What If You Don’t Like Your Baby’s Name?

By Shannon Gurnee
In Babies
September 5, 2022

Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about what to do if you don’t like your baby’s name.

Newborn baby feet

When you’re pregnant, you likely spend months obsessing over the perfect name. You could have researched family names and considered names that are popular currently, and you could have wracked your brain for names you’ve liked in books, TV, and movies over the year. 

You finally decided on a name, the baby came, and it’s on the birth certificate. There’s just one problem—you now regret the name. 

It’s a more common scenario than you even might realize, but what can you do?

One reason that some people don’t like the names they choose for their baby is that they didn’t want to choose a common name that a lot of people have, so they went a little too original. It can seem quirky and fun, but once the baby comes, you realize that maybe having a more common name would have been a good thing. 

Another common situation is that the name itself isn’t necessarily the problem, but once the baby comes, parents don’t feel like it fits the child. You start to see your baby’s personality pretty early on, and the name could simply be a mismatch. 

The following are a few things to know if you have baby name regret. 

1. Could You Use a Nickname?

Maybe you’re experiencing name regret, but you don’t want to change the name. There are a few options here. One is to think about nicknames. Names often have pretty good nicknames that you could choose, so this might be the best route to take. Experiment a bit and see what feels right to call your baby. 

You can also look at your child’s middle name. You could call them by their full middle name, or you could also find a nickname or variation of this that you think works. 

2. Think About Why You’re Having Name Regret

Are you truly having name regret, or is something else going on? For example, maybe your name regret is actually anxiety stemming from being a new parent, or you might be experiencing baby blues or postpartum depression that is making your emotions feel more heightened than usual. 

You should give yourself some time to get used to parenthood before you decide whether or not you really do hate your baby’s name. 

You might also be having name regret because your family and friends don’t like it. If that’s the case, do you feel the same, or are you just feeling pressure from them? It doesn’t matter what your family and friends think about a name if it’s one you like and feel fits your child and their personality. 

3. Consider a Legal Name Change

If you’ve sat with it for a bit in your mind and you really don’t think you can live with your child’s name, you can legally make a change. There’s no law saying you have to keep a name that you simply don’t like. 

There are plenty of families who do legally change their child’s name. In fact, around 3% of parents say they changed their child’s name after birth. 

If you want to change your child’s name, you can use a common law name change, which just means that you start calling them something else. Only going with a common law name change can be problematic later in your child’s life, though. They may have problems when they’re trying to do things with a non-legal name. 

When you take the steps for a legal name change, then it’s permanent. You’re petitioning the courts to change your child’s name on their birth certificate and social security card. If you’re willing to pay the costs, a lawyer can be a good resource to help simplify this process for you. If you can’t or don’t want to hire a lawyer, you can petition for the change on your own through the local court where you live. 

4. Make the Change As Early As You Can

Finally, if you do want to change your child’s name, you should try to do it as early as you can. Babies will start responding to their names when they’re around seven months old, so you have until this time to change their names before it gets confusing. You do always have the opportunity to call them by their new name up until you make a legal change, but still, you’re going to find it’s easier for everyone to make a legal change as soon as you realize you want to go with this option. 

About Has 2149 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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