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10 Resources for Finding That Perfect Baby Name

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

One of the fun, challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes stressful experiences of having a baby is coming up with the name. It's cute 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 shaped your own life, the task of choosing the right name definitely becomes a little bit more serious. It can take months to come up with something that sounds good with your last name and, most importantly, one both you and 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 to go through the back and forth of suggesting - and vetoing - possible names with your partner. Lucky.

If not, you get to go through the process of coming up with a name you love, like I did, and your husband rejecting it because it reminds him 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 agree on names for our third baby. I must have gone through hundreds, maybe thousands, of names before finding a few that sat well with me. And I looked 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: Comb through your circle and think about names of people you love. What better 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 trove of names dating back 1880, lists of popular names by decade and literally 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 App Store or Google Play and you'll be inundated with the apps that are available. Many of them are free and offer features such as being able to look up by origin or by letter, and even letting you save favorites.
  • Local library: Yes, it's old school, but don't forget 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 a difference.
  • Books: Speaking of books, what about favorite books of yours? A friend of mine named her daughter Charlotte because "Charlotte's Web"was her favorite book as a kid. Think about books you have read over the years and ponder any of the characters' names.
  • Movies: Any in particular that you have pegged as your favorite of all time? Consider the names you've come across in movies you have loved.
  • Places you lived: My daughter's middle name is the street where my husband and I had our first apartment. Think back to all 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 own childhood, maybe peruse some old yearbooks and reminisce about people in your own life who you still think about. Maybe there is someone you remember as being such a good person and had qualities that you'd want your child to embody.

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

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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