What to Consider When Picking Baby Names

Picking out a baby name can be the most fun or the most frustrating part of welcoming a child into the world. The guidelines on this page should help.

Do you really want an unusual, uncommon, unique name for your baby?

In spite of living in a very modern world, in recent years, there has been a renaissance of retro names, including names from the Old Testament, Victorian-era names, and names from the early west. There is also a trend at using newly-invented names, such as some of the names on our list. When it comes to naming your baby, are you a traditionalist who loves the classic names, a free spirit who wants to dream up a unique moniker, or do you fall somewhere in the middle? Find out with this fun baby-naming personality quiz. If you are tired of the same old names and want something more unusual and unique than David or Susan, then you've come to the right place. Try our list of unique baby names.

Guidelines for Choosing Baby Names

Barbara Freedman-De Vito gives ten points to consider in addition to how popular or unique a name is. The following is a summary of her helpful tips:

1. Pick first, middle, and last names that sound nicely together. Some combinations of names are hard to pronounce and others go very nicely together.

2. Consider the initials of the names you choose to be sure they don't spell something offensive or laughable.

3. Consider whether the name is so unusual that other kids will make fun of your child.

4. You also may not want a baby name that is so trendy that it will sound funny years later.

5. Consider whether the name is only adorable for a little baby, but will sound silly when the baby grows to an adult.

6. Think about the nicknames people may use as a shortened form of your child's name.

7. If you pick a name that has a very unusual spelling, consider the difficulties others will have in spelling or pronouncing it.

8. Think of names that would honor favorite relatives or ancestors, or special names that show your family's ethnic roots.

9. Look up the meaning of the names you are considering.

10. Consider how your child's name sounds with the names of his/her siblings and parents.  

Last Names

In addition to choosing your baby's first and middle names, you also have a choice when it comes to your child's last name. The norm in many Western societies is to give the baby its father's last name, but you are not obligated to do so. You can even make one up if you want. Most states have no rules about last names. However, in Florida, if unmarried parents can't agree on a baby's name, it receives both parents' names hyphenated, in alphabetical order.

If you decide to give your child a last name other than the father's name, be prepared for the confusion it will cause. People may think your child's father is not his/her father, or that your child is adopted.

Want to try a different last name? Consider the following: