I’m a baby name expert – desperate parents pay me to pick their kids’ names… & Iain looks set to make a comeback

CHOOSING a name for your baby can be a tough decision, so it’s understandable that some parents may need a bit of extra help.

Struggling mums and dads are even enlisting the help of professional baby name consultants to help with the process – and fork out more than £100 for the privilege.

Parents are turning to baby name consultants to help them choose monikers for their little ones


Parents are turning to baby name consultants to help them choose monikers for their little onesCredit: Shutterstock

Hannah Emery, who is the founder of Ipseity Baby Name Consulting, has helped numerous families choose monikers for their little ones. 

Speaking to Fabulous, she revealed that she is paid to provide “a set of possibilities that can serve either as a ‘Final List’” or as a “starting point for further discussion”.

She said: “For the most part, families reach out to me before their child is born.”

They then work with Hannah to answer questions about what they are looking for in an ideal name, and some details about their family and favourite hobbies.

Hannah, who is a sociologist by training, said that no name is ruled out when it comes to possibilities – and there is no such thing as a “bad name”.

And if parents want to jump on the bandwagon by calling their kids the UK’s top choices for the past few years – Olivia and Oliver – that is fine by her.

She said: “Having talked with a lot of families about their name choices, I can say that the only qualifier that’s really important for picking a ‘good’ name is that it’s a name the family feels good about. 

“Some families want more traditional names; others want something very distinctive.”

According to Hannah’s research, “very few names are truly ‘gone for good’” and even names threatening to become extinct like Iain and Nigel could make a comeback.

She explained: “For example, in the United States, Leo was #36 in 2020, #37 in 1937, and dropped all the way down to #485 in 1999.

“Eleanor, Emma, and Grace are also current Top 50 names in the States that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and seemed to be on their way out a few decades ago. 

“So you never know.”

Parents pay up to $150 [£110] for Hannah’s help, and at the end of the process they get given a report that is between six to eight pages on her top choices.

It includes information about the names on the family’s existing list; some thoughts about key characteristics of siblings’ names; and a list of 15-20 sample names that meet all the criteria the family said they were looking for.

To help her name her list, she trawls through public databases and her “extensive” baby name books for inspiration.

Hannah added: “I often look at qualities like the phonetics or linguistic origins of names parents already like, or meanings they might be interested in, as well as straight-up popularity.”

When she started out in the role, she interviewed over 100 families on how they chose their children’s names.

It helped that she had been through the process herself with her two kids.

She said: “I’ve been interested in names and naming since I was a child (bought my first baby name book at age eight), and was offering informal consults to friends and family for years before launching Ipseity.”

Hannah concluded that there is no right or wrong way of choosing a name, and she doesn’t push parents to opt for “safer” traditional names or to be brave and choose more unique ones.

She said: “A child’s name is a gift from the family to the child, and every family will choose that gift in its own way.”

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