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Four Ways to Judge A Good Baby Name

Traci’s nephew Oliver Preston

My sister Beth is less than a month away from welcoming her second daughter into the world. We had a baby shower for her last weekend and everybody wanted to know what she and my brother-in-law are going to name the baby, but she’s keeping her lips sealed. 

When some couples have a baby, they can’t settle on a name until the kid is two or three weeks old.  It sounds weird but it’s not that uncommon.  So whether you’re expecting, or you just want to have kids someday, here are a couple of ways to judge a good baby name.

1. What’s your instant reaction? It’s best to choose a name that makes you feel positive as soon as you hear it.  Yeah, you can get used to a name, but it’s better to go with a name that makes you smile as soon as you hear it.

2.)  How many syllables does it have? A lot of people think names sound best if the first, middle, and last names all have a different number of syllables. So, if you like the name “Autumn,” and your last name is “Jones”, pick a middle name with three or four syllables like “Josephine.”  Or if you decide on a middle name first, you can use that to help shorten your list of possible first names.

3. What would the initials be? Obviously, you’d probably notice if the initials spelled out S.T.D.  But even initials like P.I.G. or D.U.H. might have a psychological effect on a kid. In 1999, researchers at the University of California in San Diego studied death certificates from 1969 to 1995, and found 2,287 sets of initials that they say were “negative”. Then they also found 1,200 sets of “positive” initials, like A.C.E. and V.I.P.  And if you need another reason to pay close attention to the initials, people with positive initials lived about four-and-a-half years longer.

4.)  How easy is it to understand?  If you’re thinking about an uncommon name, try it out on people first and see how hard it is to understand.  If people need you to repeat it, keep in mind that your kid will have to deal with people asking them to repeat their name for the rest of their life.  But whatever you do, don’t tell people it’s a possible baby name because then they might not be honest about it.  Just tell them you met someone with the name you’re trying out and ask if they’ve ever met someone with that name before.

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