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Can you call dibs on a baby name?

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You've had your heart set on the very best baby name for as long as you can remember, but someone close to you is due first. Is it okay to call dibs on your one true name?

Are you even pregnant yet?


We hear a lot of questions from women who are not yet pregnant who are concerned that their sister-in-law or cousin will grab Grandma's gorgeous name for their own daughter first. This is a valid concern, especially when you want to name your child after a close loved one. Certainly you can say something to the current mother- or father-to-be to ask if they're considering the name, but if they are? There's not much you can do about it. Baby names are first come, first served, and nothing prevents you from using the same name down the line. Imagine if you asked them not to use Aunt Josephine's name, but you later end up with all sons. Or learn your partner loathes the name Josephine. Then Aunt Jo never gets honored, and no one wants that. Keep in mind that name tastes change over time. What you've loved for a hypothetical baby might seem like a ridiculous choice once you find yourself pregnant with a very real human.

I am pregnant and have The Name!


If you are due first, no worries (probably — babies have their own ideas about these things.) If you're not, the concern that someone close to you will use your name choice is valid, and many mothers go through this. As we said above, be open with close relatives. Share the name in advance, but keep in mind this doesn't stop anyone else from using it! You must accept right now that other children, possibly other children close to you, might share this same name. Take comfort in the fact that among cousins, sharing a namesake can be a very special bond.

Be sure before you say something


If you want to talk someone else out of a name, you'd best be certain you want to use it. This is part of what makes calling dibs on a name so impossible — you cannot know for certain what your baby's name will be until you print it on the birth certificate form. How would you would feel if you agreed to let your sister have the dream name you've always wanted, and she turned around and chose something else after it was too late for you? Ouch.
Part of becoming a parent is letting go of control. No matter how unique the name, your sweet snowflake might end up sharing with someone else. Try to choose the name that is right for him without worrying too much what other parents are naming their own children — then you'll never have to question the decision.

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Photo credit: Joost Assink/Flickr

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