Have you tried the 'Tinder for baby names' app? Here's the unique reason why the baby naming experts think it just might solve your problems...

Gamifying the baby-naming process might just be the future of finding a name both parents love

Pregnany woman on phone
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s true – an app that’s been dubbed “Tinder for baby names” really does exist. But how useful might a baby-naming app be for parents – and what challenges do they face when trying to select a name?

Naming a child is one of the most significant decisions new parents or parents can make – and here at GoodToKnow, we understand that today’s parents might be searching for a name that’s special, unique, or that reflects their vibe. That’s why we dedicate lots of research, time, and page space to helpful guides, including our unusual baby names, cool baby names, and even nature baby names articles.

It’s something that baby name consultant SJ Strum understands too, she tells us. “Choosing a baby name is your first big gift to your child and parents want to get it just right, for modern parents that means finding a name that they not only love the sound of but ideally one that also has a strong resonance in meaning something about the lifestyle, identity or hopes for the future for their child.”

So when I found the baby-naming app Kinder, (download for apple phones or download for android phones) I couldn’t resist giving it a go – and promptly fell down a swiping rabbit hole. So I asked the experts - baby name consultant SJ Strum and clinical psychologist Michaela Thomas if this is the new baby naming tool to end all tools... 

Baby naming apps: a useful tool? (spoiler alert, yes)

Yes, it's a useful tool in so many ways. Introducing technology to decision making is nothing new, but in the world of baby names, it kind of is. Kinder works in much the same way as the popular dating app Tinder (top marks for the sound-a-like name). Users are served a stream of potential names and encouraged to “swipe right” on any that appeal, thus creating a virtual list of liked names.

You have the option of limiting names to one gender only, setting a "starts with" letter, and selecting a max length. You can also invite your partner to swipe right on their favourite names on their phone, with the app then highlighting any baby-name “matches”.

Having spent some time using it, it’s easy to see the app's appeal. It suggested names that weren’t on my radar when I was pregnant with my son but I’d have considered, such as Tennyson – although Stetson was a firm left-swipe for me. It also adds a dash of fun to the process (and not just because of the suggestion "Sky Walker" that I was served).

Screen shot in blue whit e and red of the kinder app

(Image credit: Future)

Screenshots were quickly shared with both my partner and local parents’ WhatsApp group. As my friend ‘Sam – Rita's Mum’ (as she’s saved in my phone) said, “It’s a fun way to get some ideas and also spark conversation with your partner.” And the UK's #1 baby naming consultant SJ Strum agrees. “An app is a great way to start conversations about why you both like certain names,” she says.

“When you get a match, I’d ask, ‘what do you like about the name? Is it the letters, the theme, how popular or unique it is?’ Armed with this info you can work on your own ‘couple criteria’ to guide your research. Of course, the challenge comes in finding names that you “match” on in the first place. SJ tells us: “The biggest challenge we get at the consultancy is couples who cannot agree.

“Often we find that their styles are really different; one parent might like modern, trendy names and one may prefer whimsical, nature names, so their lists don’t match. “My favourite thing is working to find common ground in meaning and sound combinations and seeing where the couples’ ‘sweet spot’ is in being safe, brave or daring namers."

Clinical psychologist Michaela Thomas says it's important that both points of view are heard. "Any decision between partners has to be joint – imagine you give your child a name that you don't feel like you've chosen,  but your partner picked... you might feel like you don't have agency, a voice, or power in your relationship. 

In this way, Michaela argues that apps such as Kinder can prove helpful – to a degree. "Using the technology to shortlist names means that you already know the names your partner does like," she says. "This can help to reduce the amount of time spent going backward and forwards – and disagreeing – and you can focus on the names you both like."

Screenshots showing suggestions generated using the baby-name app Kinder

(Image credit: Future / Stephanie Wood)

She also points out how the ability to swipe through a few options on your commute or when you have five minutes spare can help reduce any feelings of overwhelm brought on by the task of finding a name – although, in my experience, five minutes can easily turn into half an hour.

The potential for overwhelm was a common concern among the mum friends that I surveyed, and one that is common in many aspects of modern life. How do you know you've found The One – be it a baby name, a life partner, or the perfect pair of jeans – when SO many other, potentially better options might still be out there?

"Too many options can paralyse us and make it difficult to make a decision," Michaela tells us. "This can play into perfectionism - the pressure to make the 'perfect' choice for a baby name."

However, she argues that technology might be useful in this respect. "Any way to narrow down the options can be useful. If anything, picking up a book might feel like there are never-ending options, but an app where you can filter or narrow down your search might make it feel less overwhelming."

Other limitations exist when it comes to using an app such as Kinder to select a baby name. My friend Marie confesses that "after swiping for what felt like forever, I got a bit bored". Others complained about having to pay to unlock additional "name sets". However, anything that prompts conversation and exploration of options can only be a good thing when it comes to selecting a name for your bundle of joy.

Top five tips for choosing a baby name

Below, SJ shares five things to consider when it comes to settling on a name that you’ll both love – now and as your child grows.

  1. Find your style first - Look at your name list and draw out themes and styles. Do you like word names? Or long or short names? Are they vintage-sounding or modern? This helps as you shortlist or field ideas, as you know why you like what you like!
  2. Keep it to your inner circle - We get so many clients who have shared their baby name ideas and it’s led to turmoil with someone saying they don’t like it or even someone stealing it! A name is so subjective so don’t let other people’s opinions sway you. You can always ask anonymously for help on the Baby Name Envy Instagram account.
  3. Go with your brave name! - I’m a big advocate of parents going with their ‘brave’ choice; it’s often the one they secretly love and might regret not using. Pop it in the middle at least so your child can play with using it more frequently as they grow up.
  4. Ditch the A to Z - Most baby name books or lists are an A to Z and it’s pretty overwhelming out there! Instead of starting at A, start with YOU; your name meaning, your heritage, your passions. Then research names within those themes to uncover a uniquely personal name you love.
  5. Considering using a baby name consultant - Naming consultants aren’t just for the rich and famous. Using a consultant is just like hiring an expert interior designer or wedding dress stylist; we know our stuff and are passionate about helping you navigate all the choices and find The One.

Our experts

Image of baby name expert SJ Strum
SJ Strum

SJ is a baby name consultant and host of the Baby Name Envy podcast. The mum of three has appeared as a baby-naming expert on shows including Lorraine, Good Morning Britain and The One Show.

Blonde womansmiling at camera
Michaela Thomas

Michaela Thomas is a Clinical Psychologist and author of The Lasting Connection: Developing Love and Compassion for Yourself and Your Partner (£14.99, Amazon).

Looking for more baby name content? Discover the baby names set to be extinct in 2024, why space-inspired names are big news right now, and our list of 40 names banned across the world.

Stephanie Wood
Family writer - freelance

Stephanie is former Acting Editor at GoodTo,. She is a first time mum to son Woody, who was born in November 2021 (and he doesn't share her surname, so he's not Woody Wood, it should be noted). As a journalist, Stephanie has over 15 years' of experience. Elsewhere, she has worked as a digital editor and writer for brands including Stylist, MSN and Woman&Home.

With contributions from