Choosing a name for your baby

baby names 2013 Baby Names html

Choosing a baby name can be hard, after all your baby will have their name all through their life and it could shape the way people think of them. Picking a name doesn’t have to be stressful, remember you have a good few months to think about it! 

So what is popular now?

Girls Names
2013
  Boys Names
2013
 
Rank Baby Name Rank Baby Name
1 Amelia 1 Jack
2 Olivia 2 Oliver
3 Emily 3 Harry
4 Ava 4 Charlie
5 Poppy 5 Jacob
6 Jessica 6 Alfie
7 Isla 7 Oscar
8 Sophie 8 James
9 Mia 9 Thomas
10 Ruby 10 Noah

 

Girls Names
2012
  Boys Names
2012
 
Rank Baby Name Rank Baby Name
1 Amelia 1 Harry
2 Olivia 2 Jack
3 Emily 3 Charlie
4 Jessica 4 Oliver
5 Sophie 5 Alfie
6 Lily 6 Riley
7 Mia 7 Jacob
8 Ava 8 James
9 Isla 9 Thomas
10 Ruby 10 Ethan

Amelia has been the top girl’s name for three years running rising in popularity from 9th in 2009. For Boys Jack has returned to the top spot replacing 2012’s favourite Harry. Jack has been very popular over the last 20 years and was top for 16 years until Oliver knocked it off in 2010, quickly replaced by Harry for 2011 and 2012. 

Since the Millennium (see chart below) there has been a lot of changes in what is popular, for girls the most popular name at the turn of the century was Chloe which has fallen out of favour down in 17th place. The third most popular name Megan has also dropped all the way down to 45th. Emily remains very popular along with Jessica both staying in the top six. For boys Oliver has jumped to from 13th to the second spot (first next year perhaps??). Interestingly adaptations of older names such as ‘Alfie’ and ‘Riley’ have made a comeback. If you’re interested in seeing how your chosen name has been in popularity over time this tool lets you track its popularity since 2000.  this tool lets you track its popularity since 2000.

Most popular names at the Millennium

Girls Names
2000
  Boys Names
2000
 
Rank Baby Name Rank Baby Name
1 Chloe 1 Jack
2 Emily 2 Thomas
3 Megan 3 James
4 Jessica 4 Joshua
5 Charlotte 5 Daniel
6 Lauren 6 Harry
7 Sophie 7 Joseph
8 Olivia 8 Samuel
9 Hannah 9 Matthew
10 Lucy 10 Callum

Looking way back to 1904 not many names are still in the top ten. For girls not a single name from the 1904 top ten is in the current top ten. For boys there are a couple however with Thomas and James making it into both top tens. There are a couple of similar names, in 2012 Charlie is the forth most popular whereas in 1904 Charles was seventh. Likewise in 1904 Alfred was the eleventh most popular name and in 2013 Alfie was sixth..

1904 top 10 names for girls and boys

Girls Names
1904
  Boys Names
1904
 
Rank Baby Name Rank Baby Name
1 Mary 1 William
2 Florence 2 John
3 Doris
3 George
4 Edith
4 Thomas
5 Dorothy
5 Arthur
6 Annie
6 James
7 Margaret
7 Charles
8 Alice
8 Frederick
9 Elizabeth
9 Albert
10 Elise
10 Ernest

So what does this mean for your baby? Would you be tempted to do something different and have the confidence to pick one off the 1904 list? Or perhaps put a different spin on an old name like the Alfed/Alfie names?
There are no set rules you should follow to pick a name and remember it is for you and your partner to decide. You’ll probably see lots of conflicting advice which you can choose to follow if you wish, so along these lines we’ve come up with a few tips to help you along the way;

Pick a name that lasts

Remember you aren’t just picking the name of your baby, you are picking the name of your child, and your teenager, who will of course grow into an adult, perhaps a parent and even a pensioner. There is often an urge to give a cute baby name which may sound fine for your cute baby but perhaps not the best for an angry teenager!

Double check what you pick

Your child will thank you for this one in the future! Say the name you want out loud with surname and middle name if you have one. Does it sound like any rude or insulting words? Think about the initials as well and put yourself in the mind of a particularly mean schoolchild (I’m sure you will remember one or two from your school days) and see what you can come up with. Remember some children can be both very creative and very mean!
It is also a good idea to do a Google (or any other reputable search engine!) search for the name you have picked, there may be some well known people who you haven’t heard of with the same first and last name as your child who you wouldn’t want them to be associated with.

Have a meaning

Sometimes it is nice to pick a name based on a special meaning. Most traditional names have meanings, have a look at this handy guide from Bounty to find out the meaning of popular names.

Something unusual?

It’s nice to be unique, but how unique? Names tend to follow trends and are influenced by the names of well known people, so when a person with an unusual name becomes famous the use of that name tends to rise sharply, so it may be unique for an adult to have it at the time but will be commonplace by the time your baby grows up. Have a think as well who you think about when you hear the name, well known people with unusual names become synonymous with that name so people with think of that person when you say the name of your child. Think of the name ‘Jenson’ for example which has soared in popularity over the last ten years, as Jenson Button is the only person in the public eye with the name Jenson, people will immediately associate your child’s name with him. He seems like a nice chap so probably not a problem but it is certainly something to think about with unusual names.   

Something new?

All names were new at some point so there’s nothing to say you can’t be the first to come up with a new one.  Having a unique name can be great, with many children in the same class at school having the same name it’s nice to know you are unique. Coming up with a genuinely new name isn’t going to be easy, but one way to do it is pick an existing name and give it a slight twist such as a different spelling, for example Michael could become Mikael. Creating a combination of two names is a great way to create something which will not seem odd but will be unique and recognizable at the same time. Combined names are nothing new, just think of Annemarie, or Maryanne. Surnames are also another route to a new name, many names are seen as surnames but can be used as first names, the added bonus is that they are both new and recognized, if it sounds right, go for it!  

Keep it to yourselves

Floating the name out to friends can complicate things, if they don’t like the names you want it could put you off and potentially make you unhappy with the names you are choosing. Family and relatives can be an awkward one, many of whom will perhaps feel they should have a say in the name, your parents may have their own ideas! It’s usually best to just keep it between you and your partner, remember it is your baby!

Make sure you don’t fall out!

Keeping it between you and your partner can make things a whole lot simpler, however that is no guarantee of a smooth ride. It’s important that you agree on a name and if it is a compromise make sure it is an equal one, some couples still argue months after. One way to compromise is for you both to write 20 names you like on a list and get the other partner to score them, this way you’ll find at least a few names you both like.

Think about practicality

This may be a bit boring but you do need to think practically, how easy is the name to say with your surname? If you are picking an unusual name, would they have to spell it out every time they ring the bank?  

And finally don’t be silly!

For some reason some parents take it upon themselves to give their child the most ridiculous names, some of the worst recent ones reflect the current trends, with ‘Hashtag’ and ‘Facebook’ being picked as baby names. Some countries actually have the power to disallow certain names, and when you see some of the ones they have blocked the children will be grateful of this when they grow up!
Some you could argue are quite overtly strict, in Italy judges prevented a couple calling their child Venerdi (which means Friday) and Sweden has a law which bans the name Elvis! One you surely can’t disagree with is Chow Tow from Malayisa which translates as ‘Smelly Head
For some reason New Zealanders seem to be the worst offenders with these delights banned; Lucifer, 89, V8, Fish and Chips (for twins!), Keenan Got Lucy, and ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’.
By all means be different or original with the name you pick for your baby, but just remember to keep them at heart when you do it, they are the ones who would have to live with being called Facebook



In conclusion

You may have read this guide and many others like it, had advice from your friends and family and just about everyone else you’ve spoken to with their two pence to throw in, so undoubtedly there will be some conflicting advice along the way. What you must remember in all of this is that the choice is for you and your partner, and the person who it is most important to is your child, so pick the best name for them you can, not what suits other people.
If you only take one bit of advice from this guide, make sure it is the bit on silly names!

 

Sources:
Office for National Statistics
Bounty