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Five Easy Steps to Picking the Perfect Baby Name

One of the few decisions you'll make during pregnancy that will, in fact, last throughout your child's lifetime is the choice of your baby's name. (Unlike, for example, your choice of stroller or whether to use Lamaze or hypnosis to ease labor pains.) To choose the best name for your baby, follow these simple tips:

1. Don't try to please other people.

Everyone from your in-laws to the supermarket checkout lady is going to have an opinion about what you name your child. But the only opinions that really matter are yours and your spouse's.

2. Keep it a secret!

If you tell everyone names you've chosen before the baby is born, they won't hesitate to criticize your choices. But if you keep it to yourself and announce the name and the birth at the same time, everyone will compliment you on a great name choice.

3. Consider how your child will feel about the name as he or she grows up.

Will it be difficult for the teachers to pronounce in school? Will she be teased because it sounds funny or rhymes with an unfortunate word? Does it sound like a very young or very old name? You want to choose something your child will be comfortable with at all phases of his life.

4. Check the initials to make sure they aren't problematic.

One of the moms I surveyed for "The Gallagher Guide to the Baby Years" told the story about her relative who named his baby, William Eugene Thompson. A nice name, but the initials (W.E.T) weren't ideal for monograms.

5. Decide in advance, or at least have a couple of names under consideration, by the beginning of the third trimester.

There's so much to do as your due date gets closer. You don't want to be under pressure to choose a name because you went into labor early and had to come up with something at the hospital. Check out BabyNames.com (www.babynames.com) for lots of neat ideas for baby names.

Stephanie Gallagher is Author of "The Gallagher Guide to the Baby Years: The Real Mom's Survey of Top-Rated Products and Advice." To subscribe to her ezine, "The Shopping Mom's Weekly Tip, send a blank email to theshoppingmom@aweber.com.

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