Many parents have conversations about baby names months before their newborn arrives. Usually a few names stick and when the baby is born, the proud parents choose a name for their little bundle of joy, making it official with plenty of hospital-issued paperwork. However, for some parents, the name they have chosen for their precious newborn baby no longer fits after a few weeks at home and they decide to change it.
But how hard is it to change a baby’s name once the parents have signed the dotted line?
Reality star Kylie Jenner and rapper Travis Scott first shared the news of their second child, Wolf’s, birth on Instagram in February. But on March 21, Jenner took to her Instagram Story to share that the baby’s name just didn’t work.
“For your information, our son’s name is no longer Wolf,” Jenner shared. “We really didn’t feel like it was him. I just wanted to share because I keep seeing Wolf everywhere.”
While Jenner has yet to announce the new name she and Scott have chosen for their son, many fans have been sharing their opinions on social media.
But Laura Wattenberg, founder of Namerology.com and author of The Baby Name Wizard says Jenner isn’t alone in her “baby name remorse.” In fact, says Wattenberg, the phenomenon has only increased in recent years.
“Parents today feel compelled to choose distinctive names that make a style statement and help their children stand out,” Wattenberg told Yahoo Life. “The menu of options is endless, so it’s easy to have lingering doubts about whether you’ve really done it right and found the best option possible. In comparison, when babies were named after big -mother and grandfather, it was out of the question to get it right.'”
Andrea Ribakove, mum of a now 28-year-old son, had a similar experience, wanting a name change for her baby the next day after choosing a name she thought was right.
“I always knew I wanted my son’s name to be AJ [short for Adam Jordan]”, Shares Ribakove. “However, on the way to the hospital at the last second, I felt like Adam Matthew was a stronger name, so that’s what we chose when he was born . The next morning I realized I loved AJ even more for him, but the birth certificate had already been signed by then.”
“We had his name changed legally shortly after,” she says. “Moral of the story: don’t allow a hormonal pregnant woman to change her mind on the way to the hospital.
Is it common to change a baby’s name?
“There are no statistics on how many American parents are changing their children’s names, but it’s safe to say that only a small fraction of the number are considering it,” says Wattenberg. “The headaches of a legal name change are surely deterring some parents from making the change.”
Nanette Turner Kalcik, mother of twins and partner at law firm Lewis Brisbois, said fear of making the wrong choice led her daughters to remain anonymous for some time, despite warnings from the hospital.
“When my husband and I found out we were having twins, we quickly realized that naming two babies was exponentially harder than naming our singleton,” says Turner Kalcik. “The day of the delivery came and went and we still had no names. For record keeping purposes, hospital staff nicknamed our little cuties ‘Baby A’ and ‘Baby B’ , but the hospital reps repeatedly called our room to tell us we couldn’t take the babies home without names.
They were wrong.
“Three days later, ‘Baby A’ and ‘Baby B’ came home with us,” she said. “Of course, we ended up giving them real names – admittedly after announcing and using different names for about 24 hours – Eloise Pearl and Evelyn Claire.”
Is it easy to change a baby’s name?
As for how easy it is to change a baby’s name, it all depends on how long it’s been and where you are. “The process for changing a baby’s legal name varies from state to state and even county to county,” says Wattenberg. “Some states offer a kind of early childhood grace period, streamlining the process during the first few months of a child’s life to allow mistakes to be corrected or doubts to be had. But in some places, red tape may be longer and more expensive.
In the UK, the process is a little different according to SJ Strum, founder of baby name advice service Baby Name Envy. “Once registered, each country has its own laws, but as long as the child is still under 16 in the UK, you can change by deed of vote (a legal document required for a change of name in the UK ) for as little as £44.00 (about $60),” Strum says.
When is the best time to change a baby’s name?
In short, the sooner the better. Acting quickly will not only alleviate complications, but can also save parents time and money.
“If you’ve decided to change your baby’s name a few weeks after giving birth, you can go straight to the hospital and ask if he’s submitted the birth certificates to the county,” says professional consultant Taylor Humphrey. in baby names. and birth doula. “If they haven’t already, at the hospital’s discretion, you can change the name on your baby’s birth certificate.”
If the change is not made before the official documents have been signed and sent, further steps are required. “If the birth certificate has already been submitted, then you will need to take more formal steps to amend the birth certificate and social security information,” Humphrey shares. “Depending on your state, this will incur a fee and possibly a court appearance to state your case.”
What else goes into a baby name change?
Besides the paperwork and cost, parents may also choose to refrain from changing their name due to social stigma. “I think a bigger factor I’ve seen is just fear of embarrassment,” says Wattenberg. “After making an important announcement to everyone we met, we feel silly to go back and start all over again. .”
How can parents be sure they are choosing the right baby name?
“Unless you felt compelled or pressured into making a quick decision on the name — which unfortunately happens — you used your best judgment in the moment to make that decision,” Humphrey says. “Trust that everything is going according to plan: there are no mistakes in the baby’s name, whether you keep the name or change it, you are making the right decision.”
Still, Wattenberg says that for parents who feel like they picked the wrong name, accepting a bit of teasing from friends and family is “a short-term price to pay for lifetime benefit.” of a name they love”.
“The only person who definitely won’t care is the newborn,” she adds. “We already call infants so many different names – sweetie, darling, snickerdoodle – that throwing one more into the mix won’t bother them.”
“Sometimes people instantly feel like they know the name, and sometimes it takes a second chance,” says Strum. “Let’s normalize by giving new parents the grace to change their minds in the first few weeks.”
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