One of the most exciting things you’ll do during your pregnancy is to decide on a name for your little one. While it’s fun to toss suggestions back and forth with your hubby, it can also be agonising when your baby’s arrival nears and you’ve yet to agree on a name that you both like.
Your kiddo’s name will be a defining facet of his or her identity (no pressure!), so consider all options carefully before you sign that birth certificate. Parents actually do grapple with baby-name regret — in fact, Babycenter says that 11 per cent of parents end up feeling that remorse!
It’s tempting to pick a name that’s trending at the moment, but think about how many other parents will be doing the same. Case in the point: The recent obsession over Aiden/Jayden/Cayden/Brayden names. Now, when you walk into any classroom and call for Aiden, at least four boys will turn around to answer.
Also, don’t feel like you’ve got to give up your favourite name just because of its current association. Most name associations are fleeting. Take Christian, for instance. You might wish to steer clear of reading Fifty Shades of Grey for a spell, but this should pass.
Now, when you walk into any classroom and call for Aiden, at least four boys will turn around to answer.
Consider the combination of initials carefully. Penny Megan Soh is a pretty name, but not the when you see PMS on towels and luggage. Other initials to avoid include BUM, ASS as well as LOL.
Thanks to the recent popularity of double-barrelled first names such as Lily May or David James, names have become longer. An extended moniker is a great way of making your child sound unique and different without having to go “over the top” — just make sure it isn’t followed by a double-barrelled surname. Otherwise, junior will have a real tongue twister to pronounce as well as to spell! Not to mention the ugly problem of fitting the name onto a visa form…
Don’t pull a Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Their daughter North West is super-adorable, but don’t make Google Maps your go-to name selector.
Six more naming pitfalls…
Life is hard as it is without having to correct the spelling or pronunciation of your name every day. Katie is a sweet name, but make your daughter spell it as Cayti and she just might resent you for life. Keep it simple.
Also, don’t call your son Javier and insist that everyone pronounce it as Havier — most won’t know that this is how the Spanish pronounce the name. Until he goes to Spain.
Quizzing someone on the meaning behind their names is a common ice-breaker at social gatherings, so make sure your offspring has an interesting story to tell.
Check how your favourite names developed to make sure they fit well with your family name. For example, Sharon means “plain” in Hebrew and Claudia means “lame” in Latin. Pretty-sounding names but not the association a parent wants for their little girl.
Unisex names for girls, such as Alex (short for Alexandra) or Nikki (short for Nicola) can make them sound badass and cool. If you’re bothered that people might think your son Ashley is a girl, then it’s time to reconsider.
Sharon means “plain” in Hebrew and Claudia means “lame” in Latin. Pretty-sounding names but not the association a parent wants for their little girl.
Consider if your child’s name have an obvious pun or idiom that others might tease him with. Take, for example, “Penny for your thoughts”? or “Managed to figure out that math problem, Sherlock?” or “ Houston, we’ve got a problem…” Indeed, you do!
Leave it to those eccentric celebs to try to outdo one another with yet another unconventional name. Apple may be the perfect name for actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, but might not work in our local context. Name your daughter Suri and everyone will be wondering if you are a Katie Holmes wannabe.
Little Joshie does sound super-cute now when he’s 3, but how are people going to react to it when he’s an adult? And how is it going to sound if he becomes a big-shot CEO later on? If you feel compelled to give your tot a cutesy name, try shortening his more formal one — so that he’s Robbie at home and Robert or Rob in the boardroom.
And then we have compounded problems with culturally appropriate names…
Today, many parents here still pick names for their bundles of joy to reflect the family’s culture and religious beliefs.
Thilaga Lingam, 37, mum to Jayshree, 5 months and Yuvaraj, 5, sent her baby’s date and time of birth to an astrologer after she was born, “He used that to make calculations which revealed a list of suitable letters to start the name — we do this in the Hindu religion to ensure the baby has a bright future.”
Thilaga and her husband then narrowed down their preferred names, tried using each one on the baby before picking one that best suited her child’s character.
Similarly, the Chinese also consult a feng shui master or an astrologer with the baby’s birth information, to find out what “elements” the baby lacks at birth, so that the name can incorporate the missing element.
On discovering that her baby Sophie, now 5 months, lacked “metal” and “wood” elements at birth, Ying Wang, 31, enlisted the help of her mum and grandmother to locate relevant characters that contained these elements. After an arduous process, Ying and her husband decided on Jin (“gold” and “prosperous”) and Fei (“fragrant grass” and nature-related, just like “wood”).
You have up to 14 days, including weekends and holidays, after the birth of your little one to register the name.
On their part, Muslims like to choose girls’ names that reflect “beauty”. Though Nur (which means “light”) has long been a firm favourite, many Muslims today are going for more westernised names.
Najla Rahman, 32, mum to Ana Aaliya, 3, and Ana Aamira, 2, is one person who has picked this path. Explains the director of corporate affairs, “I decided to start both my daughters’ names with Ana because it sounds modern and holds several positive meanings including, ‘patient woman’ and ‘virtuous woman’.
“When paired with their middle names, Ana Aaliya means ‘I’m beautiful’ and Ana Aamira means ‘I’m imperial’.”
Last but not least, remember that you have up to 14 days, including weekends and holidays, after the birth of your little one to register the name at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore.
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