How to Pick the Perfect Baby Name

Research Rules

If you've come up empty after that last exercise, you probably need to attack the reference material. You've done some legwork at this point, so you're not going in totally blind. Whether you fall into the traditional, trendy or the ever-popular "nothing too popular but nothing totally weird" camp, books and Web sites can at least give you some food for thought. They can confirm your interest in a certain name type, but they can also open up a whole world of new possibilities. You might be looking for an Irish name, say, and discover that "New England" names are totally up your alley. (Prudence, anyone? Zenobia?)

Here are some of the more entertaining baby-name Web sites we've found:

  • Nymbler: Type in a name (or names) you like, and Nymbler will spit out hundreds of other names you might take a shine to.
  • Baby Namescape: Find the most popular names in your state, city or even your hospital.
  • Baby Name Wizard: Its NameVoyager feature graphs name popularity over more than a century.

[sources: Nymbler, Baby Namescape, Baby Name Wizard]

But even with all this sage advice, you could still be sitting there with a blank list. (It happens.) If you're getting down to the wire, remember this: Keep your eyes and ears open. Inspiration can strike anywhere. Ask for suggestions from friends and family. And try to relax. There's no rule that says the name has to be set in stone before the baby arrives. Chances are, when you see your new baby, you'll know. The name will be perfect.

Check out the next page for more information about baby names.

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More Great Links


  • Coffey, Laura T. "'Glee' Effect? Baby Names of 2010 Reflect Love of TV, Movies." MSNBC. Dec. 2, 2010. (April 21, 2011)
  • Evans, Cleveland Kent. "Baby-Naming Trends." June 13, 2006. (April 21, 2011)
  • Kashtan, Paula. "6 Steps to the Perfect Baby Name." Parents. April 2011.
  • Kassab, Sally Farhat. "India, Willow, Harper and More: The Biggest Naming Trends for 2011." Ivillage. Jan. 5, 2011. (April 21, 2011)
  • Lack, Evonne. "When to Choose and Announce a Baby Name." Baby Center. January 2010. (April 22, 2011)
  • Merksamer, Alyssa. "How to Change Your Child's Name." Baby Center. December 2007. (April 22, 2011)
  • Soong, Jennifer. "Choosing a Baby Name." Web MD. Sept. 10, 2010. (April 21, 2011)

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