The name you choose for your daughter can play an important role in shaping the woman she eventually becomes. Research shows certain girls' names can actually impact the type of career path your bundle of joy will take as an adult. Once you find out you're having a girl, consider beginning to research names. Make a "top 20" list of your favorite picks. Once you have your list, you can begin learning about the history of each name, its meaning, and popularity throughout the past century.
One thing to remember when choosing a name for your little girl is that both boys' and girls' names -- especially traditional names like John and Catherine -- tend to cycle through periods of popularity; just because they were most used eighty years ago doesn't mean they aren't a perfect fit for a child today, and vice versa. A name you might like but think is "old-fashioned" may be, in fact, one of the more popular girls' names of the last few years.
Some parents want to give their little girl a unique or exotic name as a way of saying "this child is special"! Sometimes, the uniqueness of a name (whether the name is spelled differently or is hard to pronounce) may bring unwanted attention to a child. Before giving your child an uncommon name, ask family and friends for their opinions. You might gather insights into whether the name would complement your child or cause issues with pronunciation and spelling. If you find yourself already getting annoyed that no one knows how to spell it, you might want to pick something more familiar.
While you might not choose a name based entirely on how it will be received when your daughter is in school, naming your little girl Zelda Iris Thomas could lead to some unwanted nicknames. As both a child and an adult, we use our initials quite often. If you find a girl's name you absolutely fall in love with during your name search, write down the full name your child will have (first, middle and last name) and make sure the initials don't spell out an unattractive word or acronym. You can always swap middle and first names if you cannot bear to part with either.
Unless you already planned on naming your girl after a relative for tradition's sake, don't wait until the last minute to pick a name. Stressing over choosing a name because your due date is approaching means you may miss discovering one later you wish you had found before the ink dried on the birth certificate. Have fun browsing through names -- make a night of it with your partner or some friends, laugh about your positive and negative associations with certain names, and find one with which you really fall in love.
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