Naming a new person coming into the world is one of the many highlights of expecting a baby. However, new parents
might also feel the pressure of “getting it right.” Sophie Kihm, editor-in-chief at Nameberry.com, says one of the reasons your name is so important is because it’s your very first expression of identity.
“It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do to name a stranger,” Kihm says. “You don’t know who this person is going to be. While most of the time your child grows into their name, we’re now in this world where it’s becoming more accepted and typical for people to change their names for a variety of reasons, or for parents to even change their baby’s name. And I think part of that is because we’re much more in tune with the connection between names and identity.”
It seems like there are endless naming options these days and almost anything goes when it comes to choosing a name. So, where should parents begin with their name search? Kihm suggests starting with the things you like or dislike about your own name.
Did you grow up with a very popular name? Maybe you’ll choose something less common if you don’t like sharing your name with several classmates. Is your name hard to spell or pronounce? You may want to choose something that will make roll call easier on your little one.
“Also think about the things you like,” Kihm says. Maybe you love having a name that’s connected to your cultural
heritage or having a special family name. “Thinking about those things helps narrow the pool of names immediately,” Kihm adds.
Pamela Redmond, Nameberry.com co-founder and CEO has a list of “20 Questions Every Baby Namer Should Ask.” Some of the questions include: plain or fancy, gender-distinct or gender-neutral, old or new, nickname or no nickname, and story or no story.
By asking yourself some of these questions, Kihm says you’re going to end up with a lot of key words that can help guide your search.
Name Trends for 2023 and Beyond
Whether it’s through celebrities, shows and movies, or other influences, new name trends are always happening and cer- tain names will rise to the top quicker than others.
For 2023, Kihm predicts we’ll see more “gilded” or sun-inspired names. For boys, Cyrus, which means sun, and Leo. For girls, she says Soleil is on the rise as well as Sunday and Goldie.
“These are not super popular names, but they’re quick rising names that are going to be cool,” Kihm says. “So they might surprise people because they might not know any babies named Soleil, but just wait a couple of years you will.”
Thanks to shows like Yellowstone, there’s also a rise on neo-western names. “Boone like Daniel Boone, Riggs, Dutton, that’s a Yellowstone name, Rhodes, that’s a big one for boys and Truett is up and coming,” Kihm says. For girls, unisex names as well as short names that end in “I” are trending with celebrities and parents in the wider world.
“Think of Esti, which is Chrissy Tegien and John Legend’s daughter,” Kihm says. “We have names like Kiki and Lumi, Nori, Novi, Remi and Yoli, which is the middle name of Michael Buble’s daughter. One thing that’s nice about these names, we call them internally ‘traveling light names,’ because they feel they have an international feel and work in a ton of different cultures and languages throughout the world. They can kind of chameleon and fit in really easily. You know if your name is Kiki, that you’re going to be able to pronounce it no matter where you go in the world.”
Another trend Kihm is seeing is what she calls “kinder-core” names, or names that remind you of childhood. Think Wednesday like Wednesday of The Addams Family, Eloise, like the mischievous book character who lived at the Plaza Hotel and Casper, like the friendly ghost. Should you share your baby’s name before they arrive?
Once you’ve settled on your perfect baby name, you might want to share it with everyone you know. Kihm says you should take a few things into consideration before announcing your baby’s name to the world.
“This is such a personal question,” she says. “People ask me this and I have to always get a sense of who they are before I recommend one way or the other. For some people, it is going to make more sense to announce it right away and say, ‘all right, we’ve chosen our baby’s name, here it is,’ and maybe do a name reveal before the birth. If you’re really confident about a name, go for it.”
She says you can also put up a boundary with opinionated friends or family by saying “we are not accepting any feedback” when you reveal the name.
She adds that if you’re still unsure of the name or you’re easily talked out of things, you might be better off keeping it to yourself.