How to Pick Baby Names

Unlike many other countries, the United States has very few naming laws restricting a parent’s creativity or freedom of choice. While this is an excellent example of our civil liberties at work, it can also make it nearly impossible for new parents to pick the perfect baby name.

To pick baby names, you should begin with familiarizing yourself with the many factors that can influence a name’s quality. Your prospective name’s popularity, spellings, meanings, origin, and connotations contribute to its overall class and caliber. Parents must choose wisely.

If you’ve been wondering how to pick baby names, this article may help. We’ll examine all of the factors to consider when selecting a baby name and discuss how to choose baby names for both boys and girls. Without further ado, let the naming games begin!

How to Pick Baby Names
How to Pick Baby Names

Factors to Consider When Picking the Perfect Baby Name

Picking the perfect name for your little bundle of joy might be more challenging than you initially suspect. Even if you’ve had a name picked out since you were a child, there’s a good chance you’ll meet some resistance from family members or your partner.

It’s crucial to take all naming criticism with a grain of salt. Much of the advice that will be lobbed at you (or that’s already been tossed your way) comes from a caring place. Unfortunately, the advice you get won’t always be sound.

When choosing a name for your baby, you’ll want to consider several factors. The most essential of these factors are:

  • Popularity
  • Spelling
  • Meaning
  • Origin
  • Potential nicknames
  • Associations

While this may seem like an overabundance of issues to think about, naming a child is a serious ordeal. Your little one will likely carry their given name with them into adulthood and later life. During their childhood, they’ll be unable to change it legally. 

Picking a name with a positive meaning, a culturally relevant origin, fun potential nicknames, and zero horrific associations could make a significant difference in your child’s life. After all, some research supports the idea that our first names partially influence our decision-making skills and the development of our personalities. 

You’ll want to select a name that helps your child develop into the best person they can be, and that requires due diligence. Be sure to mentally check-in with yourself as you browse names and begin creating your list. 


Asking yourself questions is a part of the process, and you won’t want to skip it. For example, if you’re unsure how you feel about choosing a common and popular name, you might want to sit for a little while and think it over. Popular names do provide some advantages, but they can also have a few drawbacks.

If you’ve ever been the sixth Michael or third Amanda in a classroom or work setting, you may understand the frustration of having a popular name. While everyone knows how to pronounce and spell your name, they may also be friendly with about ten other people with the same first name.

Unless you’re unconcerned with giving your child a unique or creative name, you might want to stay far away from the Social Security Administration’s top baby names list.


There might be fifty ways to spell the name Ashley, but does that mean you should choose the most ‘unique’ (aka complicated) rendition? Most times, the answer is no. Not only do tricky spellings make it more challenging for your child to spell their name, but it can also be a tedious burden on peers and teachers. 

If you’re going to pick a traditional name, you might want to stick with the standard spelling. Due to the alternative-spelling craze of the last few decades, the name with the conventional spelling might just be the unique one.


Some given names have positive associations but underwhelming meanings. Take the name Emily, for example. This gorgeous (and ubiquitous) feminine name derives from the Latin name Amelia. When most people hear the name Amelia, they think of Amelia Earhart’s uplifting and courageous work.

Most folks don’t think about the Latin word aemulus, which translates to “rival” or “jealous one.” This is the word that Amelia indeed originates from, which means that Amelia and Emily most nearly mean “jealous and bitter enemy.” 

When your child asks what their name means, one of the last things you probably want to say is, “rival or enemy.” Embarrassing origin stories may also complicate matters.


Much of the English language and alphabet derives from the Latin alphabet and language. However, English is far from a direct descendant of the Latin language. Instead, it’s a jumble of various ancient languages, including Old German, Old Norse, Old French, and Latin. 

Unless you’re choosing a name with an obvious meaning (a child named Tailor is named for the craft of sewing clothes), you may want to research your preferred names’ origins. Fortunately, most baby-naming books and websites offer etymological information in tandem with name meanings.

Potential Nicknames

Before you sign any birth certificate, you’ll want to think long and hard about your child’s full first name. It might seem fun or cute to choose the name Tommy instead of Thomas, especially when your kid is very young. However, imagine your child as a full-grown adult whose legal given name is Tommy. 

They may struggle to receive the respect they deserve in their career due to the childish perception wrapped around this nickname. It’s often better to choose the more traditional option and allow your child to adopt nicknames as they grow and age. 

Additionally, you’ll want to think about the potential nicknames your chosen baby name might produce. Children can be cruel creatures, especially during the elementary school days. While Jaxon is a neat variation of Jackson, it does lend itself to some crude bullying. Hugh, Dick, Benedict, and Seymour are additional bullyable names that you may want to avoid.


Some names have intense associations that cannot be argued or reasoned away. That’s why there have been startlingly few baby boys named Adolf or Adolph since the 1940s. Negative association is the reason why the masculine given name Manson is so contentious. 

Now, you may love the sound, spelling, origin, and meaning of a name. However, if that name has any ties, connections, or associations with mass murderers, dictators, criminals, or malevolent folk, you might be preparing your newborn for a life of ridicule. Think twice before you decide on Mao, Kovid, or Khaleesi.

Read more: 100 000 Baby Names

Picking Baby Names for Boys or Girls

Are you keeping your baby’s gender a secret? Are you determined to give them a gender-neutral first name that allows them to express themselves without the burden of gender roles and norms?

Picking baby names that are appropriate for both boys and girls could save you a lot of hassle while also ensuring that your child sports a unique name. Let’s explore some of the most delightful genderless baby names that may inspire you to choose a gender-neutral name.

Most Popular Gender-Neutral Names

As social standards continue to change, parents seem increasingly more comfortable with shrugging off the traditional, gendered names in favor of something more open. Some of the most popular genderfluid baby names of the last decade include:

  • Charley
  • Lennon
  • Frankie
  • Robin
  • Rowan
  • Campbell
  • Murphy
  • Riley
  • Jules
  • Rid

Have you noticed any commonalities or trends among these names? Many of the most popular and beloved gender-neutral names adhere to specific criteria. Studying these common categories could help you break away from the more common genderfluid names and choose a first name that appeals to you and your preferences.

Read More: 28 Unisex Baby Names (+426 More)

Genderfluid Naming Trends

Baby names that are appropriate for all genders tend to follow a few key trends. For example, many gender fluid or gender-neutral first names are:

  • Surnames
  • Locations
  • Plants
  • Objects
  • Employments
  • Alternative spellings

For example, the popular boy’s name, Charles, often garners the nickname Charlie. This fun nickname can be spelled in many ways, and it has become a relatively non-binary title within the last several years. It’s no longer rare to find a little boy named Charles sitting next to a small girl named Charley. 

Traditional surnames have also become more popular among contemporary parents. Addison, Lennon, Ridley, Lee, and Jackson are all popular first names that were used exclusively as surnames. Typical forms of employment that were once restricted to last name usage are also becoming popular as given names.

Gardener, Tanner, Archer, and Bailey are fantastic examples of employment-based names, and, naturally, there are also baby names that come from nature. Rowan, Ash, Apple, and Sparrow are gorgeous first names that you shouldn’t discount right away.

Read more: Baby Name Generator


Learning how to pick baby names is a straightforward process, but you will need to consider quite a few factors when choosing your future child’s name. After all, a name’s popularity, spelling, meaning, origin, and connotation can all influence the way the world interacts with your child. 

Choosing the perfect one may mean comparing dozens of potential options. Of course, you could also opt for a gender-neutral baby name. Picking baby names for boys and girls has never been easier, thanks to the rising popularity of non-binary given names. Why settle for a Robert when you can have a Rowan?


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