You’ll probably start to think about names for your baby soon after you confirm your pregnancy. 9 months is a long time and you’ll change your mind a hundred times before you decide on something you like, and that both mum and dad agree on.

Here are some tips for choosing the best name for your new baby

the rhythm of the first name should complement the last name

In most cases, the first and last names should not have the same number of syllables. Say the full name out loud and hear how it sounds.

be aware of the variations…

If you call your son Nicholas, chances are his friends will automatically shorten it to Nick. On the other hand, many variations on a name can give your child more choice over what he is called in later life. Nicky for a toddler, Nick for a teenager and Nicholas when he’s Managing Director of IBM!

…and nicknames

Georgie may be cute for your chubby baby but at school he’ll be known as Georgie Porgy for sure. A horrible nickname can stick for life. If there is any way your child could be teased about their name steer clear.

the initials – what do they spell?

Check whether your baby’s initials will spell or stand for anything. Make sure you include the middle name too. My initials were ‘K.P.’ and the kids at school called me ‘Nuts’ for years. Your baby will definitely not appreciate having the initials ‘B.O.’, ‘P.I.G.’ etc.

You should also be aware of what the first and last names say together. Make sure they don’t rhyme and that together they don’t make another complete word.

do you need a middle name?

A middle name is a way to distinguish your child. A middle name is often easier to select than the first name. It can be another name from the parents shortlist of favourites, that of a relative or friend or one of the parents’ first names. And if you still can’t decide you can have more than one middle name.

foreign spellings

You can distinguish a more widely used name with a ‘foreign’ spelling. For example, John is spelt Ewen in Welsh and Iain in Scottish.

repetition of sounds

First and last names that begin with the same letter can sound odd together. The same can be said where the last letter of the first name is the same as the first letter of the last name.

pronunciation and spelling are important

Is it obvious how the name is spelt and pronounced? It can be very annoying for your child if they continually have to correct people’s pronunciation or spelling of their name. However, an unusual spelling of a widely used name can distinguish your child.

family traditions and heroes

Many people honour a family member when choosing a name for the baby. Perhaps you could use the name of a grandparent for your baby’s first or middle name. Some people name their children after a favourite film star or football player.