Moms

Rules for naming a baby

Sociologists say a first name will label a child for life.
Sociologists say a first name will label a child for life. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Naming a baby results in a lifetime of first impressions. So think long before you ask that the birth certificate read Rocket, Gunner or Blaze for your precious girl or Caliber, Cannon and Bulut (pronounced "bullet") for your little boy.

Yes, newborns were given these riveting names this year. But rarely.

None hit the list of top boys' and girls' names, as compiled by Baby Center. That honor goes to Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava and Mia for girls, and Jackson, Aiden, Lucas, Liam and Noah for boys.

Overall, parents say they want their kid's name to sound nice when said out loud based on the melody, vowels and consonants, as well as be unique and have some significance or story behind it.

According to the 2016 Baby Center survey, which compiled information from almost 400,000 parents, moms and dads dubbed their babies after colors (Indigo, Crimson and Gray), nature (Oak, Strawberry and Fleur), character traits (Loyal, Verity, Patience, Honest) and objects that orbit (Mars and Jupiter and the Moon).

If you're expecting, you might want to know this:

Sociologists say a first name will label a child for life. Reports from the National Bureau of Economic Research conclude that a name can influence how well a student does in school. Middle school boys with female-sounding names tend to act up in class. Later on, people can be hired -- or not -- based on the perception of their first name.

New York University sociologist and author Dalton Conley has studied the impact of first names on careers and finds that people with novel names lean toward creative fields. He's unsure if the career choice is because of their name or because they were raised by creative parents. By the way: Conley named his daughter E (that's it) and his son Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles Jeremijenko-Conley. They call him Yo for short.

A baby's grandmothers are typically the biggest critic of a baby's name. Among parents who get a negative reaction to their name choice, 46 percent in a Baby Center survey said it came from their own mom.

The 2016 Baby Center survey also found:

--The most common rule among parents is that babies can't be named after exes, pets or the parents.

--One-quarter of expecting moms report feeling pressured by their partner or someone else to consider a baby name that they don't like. Still, 9 percent end up bestowing that name on their baby. Fortunately, 75 percent of moms say they now like the name.

--For most couples, picking a baby name is a joint decision. But in 22 percent of cases, the final verdict is determined by the mom-to-be.

--One in three parents surveyed said they hate a friend or relative's baby name choice, though the vast majority never tell.

--Among parents-to-be who still haven't nailed down a name, 15 percent say they're being forced to consider other options after having a beloved name "stolen" by someone they know. Maybe not coincidentally, many of the names reported stolen are among the top 10 most popular.

(c)2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) www.oregonian.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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