How to Find the Perfect Baby Name

Even if it takes the whole nine months to find the perfect baby name, one of the most special things to check off your pregnancy to-do list (along with creating a baby registry!) is choosing a name for your little bundle of joy.

You can find inspiration for baby names everywhere—from beloved books and movies to sports and pop culture—and of course, well-meaning friends and family who are always ready with a suggestion—and opinion! Here are some considerations below that you may want to take into account as you add names to your list.

How Does it Sound?

If you have a long last name, a short first name can help create balance between them (or vice versa for short last names). Consider how the name sounds when you repeat it 10 times (you know, to get your child’s attention). If the name wears you out during the trial run, it might not be the name to get you through the terrible twos and beyond.

What does it Spell?

You've finally found the perfect name, only to discover the initials spell out Z.I.T. when you’re monogramming baby’s first blanket. When you’re making your list, write names out in full, abbreviated, and as initials to spell out all your options. Or consider what their email handle might be if they have to use their first initial plus their last name.

How do you Say It?

Along the same lines, if a name isn’t easily pronounced, you may want to consider the attention this will bring (repeated spelling, correction of pronunciation etc.). Some kids roll with it and some kids (or their parents) don’t. Give potential names a test run when time you order coffee and see what turns up on the sleeve of the cup. If it brings a smile, go for it. If it drives you crazy, move on to the next name.

Fun Fact!

The name Wendy first appeared in print in the beloved children’s classic Peter Pan by James Barrie.

Do the Letters Match?

Alice Anderson, superhero. Alliterative names can be fun, punchy and really stand out. Or how about siblings Alice, Beatrix and Cadence, to parents Dana and Em? Consider whether you might like names that start with the same letter or sequential letters.

Can you Make it Work?

If maintaining a family tradition of passing down names is important, but you just don’t love the name, you could honour a beloved relative by incorporating their name as a middle name or shortening it to a nickname.

How Popular is the Name?

Are you looking for the comfort and confidence bestowed by traditional or popular names like Jennifer, Michael, Sofia or Liam? Or are you looking for a unique name like Binx or Pernille so your child stands out from the crowd? Cool names can sometimes sound unique, but you may realize they were in fact the most popular baby names the year they were born.

Fun Fact!

The boy’s name Matthew, around since the Middle Ages, has variations in other languages including the Spanish name Mateo, and the Hebrew Matityahu.

What Does it Mean?

Does it matter to you if a baby name you love means something you don’t love? Malvolia, the feminine version of Shakespeare’s Malvolio, translates to "ill will". The meaning or translation of a name you like may be obscure, but will it bother you?

Is it Part of the Family Tree?

Are you looking to commemorate your cultural or religious background? For example, exploring Spanish names like Delfina, Dario, or Alba, or perhaps biblical names like Gideon or Salomé?

Will the Name Age Well?

Will the name work as well for a child as it will for an adult? What’s cute for a baby might be too cutesy for a professional. What are the possible nicknames your child’s name may garner? You won’t be able to predict every possible nickname or short form (because let’s face it, kids are way more creative than adults) but there are some easy ones to avoid.

Discover What's Trending

Traditional names like Alfred and Velma are hot at the moment, which could also signal a trend in names from pop culture.

Top Baby Name Books

Choosing a baby name can be a struggle, but choosing a baby name book doesn’t have to be. Get cozy, put your reading socks on and curl up with one of our top three baby name books to inspire, educate and entertain.

The Complete Book of Baby Names

A helpful book bursting with creative inspiration. This number one bestseller has more than 100,001 baby names complete with origins, variations, and definitions. Discover intellectual, creative names from the arts (Frida, Yaiyo) and literature (Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird or Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars); strong, respected names from sports (Serena, Ali) and politics (Malia, Jackson); and unique names (Bard, Zandra) that hit the right notes (Elvis, Allegra).

The 2018 Baby Names Almanac

This book is jam-packed with current information and trends plus thousands of names to browse. Ideas, forecasts, predictions, and suggestions you'll find include: why some names are more popular than you think (Willow, Bryson), unique girl names (Lux, Arcadia), popular unisex names, gender neutral names (Sawyer, Charlie) and whether they’re used more for boys or girls.

The Baby Name Wizard

This book uses groundbreaking research and computer-generated models to pinpoint each name's usage and popularity over the last 100 years. It also suggests additional ideas, incorporating everything from names pulled from the casts of soap operas (Fallon, Rex, Victor, Alexis) to names straight from Ivy League alumni rosters (Jefferson, Georgina, Hunter, Ainsley). You’ll also get suggestions for siblings or twins (Finley and Harper, Jasper and Jett).