By Lauren Hartmann, Disney Baby
Naming a baby is a pretty big deal. It is something that our children
will take with them everywhere for the rest of their lives, so it better
be a good one! Many parents these days really want to come up with a
baby name that is truly unique, but it can be a pretty challenging task
these days. With the advent of the internet and the sharing of
information, a name can go from obscure to popular in the blink of an
eye (I'm looking at you, Harper and North). So how can a parent come up
with a name that really is unique? Well, here are a few things that
helped my husband and I in our search for coming up with unique monikers
for our little ones...
Our daughter's name is Fern. I know that not everyone loves it, but
for the most part, people think it's great. We get a lot of compliments
on it, and while that isn't a reason to choose a name, it's always nice
to hear that people like your kid's name. We like that her name is
simultaneously unique and classic. We also like that it's slightly
off-the-beaten-path, but not too far out there, and still easy to spell.
Our son's name, which we have yet to reveal (I'm trying to convince my
husband to let me share it early!) is similarly unique, classic, and the
(all-important) easy to spell.
So how did we arrive upon these name choices?
1. Keep a list.
I changed my mind at least 100 times when it came to the perfect name
for our daughter, so it was nice to have a running list on hand to give
us options. Whenever I'd hear or read a name that I liked, I'd add it
to the list. It was really helpful when it came to choosing middle names
2. Leave no stone unturned.
Do not consider any source of inspiration to be off-limits when it
comes to baby naming. One of my favorite places to look for baby name
inspiration is actually in the credits at the end of a movie - there are
a lot to choose from! You could also consider street names, last names,
words you like, authors, favorite foods, or even strangers on the
street. You never know where the perfect name will turn up. The first
time I heard my daughter's name it was from a friend who had met a young
woman named Fern while out and about having coffee here in Portland,
and I instantly loved it.
3. Look at your family tree.
Sometimes there is a temptation to reinvent the wheel when it comes
to baby naming, but sometimes the freshest and most unique names are
ones that are throwbacks found on your own family tree. You might be
surprised by the baby name gems you'll find! My daughter's name is
actually a family name. I had a great grandmother named Fern Cleophia
Griffey, and even though I'd never met her, I liked the idea of having a
tie to my family's history in the naming of my little one, and it's
nice to know that my daughter has a name that's significant. As for our
little boy still cooking up, while his first name isn't actually a
family name, his middle name just might be the maiden name of my
husband's grandmother (we're still debating). It would be a nice nod to
her, and it's another uncommon, but classic, option.
4. Consider things and places you love.
Do you and your significant other love sailing? Perhaps you could use
a nautical term as a name. Do you both share a love of a particular
author? Why not pay homage with your baby's name? Does a certain
city/state/street hold special significance for you? Maybe you could use
it in your naming process. Have a favorite month, season or day or the
week? Maybe it would make a good baby name option.
5. Don't overlook the importance of middle names.
We struggled with coming up with a middle name for our daughter, and
in the end, we went with Winter... Fern Winter. The significance? My
husband and I fell in love in the winter over a shared love of
snowboarding; we were married in the winter during the first snowfall of
the year; and our daughter coincidentally ended up being born in the
winter, also during the first snowfall of the year. It was
serendipitous. I love that her middle name has such special meaning, and
even though people told me it wouldn't really matter and that I'd never
use her middle name anyway...they were wrong. I use it all the time, and I
love how her first and middle name sound together.
6. Check the stats.
If you're not sure about a name's popularity, you can always go check the stats. I like this site and this one for
finding out more about a name's popularity and when it peaked.
According to these sites, my daughter's name peaked in popularity in
1916, with 1,332 children being given the name. In 2012, there were 45
other little ones named Fern. Our little boy's name peaked in popularity
in 1906, with 11 babies being given the name. It's kind of cool to know
7. When in doubt...
Go with your gut. Try out the name for awhile, and start referring to
your little one as the name that is your front runner while you're home
with your partner and see if it sticks. With our daughter's name, I
knew right away after using it that it was the one.
8. Throw out the rules.
In the end, just choose a name you love, and throw all the rules out the window!
Image: Getty Images