Baby Names: Share or Save?

Filed under: Babies

You've got the baby name. Now, do you share it or keep it secret until she's born? Credit: Getty

In the Internet age, it's tempting to share everything from what you had for lunch to the most intimate details of your life, so it isn't surprising that lots of parents-to-be share their baby names before the child even makes his or her entrance into the world.

But there are still plenty of people out there who are holding their cards even closer to the vest for the very same reasons.

Laura Wattenberg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard" and founder of and, writes about the choice to share or save baby names on her blog, calling the two camps "broadcasters" and "keepers," respectively.

"Both of these extremes are on the rise," she writes. "The broadcasters have gained momentum from early sex detection and the self-revelatory culture of the Internet. The keepers, meanwhile, have more and more to hide. Our modern culture of creative, distinctive names leads to a lot more wrinkled noses and outraged grandparents at name announcement time."

Bonnie Stewart of Halifax, Canada, tells us that she and her husband fell squarely on the "keepers" side when it came to naming baby names.

"I wasn't entirely sure, myself, and each time only decided (on a name) once I'd seen them, taken them in," Stewart says. "I didn't want to commit and then waffle. I also like the ritual of reveal at birth, to name something is to bring it into being."

In some cases, not revealing baby names until birth is a religious tradition.

Ali Martell of Atlanta, Ga., and her husband are Jewish, and she says they were both raised to think it's bad luck to share the name you've chosen for your wee one before birth.

"Some people don't prepare for the baby at all, going so far as not buying cribs and other pre-baby gear," Martell says. "We bought all the gear but we didn't share our names. We were also secretly nervous that my mother wouldn't like the names we'd chosen."

Angelynn Odom, on the other hand, chose her baby names as soon as she had the ultrasound picture in her hands.

"We picked out and shared both of our sons' names with the whole family before they were born," she says. "We chose and shared both first and middle names."

There are pros and cons to each side when it comes to broadcasting or keeping your baby names close to the vest. Wattenberg says broadcasters risk locking themselves into baby names that might not fit as well once they see their children, and keepers who suspect their families might hate the baby names they've chosen risk ignoring legitimate concerns about the monikers.

Fortunately, there are ways to find a middle ground when it comes to your baby. Names can be bounced around with a trusted circle of friends and confidants, Wattenberg writes, without letting the cat entirely out of the bag. That way, you get feedback on your baby names without ruining the "reveal" on the little one's birth day.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.