Choosing the right name for your baby is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make and no doubt, you'll want to pick the perfect name for your gorgeous new arrival. The good news is that we've compiled some handy tips to make sure that you get it right - and avoid any embarrassing oversights!
So if you're looking for baby names for girls or baby names for boys - or you don't know the sex yet - take a look at our essential guide...
Have you got a name in mind? The first thing you should do is Google it, last name and all. It's the only way to be sure your beautiful baby won't share their name with a horror movie villain or a rubbish celeb. Don't forget to check the meaning of the name too
Say it out loud
Once your baby's name has passed the Google test, try saying the whole thing out loud to make sure it doesn't sound silly. Watch out for rhyming or repeated names like Carrie Barry or Nicola Nicholson. Even worse are ones that sound like something else, as in Sandy Beech or Neil Down. Don't forget to test the middle name too. This is also a good way of making sure it all flows nicely and isn't hard to say.
Check the initials
Don't end up with an Emily Grace Gill or a Henry Adam Thompson. If your heart is set on those names, why not switch around the first 2 and call your child by their middle name?
Think about nicknames
No matter what you do, other people will end up shortening your child's name. This means there's no point calling your son 'Benjamin' if you can't stand 'Ben' or 'Benji'.
Beware of teasing
Remember all the playground teasing when you were young? Children will always find something to pick on. Keep in mind that if you give your little one a very unusual name you could be doing the other kids' job for them. Poor little Mungo doesn't stand a chance! You might want to think about rhyming nicknames, too, like 'Smelly Kelly'. If in doubt, run the name by a 9-year-old boy. He'll be sure to point out any problems!
Watch out for weird spelling
You may think spelling an ordinary name in a creative way will help your child stand out, but he or she might not thank you for it later. Imagine how annoying it would be to spend your whole life explaining to people that it's 'Dayvid with a Y'.
Keep your other kids' names in mind
Make sure your children's
names work together - without sounding too matchy. If you've already got a
little boy called George, don't call your new baby Michael! This tip is
extra important if you're expecting twins.
Check how trendy it is
It's a good idea to check out how fashionable your baby's name is as you don't want them to end up in a class full of children with the same name. Look up the top baby names in recent years, and bear in mind that popular books and movies can inspire naming trends. Just think of all the thousands of Bellas and Edwards born since Twilight came out!
Don't go too 'cute'
Remember that your gorgeous little baby will be all grown up one day. Make sure their name won't be embarrassing when they're applying for jobs or opening a bank account.
Don't stir up bad memories
Does the name Paul remind you of an ex? Does Amanda make you think of the girl who picked on you in school? Even if you like the name, it's a bad idea to use it if it'll just bring back memories you'd rather forget.
Be careful about family names
Naming your child after a parent or grandparent is a really lovely thing to do, but will it make everything really confusing? Will your baby grow up always wondering which Sam everyone's talking to? Calling him 'Junior' might be an answer for now, but is it still going to suit him in 30 years' time?
Be ready to change your mind
If you're completely set on a name before you've had the baby, that's great, but it's wise to bear a couple more in mind. What if when they are born they just don't suit the name you've picked out for them?
Keep it to yourself
Once you've found that perfect name, you'll probably be tempted to tell everyone you know. Be careful, though - someone else might fall in love with that name and beat you to it!
Don't worry too much
No matter what name you choose, someone, somewhere, is bound to have a problem with it. If you really love a name you should go for it, no matter what everyone else says. After all, no one knows your new baby as well as you do.