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Survey Reveals the Top Reasons Parents Have Baby Name Regret

Parents who've been through it offer lessons on how to not regret your baby’s name.
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By Ashlee Neuman, Content Director
Updated July 2, 2020
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Image: Getty Images

Finding the perfect baby name can be fun—or it can be pure misery, as you agonize over every potential pitfall. Is it too trendy, or too traditional? Can people pronounce it? Can kids twist it into cruel, taunting nicknames? In the end, most parents are happy with their choice—although not always. A survey shows that nearly a fifth of parents in the United Kingdom regret the name they gave their child.

Mumsnet polled more than 1,000 UK parents and found that 18 percent have pangs of regret. Most parents knew they made the wrong decision either within the first six weeks after baby’s birth (32 percent) or when their child started school (23 percent).

Here are the top five reported reasons for baby name regret:

  1. It’s too common (25 percent)
  2. It just doesn’t feel right (21 percent)
  3. I’ve never liked it—I was pressured into using it (20 percent)
  4. It causes problems with spelling or pronunciation (11 percent)
  5. It doesn’t suit them (11 percent)

Interestingly, only 9 percent of surveyed parents say they considered changing their child’s name, and just 2 percent actually went ahead with a name change.

"Choosing your baby’s name is one of the first things new parents do, so in some ways baby name regret is great practice for parenting—you do a lot of hard work and research, try to please several people at once and [may] end up getting it wrong,” Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts tells the BBC. “The consolation is that most children grow into their names, and those who don’t can always fall back on middle names or nicknames.”

Need help choosing a baby name you’ll like for years to come? Browse The Bump for no-stress guides to picking a name, plus thousands of baby name options.

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