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10 Resources for Finding That Perfect Baby Name

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

One of the fun, challenging, thought-provoking and sometimesstressful experiences of having a baby is coming up with the name. It'scute to call the baby "peanut" or "bean" in utero, but let's face it:Your child will have to live with the name you ultimately choose.

Not to be dramatic, but when you consider how your name has shapedyour own life, the task of choosing the right name definitely becomes alittle bit more serious. It can take months to come up with somethingthat sounds good with your last name and, most importantly, one both youand your husband like. (And tip, don't forget about how the first,middle and last initials look together!)

Maybe you already have a family name picked out and don't have togo through the back and forth of suggesting - and vetoing - possiblenames with your partner. Lucky.

If not, you get to go through the process of coming up with a nameyou love, like I did, and your husband rejecting it because it remindshim of some kid he grew up with who threw rocks at people.

It took us a while to come up with names for our third baby. Correction: It took us a while to agreeon names for our third baby. I must have gone through hundreds, maybethousands, of names before finding a few that sat well with me. And Ilooked everywhere, talked to lots of people and did my own research.

Luckily, there are tons of resources out there. Here are ones that I used:

  • Immediate friends and family: Combthrough your circle and think about names of people you love. Whatbetter way to honor someone than to name your baby after them?
  • Extended family: Look through your family tree. There may be a name way back in your lineage that you never thought of.
  • Social Security website: There is a treasure troveof names dating back 1880, lists of popular names by decade andliterally thousands of possibilities to scour through.
  • Baby websites: Any of the major baby-centric websites or publications focused on babies have sections dedicated to baby names.
  • Baby name apps: Type "baby names" into Apple's AppStore or Google Play and you'll be inundated with the apps that areavailable. Many of them are free and offer features such as being ableto look up by origin or by letter, and even letting you save favorites.
  • Local library: Yes, it's old school, but don'tforget about those huge baby name books you can find in your library.Sometimes, seeing the name in actual print vs. on a screen does make adifference.
  • Books: Speaking of books, what about favoritebooks of yours? A friend of mine named her daughter Charlotte because"Charlotte's Web"was her favorite book as a kid. Think about books youhave read over the years and ponder any of the characters' names.
  • Movies: Any in particular that you have pegged asyour favorite of all time? Consider the names you've come across inmovies you have loved.
  • Places you lived: My daughter's middle name is thestreet where my husband and I had our first apartment. Think back toall the places you have lived and maybe there's a neighbor, street,favorite park name that will always spark good memories.
  • Your own childhood: Think back to your ownchildhood, maybe peruse some old yearbooks and reminisce about people inyour own life who you still think about. Maybe there is someone youremember as being such a good person and had qualities that you'd wantyour child to embody.

Through a combination of these resources, along with a lot ofthought, a lot of back-and-forth and a lot of saying the name over andover again, my husband and I finally selected one name for each genderthat we were equally excited about. Don't worry about feedback fromothers; what's most important is deciding on a name your baby will soonembody. And when you can finally put a face with that name, it's thebest feeling in the world.

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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