What’s in a name?
Well, a lot actually.
Choosing a name for your new baby girl or boy might be one of the first parenting decisions you make and it’ll stick with them forever - no pressure.
We’re not even half-way through 2019 and already there are some emerging baby name trends for this year.
The most popular names in the US tend to be the same/similar year to year so this year will see a lot more baby Emmas, Olivias, and Avas for girls. For boys, expect to see baby Liams, Noahs and Williams at playgroup this year.
Pop culture continues to make its mark on baby name trends - the popularity of certain names mirroring the popularity of the book, show or movie they come from.
DYK that after Rachel had her baby Emma on Friends, the names Emily and Emma dominated the charts? Emma moved from the 13th most popular name in America to the 2nd - and it hasn’t left the top 3 since!
We can’t say for sure how much Rachel Green had to do with this, but we suspect a link.
Similarly, after the Twilight series gained popularity, a lot more baby Bellas and Isabellas started popping up - Bella went from 122 to 58 the year after the first book came out and Isabella landed the number 1 and 2 spot for a few years after.
It’s no different in 2019, but with slightly more unusual names from an HBO favourite. Game of Thrones smashed a lot of records in 2019 in terms of viewership but has been incredibly popular the last few years. We see this reflected in popular names (especially for girls) the last few years, with several outlets reporting a spike in names from the show. The name Arya has gone from ranking 942 in 2010 to 119 in 2018 - that’s quite the leap, even for Arya.
But take warning, pop culture fans: if you’re going to name your child after your favourite fictional character, follow their entire story arc before settling. We don’t want to give any spoilers away to those who haven’t watched the final season of Game of Thrones but let’s just say some names that gained a lot of popularity because of the series might have been a bit short-sighted.
According to nameberry.com, other trends for this year include an increase in more international names and names popular in Eastern religions and cultures, more gender-neutral or nonbinary names, and more unique takes on colour names and jewel names.
Whether you want a classic name or something totally unique, here are a few baby naming tips to consider:
- Get ready to compromise
You might think your very favourite name is a done deal until you mention it to your spouse and get a hard pass. Then they might bring you a name that you think MUST be a joke but there they are, seriously suggesting that you name your baby girl after the name of a spaceship on their favourite sci-fi show - no? Just me? I digress.
Be prepared to go a few rounds before settling on a name you both like.
- Test drive the name
When I was considering a new tattoo design, someone suggested a draw it in sharpie on my skin for a week or more to help me decide if I liked it or not before making a permanent change. Do the same with a name you’re on the fence about - try it out around the house, write it down, see how it feels.
- Consider every aspect of a name
As parents, we generally control our child’s name but we can’t really control what they’re called. Make sure that when you pick a name, you like every version of it. This is a lesson a friend learned the hard way when she named her daughter a name that she loved but quickly found out she hated the shortened/nickname version.
Similarly, if you’re picking a name because you love the shortened version, make sure you’re okay with the whole thing too. One of my favourite names is Cece, but I don’t love Cecelia. These are all things to think about.
- Think about a job application
Sometimes in an effort to be unique, parents forget to consider their child’s entire life stuck with that name. One tip that I think is useful to help answer, “Is this TOO weird?” is to imagine your child’s name at the top of a resume/CV when they go to apply for a professional job. Obviously this one thing shouldn’t be a deciding factor, but it’s an interesting gauge for how the name you choose will impact your kid’s life.
- Take advice with a grain of salt
People have a ton of opinions on names and they’re often all too happy to share the negative ones. Not only do they have their own preferences, they can also associate a lot of their own baggage with a name (“All guys I’ve met named that are losers”, “that’s my exes name, you can’t use that!”) so feel free to either ignore their commentary on your preferred names or not to share at all.
Getting to name another human is a big responsibility and isn’t an easy decision, but don’t stress - it’s only what they’ll be called forever and ever. ;)
Still stuck? Try out these name generators on nameberry and see if that sparks any inspiration. And if all else fails, go for Emma or Liam - they’ll be in good company.
Statistics on names taken from the US Social Security website.