There’s no time more exciting in a young couple’s life than the arrival of a new little bundle of joy. But what about when you and your spouse can’t agree on the baby’s name?
If you and your partner are having trouble agreeing on your baby’s name, take some comfort in knowing that most parents have the same issue – the important thing is coming to an agreement in the end. You could try comparing lists, taking suggestions, alternating who gets to choose, or even waiting until you meet your little one to decide on a name.
Read on to learn about some of the ways you can find a name you both like, how to decide who should compromise, and what to do when you just can’t agree.
Husband and wife can’t agree on baby names
If you and your partner can’t agree on your baby’s name, the good news is that you’re not alone. In fact, a whopping 75% of all parents report that they disagreed with their significant other about what to name their baby.
When handling any disagreement, even one as seemingly frivolous as baby names, it is important to communicate and find an agreement that both partners can live with.
We’re no marriage counselors, but one tip that may help when the two of you have conflicting desires is to rate your feelings about the subject in question (in this case the baby’s name) on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most intense. You may find that your husband doesn’t actually place as much importance on the name as you thought he did – perhaps he rated it a 3. Whereas your level of distaste for the name may be much higher than your husband realized – maybe you rate your discomfort with the name as a 9 because it was the name of your childhood bully.
Placing your feelings on this scale will help bring clarity to the issue and should make it clear which partner needs to compromise on the issue.
I hate the baby name my husband picked
If your husband has his heart set on a name that you aren’t quite as happy about, you will want to be sure to communicate, diffuse the situation, and consider why he has chosen that name.
Try to find out why the name is so important to your husband and consider if it is one you can live with.
Is this a name that he had dreamed about naming his future son ever since he was a child? Or is this name the one he prefers for your daughter because he once had an ex-girlfriend with the same name?
If you do want to try and compromise for his sake, try getting used to the name and see if it doesn’t actually grow on you with time. Practice calling your child’s name at the park. Start saying the baby’s name as you are talking to him or her inside your belly, or when you are talking about them. Let your husband do the same. Once you hear him talking lovingly to his son or daughter, you may find that the name you hated isn’t so bad after all.
My husband doesn’t like my baby name
Similarly, when your spouse is the one who doesn’t like your favorite name, it is important to talk it over and hear each other out.
It will be very helpful for you to express to your husband why your chosen baby name is so important to you. You may find that he will come around once he realizes how much it matters to you.
In many cases, dads will simply let their wives choose the baby name because they recognize the greater bond between a mother and the child she is carrying. But you don’t want him to feel bowled over or that his wishes don’t matter either. Always be respectful when you discuss the topic, remain open to hearing his side, and be willing to compromise.
Finding a baby name you can agree on
There are a number of ways you can find a baby name you can both agree on, from making a list to agree to take turns. The important thing is that you work together, communicate, and remember to have fun!
Here are some of the most common methods that parents utilize to come to an agreement on their child’s name.
This one is as simple as it sounds – both of you will sit down to make a list and then compare. Are there similarities in the type or style of your names? Did some names make it onto both of your lists? This method is especially helpful if the two of you are busy or have experienced intense conflict with similar issues in the past.
As opposed to making your own separate lists, sit down with a baby name book (or the internet) and read through a list of names together. Read them out loud and write down any that you both agree on. This can also be a fun way to discover new things about each other, learn about family traditions, and funny childhood stories.
Consider Name Meanings
Maybe you’ve decided that you want a name with a special meaning. Using a site like BabyNames.com, consider the meaning you’d like your child’s name to have and try to find top candidates that you both like. Most names have a forgotten meaning that evolved with time and don’t necessarily come from any modern word. For example, Ava comes from avis, the Latin word for bird.
Don’t forget to check other languages for names that still have a particular definition. For example, Mia sounds beautiful in English, but it also means “Mine” in Spanish.
Poll Friends & Family Members
If you don’t mind the input of others, this can be a great way to decide on your baby’s name.
If your baby has older siblings, involving them in the naming process can be a great way to facilitate the bond between them and the new baby. The downside to this idea is that if you ask people for their opinion, you’re sure to get it.
You’ll hear all about how Anabella is a dog’s name or how Max was the name of your mom’s ex-boyfriend that your father hated. As tough as this “advice” can be to hear, it does help narrow down your options.
If you and your spouse have narrowed it down to 2 or 3 names and just can’t decide, then polling your friends and family on Facebook or at the baby shower can be a fun way to pick the winner!
Split It Up
Many couples decide to take the top name choices from each parent and use one as either a second first name or a middle name. That way, the child can decide for themselves when they are older which name they prefer. This is also a very helpful strategy when one parent wants to pass down a family name, but the other is a bit hesitant about naming their daughter Ruth or Gertrude.
If you are on your first or second child and know that you will be having more children later on, many parents resolve to take turns naming their babies.
If dad gets to name the little one this time, then mom gets to select the name next time. As long as you can both agree to hold up your end of the deal, then this can be a great way for both parents to get what they want. In fact, this is probably one of the most common ways that parents reach a compromise on baby naming.
When you can’t agree on a name, consider if there may be a nickname that the reluctant parent could deal with.
For example, if every firstborn daughter in your family for 3 generations has been called Elizabeth but your husband hates it – see if he would be OK with “Liz” or “Lizzie.”
When taking nicknames and shortened versions of names into consideration, that name you couldn’t agree on might not seem so bad after all.
Wait until you meet your little one
Culturally, many peoples throughout history have held naming ceremonies within the first few days following the birth of the child. It is only in recent times, especially with ultrasound technology, that most parents have begun to announce baby names months before their little one even arrives.
Many people say that you can’t truly know a baby’s name until you’ve seen their face. Because of this, some parents choose to wait until their little one has arrived to decide on the name. Sometimes, once you see your new little bundle of joy you may realize that a certain name fits them better.
You may take one look at your baby and realize that their big ears remind you of your husband’s beloved Uncle Paul after all. Or perhaps your husband will hold his daughter for the first time and finally agree that her soft features look more like a Rose than a Roxy.
These days, 3D and 4D ultrasounds can also help with this by giving you a sneak peek of your little one.
What to do if parents can’t agree on a baby name?
The tips above should help you and your partner reach a compromise the majority of the time.
If you still can’t decide and you both feel equally strongly about the subject, it may be time to let a neutral third party decide. Perhaps a friend or a relative who isn’t familiar with the situation and who wants which name, a trusted pastor, a counselor, or even the nurse who brought you the paperwork.
Still stuck and don’t want to involve anyone else? Flip a coin.
In the end, remember that this is one of the most exciting times in your life and you don’t want that joy to be overshadowed by an argument over something as silly as a name. Put the choice of the name in perspective and realize that you are blessed to be welcoming a new family member into the world. You have years of happy memories ahead of you, and it is more than likely that in a year or 2 you won’t even remember all that fuss over their name.
How long do you have to name your baby?
So just how long can you put off the decision to name your baby?
While you may want to wait a few months until their personality develops a bit more, unfortunately, you must select a name within a few days of the child’s birth in order to fill out necessary paperwork such as the birth certificate, Social Security number, and health insurance.
That being said, you can always choose a “filler name” until you decide, and simply change the name later – but we don’t recommend it due to the legal hassle.
Which parent has the right to name a child?
In some cultures, there may be an expectation for the mother to decide the name, or for the child to decide the name. However, legally there is no preference for one parent over the other.
In most states, the mother and father whose names are on the birth certificate must agree upon and select a name for the child. So in the case of married parents, no parent can legally name the child without the other. Some states may differ in that they do not require a father’s name on the birth certificate, making the responsibility of naming the child up to the mother.
If the mother and father cannot agree, the courts will then select a name.