1. Consider keeping it a secret. Nobody has the balls to say ‘I’m not sure I like that name, I once knew a snotty girl at school of that name” to your face when you are holding a beautiful newborn. If the baby is still in utero, however, they will definitely have the balls to say it. And whilst this won’t usually change your mind, it can take all your restraint not to bop them on the nose.
2. Practice saying it out loud. Actually, cancel that. Practice shouting it out loud. At least 30 times a day. If it still feels right, that’s your name.
3. Don’t claim names. It’s just not the done thing to ‘claim a name’. Especially if your baby isn’t even conceived yet…
4. Don’t use all your favourite names in one go. You love two names equally – so one will be the baby’s name and the other will be the middle name, naturally. But when baby number two comes along and is the same gender, you might well regret using the name you love as a middle name… If it’s your first baby, see if you can resist.
5. Reconsider unique spellings. Think that giving your child a unique spin on a popular name by re-spelling it is cute? Your child probably won’t agree when there’s a mix up with an airline ticket and they are stranded in Outer Mongolia for a week….
6. Think about initials. Olivia Madeleine Graham is a lovely name indeed. Until it’s time to embroider OMG onto her hockey skirt and she wants to change her name by deed poll. This is just an example – as let’s be honest, it could be a lot, lot worse.
7. Make sure there is a long, serious version. Shortening names is lovely – but when your child is naughty for the 17th time that day, you will want a longer, more serious name to bark at them. You should also practice a stern voice for this very purpose.
8. If you go unique, stay unique. It’s fine to go for something ‘different’ – but if you already have a child with a popular name, you are opening yourself up for years of upset. Take, for example, the moment you wander into a souvenir shop with a 5 and 7 year old – and one can find their name on a naff plastic snow-globe, whilst the other can’t. Fun times await.
9. Don’t discount duplicate names. You have a lovely name planned for your baby – and then BAM, three weeks before your due date, a birth announcement arrives of the very same name. As a rule of thumb, you’ll should bite your tongue and move to Plan B if it’s a close family member – but if it’s a friend, ask yourself whether the babies will genuinely see each other regularly. After all, you could discount that name and then your friend will emigrate to the other side of the world. If you love it, stick with it.
10. Avoid reading celebrity news. You will adore your newborn’s name forever – but when a Z-Lister with a questionable reputation decides to name their little cherub the very same name, it will fill you with despair. There’s no avoiding it, so consider cancelling that subscription to OK Magazine and stay in your own, happily oblivious world.