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One of the first big decisions we have to make when we find out we’re pregnant is what name we’re going to give the baby. It’s a decision that consists of a lot of pro/con lists, research, family history, debates, disagreements, and is one that, typically, you and your partner have to agree on. It can be a really fun process to choose your baby’s name, or one that you ponder and worry about until you finally come to the decision. 

Personally, I love baby names, and that first big decision is always fun for me. I love unique names that are not on any common or popular list and have just a little hit of quirky to them. I love names that are rooted in some family history, plus sound strong and memorable, and I haven’t really had too much trouble finding the name that really stands out that both my husband and I ultimately agree on.

{ MORE: Top Baby Names of 2017 }

When it comes to finding that perfect baby name, my advice is to look at and hear as many names as possible. There are a lot of places you can look for inspiration to lead you to that name that makes your heart sing — you just need to know where to look.

 1) Look at your family tree

My kids’ names aren’t inspired by our family tree, but when it comes to their middle names, they are! Go back years into the history of your family tree and check out the names of the past. You may find some names were used more often and appear more than others, and those could be great places to start the inspiration. 

2) Auction off to the highest bidder

A little off-beat, but for one couple, it worked. In a news story from February last year, we learned about a mom who sold her baby-naming rights to an online parenting website, which allowed the advertisers and website to choose the name in exchange for cash. While this is not the way I would go, not only are you getting off the hook for that first large decision, but you’re making a little extra money as well. 

Image via Flickr/Krism8262
Image via Flickr/Krism8262

3) Poll your friends on Facebook and let them decide

I don’t know what your Facebook friends list looks like, but if it’s full of your most trusted advisers, maybe this is the way to go. If you’re unable to narrow down the list, make like Lindsey and David Meske, an Illinois couple who left that final decision up to their contacts on social media. They created a Facebook poll for both their friends and the public to chime in on in an attempt to help them name their second daughter. 

4) Read the credits on your favorite TV shows and movies

Have you ever sat through the credits at the end of a movie or TV show? It’s not a part of the show that most people pay attention to unless they’re looking for their own name there, but there is so much inspiration! You get a mix of both common and unique names, and it can make for a good story when your child asks who they were named after. 

{ MORE: Names from the Family Tree: Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Inspired Baby Names }

5) Read baby name books and online lists

Now this may not sound like the most creative, but have you seen some of the fun lists available? You can choose from names inspired by seasons, music, movie stars, and so on. You will get a good mix of names that are classic along with unique choices that will make your baby’s name stand out. 

6) Compile a list of your favorite character names

Characters — from books and movies — can inspire us in many ways. If you’re a big fan of a particular book, historical event, movie hero, or Disney character, there are endless baby name inspiration choices right there.

Not only can you get a name choice for your child that fits what you’re looking for in a name, but you’ll have a fun story to tell your child for where that inspiration came from. We’ve seen a lot of popular baby lists include names from pop culture’s newest names. (Grey, anyone? — from 50 Shades of Grey?)

7) Think outside conventional names

I love names that aren’t really names, if that makes sense. My sons’ first names are actually conventionally surnames, but I love them so much that they’re being used as their given names.

For one of my daughters, her name was one my husband and I made up from mashing our first names together. There are no rules for how to come about the name for your baby. Just remember it’s a name they’ll have to live with forever … or until they’re old enough to change it themselves. 

{ MORE: EF Family: Our Names and Why Our Parents Chose Those Names }

:: Where did you find the inspiration for your baby’s name? ::

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