When Someone Else Thinks They Get A Say In Naming YOUR Baby

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 

Naming your baby is hard enough without people chiming in (loudly) from all sides, but for some expectant parents, that’s exactly what happens.

Input is one thing; in fact, hearing other people’s ideas can lead you to cool names you never thought of. But when it’s unsolicited, repeated, and pushy, it makes you want to throat-punch them, not name your baby their stupid intrusive suggestion.

Unfortunately, some family members seem to think that even though they’re not actively incubating/birthing/raising/paying for the baby, their genetic link entitles them to have sway over what you call it for the rest of its life.

If you’re struggling with someone who insists upon a certain name or vetoes your absolute favorites, there are a few ways to get your message across without blatantly telling them to STFU (although that’s a perfectly viable option too … just sayin’.)

Option #1: Keep The Name Under Wraps

You may have picked your baby’s name from the moment the pregnancy test turned positive (or before).

But if you’re not sure how it’ll be received by the people closest to you — outside of your partner, that is, who you kinda have to discuss it with — you may want to keep it under your hat.

How to decide if you should keep your baby’s name a secret from certain people until birth? Look at the past behavior of the family member in question.

For example, if your mom dictated what she wanted your wedding to involve, chances are she’ll force her opinion in the same manner when it comes to your chosen baby name.

If you feel you need a valid reason other than simply “We’re not telling anyone,” you can go for the second option …

Option #2: Make Something Up

You don’t owe anybody an explanation for your decision to keep your baby’s name private (or your baby name choice in general): PERIOD.

But, if you’d rather have a reason at the ready, you can always just say you’ve always held a strong belief that you shouldn’t name a baby before meeting him or her.

Or that you promised your childhood best friend (dying great-grandmother? most influential high school teacher?) that you’d name your baby after them.

Option #3: Find An Alternative

Your mother-in-law says she’ll just die if your baby isn’t named for her father, Abbott. But you can’t see yourself yelling “ABBOTT!” across a playground.

If Abbott’s not your cup of tea, you could try another name with the same meaning, like Coen; they both mean “priest.”

This isn’t your only alternative; there are a whole bunch of other ways to name your baby after someone whose name you dislike. But choosing a similar alternative may placate your family member … at least enough for them to stop nagging you.

Option #4: Find An Ally

Sometimes other people can just get a message across better than we can.

If it’s your father-in-law doing the nagging, ask your partner to speak to him. Or maybe your sister has always had a way of speaking bluntly to your mother that, frankly, you just don’t possess.

Think of the person who would best “get through” to the pushy family member (or someone who just doesn’t care if they ruffle a few feathers) and enlist them as an ally who’ll say “BACK THE EFF OFF.” Privately, of course, like it wasn’t your idea. Heh.

Option #5: Make It Unquestionably Official

If your family members think you’re still undecided, they’ll keep the pressure steady, in hopes that you’ll cave and choose the name they want. But if they know you’re firm in your name choice, they’re more likely to throttle back on their insistence.

Embroider the baby’s name on a blanket or paint it on the nursery wall. Or take things a step further and have a name reveal party — maybe at the same time as a gender reveal, like, “It’s an Annabelle!” Write it on a cake, have it printed on the napkins, get it on a T-shirt.

This gets the message across that you are no longer taking suggestions for baby names, kthanksbye.

Option #6: Suggest A Nickname

So maybe your husband’s grandma just can’t bring herself to accept that your daughter’s name will be Luna when she was really (really, reeeally) pushing for Dorothy.

As long as you don’t mind, encourage her to choose a nickname that she’ll call your little girl: Lovey or Peanut or Sunshine or something. That way she won’t have to call her the name she doesn’t like, and all you’ll have to deal with is an occasional nickname — not a permanent reminder in everyday conversation and on every document ever.

Option #7: Call Them Out

Yes, it’ll be a few tense moments, but sometimes the only way to rectify the situation once and for all is to just say something.

Delivery is key here; try not to lose your cool or sound accusatory. Instead, calmly say something like, “I’m sorry, Aunt Janet, but that name just isn’t my taste. And bringing it up all the time isn’t going to make it grow on me.”

The name you choose for your child is nobody’s business, nobody’s choice, but your own. The only person who should have any say at all is the baby’s other parent. Beyond that, GTFO.

If you allow yourself to be pressured into choosing a name you don’t like, you could be facing a lifetime of regret, just because you wanted to avoid some awkwardness.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is this: Even if they don’t like your choice of baby name, they’ll get over it. And your sweet baby will have Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, or Uncle wrapped around his or her little finger faster than they can say, “Your name should’ve been Matilda.”

Looking for a name you’ll love (regardless of anyone else’s opinions)? Check out the thousands of names in the Scary Mommy Baby Name Database!

This article was originally published on