Struggling to decide on a baby name you and your partner agree on? Need an honest, unbiased opinion on whether?your choice is "unique" or just plain weird?
Rather than rifling through baby books, or going cross-eyed from too many hours on NameBerry, modern parents can now?outsource?the task to baby name consultants if they are willing to?pay?for the perfect moniker.
One such service is Future Perfect,?a pair of ladies who decided to turn their passion and talent for "namestorming" into a business idea.
?"Unlike the subjective opinions friends and family members might give you, our advice will be neutral, unbiased, and tailored to your needs," write?Macaire?Douglas and?Cara Sullivan on their site.
"We're also just really creative: Need a name that connects your adopted child to his unique heritage and yours? We'll find one! Wish you could come up with a name that means ocean, begins with an L, and has both Japanese and Native American roots? On it! Choosing a name is the first step toward defining your child as an individual, after all, and we understand the profound sense of responsibility that surrounds it."
"For your naming pleasure", Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan offer five different packages, beginning at $100. The first,?The Riff? boasts a "namestorming" session like no other - a?15-minute phone call about the names parents-to-be have on their shortlist.?The Standard?at $225, builds on The Riff with parents given "10 perfect first names" to choose from. For $335 you?can elect to have The Works?a package that includes 10 first names, 10?middle names and?the reasons they were chosen. Having twins or triplets? There's a Multiples option for you, too.
And "because you can't give your kids badass names and call your dog Spot," the pair even offer an animal?naming service for $75.
According to Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan, The Standard?is currently the most popular option. "It's a great package to help parents who have some idea of what they want (or maybe no idea!) but need direction," they say. And if you're wondering, but who would pay for help finding a baby name when you can ask your local Facebook mums group for free??Well, the answer is - lots of people.
"We have many clients that come from different backgrounds and want to honour their history and heritage," they explain. "Some partners have opposite preferences and our role is to bridge that gap for them - for example if?one parent is very traditional and one wants something more unusual and unique."? Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan say they offer an unbiased opinion and help partners find something they both truly love.
"Some of our clients are also adopting and want to honour their child's past while connecting it to their future," the say.
Are modern parents under more pressure to find the perfect name? Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan believe that with the popularity of unique and unusual names, some parents feel an "immense pressure to stand out".? But they don't have to. "There is nothing wrong with choosing a family name or something traditional that honours your history. It is a deeply personal decision, and a really big one too ..."
While the Royal Family didn't consult Future Perfect?before naming little Archie, if they had done,?Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan say they would have gone with "Dashiell James."
They weren't a fan of Amy Schumer's choice of Gene Attell?Fischer, either. "SHE'S BEING FUNNY HERE RIGHT GUYS?," the pair?wrote on Instagram, adding "this is why you hire us."
But what happens if you don't like any of the options?they come up with??Well, they don't offer refunds if you don't end up using any of the names on their list.
"While we are absolutely dedicated to delivering the perfect name, there is no guarantee that you'll choose one of our suggestions," their site reads.?"And if you don't, we're confident that the research-driven list you receive will (at the very least!) help you make an informed decision of your own."
Opinions on the service seems to be divided between "Yes, HELP us!" to "It's your baby. ... Name them yourself".? But while many might baulk at the idea of spending $300 on a baby name, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the package offered by Swiss naming company?Erfolgswelle. These baby name consultants charge a cool??￡20,000 (AU$37,224) per baby, spending up to 100 hours choosing the perfect moniker.
If you're not willing to pay, but you'd like to be on trend, Ms Douglas and Ms Sullivan say the names parents are asking for tend to fall into one of three categories: gender neutral (they're loving Hollis, Lennon, Oak and Orion), "traditional with a twist" (Leon, Maxine, Matilda, Tabitha), and "nicknameless" (Lowe, Niall, Rory, Quinn).
It might be not for everyone, but arguably some parents probably do need a little assistance when it comes to refining their shortlist.