Choosing a baby name can be quick and easy or it can be a nine month-long battle. In the same way that a prenup can sometimes derail a marriage, agreeing on a baby name can sometimes tear a relationship apart or, at the very least, put a wrinkle in what should be a blissful and exciting time. We’re here to help prevent that from happening to you!
“It takes a partnership to raise a baby and it takes TLC – Tender Living Care – together to agree on a baby name,” says Dr. Wendy O’Connor, a licensed marriage and family therapist. But, what to do if you can’t agree? “Name the baby after the grandparents? Name the baby after a holiday? Name the baby after the city, town or state they were conceived? Flip a coin? Look up names in a baby book? Google popular names? Ultimately as parents brainstorm baby names it comes down to one thing: a baby’s spirit. O’Connor underlines that babies are born with character and temperament and, ultimately, when parents are at a standstill, the best tactic may be to not decide and wait to see the baby and their personality. “Often I see in my practice that when this route is taken – BOOM – the name is born!”
If the thought of waiting until your little one pops out to agree on a name is too anxiety-inducing to bear, Dr. Kelly Rabenstein Donohoe, a licensed psychologist, says that in her practice she has found four tactics to be particularly helpful:
Go back to basics.
“When people can’t agree on baby names it’s often because they have different values around naming a child. Start by discussing what it means to you both to name a child–including what you like and don’t like about your own names, whether you assume you’ll use family names (or not) and how you imagine your child being able to use their name in the future.”
Start with a built-in list.
“Many people turn to family trees to make a list of possible names. This can help give weight and meaning to a name.”
Veto power of 1.
“Each parent gets to veto 1 name without discussion. Otherwise, every single name ought to be placed on the list and discussed.”
This is foundational.
“Remember, you will be parenting this child together and making many important choices that impact your family. When you can’t agree, take a step back, and revisit with more openness, remembering that how you handle this will help you in the future as parents when difficult choices arise.”