Naming your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. A child’s name is with them for life and some studies say that it can even determine their success in life.
For some, they’ve had their names picked out since they first started pretending their dollies were their children. For others, choosing baby names is an excruciating process fraught with uncertainty and disagreements.
The last thing you want is to suffer from naming regret, but you don’t exactly have forever to make this important decision.
When do you decide on a name for baby? Here are some advantages of each approach…
The advantages of naming your baby in utero
For those that have had their baby names picked out for years before their child is even a twinkle in a prospective father’s eye, there is no question what the baby’s name will be. These folks tend to tell everyone the baby name in advance. This is a good idea for a few reasons:
Giving baby a name in utero helps make it real: There’s no doubt that the baby growing your belly is very real to you, but perhaps not so much for those around you. Having a name for baby will help siblings understand, it’s especially useful for first time dads-to-be who might have trouble conceptualising that your growing middle is going to become a real baby.
You can take your sweet time and research to your heart’s content: Many couples argue for months about baby names, dismissing and passionately selling names based on personal experiences. For some, the more time that is taken the better. You can consider the popularity of a certain name, the meanings of a name and how the name will fit with your surname at great length. You can also give your preferred name the extensive tease test. There is a lot of research to be done when it comes to choosing a name!
You can avoid the stress of a nameless baby in the hospital: Once baby is born there will be quite a bit of pressure to come up with a name before you leave the hospital. While some people may thrive under pressure, it’s not for everyone.
You might not be up to naming the baby after the birth: If the birth is less than perfect or baby isn’t in good health after the birth, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is arguing about names! Imagine a traumatic birth, a baby in ICU, feeling like a truck run over you and then trying to make this very important decision.
People can create personalised gifts for your baby: If you are lucky enough to have a family member or friend who is skilled at embroidery or crafts, you might receive baby gifts that are monogrammed. While it might sound silly now, if you are lucky enough to receive personalised, embroidered gifts with your little ones name on them they will become treasured keepsakes and amongst the only baby items you will keep long after your little one has left the nest.
The advantages of naming baby after you meeting him/her
You can be sure that the name fits the personality: So many parents report having a name picked out and then changing their minds at the last minute because it doesn’t seem to fit baby’s personality. Sure you have some idea of your baby’s personality while it is still in the womb but your perception might very well change once the birth is over and you get to meet him or her.
You can minimize the criticisms and unwelcome input from family and friends: There’s nothing worse than deciding on a name and having someone judgementally criticising your choice. Who cares if they knew a Eva that was a total cow in high school? Who cares that they knew someone who named their pet rat Adam? If you were excited about your name choice, telling people can be the fastest way to trample your enthusiasm. If you name your baby after the birth they will keep their mouths shut, what kind of a cold hearted monster criticises the name of a beautiful newborn baby?
You’ll minimize the time spent arguing with your partner: At most you will have a few days of intense negotiations before you leave the hospital. And with all the wonderful postpartum hormones floating around and the birthing experience still fresh in your memory, your partner might just be more willing to compromise, after all you just birthed this little blessing.
There’ll be no chance of a pregnant ‘friend’ or acquaintance stealing your baby name: It’s utterly deplorable but it happens more often than you might think. Totally devastating for those who have their hearts set on their baby having an unusual or unique name.
Minimize offence family members may take: Just because you don’t want to name your baby after great aunt Agapantha doesn’t mean you love her any less, but your family might not see it that way. This is especially true if you are giving your baby a family name, the other side of the family may take offence and sulk. Once baby is born no mother in law or great aunt would dare sulk, there’s a gorgeous newborn to be cuddled and adored!
The baby name can be a special surprise for everyone: In this day and age where we can see crystal clear images of the baby and know the gender in advance, it’s nice to have something left that is a special surprise for everyone.
At the end of the day, naming your baby is something that is strictly between you and your significant other. Nobody else should get a say. Get the best of both worlds by coming up with a shortlist before baby is born and deciding once you have met your baby. There’s also nothing stopping you from naming your baby before birth and keeping it as a delicious little secret between you and your partner. It’s your child and it’s your choice.