Choosing a name for a baby is a big responsibility, huge. Do you give them something unique, something that sounds intelligent or just make like Ed Sheeran and name your baby after your favourite box set character?
Too old-fashioned, too common, too hipster? And that’s just your opinion, wait until you run your shortlist past your partner!
Throw in the problem of having to disassociate yourself from other people who already have your name of choice, the worry of unsavoury nicknames and your baby not suiting your top pick and it's little wonder parents-to-be are turning to increasingly unusual methods to help them with the process.
“Picking a baby name used to be simple – you used a tried and tested family moniker or flicked through a baby names book until you found something you liked," explains SJ Strum, baby names expert at ChannelMum.
"But as the number of names in use has exploded, the number of methods to choose a name has grown too.”
From crowd sourcing to algorithms and paying someone to do it for you (if you can afford it!), here are some of the most unique ways parents-to-be are picking their baby names.
If you can't come up with a name for your baby yourself, why not make like Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, and ask others to do it for you. According to People magazine, Mayer sent out a large group email to friends and family seeking name suggestions for her baby boy, who was born in September.
And she certainly isn't the only one using the digitally hip method to choose a moniker. Back in 2008 a Canadian couple hired PickyDomains.com, a free crowdsourcing naming service, to choose their son's moniker. It was a first for the website, which more typically names restaurants and businesses.
But experts predict crowdsourcing could be the future of baby-naming.
"The idea is that parents run their own polls asking strangers to vote on name choices and spellings," explains Strum.
"My Baby Names Envy polls regularly get over 6,000 votes to help mums and dads select a new name."
It's commonplace to crowdsource social media for parenting advice, so why not for baby names?
Mums and dads-to-be take inspiration for baby names from all sorts of places, but recent research has revealed that millennial parents are picking monikers for their little ones based on available domain names.
The trend emerged as part of a study which looked at how the Internet is impacting parenting approaches and uncovered the fact that parents are now thinking about a child’s online presence even before they are born.
According to the research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy, as many as one in five millennial parents said they had changed or seriously considered changing their baby’s name based on what domain names were free at the time.
Commenting on the findings Melissa Schneider, trends expert at GoDaddy said: “It’s no longer enough to make sure that your baby is enrolled at the top elementary school at birth, parents today are claiming their child’s name and online identity to make sure that they’re set up for success down the line.”
Pay someone to choose a name for you
If the baby name books just aren't cutting it, there's a solution, but it just might cost you. According to Bloomberg baby-naming services are an actual thing and springing up all across the world. So if you really can’t decide on a name, someone else can choose it for you.
A team of baby-naming experts will analyse a whole host of data to ascertain the perfect moniker for your little one. From the Baby Naming Report which can let you know a child’s likelihood of success based on their name, to the types of personality attributes associated with each name, experts in the name game will devote up to three weeks to research the name’s history.
When you think of all that, it sort of makes sense that some professional baby-namers are charging parents a pretty packet for their services.
Switzerland-based agency Erfolgswelle, run by Mark Hauser, went from just naming companies to also naming humans and charge a whopping $29,000 (around £20,000) for the service.
Much more reasonably, according to Strum, some consultants in the US charge around £85 to help parents pick a name and to prepare a bespoke list. "But I currently do it for free as I love naming babies," she adds.
Watch: Scarlett Johansson's mother in law did not approve of their baby name 'Cosmo'.
A name a day
According to Strum this is a growing trend and was recently used by Stacey Solomon to help pick a moniker for her fourth baby, Rose, who was born earlier this month.
"The idea is parents use a different shortlisted name each day until they find the one which feels right for their child," Strum explains.
Let the baby choose their own
Yes, really! Soon-to-be parents won't have to endure the trauma of trawling through endless baby name lists if they just let their child choose for them.
Case in point. The Instagram mum and founder of mums mental health website TDeep Breath Small Steps who let her baby pick a name from a hat in this viral post.
Even babies who are still in the womb can have an input in their own naming process thanks to a new app, which helps you unborn baby choose its own moniker.
The Kick to Pick randomly generates thousands of baby names with parents-to-be having to simply place the phone on the bump and wait for the baby to kick at the sound of the name he or she likes.
The app monitors the baby’s movements, and any large kick detected will stop the generator and reveal what the baby has chosen.
"I’m predicting this fun idea will really take off as videos are a keepsake you can show your child in the future," Strum adds.
Turn to Kinder
On another digital note, The Kinder App, dubbed the Tinder of baby names by Strum, allows parents to swipe left or right with the app matching you and your parenting partner with a name.
The idea is pretty simple you and your partner both install the app on your phones, swipe left on names you don’t like, swipe right on names you do, and get alerts when you match on a name.
The benefits are that because you both use the app independently, it stops you from swaying each other’s picks and ideally, you end up with a list of boy and girl baby names that you both actually agree on.
Use an algorithm
Fed up of conventional methods of baby naming, one dad instead opted to use the power of an algorithm.
Detailing the process in a blog post, the dad explained how he irst he downloaded the entire Social Security name database to his laptop, which includes 93,600 names that have been used more than five times since 1880.
He then entered them into a web app to rank the names using 12 different ranking criteria including spellability, pronounceability, timelessness, rarity and genderedness.
Using the technical method he was able to whizz through 3,600 names and liked 76 choices, while his wife worked her way through 3,700 and liked 81 names.
The couple made their final decision by putting their favourite options on a sticky note on the fridge, before removing the ones they didn't want.
They settled on Hazel and Max, with his wife giving birth to a little boy a short while after and calling him Max.