Choosing a Baby Name in California

Naming Your Baby in California

Our names tell the world who we are. They help shape our identity and like it or not, people make assumptions and judge us based on our names. Choosing the perfect name for your baby will require a bit more thought than naming a stuffed animal, car, or pet, but it doesn’t have to be a stressor. Here are some helpful guidelines, as well as things you should know about California baby name policies and laws.

Let the Fun Begin! 

If the task of naming your baby seems overwhelming, break it down into small manageable pieces. Are there names you’re already drawn to? Do you want to honor your culture or incorporate a family, or faith-based name? Do you lean towards classic, gender-neutral, or trendy names? 

Baby Naming Tools 

Baby naming books and online baby name generators are popular sources of inspiration but so are movies, literature, and songs. My favorite source is movie end credits! 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Name

What do the initials spell? Does it form a word that is offensive? Would it embarrass your child? Also consider what the initials spell in a monogram. Traditionally, the initial of the first name is followed by the initial of the last, then the middle. 

Nicknames – Are there any derivatives that could humiliate or crush your child? The meaning – Do research the meaning and origin of the name. 

California Naming Law – In California, derogatory or obscene names are banned, and only the 26 characters of the English alphabet are allowed. That means no accents (è or á), umlauts (ö or ü) and tildes (ñ or ã). 

Unique names, alternate spellings – Should you decide upon a unique or non-Anglicized name, keep in mind that some people will not put in the effort to learn how to pronounce it correctly. Worse yet, they may avoid saying your child’s name altogether. Unfortunately, that can make your child feel invisible or less than. 

Friends and Family Input – Should you share your name choices with your family? It depends. If you do, just know that everyone will have their opinion. In the end, you need to ask yourself, whose decision is it?

If You’re Struggling to Find the Perfect Name for your Baby…. 

Let yourself off the hook, take a breath, and don’t worry about it. You’ll figure it out once you meet and get to know your baby! 

Can you leave a California hospital without a name for your baby? 

Laws vary state-to-state. In California you have up to a year. 

Final Thoughts

Be mindful about your name choice. Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. Will the name grow with her? Will it fit him as a teenager? What about college and beyond? The name you give your child says a lot about your personality and will shape your child’s.

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