Name-napping: How to pick a baby name without the battle


As parents, we all want to feel like we're bestowing our babies with beautiful, strong and one-of-a-kind names. Hearing that others in our circles share the same tastes can be devastating. That being said, if you're not careful, choosing a name for your little one can turn into a tug-of-war. Here's how to avoid a battle, pick a moniker you love, and do it all while keeping your sanity (and relationships) in tact.

Be intentional

If you and your partner have your hearts set on a name that another couple in your circle shares, think about talking it over with them. Before you do so, however, be sure to understand your own intentions. By broaching the subject, are you asking permission to use the name of your choice? If the other couple doesn't offer their blessing, are you prepared to move forward without it, or will you pick another name? Don't ask permission if you aren't prepared to cross a particular moniker off your wishlist.

Do dibs matter?

In truth, you can name your son or daughter anything you please. But if your sister's been dreaming since childhood of a little girl named Eloise, you may be crossing a line if you snatch the name up first. Avoid hurt feelings by sitting down with your sister and floating the idea by her. If she's not even pregnant yet – or has a boy on the way – she may realize it's just not fair to stake her claim on a name she may never use. Whether you ask permission or not, you may consider giving your sister a heads-up as a courtesy before you sign the birth certificate.

Consider the relationship

Sure, you may be annoyed when your pregnant co-worker announces to the whole office that her chosen name is the same one you've been planning on, but does it really matter? This name-napping situation may steal your thunder, but it's one of the easiest to reconcile. Ask yourself, "Will this woman be in my life a few years from now?" If the answer is no, then you'd be throwing away a perfectly useable name by not sharing it with a temporary acquaintance.

The family name

Let's say you have a cousin on the other side of the country who's expecting, just like you. Your grandmother calls to tell you this cousin has chosen the same name you've already announced to the family. While at first glance you may want to change direction right away, consider this: How often do you have face-to-face time with your cousin? If you see her once a year, then it shouldn't matter who names her baby what. Consider it a new family tradition – and one that will bind your little ones together.

Bring in the nicknames

If you're having trouble reconciling sharing a baby name with someone else in your circle, why not consider a nickname? If both you and a pal have settled on William, but she'll call him Will and you love Liam, then problem solved, right?

At the end of the day, you can't dictate what others will name their little ones, but you can be kind and considerate in choosing a moniker for your baby. Have you run into a name-napping situation in your pregnancy? How have you handled it? Share your experiences with other moms-to-be in the comments below.

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