Passionate About Pittsburgh
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Baby Naming: The Easiest Pregnancy Task, or the Most Difficult?

The first time around, preparing for a baby felt surprisingly similar to planning my wedding. I was excited, but overwhelmed. What task do I need to check off this week? Which of these thousands of baby products do I actually need? Whether shopping for nursery furniture or finding a pediatrician,  it seemed like there were an endless amount of things to keep me occupied in those nine months of waiting for our little guy to make his appearance.

When I got to the point that we were ready to look at baby names, it was a welcome break. Finally, something fun to focus on! Little did I know that this “easy” task would end up being the most time consuming item on my to-do list. I’ll admit that since naming my first little one, I’ve become borderline obsessed with baby names… you could even say that I’ve turned into an official baby name nerd (have you checked out the new top ten names based on the U.S. Social Security Administration’s 2017 data?!).  

As someone (now name hunting again with baby #2 on the way) who has spent way too many hours consuming baby name books, blogs, and podcasts, I’ve come up with a few simple but important-to-remember tips to help you keep your baby name search under 1,000 hours:

  1. Narrow it down. As one of three people in one family with the same name and with a husband that’s a “Jr,” it’s important for both my husband and I to choose names for our children that will give them a sense of uniqueness. We also want to honor family and heritage in some way, while keeping the name easy to say and spell. Try to find something to narrow your search down, whether it is names of a certain origin, style, or letter – it makes it easier to eliminate many names right off the bat!
  2. Choose a name you love. Although it may seem obvious, this is probably the most important one. For our first son, we got lucky and found one we loved that checked off all the boxes listed in #1. This time around, we’re having more difficulty finding names that meet the criteria and give us that “it’s the one” feeling. I’ve been reminding myself lately to go with heart over head on baby naming (and generally, with the majority of things in life).
  3. If you share, be prepared. If you decide to share your names or solicit opinions, be prepared for any reaction. Just because you love a name doesn’t mean that your mother will, or that a work colleague will agree that it’s amazing. Wait until you and your partner are both 100% on board with a name before you share it with others (if you decide to at all). Also, the internet is a scary place – in general, but specifically to find opinions about names.
  4. Once you find a few names you love, stop looking. Or your baby name search will never end, and at some point – you’ll grow weary of the whole process, which is supposed to be fun! Pick a day to have a discussion and make a final decision, and once that’s done, be done.
  5. But, make sure you have a backup. Most likely, you’re not the only one in your circle that’s pregnant. If your best friend takes a name before you, do you have another name that you’ll be just as happy with? If not, maybe have that conversation beforehand.
  6. Have fun! Names have such a variety of interesting meanings, nicknames, and history. Naming a child is one of the first gifts you can give to them (apart from the big one, life) that will define their existence right from the start. It’s a big responsibility, but also the one of the most enjoyable parts of being pregnant.

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