Choosing the name that your new son or daughter will be known as for their entire life is a pretty big decision… in fact it's huge!
ou want to pick a name that you'll adore and one you hope that they will love as much as you do considering they'll be hearing it every single day, several times a day. There are a lot of things to think about, which may make the job of choosing a name for your little darling seem rather daunting.
It might be difficult to do, but try to not make your 'final-final' decision until the baby's born. Once baby is here, and you're looking at your new adorable offspring and they are real and tangible, you may find a sense of clarity. For me it was staring into my baby's eyes that gave me the final answer. But if you'd like to get organised in advance, think about the following.
Keep the name on the low down
Consider sharing your favourite name with someone close to you (but just one person) who is not your partner. Choose someone you trust and whose opinion you value above all others. I skipped my mum, although she knows me the best and chose to go outside the family. Just seeing the first reaction from someone you're close to will help you make the call.
If you do decide to share, know that everyone has an opinion. Try and ignore them. This is your baby and you get to choose the name.
Say it out loud
Saying and hearing your favourite choices will help. Talk to 'Sam' or 'Jane' for a day or two and see if it sits well with you. You'll soon discover which choice feels like a natural fit for you and your family.
Write it/type it
Take a pen and paper and write down the first name and your surname and see how it looks. Then type it and do the same. Do you like it? When you see it scribbled down or the cursor flashing after it in black and white it might crystallise things for you.
Does it make you smile?
Relax and close your eyes. Say each of your names and try and picture your baby. Go with the one that makes you smile. If you love it before they arrive, just imagine how you will adore it when they are here.
Consider what the first letter of their name will be as because when they are in school or join a club or society, it will have an impact: Arthur will always be called first and Zoe will be called last. And that's only if they go by their first name.
Make a list
Start a list of the names you like - I kept my list on the notes in my phone so I could add names on-the-go as and when I heard or saw one's that I liked.
Keep it in the family?
Maybe close family names aren't your thing, but it's worth looking into your extended family tree to see if there are any names worthy of your consideration. My eldest son's name actually came from a great grandfather who I never met, and when I discovered it I just loved the name. My son likes that he has a connection to his great, great grandfather and it's lovely to hear him tell people.
One of my favourite places to look for name inspiration during my pregnancies was the credits at the end of movies - there are some incredibly unique names to be found there. Often thousands depending on the scale of the production.
Don't be pressurised by the trends
Ignore the trends. If you've always loved a name, but it's now become very popular and you feel it's a non-runner because of that, go with what you love. Same for the opposite - never choose a name simply because it's in vogue.
Look at initials
I knew someone with the initials D.O.G - yes, and poor Deirdre O'Grady was a girl and it definitely attracted a lot of teasing in school - kids can be cruel.
It can be fun to come up with unique ways to spell your child's name, but think about the long-term. Do you really want your kid to have to explain how to spell their name each and every time they are asked, for the rest of their life?
First name, surname
Be careful about combinations that could turn your child's name into a joke. Examples: Robyn Banks, Tim Burr, Annette Kirton.
Keep it short, especially if you have a long surname
You can save your child a world of frustration in the future when they're completing paper work by going easy on the syllables, especially if your last name is a long or complicated one.
Make sure you're happy with both the long and short versions of your child's name (e.g. Bob for Robert, Liv for Olivia, Chris for Christopher) because he or she may pick up the nickname whether you like it or not.
There's nothing wrong with an unusual, or creative name - just be careful about going overboard. North West might get teased for her geographical name and all the questions that will come with it, although her parent's fame might counter balance it.
Throw it all out the window
Or, you may decide in the end, to just throw all the advice out the window and go with a name that makes you smile!
After reading all of this, if you still need some help I found a really cool website called www.nymbler.com, which is a smart baby name guide that responds to your personal taste. Just choose a few names that appeal to you and press "find names" and Nymbler will brainstorm names tailored to fit your style and will sift through thousands of names and find the ones that reflect your taste.
Olivia Willis is the co-founder of www.familyfriendlyhq.ie, an Irish family website with information for parents, things to do, daily blogs, reviews and expert family advice.