Expecting parents have enough to worry about: buy a crib, find some tiny shoes and, oh, give your baby a name that will last him or her a lifetime. No pressure.
Initially, we relied on baby name books. Then, the Internet empowered couples with access to online communities and helpful data. (Each year, the U.S. Social Security Administration updates statistics with the most popular baby names.) Now with the prevalence of mobile, dozens of apps can help newbie moms and dads select names for their children.
Some apps explain the meaning and etymology behind names; others can generate a name based on the baby’s kick. Check out our list of 10 baby name apps above.
Some of today’s digital baby naming resources are rooted in online communities from years past.
Jennifer Moss founded popular site BabyNames.com back in 1996. She tells Mashable that the Internet has allowed parents to get feedback on names from people “outside their own circle,” in a version of crowdsourcing.
“I think the importance of getting feedback from people who are not in your family is that there’s not a lot of baggage that comes along with it,” Moss says.
BabyNames.com is just one example of the vast array of sites and apps that feature name ideas, histories, popularity and discussion outlets for parents to swap thoughts and suggestions. Today, BabyNames.com logs over 1.5 million unique visitors each month. Moss notes that an increasing percentage of its traffic comes from mobile.
Choosing That Unique Name
Whitney Moss, a Berkeley, Calif., mom of two, tells Mashable that, while family names are still a huge source of inspiration for people, there is “increasingly more desire to choose a name that is special or unique.”
“It’s sort of a moment where you’re defining your taste,” says Moss, who is also co-founder and blogger at RookieMoms.com. “You’re putting [your taste] out there in a pretty permanent way that impacts somebody else’s life.”
Moss notes that online resources (e.g., nymbler.com) can help parents find specific names that meet a couple’s criteria: a certain number of syllables, types of sounds and other “self-imposed rules.”
But she adds that she doesn’t necessarily recommend apps and services. Instead, each parent should consider making a list of names they love and comparing them.
“I think that’s a way to not be influenced by what anyone else likes except yourself,” Moss says. “I also think it would make a whole lot of sense to just decide, ‘You know this is our absolute favorite name and we don’t care how many other kids have this name already.’”
SEE ALSO: Nametrix App Predicts Your Baby’s Career
Going to the Pros
But when couples just can’t decide or need help narrowing, some sites offer premium paid services like baby name consulting. For example, BabyNames.com’s staff — which includes two name scholars — offers a name suggestion service for about $30.
“We never name their baby — it’s not ours to name,” BabyNames.com’s Jennifer Moss clarifies. “But we will help them through the struggle or what’s going wrong.”
Moss also started personal consultations with parents about five to six years ago, as a way to support frustrated parents who just can’t decide — even at the last minute.
Naming expert Laurel Sutton agrees that there are a lot of resources for parents to draw from these days: family history, Social Security data and baby naming sites. Sutton, who is co-founder and partner at professional brand naming firm Catchword, says there are three simple rules to follow, no matter what resource parents use:
- Don’t gather too much public opinion while pregnant: “It’s easy to get distracted when you start hearing a lot of negative comments from people about why they don’t like a certain name, because to them it means something bad,” Sutton says. “That’s just noise.”
- Don’t pick the baby’s final name until after birth: Sutton believes that with a short list of names ready to go, a few days after birth will allow time to get to know the baby’s temperament, making the final choice obvious.
- Don’t give the baby the name you wish you had: Sutton notes that trends and fads change over time. “The baby’s name should be appropriate for the baby, and also for the time and the place.”
Whatever your situation and the apps and sites you do or don’t use, it’s ultimately a subjective, personal decision. Happy name searching!
Expecting parents have enough to worry about: buy a crib, find some tiny shoes and, oh, give your baby a name that will last him or her a lifetime. No pressure…