You know the old saying, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It could not apply more than when it comes to opinions about someone else’s choice in baby names.
Whenever I hear someone chime in with their “feedback” about someone else’s baby name, it always makes me cringe inside. It just makes me want to say—to anybody who feels like they just have to weigh in on another person’s name choice: Listen, you’re entitled to your opinion. We all are! You are not going to like everyone’s baby name decisions and that’s okay. But please, keep your opinions about other people’s baby name choices to yourself.
Commenting on someone’s choice of baby name often (let’s say usually) comes from good intentions—from someone who only wants the best for us and our babies. But baby name comments are really unhelpful. As we cross the threshold into parenthood, we will doubt ourselves in a thousand ways—we don’t need to add ‘picks questionable baby names’ to the list.
Naming a baby is supposed to be a fun and joyful (albeit occasionally stressful) part of this journey. No one should ruin it for us—even inadvertently!
Oh, but your feedback is important and really must be shared? Let me guess:
There was a kid with that name in your seventh-grade math class that used to pick his nose and you haven’t been able to stand the name ever since.
You think it sounds more like a name for a puppy. Or you knew a cat (or a goldfish, or a hamster or a pet rabbit) with that name once.
You think people will have a hard time pronouncing it.
It reminds you of a fictitious historical villain’s name, and who would ever dare to name a child after them?
You like the full name but really hope no one calls them its common nickname because you personally haaaaate it.
You think we ought to consider naming them after a relative.
You think it’s old fashioned.
You think it’s weird.
You think it’s trendy—you know three babies with that name born this month alone!
You were going to name your baby that and we cannot possibly have babies with the same name.
To all of the above reasons for critiquing someone else’s baby name choice, there’s only one thing to say: We hear you—but we are uninterested. We know you’re trying to be helpful but the only thing you’re going to do is bum us out.
So when a parent tells you their baby name choice, tell them you love it, or don’t say anything at all. “I can’t wait to meet them” is always a lovely thing to say! Anything negative and hurtful needs to be kept to yourself.
Only in the following scenarios is one allowed to give their baby name feedback:
1. The parent-to-be says, “I am having a hard time choosing the baby’s name and I would appreciate your honest feedback.”
Oh wait, that’s it. That’s the only scenario.
All sarcasm aside, please let’s all just be supportive when we name our babies. Parenthood is hard enough—we don’t need the extra burden of worrying that someone we love doesn’t approve of our baby’s name. Please just be on our side.
Because ultimately we’re probably going to name our babies what we want anyway—and we will always remember the people who said we shouldn’t, and it will always sting a little. So maybe don’t be one of those people.
And to all the parents-to-be choosing their future baby’s name: Trust yourself. You have great taste and you will pick an amazing name, regardless of what anyone else thinks of it.
And once a child is born, their name is just… their name. And it’s perfect.