What to do if you’ve got baby name regret?

‘All is not lost…’ (Picture: AP)

So you’ve got a brand-new baby, and you’re getting to grips with this tiny person for the very first time.

During this exciting, scary, and love-filled time, you’re also getting to know your baby now that they’re fully in the world.

As such, there are parents out there, like Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, who find the name they had picked out for their little bundle of joy actually just… doesn’t suit their vibe.

The couple welcomed their second child – formerly known as Wolf – on February 2, just one day after celebrating their daughter Stormi’s first birthday. Then they announced on Instagram that they had decided to change their son’s name – but haven’t revealed if they have settled on a new one.

If you feel the same about your baby’s name, first of all, don’t stress it – this type of thing might not actually be that rare.

‘”Baby name regret” actually appears to be more common than we might think,’ chartered clinical psychologist Dr Georgie Taylor tells us. ‘For example, a survey by BabyCentre found that one-in-eleven parents regret their choice and, like Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, a key reason cited is the baby “not suiting it”.

‘Through his work, psychologist Barry Schwartz indicated that too many choices – like the abundance of baby names on offer – makes decision-making harder and is associated with a tendency to be less satisfied with our actual decision.’

Kylie Jenner's daughter Stormi holding Wolf's hand

The Jenner/Scott family has kept the baby’s new name a secret (Picture:@Kyliejenner/Instagram)

But could changing their name possibly have a negative impact on the baby?

‘Based on child development literature, the short answer is, no,’ Dr Georgie says.

‘Research indicates that babies start to recognise their name at approximately five-months-old and most do by nine-months.

‘Prior to that, they will recognise their caregivers and siblings’ voices, will respond to music, loud noises, and changes in tone, but it takes time for their brains to organise individual words from the stream of sounds around them.’

You can also change their name after the baby starts being able to recognise the sound.

Dr Georgie even has a trick for getting your little one to catch on, explaining: ‘A well-known psychological concept called associative learning (Pavlov, 1897), indicates that two unrelated stimuli-like names can be linked together to produce a new learned response,’ explains Dr Gerogie.

‘In real terms, this suggests that if you pair the new baby name (e.g., Amelia) with the original one (e.g., Olivia-Amelia), the baby will start to associate them (i.e., ‘my name’) and you can then phase out the original one.

‘So, if you regret your baby’s name, all is not lost, you have time to change it’

The adminy bit

According to the UK Deed Poll Service, you can change a baby’s birth certificate within 12 months of their birth in England and Wales – after that, you’ll have to do it via Deed Poll.

The site reads: ‘If you only wish to change the forename(s) of your child, it is possible to have your child’s new forenames added to the birth register provided the new forenames were given either in Baptism within 12 months of the birth being registered or by regular use within 12 months of the birth being registered.

‘The new forenames can be added to the birth record after 12 months from when the birth was registered, but you will need to provide documentary evidence that the new forenames were in use within 12 months of the birth being registered. Upon submission of the prescribed form to the register office where the birth was registered, a new birth certificate can be purchased that shows the new forenames.’

In Scotland, you can change the birth register up to the point that the baby is one year old, although it’ll cost a fee of £53, and some non-Scottish record-holders may not recognise the change, so many opt to change it via Deed Poll instead. After they’re a year old, you can still apply, but only one forename change can be made while they’re under 16.

In Northern Ireland, you can apply to change the birth certificate within two years, or after only provided you have documentary evidence that the new name has been used for at least two years.

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