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What to Do When You Can’t Agree on a Baby Name

Preparing for childbirth. Pregnant woman noting down her thoughts in a notebook with her ultrasounds on the bed. Top view shot with empty space on the right.

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Choosing a name for your precious son or daughter can be fraught with emotion. Trying to get two people with their own set of likes, dislikes, biases, and triggers to agree on something as important as a name can be tricky. When my husband and I were trying to pick a name for our daughter, we couldn’t agree for many months. I would get anxious thinking that our poor child would be born, and we would still be undecided about her name. Luckily, at the last minute, we found a name we both loved. But sometimes, there needs to be quite a few long, patient discussions to find that perfect name. Here… Read More

Choosing a name for your precious son or daughter can be fraught with emotion. Trying to get two people with their own set of likes, dislikes, biases, and triggers to agree on something as important as a name can be tricky. When my husband and I were trying to pick a name for our daughter, we couldn’t agree for many months. I would get anxious thinking that our poor child would be born, and we would still be undecided about her name. Luckily, at the last minute, we found a name we both loved. But sometimes, there needs to be quite a few long, patient discussions to find that perfect name. Here are some tips for parents who are struggling to agree on your baby’s name.

When You Can’t Agree on Baby’s Name

Try These Tips First

1. Set Out Some Criteria

Before you start the process, it’s a good idea to set out some basic criteria you both can agree on. Perhaps your husband doesn’t want a name that can be used against his child by bullies. Or maybe you don’t want to name your son Chad because that was the name of your jerky high school boyfriend. Whatever your criteria are, write them down and at least agree to abide by those boundaries when looking at names. For me, I wanted my kids to have unique names that had special meaning. That helped guide my husband and me when choosing their names.

2. Listen to Your Partner Objectively

Instead of dismissing your partner’s objections to a name suggestion, listen to the reasons behind the opposition. Is the name too feminine for him? Is it too common? Does it remind him of someone? Try to take a neutral third-party perspective when discussing each other’s reasons for disliking any given name. And keep in mind, you are both on the same team. You both want the best for your son or daughter, including the right name.

3. Make Separate Lists, Then Swap

One way my husband and I determined the perfect name for our kids was by making separate lists of names. We then swapped lists and gave each other permission to cross out whichever names they didn’t like. That helped us to narrow down the names we could at least consider as a team.

4. Take a Time Out

If you’ve been arguing for days, maybe weeks, or even months about your baby’s name, take a break. Table the subject for a few days and let yourselves focus on other things for a while. After a time, come back together and see if anyone has had any change of heart or new suggestions.

If That Doesn’t Work, Try This

1. Take Turns Choosing

If you plan on having more than one child, you could always take turns choosing the name. Your husband names the first baby, and you name the second. I have a friend who agreed with her husband that he could choose the name if the baby was a boy, and she would choose if it was a girl.

2. Flip a Coin

Let fate take the decision out of your hands! If you’ve whittled your list down to two names, assign each to a side of a coin. Flip it, and see what fate chooses your baby’s name should be!

3. Let Friends and Family Choose

If you two can’t decide, maybe let your friends and family choose it by taking a baby name poll! Heck, if you’re feeling brave, you could make the poll public and have the people of the internet cast their vote!

4. Each of You Choose One Name

This option really helped my husband and me when we were trying to name our daughter. I was set on the baby’s middle name, and he had no objection. He knew it meant a lot to me. After arguing over the first name, my mother gently told me, “Why don’t you let him choose the first name since you chose the middle name? It’s his baby as much as it is yours.” That really hit home. So, after he made his baby name list and let me cross off all the ones I couldn’t deal with (and put a star next to the ones I preferred), he made his choice. And we both ended up loving the name.

5. Wait Until You Meet the Baby

Who says your baby has to have a name before it’s born? What if you need to meet your little one first and have him or her tell you who he or she wants to be? In this case, maybe prepare a list of your top 5 names and wait until your baby makes their appearance before you decide.

Naming your baby is exciting and fun and meaningful. But it isn’t something that should cause strife in your relationship with your partner. Try these tips for agreeing on a baby name and give yourself and your partner some grace. Your baby will be named sooner or later! Good luck!