While some parents have a list of names picked out for their future bundle of joy before they even conceive, others push naming their baby until the last possible second. Most parents are finally able to land on the perfect moniker for their little one, but others have more trouble. What happens if you simply can’t think of the right name for your baby? What happens if you never give your baby a name?
Generally, hospital staff will push you to name your baby shortly after giving birth. “Usually, for a vaginal delivery, you may have 24 to 48 hours to name your baby before the mom is discharged home,” Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, an OB-GYN, told Romper. “If you have a C-section, you may have up to 72 hours to name your baby prior to being discharged home.” While you can leave the hospital without giving your newborn a name, expect the State Department of Health to contact you for not completing all your paperwork.
What if you still can’t think of a name after your baby is home and you decide to ignore those phone calls? It’s possible to get away with not naming your baby in the U.S., but you won’t be doing your kid any favors. According to HowStuffWorks, it’s not illegal for a person not to have a name, but there’s no way to identify yourself without one. This means that you can’t be issued a social security card, driver’s license, or passport. If your baby doesn’t have a name, they’ll never be able to vote or (legally) work or open a bank account. Sure, if you want to live completely off the grid these things might not sound so bad, but there’s also the impracticality of it all. If you don’t give your baby a name, what will you call them?
To get around these complications, many hospitals in the U.S. will simply write down “Babygirl” or “Babyboy” as a placeholder on the birth certificate, and leave it to the parents to change the name to something more suitable once they decide on the name, says Time. Sometimes, though, parents still choose not to pick a name. Olympic skier Picabo Street went without a name for years as her parents wanted her to grow up to decide her own name. They simply called her “Baby Girl” until a passport application forced them to finally give her a name. They eventually named her after a nearby town: Picabo, Idaho.
The easiest thing to do for everyone involved is to just pick out a name for your baby. If you really can’t decide, you can always write down a bunch of options and pick a name out of a hat.
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