The Most Effective Way to Choose a Baby Name (+Free Printable Guide!)

I remember clearly the struggle of picking a baby name. Naming a child is a task of great importance, and it can be stressful! It’s a lot to deal with on tops of everything else you have to do to prepare for a baby.

I have three kids, which means I’ve successfully chosen the names of three babies. Whether or not they are quality names is another question altogether. But either way, the children have names so I’m not altogether a failure in this area.

Don’t stress if you’re struggling to pick a baby name.

By the end of this post you’ll have simple, actionable steps that will lead you to the perfect baby name, even if you think you’ll never be able to decide! I promise, it will make this whole decision so much less overwhelming.

Don’t forget to enter your information in the box below to access the printable guide to go along with this post!

Struggling to pick a baby name

What To Do When You’re Struggling to Pick a Baby Name

Step 1: Come up with lots of names

The first step in the process of choosing a name for your baby is pretty simple: come up with lots of names! You don’t have to love every name that you put down, but just get all the names that have been bouncing around in your brain out on paper.

Spend a little time leafing through baby name books and lists on the internet. (Don’t forget to check out my list of awesome baby names from the Bible!)

You don’t have to do this step all at once. Keep a running list on pad of paper or on your phone, and add to it as you go about your days over the course of a few weeks. Pay attention to people’s names as you meet them when you’re out and about and write down the ones that strike you.

Who knows, the clerk at the grocery store just might wind up being the namesake for your child.

Make sure to consider options for both first and middle names!

Step 2: Pick your favorite baby names

After you’ve gathered up all the names that you like on one sheet of paper, it’s time to choose your favorites. Pick five of your favorite names that you’d like to use as a first name, and five that you think would make good middle names. It’s totally fine to take your time with this step, no need to rush!

(Unless you’re already holding your baby in your arms…in that case FEEL THE PRESSURE. Just kidding, just kidding. But seriously, give that poor child a name.)

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Personalized Teddy Bear Blanket

Blanket lovey personalized with baby name

Step 3: Say the names out loud

Once you’ve picked those names, practice saying each first name aloud in combination with each middle name you chose. See what you like and what sounds good to you.

I personally like to vary the number of syllables with a first and middle name. For example, if I were going to use the first name “Madeline,” then I would probably go with a simpler middle name to balance it out. “Madeline Joy” sounds better to me than “Madeline Katherine”. But go with what you like!

Once you’ve gone through all the options, write down the three name combinations that you like best.

Testing Baby Names So You Don’t Have to Struggle

When you’re struggling to pick a baby name, it can be helpful to run the name through some tests. This will at least help you get closer to the perfect baby name through process of elimination!

There are 6 different tests that we’re going to run these names through to help you choose the best name for your baby. 

1. What are the monogram and initials of the baby name you’re struggling with?

First, write down the initials and monogram of the first and middle name combination that you’re considering. The initials are the first letters of the first, middle and last names in that order. The monogram is the same, except that the order is first initial, last initial, middle initial.

This step is important because no one wants to be named Alexander Samuel Smith or Frederick Charles Kavanaugh, if you get my drift.

2. How popular is the baby name?

Next, you want to be aware of how popular the name that you’re considering is. It’s fine to choose a popular name if that’s what you want, but a lot of people don’t want their child to be one of 7 other kids with the same name in their kindergarten class. So just head to over to the SSA website to see where your baby name ranks!

Baby Girl Keepsake Rattle

3. Check the name on Google

Spend some time googling the baby name you’re thinking about and see what comes up. Make sure to google the first name, first name and middle name together, and initials. You may also want to test similar spellings. Use quotes around the name to make sure you get an exact match.

If there’s anything wonky out there that has the same name as your baby name, Google will tell you.

4. Is the baby name easy to pronounce?

Write the baby names that you’re thinking about down on a piece of paper and ask a couple of trusted friends how they would pronounce it. Find another person or two and tell them the name and ask them how they would spell it.

If people have trouble, you might want to think about choosing something easier to spell and pronounce! Unless you just find it amusing to doom your child to correcting people for the rest of her life.

5. What will the nicknames for this baby name be?

We’re getting close to the end now! One of the last steps in this process is to brainstorm nickname ideas that could go with this baby name.

While this can definitely include loving pet names that you will use as parents, your biggest concern should be how kids in school might twist the name into something mean that they could be made fun of for.

Pitch the name to one of your goofiest friends and see what nicknames they can come up with. If they can spout off more than a few unattractive nicknames, it’s probably not a great choice.

6. Do you love the name?

Ready for the final test? It’s YOU! If the name you’re considering has made it this far in the process, there’s no doubt that it’s a solid name for your baby. The only thing left is for you to decide whether or not you love it.

Spend some time practicing the name out loud. Talk to your baby in utero and call them the name you’ve chosen. See if it sounds right! If you and your husband both still like it after a couple of weeks, it’s likely that you’ve found a winner!


Phew! That was a process, but I hope you found it helpful! If you’d like, I have a downloadable guide designed to make this process even easier for you! You can grab it by entering your information in the box below.

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