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Last-Minute Baby Naming

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King Verence: So I've got to take Esmerelda out to her people and tell them one of her middle names is 'Note Spelling'?
Nanny Ogg: Well, we did once have a king called My God He's Heavy the First.

In Real Life, parents tend to use the entire nine months between conception and birth to think up nice names. They buy baby books, make compromises, and if they don't know the sex of the baby then they'll choose one for each gender, just to be prepared, or maybe they go for something of an ambiguous gender option.

But not in media or TV shows... In most media, parents go the entire nine months without even thinking or talking about this important issue. When it finally comes to the birth, one of the parents says "What should we call him/her?" and then they patch together a name right on the spot while holding their child — with minimal, if any, need for discussion on the matter between the two parents. A Line-of-Sight Name, Dead Guy Junior, and "Near and Dear" Baby Naming names are very common. Naming it after either the mother or father (or their parents) is a particularly common option. If it's a kid's show or book, then an older sibling may even be allowed to choose the name. On the other hand, the Giver of Lame Names is also liable to show up.

While it does sometimes happen in Real Life that parents wait to the last minute to name their child, usually because they want to be inspired upon finally seeing the child, or one of them is fixed on a name that the other can't stand, it seems highly unlikely that it is as common as the trope's frequency implies.

Compare Line-of-Sight Name, Meaningful Name.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Goku and Chi Chi had a hard time thinking of a name for their firstborn son after he was born (though Chi Chi initially wanted to name him Einstein and her father the Ox King had an extremely long list of names that were all just variations of his own name). They eventually noticed that the baby responded the best to Goku's grandpa Gohan's name and the rest was history.
  • A chapter in Oishinbo revolves around the Official Couple deciding on names for their twins after the birth. The male lead has to be extra convincing to explain the Meaningful Name he's giving his daughter.
  • In Sand Chronicles, it's not known if Chii's parents think about her name before her birth but either way it's her maternal grandma that ends up naming her on the spot at the hospital after she's born. She's named after her mother's old dog Chiroru as it was very strong. The mother isn't impressed even though the grandma sees it as a Meaningful Name, but the name goes ahead.
  • Present in poor Lucy's background in Servant × Service. Her parents couldn't pick a name, and asked for suggestions from people they knew. They still hadn't decided on any from said list of names when their daughter was born... so they gave her all of them.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In Arrangements For War, this is apparently how the Governor of Kozepén got his first name. His mother had had four daughters, but had always wanted a son. When she saw that she had given birth to a boy, she shouted "Justice! At last!" and promptly fainted. So her son was saddled with the name Justice Rossiter.

    Comic Books 
  • In Fantastic Four, Reed and Sue's baby went nameless for a while after being born. He was finally named Franklin Benjamin Richards, after Sue's deceased father and their friend and teammate Ben Grimm.
  • In Saga, new parents Alana and Marko are implied to not really have given much thought to a name for their newborn mixed-species child. After noting that her eyes are neither green (like Alana's) or brown (like Marko's), but a mixture, they decide on "Hazel".
  • In The Sandman (1989), Lyta Hall doesn't name her baby boy for a while after he was born. When Dream visits the boy, whom he considers special and a worthy heir to his title because he's a child that was born in the realm of dreams, he casually mentions before departing that his name is Daniel. Despite her own issues with Dream, Lyta agrees that "Daniel" is a good name for her son.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Baby Blues, Wanda and Darryl's third child is only named Wren because a bird flew into the window while Wanda was recovering in the hospital.
    • For a while after he was born, Hammie did not have a name, due to Darryl and Wanda mistakenly believing they were having a girl. It wasn't until after they brought him home that Darryl came up with the name "Hamish," after one of his relatives. It took their family members some time to get used to the name.
    • Yolanda and Mike, Darryl and Wanda's friends, didn't decide on a name for their oldest daughter, Keesha, until after they brought her home. Bunny also didn't initially have names for her twins Wendell John and Wendell Jon, instead referring to them by the colors on their wristbands ("Puce" and "Teal").

    Fan Works 
  • Exaggerated in Boys Do Tankary. When Vincent's born, his mother immediately has his sister Nyra take him to the orphanage, and doesn't even bother to give him a name; Nyra names him when the lady at the orphanage asks what the baby's name is.
  • In an Empath: The Luckiest Smurf mini-story, when Hefty and Handy were born, Hefty the firstborn of the twin brothers was given the name Hefty, but Handy was left without a name at first. However, when the parents said that he was "a handy Smurf", one of their fellow Smurfs picked up on that and embroidered clothes for the child with Handy printed on it as his name, and thus Handy was his name from that point on.
  • An understandable example in Handmaid: by the time Prince Edmund was born, Henry VIII had begun to regard his first choice-after himself-as cursed, since he lost three sons named Henry (his son by Katherine of Aragon, his bastard by Bessie Blount, and the baby Anne Boleyn miscarried after being shoved down the stairs by Thomas Seymour). His second choice of Edward was irrevocably tainted by the actions of the Seymours, especially since Jane had named her bastard son Edward. Briefly he considered Jasper and Owen before deciding they were too Welsh and not royal enough for a king's name and decided on Edmund after Henry's grandfather. He also notes he hadn't thought of a girl's name, but naming Edmund's twin sister was easy enough: her grandmothers were both named Elizabeth. He would later use Owen for his second son with Anne.
  • In the Soul Eater/Naruto crossover He'll Never Be My Son, Crona was named like this, since his parents, Medusa and Orochimaru, consider him a test subject and didn't bother to come up with a name for the whole thirteen months of witch pregnancy. Medusa rejects Kabuto's suggestion immediately (he said she should name the baby Arrow after her), and decides to base the name Crona (from kuro na, meaning "dark one") off Orochimaru's suggestion of Kurohebi ("black snake").
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fic Hyperemesis Gravidarum which deals with Assassins and motherhood, the daughter of Johanna Smith-Rhodes and Ponder Stibbons is done by an informal committee of family and friends gathered at the new mother's bedside. Only one of Johanna's suggested names makes the final cut, and then only as a middle name. The child is finally named after a student Assassin for whom Johanna has a mentor's regard, and only after her name is translated from "Cenotian"note  then into Morporkiannote  and then into Vondalaans.note  It is observed that the daughter cannot fail to grow up multi-lingual.
    • The child gets the middle name Irena, for the Witch who assisted at the birth. This also proves to be significant.
  • In Ultimate Re-Imaginings, Claire reveals to Blair that her mother only named her Blair because she was on painkillers at the time and thought it sounded 'cute.' Madame Masque later confesses to Blair that she barely remembered the girl's birth when asked if she remembered her name.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Manny and Ellie have apparently not decided on what to name their child in the entire 22 months of pregnancy that an elephant-sized animal like the Woolly Mammoth will probably undergo. After the baby mammoth's birth, Manny suggests they name her Ellie, but end up going with Ellie's suggestion of "Peaches", which was their code word for Ellie to tell Manny she was going into labor.
  • Leroy & Stitch gives us an adult creature variation with 625, the only experiment Lilo has not named; she goes through various sandwich-related names until she hits on one 625 likes, which turns out to be "Reuben".
    625/Reuben: The classic corned beef and sauerkraut on rye. Reuben! Ooh, I like that!
  • In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), the main plot begins with the titular reindeer having just been born, and his father Donner saying "We'll call him Rudolph."
  • In The Rugrats Movie, Stu and Didi apparently thought that Dil would be a girl, and had to revise their plan to name "her" after Stu's mother.
    Didi: He doesn't look like a Trixie.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Subverted in the sequel to Meet the Parents, where a new mother is clearly about to name her son after her male nurse, only to stop when she sees that his name is "Gaylord".
  • In The Namesake this is a major plot point. Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli hadn't thought of a name for their son because Ashima's grandmother in India was supposed to name him, unaware of the fact that babies in the US are expected to have a name before they leave the hospital. They give him the name Gogol temporarily, until he gets to preschool and they come up with the name Nikhil.
  • Star Trek (2009): This happens at the beginning, when Kirk's parents are naming him. He's named for his maternal grandfather (James), and his middle name is his paternal grandfather's (Tiberius).
  • Star Wars: In Revenge of the Sith, Padmé doesn't name her twins until they are born, and she's dying. Justified, since it's entirely possible that Padmé and Anakin had discussed the names beforehand (like they had in the novelization). However, since Anakin is not allowed to be married or have children, she couldn't really talk about such things with anyone else; when she does give birth, it's quite a bit late for such worries to be relevant.
  • Happens in Warcraft (2016), where despite Draka having thought of the name a few days before birth, Durotan insists that he names the child and only comes around to do this a few days after the kid is born, just before he's taken by Blackhand to be imprisoned.

  • An old joke with several variations:
    Lily walks up to her father one day and hops in his lap. "Daddy," she asks, "why am I named Lily?" "Well," he says, "because when you were born, the petal of a lily flower floated through the window and landed on your head." She smiles and hops away.
    Later that day, Mary walks up to her father and jumps on his back. "Daddy, why am I named Mary?" He smiles. "Because when you were born, the petal of a marigold was caught by the breeze and landed on your head." She laughs and skips away.
    That afternoon, Cindy walks up to her father and sits on his feet. "GAHHNURGH! HHUADANNGUNGDGFURRRG!?! HRUGUN HURGN DURRRGH?" Her dad sighs. "I love you too, Cinderblock."
  • A woman pregnant with twins gets into a car accident and falls into a coma. A few months later, she wakes up and the doctor says, "Congratulations, ma'am! You have a healthy baby boy and girl! We asked your brother to name them." "Oh, no!" cries the woman. "My brother's an idiot! He probably gave them terrible names!" The brother walks in carrying the babies, presents the girl first, and says, "This is Denise." Relieved, the woman says, "Oh, thank goodness. Denise is a lovely name. What did you name the boy?" The brother grins and says, "Denephew."

  • In Completely Clementine from the Clémentine books, Clementine names her new baby sister Summer after the baby has already been brought home from the hospital.
  • Discworld:
    • Similar to the "Babygirl" examples under Real Life, a minor unseen character in The Wee Free Men is Miss Female Infant Robinson, who was brought up in a Home for the Destitute, and who got her name due to her dying mother assuming that since it was written down, it must be official.
    • A Howondaland spirit guide goes by the name One Man Bucket, short for One Man Pouring A Bucket Of Water Over Two Dogs (his tribe's customs have the baby named after the first thing the mother sees outside the tent). He has a twin brother born very shortly before, who would have given his right arm to be named Two-Dogs-Fighting.
    • Once the king and queen of Lancre have a daughter, the queen takes pains to ensure the girl's name is gotten right the first time around, unlike her own (Magrat, from a badly-written Margaret). So the priest makes her name officially known as Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre. Other such ceremonies resulted in James What The Hell Is That Cow Doing In Here? Poorchick and King My God He's Heavy the First.
    • One background character is named Denephew Boot. His parents were expecting a daughter and planned to call her Denise.
    • In Wyrd Sisters it's a case of last-minute baby renaming. When giving the orphaned heir to the throne to Vitoller to hide him from the Duke, the witches have no idea what his actual name is, so say "Tom." "John." "Tomjon."
    • The Shepherd's Crown: When a new mother has triplets instead of twins, she absently says to name the third child after Tiffany, the witch who delivered them. Tiffany's flattered but recognizes it for a thoughtless Line-of-Sight Name, among other signs the girl is already The Un-Favourite.
  • The two babies in the baby swap at the start of Good Omens don't have names yet, so the Satanic nuns suggest a few. Neither family likes 'Damien'. The boys end up being named Warlock and Adam. We never find out the third baby's adopted name, but he goes by 'Greasy'.
    • In the TV series, Harriet had planned to name the baby after its father, but she's so disgusted with him for leaving her alone during the birth that she's happy to go with the nun's idea.
  • In I Should Have Seen It Coming When the Rabbit Died by Teresa Bloomingdale, Teresa gives birth to her 3rd child. Her husband comes into her hospital room saying "That baby isn't Jimmy!". Her initial response is "Well, it certainly isn't Mary!" (They'd picked the name James for a boy, Mary for a girl. They did use those names for later arrivals.) They finally decide the baby is Michael.
  • In the ending of The Lord of the Rings, Sam and his wife Rosie are expecting their first child. They assume it will be a boy and plan to call him "Frodo", but then the child turns out to be a girl. Apparently, they had never come up with a name for this eventuality. Frodo suggests "Elanor" (an Elvish flower), given that many Hobbit girls receive flower names, and the name sticks.
  • In The Land of Green Ginger, when a son is born to the Emperor and Empress of China, a royal council is summoned to suggest a name for him — and can't think of anything. (There are hints that this last-minute decision-making is traditional, though.) Fortunately, it soon turns out that the new prince is a Chosen One, and his destiny extends to his name (Abu Ali), which everyone accepts.
  • In Oh, Sal, a children's chapter book by Kevin Henkes, Sal's new baby sister was born on Christmas but as of New Year's Day, when the book begins, still doesn't have a name. Her parents are debating between two choices: Elizabeth and Beatrice. Meanwhile, Sal loses "Poppy," the name that she has given to her favorite pair of underwear. Her parents, uncle and brother all agree to help her look, but then she's embarrassed when she discovers that she's actually wearing "Poppy" underneath another pair of underwear. She tries to write her mother a note explaining as much, as she doesn't want the others to know and tease her, but she's a preschooler with a limited vocabulary and therefore can't write much more on the note than "Poppy." After she slips it to her mother secretly, her mother misinterprets it as a suggestion for the baby name and the baby ends up being named Poppy.
  • A tragic case in Out of the Dust occurs when the reverend presiding over the funerals of the protagonist's mother and infant brother (a case of Death by Childbirth) asks her father to posthumously name the child, who had died without a name. He's so in shock over the losses that he can't do it, so the protagonist takes it upon herself and gives the baby the name Franklin.
  • The Parasol Protectorate: Alexia and Conall Maccon don't talk about baby names at all for the entire time Alexia is pregnant, and name their daughter on the spot after she's born. Until that point Alexia just called her the "infant-inconvenience".
    • Justified because they spend the first chunk of Alexia's pregnancy dealing with the whole Mistaken for Cheating issue, and not talking to each other about anything, much less baby names.
  • In Planet Tad, Tad's parents can't agree on whether to call the baby "Kenneth" or "Steven", so he remains nameless when they bring him home, until Tad suggests "Kevin" as a compromise. Tad's glad this is accepted, since his other suggestion was going to be "Stenneth".
  • Ramona Quimby: In Ramona Forever, Mrs. Quimby is pregnant with her third child, and the family, assuming that the child would be a boy, decides to name him "Algie". When the baby finally arrives, she turns out to be a girl, and because it's midnight, the parents name her "Roberta" after her father Robert.
  • The Redwall series book Mattimeo features a character named Jubilation, the youngest of a family of many sisters, whose parents named him the first thing his father shouted on realising the new child was a boy.
  • In The Reynard Cycle, Pinsard is named shortly after birth, when he repeatedly pinches his father's skin (his name translates to "Pincher.") This is justified by the fact that his mother had previously lost a child during childbirth, and she wanted to wait to see if her child would survive the pregnancy.
  • In Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, there is a page featuring a cat family that has given birth a new kitten. It says that the Cat family doesn't know what to name the new kitten and asks what the reader would name it, with a space provided to write in a name of up to six letters.
  • In The Saddle Club, Max and Deborah were certain their first child was going to be a boy and planned to name him Maximilian Regnery IV (Max himself being Maximilian Regnery III), only to end up having a girl. In a nod to the tradition, they decide to name her Maxine.
  • In To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Maureen and Brian had chosen a name ahead of time for one of their children ... trouble was, they'd assumed Maureen was carrying a girl and the kid was male. Since the birth took place as Presidential election results were being announced, the baby was named Woodrow Wilson Smith. (Justified as there weren't any scientific prenatal tests for gender in 1912, though you'd think they would have picked a backup male name just in case.)
  • Septimus Heap: Beetle's mother was overcome by grief at his father's death right before he was born, and at the naming ceremony could only sob "Oh, Beetle! Beetle!", which promptly became his name. He usually goes by just "Beetle".
  • In the Sesame Street picture book Me Cookie!, a baby blue monster is known only as Baby Monster, even after he starts walking and talking until finally he names himself, insisting to his babysitter "Me not Baby Monster, me Cookie Monster!"
  • Justified in A Song of Ice and Fire. With the Grim Up North conditions beyond the wall, the mortality of children is so high that naming one that hasn't yet grown enough to walk is considered Tempting Fate.
  • Temeraire:
    • Lily the dragon hatched five years early and in the middle of the night, forcing her Dragon Rider Captain Harcourt to run over and blurt out a name while half-asleep.
    • Captain Laurence starts the series wholly ignorant of dragons, so when the egg he's transporting hatches, he's completely taken aback when the hatchling asks him for a name. He hurriedly names him Temeraire after the famous ship and later bonds with Captain Harcourt over the experience.
  • In Rosemary Wells's picture book, Use Your Words, Sophie!, the baby is variously called Amber, Ashleigh and Amber Ashleigh because her parents can't agree on what to name her. Furthermore, it seems like nothing can stop her crying. At the end of the book, she is soothed when her big sister, Sophie, names her Jane because, as Sophie explains, "She wants to be called Jane."
  • In A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Christine originally thought her child was going to be a boy, and so planned on calling him Ray. When it turned out to be a girl, and her husband Elgin planned on calling her Diane, Christine defended her decision to still call her Ray and wound up picking Rayona after glancing at the tag on her hospital gown and seeing the word Rayon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Justified on AngelDarla wanted to just get rid of her pregnancy, but can't, Angel just found out the child existed and nobody was sure if it would even be a baby or some sort of demonic monster, since vampires aren't supposed to be fertile in the first place. Then half of L.A.'s supernatural community was hunting the kid for various reasons, and a full episode after the baby was born Angel just announces his name is Connor when the doctor asks (and his friends, who brought him, are stymied for an answer).
  • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger: Just prior to returning to Dino Earth, Asuka and Mahoro name their baby daughter (Who was around for quite a few episodes) "Mikoto" after the deceased Abarekiller.
  • In Being Human, George and Nina's daughter remains nameless for the first few weeks of her life. The delay is partly due to the fact that the werewolf gestation period is unexpectedly much shorter than the human gestation period and partly due to the fact that George and Nina are major targets of the vampires' plan for world domination. George manages to name the child "Eve" as he dies.
  • The Bill:
    • WPC Polly Page helps deliver a baby, but the mother doesn't name the baby after her because it "sounds like a parrot".
    • In another episode PC Reg Hollis helps deliver a baby. The parents would have named the child 'Reg', except it was girl. Hollis suggested 'Regina', but the parents decided against it.
  • In the 1981 movie pilot of the TV series Cagney & Lacey, a prostitute gives her name to the desk sergeant but, as he’s not familiar with fuh-MALL-ee, he asks her to spell it. “F-E-M-A-L-E,” she offers. “That’s Female,” he says in disbelief. “Yeah, well my parents had twelve kids,” responds the woman. “By the time they got to me they’d run out of names.” The implication is the parents got the name from the gender designation on the birth certificate at the moment of its completion.
  • Justified on Charmed (1998)—the Halliwell family has had nothing but girls for generations, and Piper had met her daughter, Melinda, when she traveled to an alternate future. She and Leo tried to get pregnant specifically to meet the timing of Melinda's birth...only to be surprised when they got a boy instead. An episode goes by while they decide what to name him, and end up with Wyatt Matthew Halliwell ("Wyatt" being his father's surname, "Matthews" that of his maternal aunt).
  • Community: After Chang helped Shirley through her child delivery, she decides to name her baby after him. Then she realizes how unfortunate "Ben Bennett" sounds, but sticks with it anyways.
  • In one episode of Criminal Minds, Spencer Reid becomes the Delivery Guy to a victim at the episode's climax. The end of the episode reveals that the woman named her son Spencer Johnson. Possibly justified, because her estranged husband (the child's father) had just been revealed as a serial killer, murdered her brother in front of her, and was holding her at knife-point when she went into labor in a misguided attempt to reconcile with her, so if they had discussed names beforehand, it's reasonable that she wouldn't be too eager to use a name he'd chosen.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Danny and Lindsay don't agree on their baby's name even after she's born. Danny says 'Lucy' and Lindsay says 'Lydia'. (It's said in the next season to be Lucy.)
    • On another occasion, Dr. Hawkes tells Danny his own parents waited six weeks to name him.
      Danny: They waited six weeks to name you Sheldon?!
  • Susan and Mike on Desperate Housewives discuss what to name their son before deciding to name him Connor...until Mike's grandfather dies and he wants to name their son in his memory. The problem? His name was Maynard. Despite Susan's distress and discomfort over the choice, and attempts to change it, she has a change of heart after Mike explains how much his grandfather meant to him. Thankfully, the kid is referred to as "MJ" in following seasons.
  • The only time baby names are mentioned for Crichton and Aeryn's baby in Farscape is during a brief joke in The Peacekeeper Wars. They end up pulling a Dead Guy Junior at the end of the movie and naming him D'Argo Sun Crichton.
  • Friends:
    • Ross names his son Ben after a series of mishaps which befall Ross and his ex-wife's partner at the hospital while she's busy having the baby; at one point there is a janitor's coverall involved which has the name "Ben" on it. Prior to that they had been feuding for weeks over what to name him.
    • Also from Friends: Rachel and Ross had decided on a name before the baby was born but realized it didn't fit. When Monica tells Rachel that she plans to name her own future daughter Emma, Rachel likes the name so much that Monica lets her have it.
    • Later, when the woman giving birth to the child Chandler and Monica are adopting then has a second child (unknown twin), they name the boy after Monica's father and the girl after the children's birth mother, Erica, despite the fact Monica had thought up a ton of names beforehand.
    • Variant with Phoebe (along with her brother and sister-in-law) who pick the names well in advance when she serves as a surrogate for them. Expecting two boys and a girl, each of the parents picks a name for a child that matches their own gender, and ask Phoebe to name the second boy. She decides on Chandler after her dear friend. But after giving birth to a boy and then a girl when the third child arrives, it turns out when there was a misreading of the ultrasound... and... well...
      Frank Jr.: Chandler's a girl!
      Chandler: Oh god, kindergarten flashback!
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • Variation. It's not that Sookie and Jackson didn't think of any names during her second pregnancy, it's that they thought of too many names and couldn't decide what to use. They decide at the last minute to use all of them, naming her Martha Janice-Lori-Ethan-Rupert-Glenda-Carson-Daisy-Danny Bellville.
    • According to Rory's ramble to Dean in the pilot, this was also a factor in Lorelai naming Rory after herself. That and a lot of Demerol.
  • Jane the Virgin:
    • Jane and Rafael never bothered to learn the sex of their baby: Jane was convinced she would have a daughter because her family only has daughters. So they had narrowed it down to three girls' names and decide on Nina while she's in labor...and then she births a boy, leading them to scramble.
    • Celebrities Darci and Rogelio haven't agreed on a name for the baby at the time of its debut photoshoot a couple of weeks after the birth.
  • Claire on Lost doesn't name her baby "Aaron" until after he's born, resulting in a "who's that" reaction from Charlie after she uses the name for the first time. A justified example as she'd been planning to give the baby up for adoption immediately after the birth and didn't even know what gender her baby was until he was born.
  • Mad About You: Paul and Jamie name the baby Mabel, after a remark by Jaime's mom. "Mothers always bring extra love." It's the topper to a bunch of parenting advice she gives them, all of which have Fun with Acronyms as mnemonic devices except that one (until Jamie notices it). While Paul and Jaime think it's a touching choice, none of their friends or family are impressed with the idea or particularly agree with the odd choice. And, in the Distant Finale, neither is their daughter when the meaning is explained to her as a teenager who wants to know why she was given such a weird sounding name.
  • Murphy Brown went even further, having gone through multiple names for her unborn child during her pregnancy and kept going even after he was born. Eventually she names him "Avery" after her recently deceased mother.
  • My Family: A flashback shows the night Nick was born. Mere hours before his birth, Ben and Susan still haven't settled on a name, and Susan decides to name the baby after the next person who walks into the room (Ben agrees because she won't let him go get a snack until the name is decided). The next person to enter the room is called "Bumface", but says it's a "nick"name, causing Ben to leap on the syllable and declare it time for food.
  • On Roseanne, Jackie bemoans the fact that she's in labor and hasn't even picked out a name yet. Her mother Bev cheerfully suggests that she just pick anything and get it changed later if she wants. She then reveals that they actually did this with Jackie, who was originally Marjorie. Actually, she admits that they may not have gotten all the paperwork done for that, and suddenly Jackie is freaked out that she doesn't know her own name either.
    • Darlene gives birth to a very premature baby girl, and is too worried about the baby's prognosis to name her at once. The sight of Beverly, Becky, Jackie, and Roseanne surrounding them in the NICU and providing them with moral support inspires Darlene to name the baby Harris Conner-Healy, a combination of all of their surnames.
  • In Scrubs, when nobody except J.D. remembers to show up and congratulate her on the birth, Jordan casually accepts his suggestion of a name for her new daughter, "Jennifer Dylan". In large part this is to spite the father, Dr. Cox (who can't stand J.D.'s attempts to be close to him), by not only letting him name the child but also do it after himself (consider the initials).
  • In The Secret Life of the American Teenager, this happens three times.
    • Amy gives birth to her son at the end of the first season and, having not thought about any names, her sister offers up the name John. (Possibly justified in that Amy hadn't been certain for most of the pregnancy that she wouldn't give the baby up for adoption.)
    • In the second season, Amy's brother Robbie is born, and is named on the spot after her grandfather.
    • At the end of the third season, Adrian and Ben's daughter is stillborn. They hadn't discussed names at all during the pregnancy, but it is revealed the following season that they named her Mercy.
  • In Sesame Street, Baby Bear goes to meet his new baby sister. He asks her name, and their parents say they haven't thought of one yet. Baby Bear goes to check the baby out, and while he's looking at her, he remarks "Hey, you're a little curly bear." Their parents overhear him and decide to name the baby just that.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Game of Thrones: Justified in the case of Gilly's son, since she had every reason to believe he would be given to the White Walkers within days anyway.
    • House of the Dragon: Upon the birth of Rhaenyra's third child, Laenor Velaryon wastes no time calling him "Joffrey" (in memory of his dead lover Joffrey Lonmouth) without bothering to ask Rhaenyra's opinion about it and without bothering to make it fit in the Valyrian naming conventions.
  • Stargate Atlantis: It is unclear how last minute the decision was for Teyla, though she could be excused for not focusing on baby names while she was kidnapped. Regardless, she names her child, several hours after his birth, Torren John Emmagan, for her father and her teammate (plus her own last name).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: This presumably was the case for Molly O'Brien, since Miles and Keiko were still arguing over names a few hours before Keiko gave birth (in their defense, it was almost a month before her due date, so they presumably expected to have more time to figure things out). The actual naming takes place offscreen.
  • Toby on the The West Wing names his daughter 'Molly' after a secret service agent who died on the same day his daughter was born.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • Happens a lot in the Book of Genesis. Probably the most memorable examples would be Jacob's sons, but other examples abound.
    • Most of those would be arguable (maybe Jacob's wives did plan in advance?), but Benjamin was almost certainly this trope, since his name according to Gen. 35:16-20 means "son of consolation" and refers to the fact that his mother Rachel died giving birth to him. (Other etymologies of the name are "son of my right hand" and "son of happiness"). For that matter, Jacob himself: his name means "Heel" because he was born clutching his twin brother's foot. (Said brother was named Esau, "Hairy," which he was.)
  • In Welsh Mythology, Arianrhod cursed her unwanted son that only she could name him, and successfully avoided doing so for several years. Gwydion tricked her into giving him a name, Lleu Llaw Gyffes (Welsh for "fair-haired skillful hand") after he uses Improbable Aiming Skills to take down a bird.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Comic Chad Daniels poked fun at a hippie couple who intended to invoke this by refusing to choose a name for their baby, and instead letting their newborn's beauty "inspire" them when it emerges from the womb:
    "Really? Well, have fun raising a kid named StinkyUglyWrinklyPurplyShitty!"

    Video Games 
  • This happens in Assassin's Creed II, when main protagonist Ezio Auditore is born.
  • Wakka and Lulu's son in Final Fantasy X-2 doesn't get named unless you complete a sidequest, and if you fail or skip the quest, then Rikku jokes that the kid might go nameless until he hits puberty. Part of the problem is that Wakka keeps suggesting they name the baby Chappu, after his late brother, while Lulu is understandably reluctant to name her son after her ex (as well as feeling the name indicates Wakka can't move on from the past).
    • By the way, if completed, the kid's name is revealed as Vidina, Al Bhed for 'future'. Not bad, considering that a year ago, the father was racist toward the Al Bhed.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Ages/Seasons, there's a farmer, his wife, and their unnamed newborn son. They decide to let you, a complete stranger, name their child for them.
  • In the Story of Seasons games, if you have children, you can only name them on the day they're born (though in Trio of Towns, your spouse will offer suggestions for names that they've already thought of). This applies to the spinoff series Rune Factory as well.
  • In Tomodachi Life, the trope is played oddly. When a baby is born, the parents tell you they have thought about giving the baby a random name. However, it's up to the player to either approve that name, ask them to think of another or make up a completely different name.
  • Yes, Your Grace: Downplayed. The player is given three options to choose from while naming a baby, which implies the Player Character and his wife managed to narrow things down off-screen and were waiting for the baby to be born to make the final call.
  • In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana: Alison and Ed held off on finding a name for their child until after he was born; justified in that as castaways struggling to survive, they had bigger fish to fry, and the baby had to be delivered earlier than intended anyway.

  • Ariel from Drowtales was a case of this, which turns out to be reflective of Quain'tana's parenting style in general. Also justified to a point as Ariel is not actually Quain's daughter but her granddaughter, and until the child was born healthy Quain wasn't sure if she was going to keep her for herself. Also implied to have been the case with Quain's grandson Pup, which Ariel lampshades as showing Quain has no imagination.
    • Though this is subverted moments later when it's revealed that Pup isn't his actual name, and that he and his new baby sister don't even have names at all.
  • The goblins in Goblins have a culture that combines this with Meaningful Name. After goblins are born, the baby is subjected to a naming ceremony led by the clan's shaman. During this ceremony, the shaman will have a vision of the baby's future which inspires a prophetic or descriptive name, such as Complains of Names, Chief, and Fumbles. One shaman had a reputation for being terrible at performing the naming ceremony and wound up giving babies names such as "Go Away I Have A Headache" (shortened to 'Hava') and "Stop The Ceremony I Swallowed A Bug".
  • Played with in Schlock Mercenary. Edward Bunnigus explains the circumstances of her naming; Her parents were too stupid to be allowed to breed, so they had her genetically created, and when she was born they chose to name her Edward, after the ED tag on her (it stood for "exotic dancer" because that's the model of baby they wanted, but they thought Ed was the name the hospital gave her).
  • In The Senkari, Skathi creates Feirefiz, then asks one of her angels to name him.
    Skathi: What should we call it?
  • In this xkcd comic, naming a server versus naming a baby shows importance dissonance.

    Web Original 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Brittnay Margeurite got named by her mother, Saison Margeurite, after Brittnay Matthews. Well, Saison just thought it was a pretty name.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ying and Than, the expecting couple whom Aang helps in The Serpent's Pass, don't name their baby until she is born. The child, Hope, becomes the only character in the show with a non-Asian name.
  • Bojack Horseman:
    • Princess Carolyn adopts a baby porcupine girl at the end of season 5, giving her the placeholder name "Untitled Princess Carolyn Project". In the season 6 episode "The New Client" it's revealed that Princess Carolyn has been so busy juggling her job and looking after her new baby that she still hasn't given the baby a proper name yet. At the very end of the episode, she finally decides to name the baby Ruthie.
    • Princess Carolyn discusses this trope with Diane in the same episode, and Diane casually reveals that her own parents didn't bother to name her until she was four years old.
  • On Chip and Potato, Chip's newborn little sister doesn't have a name when she's born and is named in "Chip's Baby Sister" when Chip calls her "Tot."
  • In "The Baby is Here" from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Daniel's baby sister is just "the baby" up until she's born and a brief bit afterwards until Daniel and Grandpere arrive at the hospital. She is named Margaret on-the-spot when Daniel mentions his favorite picture book, Margaret's Music, and Mr. Tiger recalls a Grandma Margaret that was very dear to him.
  • On Doc McStuffins, the McStuffins family doesn't yet have a name for the baby in the adoption arc when they bring her home, though the birth mother likes "Alanna", so they use that as a middle name. Mr. McStuffins admits also they didn't have names for Doc (Dottie) and Donnie when they were first born either. One of the episodes of the adoption arc, "Baby Names", is about choosing a name. (It's Maya.)
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The fairy baby born in "Fairly Odd Baby" doesn't recieve its name and gender until the final minutes of the episode; it's a boy because it "loves water squirters", and Timmy names him "Poof" because that's what he always says.
  • The Flintstones named Pebbles only as soon as she was born. Ditto for a grown-up Pebbles' own children, Roxy and Chip, in Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby.
  • In Franklin and the Green Knight, when Franklin's baby sister is brought home, Granny Turtle asks if they have a name for her, resulting in a sort of embarrassed mutter from Mr. Turtle about how they "have some ideas." Franklin then brightly says that they should call her Harriet, because Great Aunt Harriet always gives the best presents and the baby is sort of like the perfect present. Everyone agrees.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the Season 6 premiere "The Crystalling", Shining Armor and Cadence's new foal was nameless until the very end (days after her birth), when they name her Flurry Heart based on her involvement in the the gang's latest adventure.
    Twilight Velvet: Cadence, darling, aren't we gonna name the poor little dear, or are we gonna spend our entire visit just calling her "the baby"?
  • In one episode of South Park, Kenny's mom is pregnant. After his Once an Episode death, the baby is born and the parents decide to name the new baby Kenny.
    Mr. McCormick: God, this must be the 50th time this has happened.
    Mrs. McCormick: Fifty-second.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In a flashback, Keith's parents are seen holding him as a newborn. His mother wants to name him "Yorak," an alien name, but the baby's father suggests "Keith" instead. Partially justified as they couldn't know his gender beforehand without accidentally revealing that his mom's an alien.

    Real Life 
  • Queen Victoria's parents wanted to name her Georgina in honor of her uncle, Prince George of Wales, but he vetoed it at the christening. So instead she was christened Alexandrina Victoria after her most high-ranking godfather, Czar Alexander I of Russia, and her mother Mary Louise Victoria, Duchess of Kent (who herself had been christened Marie Louise Victoire in her native Saxe-Coburg).
  • In places that have a high infant mortality rate, it was not uncommon for that culture to adopt a custom of not naming their baby until it was older, just in case it died later on.
  • It's also not uncommon for parents to name a baby as an afterthought if the baby isn't the gender the parent(s) were hoping for and/or the baby turned out to be two (or more) babies, and the parent(s) weren't prepared with multiple names, or if they just weren't flat out aware they were expecting at all.
  • Certain names relate to the date of a child's birth—for example, "Natalia", "Natalie", "Natasha" and "Noel(le)" traditionally were given to children born on Christmas. In many African cultures it was common to name a child a certain name depending on what day of the week (s)he was born.
    • Other names of this type are Pascal, Pascale, Pasquale, Paschalis (Easter) and the French Toussaint (All Saints' Day). The names Dominic, Dominique, Domingo etc. are frequently used for children born on a Sunday, at least by Catholics.
    • Another thing common among Christians of various denominations is to name a child after a saint on whose day it is born or baptized or after one or more of its godparents.
    • King Jaume of Aragon got his name in a somewhat unusual way — when he was born, his mother gave the name of the Apostles to twelve candles, lit them, and waited to see which one would burn out last. St. James' candle lasted the longest, so the prince was named in the saint's honor (Jaume being the Catalan version of James).
  • In Jewish custom, a baby isn't given its name until the 8th day of its life, when it's formally dedicated and boys are circumcised. (In Biblical times, this included going to the temple and offering a sacrifice, though it's naturally a bit different today.) This can actually lead to a subversion, however, since it means the parents have a week after the child's birth (during which time they know the gender and what the baby looks like, thereby taking some of the guesswork out of it) to pick a name in anticipation of the dedication. note 
  • Babies born out of wedlock and given up for adoption were often given the name of the saint whose holiday it was on the day they were born, so their name day coincided with their birthday.
  • Occasionally, a side-effect of painkillers may make the mother loopy enough to accidentally forget her planned names, or try to name the baby after a plant or something random she spots in the room. The staff usually waits for the medication to wear off before letting her near the birth certificate.
  • Foundlings, in older days, might have been named just about anything. In more recent, bureaucratised times, at least in the USA, they are usually given birth certificates with the "placeholder" names of Babyboy and Babygirl registered, pending adoption and renaming by their adoptive parents. Some of the girls retain the name "Babygirl" into adulthood.
  • Pets are often given their names spontaneously, often in response to something - coat markings, a habit, an amusing incident - that's observed when they're selected or brought home by their new owners. As most kinds of pets give birth to litters, not singleton offspring, it's also common for home breeders (and owners who end up with accidental pet pregnancies) to wait until after the birth to start coming up with names, as they don't know how many names they'll actually need until then.
  • Bindi Sue Irwin of Crocodile Hunter fame was named on the delivery table. Her parents had been convinced they were going to have a boy and were surprised when they ended up with a girl. She was named after a crocodile and the family dog.
  • Stories of last-minute line-of-sight medical names like Vagina and Urine are mostly racist folklore, according to this Snopes article.
  • If a baby is premature enough (rare, but it does happen) there is a chance the parents haven’t had time to decide on a name.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Last Minute Baby Name



Manny and Ellie have apparently not decided on what to name their child in the entire 22 months of pregnancy that an elephant-sized animal like the Woolly Mammoth will probably undergo. After the baby mammoth's birth, Manny suggests they name her Ellie, but end up going with Ellie's suggestion of ''Peaches'', which was their code word for Ellie to tell Manny she was going into labor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / LastMinuteBabyNaming

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