8 ways to know if you've found the right name for your baby

Coming up with baby names is one of the most fun aspects of being pregnant ... until it's hard.

The idea of being able to name a tiny new human anything you like seems fantastic at first, but the endless choices can be overwhelming, and the fact that there is no check or balance in place that will stop you from naming your kid Princess Tiaamii, Diva Muffin or Pilot Inspektor in a moment of weakness means there is a lot of pressure to get it right.

But you've read through the baby books, you've debated with your partner, and whittled that enormous list down to a possible few - or maybe even THE ONE. How can you be sure you're making the right decision?

Suddenly in the deep end: The endless choices can be overwhelming.
Suddenly in the deep end: The endless choices can be overwhelming. Photo: Getty Images

These methods might help ...

• Go to a park and shout the name loudly, like you're calling your child to come in for dinner. Wait and see if you feel stupid, or if people point at you and laugh (and, if they do, decide whether that's something that matters to you).

And then, for good measure, shout it angrily. Buddy Bear might seem like a sweet name now, but that kid will be in a whole lot of trouble in his life, and you need to be able to keep a straight face.

 • Call a cafe and ask if anyone has handed in a bottle/sippy cup/toy/blankie with the full name clearly printed on it. You'll be doing this a lot, so you may as well get comfortable. If saying the name over the phone to a perfect stranger makes you feel like a doofus, it could be time to reassess.

• Google. For goodness sake - there is no excuse for not knowing there is already a porn star, drug baron or reality star with your child's exact name. And if it matters to you, check and see if the URL is available.

• Imagine your baby as an adult. Now imagine them presenting themselves to speak at the UN and saying their name in a very serious tone. Imagine them wearing a badge that says, "Hi my name is Dweezil" and asking people if they'd like fries with that. Imagine the front cover of their first novel. Now imagine their mug shot with them holding a little sign with their name on it. You never know where your child will end up. If the name only suits some of those scenarios, it might be time to rethink. (Use the baby name testing tool at the top of the page for a few ideas!).

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• This may seem kind of basic, but say the name out loud, along with the baby's surname. Do they sound okay together? Do they rhyme with something awful or a body part? Are you pronouncing it correctly? If you're appropriating a name from another language or culture, ensure you've heard someone saying the name the way it's supposed to be said. Don't ruin your child's life by forcing them to tell everyone their name is pronounced differently from every single other person with that name.

• Check whether there is a TV character or pop singer with your name. The possibility of the name blowing up and becoming one of those 'moment in time' names is enormous - I'm looking at you, 30-year-old Taylor, 25-year-old Mariah and 10-year-old Beyonce. You can't predict what will come in the future, of course, but mitigate the risk by being aware of what is out there now.

• Consider all nicknames. You may only want your child to be called William, but once he is outside your uterus, you have already lost control. Will, Willy, Bill, Billy, Liam, Big W, Will, Wil, Wim, Wylie...the list is never-ending, and if you hate those names, you're in for a world of irritation. You can try to direct the flow of traffic by choosing a nickname yourself, but insisting the child is only called by their full name is seldom successful. 

• What will the baby's initials spell out? Don't get caught out by naming that gorgeous wee child Persephone Olive O'Brien. She won't thank you.

Try these methods and see how you feel. Your favourite name may not pass all these tests, but if you truly love it anyway, that's a sign you've definitely found the right one.

Good luck!