Baby name ‘regret’ is on the rise - when is it too late to change the name? Expert shares her advice

There are a number of common reasons for people regretting their child’s name - do you feel the same?

Couple with their newborn baby
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cases of baby name ‘regret’ are on the rise due to these common reasons - and a parenting expert has revealed her advice for parents second-guessing their choice.

Choosing a baby name is one of the first, and the biggest, decisions soon-to-be parents will make while planning for the arrival of a newborn. There are so many choices out there for inspiration, from unique baby names to spring-themed baby names to Bluey baby names, and it can be overwhelming to pick out the perfect one for your newborn. 

But what do you do if the name you've settled on turns out to be the wrong choice? Well, like Lily Allen has revealed happened to her own mum when choosing her name, new research has revealed that thousands of parents are experiencing 'baby name regret.'

A study conducted by name label manufacturer has revealed that a whopping one third of Scottish parents regret giving their child the name they did and there are four stand-out reasons as to why. 

The first and most common is simply that the parents don't think the name suits their child now they've spent time with them and their personality has begun to develop. 

This was the case for our Family Editor Stephanie Lowe who shared of her name choice regret, "We had loads of girls names but no boys names picked out - and I gave birth to a boy. 

"In a post-c section haze I chose Edward. He is so not an Edward. We now call him Ted but if I had my time again I'd try a little harder to find some names we liked. He'd suit Arlo."

Another huge reason was 'pressure.' Some parents said that they never liked the name they ended up choosing but felt pressured into using it by their friends, family or a partner’s family tradition. This pressure seems to be a huge factor in choosing a name with 20% of the study's parents admitting that they cared too much about other people’s opinions when choosing a name for their newborn.

Another surprising reason, though perhaps not so shocking when you consider the rising popularity of rare baby names, was that parents thought the name they chose was 'too common.' However, you've got parents on the other end of the spectrum too with our parenting writer Lucy Wigley regretting her rare baby name choice 10 years on - sort of

So what do you do if you regret giving your child the name you did? Parenting expert Amanda Jenner told us here at, "It’s not uncommon to want to change your babies name, however it’s best to reflect on the reasons for this and understand why you're feeling regret on your original choice before acting on it. 

"Do you feel this name doesn't suit your child, or is this due to external opinions? Consider how significant the regret is, as often initial doubts fade and you will grow accustomed to the name."

Jenner also reminds parents regretting their name choice that they must make sure their partner, the baby's other parent, is also having the same feelings. "Have open communication and share your feeling with your partner to ensure you are on the same page and discuss solutions together. 

"I’d also recommend sharing your feelings with people in your life you trust like family and friends, who can provide reassurance and different perspectives.  Remember that often children grown into their name and it becomes apart of their identity," she adds. 

But if you've reflected, asked for advice, and still feel the regret, there is action you can take. "If the regret is strong and persistent, you can legally change the name or you could use a nickname or middle name more frequently as the alternative," says Jenner - but you want to start doing so as early as possible. 

While there isn't a specific time that's considered too late to change your child's name, there is a cut-off that will make the transition easier. 

Jenner explains, "The earlier you make the change, the easier it is for everyone to adjust as the baby is not yet responding to their name or forming an identity around it. By the time the child is 3-5 years old the child typically knows their name well and changing it can require more effort and explanation, which can make the transition more difficult."

In other family news, Have you heard of PDA in children? It's not when your child says no a lot - here’s what it actually is and tips to support, from experts. Plus, help your tween identify if a friendship is the 'right fit' with these 11 questions, approved by a child development expert. And, do you have a critical mum? Mental health experts reveal how it might impact your parenting style and share 3 top tips for ‘breaking the cycle’. 

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.