Baby Names. Unique or Traditional? Family Name or Celebrity? Religious? What if it rhymes with a bad word…? The stress of choosing a name for your baby can be harder to deal with than worrying about whether to ask for an epidural. Will your family be insulted if you don’t include one of their names? What if you choose cousin Alan’s name instead of your father’s? How many times have you considered having a third child just to make sure every side of the family is appeased in the name game? Relax. This is your baby. What we suggest to parents is to list priorities before looking at names. First, speak to your partner about whether you want a unique baby name or a conventional one. Try to isolate the question so that family names, or those you chose when you were 12 don’t play into the answers. This question can eliminate lots of future discussion. Do you want an androgynous name (Pat) or one where gender will never be questioned (Matthew). If one of you likes biblical names and the other will only be happy if the child never has the same name as anyone else in the school, then you have a problem that must be reconciled.

Next, consider the spirituality and connections. Do you want a name that has a connection to where you met? Do you want a name that has been in your family? Maybe you have a favourite spice, wine or car. Maybe conception happened on a beach and you want the name to remind you of that wonderful vacation. Play with the options. It can be fun and bring you and your partner much closer together.

When you have come up with the answers to the broad questions, you can start making name lists. Use our baby name articles, pour through books, magazines and newspapers looking for ones that fit the mould.

Pool your lists and pick your top 5. In discussing the options, be sure to support one another. Making fun of a name that your partner has secretly chosen for years will not make this process any easier. Consider nicknames – what will the child be called by friends? Do you want the name to be shortened when it is out of your control? You might love Victoria, but despise Vicky.

The best part of this game? You don’t have to decide now. Many couples wait until after the birth process. This experience combined with ‘meeting’ your new baby often informs the decision. Don’t feel pressure to name the baby as soon as you share the news. People can wait, and announcing the name a few days later gives you a chance to reconnect and have people be excited for you for a second time. Good luck.

– Jill Amery chose pretty strange names for her kids and still loves them.