Making Sure Your Baby Doesn't Suffer from Name Shame

Posted by Shannon Serpette on 2/28/2017 to Parenting Tips
avoiding name shame

We’ve all heard them – the baby names that make us cringe. We feel sorry for the poor baby who has to grow up saddled with that awful name.

While selecting a name is a personal process, here are a few guidelines to help make things less awkward for your baby when she is older.

Steer Clear of Well-Known First and Last Name Combos

If your last name is Bond, please think long and hard before naming your baby James. It might seem like a cute gimmick, but for the rest of his life, he’ll have to introduce himself as James Bond and hear the snickers and inane questions that go along with that name.

How Many Names You Give

It’s common to have a first name, a middle name and a last name. Some people even have two middle names. But add any more than that and your child’s name starts to get a little out of control.

When she’s an adult, filling out paperwork will become a major hassle with all those middle names to write down.


If you name your daughter Alexis, be prepared for her to be called Lexi or Lex for short. If you want her called by her full first name, you’ll need to immediately correct people when they try to shorten her name by giving her a cute nickname. And once she reaches school, her friends will probably shorten her name anyway.

How Popular the Name Is

While you may not want a name that is completely off the wall, you might not want one that everyone else has either. In school, your child may have three others who share her name in her class if you name her Emma.

Watch the Spelling

It’s fine to give an unusual spelling to a first name, as long as you understand it might be mispronounced by people throughout your child’s life.

Make Sure It Fits with the Last Name

You may want to avoid having the last sound of the first name be the same as the first sound of the last name. If they are, they can run together, resulting in confusion. For instance, the name Chase Smith or Deb Bell might be hard for your child to make people understand because of the confusion with the similar sounds. It’s hard to tell where the first name ends and the last name begins.

Help Your Child Avoid Ridicule

Watch out for names that will set your child up for failure. If both you and your husband were really slow runners in school, maybe you’ll want to avoid the name Chase or Jett for your child in case he inherits your racing speed.

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at