Have you ever met someone with an unfortunate name and thought, “What were their parents thinking?” while choosing baby names. Well, maybe they weren’t! That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to avoiding lumbering your baby with an unfortunate moniker.


1. Try two names together

Try your chosen baby names with the baby’s surname. If your baby’s last name is short, you may want a longer first name and vice versa, while repeated consonants in both names, such as Jess Smith and John Down, can get swallowed. And, of course, avoid any unfortunate combinations, such as May King or Iona Broome.

2. Spelling mistakes

Unusual spellings are very popular, but think carefully before you add originality with an extra letter or two; you could be setting your child up for a lifetime of mis-spellings and endless repeats of “That’s right, with a Y for yeti”.

3. Initials

When you’ve chosen your child’s full name, just check what the initial letters spell out. Think about the mental strain you’re unwittingly passing on to Poppy Isabelle Grant.

4. Classics

Using a family name provides a sense of heritage and tradition, but it may end up sounding very old-fashioned, so think about the related names too, or give it as a middle name. While classic baby names are very popular right now, baby Edna may not agree when she’s a teenager.

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5. Nicknames

Think about how your child’s name can be shortened or turned into a nickname. Natasha is a gorgeous name, but your may not like the shortened version, Tash, as much.

6. How’s it sound?

If you find it hard to remember the unusual pronunciation of your child’s name (Karen pronounced CAR-Ron rather than Ka-ren), think how others are going to struggle.

7. Quirky

If choosing a very quirky name, think about how the name will age and date. What might be perceived as cool now might sound dated in 20 years’ time.

8. Patterns

Avoid trying to make your children’s names fit a pattern – Josh, Jules and Joe may not thank you when no one can tell who’s who from initials.

Mum's story

“My relatives ‘took’ our baby name”

“When my brother-in-law and his wife had their second child, they happened to choose the baby name my husband always thought would work if we had a son. It’s a nice name, and I’d have happily called any son by it, but I was nowhere near as keen on the name as my husband is – or was! To make matters worse, all the boys’ names I like, my husband thinks sound like the names of a pet dog. What are my choices? Max and Rex. I guess I can see my husband’s point!”


Amy, 27, mum to Lucy, 4