What’s in a name?

“What’s their name?” is often the first sentence new parents hear when they introduce their baby to friends and family. A name is so very important. It stays with the baby as they grow into adulthood and (hopefully!) for the rest of their life.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing names – How unique is it? Is it easy to spell? Will it still suit the baby when they’re older? Do their initials spell something rude or embarrassing? Does it work well with the surname? With so much to consider it is no wonder people usually need the whole 9 months (and then some!) to narrow down on a favourite.

I find the etiology of names really interesting. When expecting my baby I spent hours perusing Nameberry and other sites learning about meanings, popularity and origins.

My husband and I even downloaded a fun app called ‘Kinder’ which was recommended by a friend. This free app became a little addictive! It works like Tinder – you browse through baby names and swipe left or right depending on whether or not you like it. Your partner also does the same. You are then alerted when you have ‘matches’. We found it particularly useful for girls’ names. However, we still don’t have one we completely agreed on (good job we had a boy!)

Why did we choose Isaac?

There are a few reasons why we chose the name Isaac for our little boy and here they are:

  • I have Jewish ancestry and, although I don’t practise the religion, I absolutely love Hebrew names
  • In my husband’s family tree there are a few Isaacs, with one dating right back to the 16th century. The name Isaac also features in my family tree multiple times
  • My husband is a scientist so, although he is not purposely named after him, we like that Isaac shares his namesake with the late great Sir Isaac Newton
  • When I looked up the name Isaac I found it meant ‘to laugh’. I loved this positive and bubbly name meaning. My own name, Leah, which I have grown to really like means ‘weary’, which isn’t quite as lovely!
  • As a primary school teacher I have seen (nearly!) every name under the sun! I was conscious that I didn’t want anything hugely popular but also didn’t want to go too rare. I have taught just one Isaac (with a different spelling) and liked that it hasn’t yet had a resurgence in popularity. According to baby centre, Isaac is currently number 40 in the popularity list so it looks like it is making a gradual comeback!
  • Isaac simply looks like an ‘Isaac’! Although we were about 90% set on the name, it was important for us not to name him before he was born. We really wanted to make sure his little face and personality suited the name so we waited a while before naming him
We love the personalised gifts Isaac was bought from friends!

Isaac’s middle name

Isaac’s middle name is also special to us, especially to me. His middle name is ‘Sydney’ after both my grandads who sadly died long before Isaac was thought of. I know they’d be very proud to have their names living on in their great grandson. It was also so lovely for my last living nan to have her husband’s name being chosen. I love it when family names reappear in future generations. My niece’s middle name, for example, is ‘Sharon’ after mine and my brother’s wonderful late mum.

I like the idea of children having a fairly original first name but a family name for their middle name.

A very personal thing

Naming your baby is so personal and special to you as parents. Some people choose to name their baby before they’re born. Others choose to wait. Others, like us, wait on the gender too. There is no right way to do things, as with so much in parenting. One tip I do have: if you want to avoid judgement from others keep your favourite names under wraps before the baby is born. It is amazing how many people feel the right (no not the right, the obligation!) to share their opinions on your name choices. This is much less likely if you keep schtum until baby arrives!

How did you choose your baby’s name? Did you and your partner agree? Did you use family history or something else for inspiration? Comment below!