single syllable names for me all just feel too short, so I have a minimum 2 syllable rule.

So, just some examples. In my opinion all babies look like weird little aliens at birth, so O can’t imagine I’d change my mind for how baby looks, but I could see having a few to try out the first day or two and see what feels the best.


@Sunday_Cami LOVE LOVE LOVE [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]. This was always my top name for the daughter that never was. Makes my heart so happy to see it on a beautiful baby. Congratulations :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

With both of our boys, we had settled on their names before birth, with the open-mindedness that perhaps this could change and having favoured backups. I’ve told this story numerous times, but [name_m]Bruce[/name_m] actually began as a “joke” my husband would tell whenever anybody asked about what names we were considering. [name_f]Girl[/name_f] or boy, [name_m]Bruce[/name_m], in a long, drawn out Australian accent.

Turns out it stuck and I’ve never once thought it doesn’t suit the little human he is.

[name_u]Beckett[/name_u] took a lot longer to land on (as my many postings here on NB will attest to). Until I stumbled upon [name_u]Beckett[/name_u] and couldn’t let it go. It just fit the little bee I felt buzzing inside. I still spent a long time doubted it, even after he was born, but he’s grown into the [name_u]Beck[/name_u] that he is as well.


This is a great question!! For name nerds - I think it can be overwhelming !

We started with family names. We had lots of people we wanted to honor and my first daughter is named after two of our grandmothers. While, it was a little sad not to debate and find THE MOST PERFECT NAME - I love her name and how I get to tell her about her great grandmothers when she asks about it.

Since that was how we decided on our first daughters name , it made our second daughters much easier since we at least had a direction as we wanted them to sound nice together. We knew we wanted her to have a middle name that honored someone , so her first name had to go with the middle name. That helped too!

We also kept a running list of all the names we both liked. That really helped as some my husband would just not like anymore or we both realized we really preferred one name.

For my third daughter we had a really hard time deciding but ended up looking at my husbands heritage to find names, after we felt like we had seen every name out there.

I hope this helps!


[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] is lovely!! Congratulations!

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me and my bf picked two girl names and two boy names pretty easily just based on us having similar tastes in names especially for girls and that was at 8 weeks or so since that’s when i found out i was pregnant. at 18 weeks i found out i was having a girl so we called her by the first name we chose for a few weeks and then by the second name for a few weeks. we would yell it, say the full name, say any potential nicknames. anyways we liked the second name better so that became her name. we didn’t ask anyones opinions on the name (except besides asking the berries for spelling advice)


I’ve been interested in names since I was a kid but naming a real child was definitely a challenge! [name_f]My[/name_f] husband and I had an easy time agreeing on a boy name but of course we had two girls! For our first daughter we didn’t know the gender going into the birth. We had a girls name picked out but when she was born it just didn’t suit her. The name we went with actually just popped into my mind as I was holding her a couple hours after her birth. It felt like “OH! That’s your name!”. It was a family name on my husband’s side but we’d ruled it out early in my pregnancy because it’s extremely unusual with a spelling that makes pronunciation tricky for [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers. But it truly suits my daughter to a tee and I have no regrets!

For our second daughter we found out the gender before her birth because of how hard agreeing on girls names is for us! I looked at 50,000 names and we took 2 names to the hospital but were open to picking something completely different once we met her. I didn’t have a big realization once we met her and we ended up going with my favourite of the two we took to the hospital. It also suits her perfectly! For both girls we picked family names for middles and I love both the combos.