Nicknames for Bonding With Your Baby During Pregnancy

Ultrasound of a Baby

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Some parents develop nicknames for their baby during pregnancy. You might use an unborn baby nickname before finding out the sex or maybe you’ll use it for the entire pregnancy. If it takes you some time after your baby is born to finalize a name, you might even use the name in the first days after birth.

Popular Baby Nicknames to Use in Pregnancy

Some people use nicknames that mean something to them, like an obscure family name. Or maybe you’ll use a nickname that describes your baby—something quirky that references how they move in utero, how they look on an ultrasound, or even their birth order.

Using the initial of the baby’s planned name can be a fun teaser if you use it around other people, or it can just be a way to connect with your baby privately. Whatever you choose, baby nicknames are personal. 

Baby nicknames can be a bonding experience and a way to refer to your baby as something other than “it” or “the baby.” So what names do people commonly use? Here are some popular baby nicknames:

  • Baby
  • Bean
  • Bump
  • Bug
  • Bun
  • Bunny
  • Cletus the Fetus
  • Ducky
  • Dumpling
  • Jelly Bean
  • Junior
  • Lil’ Chick
  • Munchkin
  • Peanut
  • Pumpkin
  • Starburst
  • Spawn
  • Spud
  • Thumper

Reasons to Give Your Baby a Nickname

Nicknames for babies come in handy for a variety of reasons. Whether you’ve been thinking about what to name your baby for a long time or have decided to wait until after your baby is born to give them a name, using a special name for your baby while you’re pregnant can be a way to personalize the experience.  

Using a baby nickname also can be used as a code word between you and your partner before you've told everyone that you're expecting. For instance, let's say you chose the baby nickname Henrietta. If your partner is trying to offer you a drink at a party and you want to remind them you're not drinking, you could say, "I can't, Henrietta is coming over later" to alert your partner without alerting everyone else.

If you’ve chosen a name for your baby already, a special nickname for them during pregnancy can keep older siblings from revealing the name before you’re ready to announce it. And it’s way more fun for kids to have a cute name to use for their unborn sibling other than “it” or “baby.”

Baby nicknames can be especially useful for twins. Sometimes your doctor or midwife will mention the position of one twin or something unique going on with the other. Instead of relaying this information about “Baby A” and “Baby B,” you might try something with a little personality, like Thing 1 and Thing 2 or Tweedledee and Tweedledum. People who are pregnant with multiples also often come up with ways to refer to them as a unit: Dynamic Duo, The Trio, or Triple Threats are some fun examples.

The Challenges of Using a Nickname Before Birth

If you use the nickname enough, sometimes other people will begin to use this name as well. While it might be cute to joke around with your partner about your baby "Spawn," you might not be as happy when a co-worker puts "Welcome to the World, Spawn" on your baby shower cake at the office. This is certainly something to keep in mind as you come up with nicknames and share them intentionally or accidentally with others.

Some families grow accustomed to the name and hold such a fondness for it that their baby nickname sticks around even after the baby is born. “Bitty” might be a fun nickname for a baby or toddler, but will your child still appreciate the name when they’re a little older? Using nicknames can be a hard habit to break. Consider how your child might feel about the name at different ages and stages. 

If a baby nickname was used during pregnancy, older siblings who are still quite young might become confused about the baby’s real name. If you plan to continue to use your baby’s nickname after they are born, this is less of an issue. Either way, kids eventually will be able to discern their sibling’s given or preferred name.

A Word From Verywell

Whatever nickname you choose, and whatever reason you choose to use one, know that it is a personal choice. Baby nicknames often arise organically, without much forethought or intention. Whether you choose a nickname methodically or choose one on impulse, there is no wrong way to nickname your unborn baby. There is also nothing wrong with choosing not to use a nickname. 

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.