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Picking the Perfect Name for Your Baby
LOS ANGELES, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Choosing your new baby's name is a task fraught with tension for most expectant parents. Will the name be too common in popularity, or too rare? Will it tie negative associations to the child? (There's a reason the name "Adolph" has fallen out of favor the last half-century.) Will the name grow with the child, or sound frivolous during adulthood?
Jennifer Moss, a Los Angeles-based baby-name consultant who advises new parents on naming their children through her website BabyNames.com and by a personalized naming service, offers these tips in her new book, "The One-in-a- Million Baby Name Book" (Perigee Press, ISBN 978-0-399-53430-0), in bookstores this month.
Moss, who is a baby-name consultant and founder of BabyNames.com, offers the following guidelines for expectant parents in choosing their own child's one-in-a-million name:
1. Family histories and traditions: Does the name mean something special to you and/or your family members? Have you considered family names for first and middle names?
2. Spelling and ease of use: Is this name easy to spell? Is it easy to pronounce? A girl named Melyssah will be destined to spend a lot of time spelling out her name the rest of her life.
3. Popularity and saturation: Are you choosing a truly unique name or simply following the trends? Where is the name ranked on popularity lists like the one on BabyNames.com or the U.S. Social Security Administration's baby names database? Take into consideration that names that are popular today may seem dated 30 years from now, just as the name "Nancy" harkens to the 1950s and "Tiffany" summons images of the 1980s pop singer and her peers.
4. Jokes, puns, and teasing potential: Will your child be teased because of the name, or due to his or her initials? Is it funny to you? Does the name rhyme with something teasable? "Crystal Chandel Lear" belongs above the dining room table, not on a birth certificate.
5. Pronunciation, rhythm and flow: How does the first name sound when combined with your last name? Is it too choppy, or too long? Names have a natural sound and rhythm - a way that people hear the syllables in natural musical beats. Show friends and family the written name and ask them to pronounce it for you; if it doesn't sound right, or they mispronounce the name, you may want to reconsider.
6. Gender identification: Is the name too frilly? Is it a primarily male or female name? Remember that male-identified names often work for baby girls, but female-identified names can be awkward for baby boys.
7. The introduction test: Introduce yourself out loud using the planned first name and last name together. Does it sound "right" to you? Sometimes a name will look good on paper, but just doesn't sound right when written.
"The One-in-a-Million Baby Name" book includes chapters dedicated to traditional names, celebrity names, names of royalty through the ages, character names found in popular culture, nature names, and names from the world of sports, along with firsthand stories from parents on how they chose their children's names. It also includes thousands of name suggestions, along with their meanings, origins and ratings of the names from visitors to BabyNames.com.
BabyNames.com, which debuted on the Web in 1996, is one of the top destinations for expectant parents. In addition to its naming service and comprehensive names database, BabyNames.com offers parenting advice, parenting and naming forums, and celebrity-baby news, among other features. The site is owned and operated by Moss, her sisters Mallory Rustin, Kate Glinsmann and Sue Moss, and their mother, Peg Moss.