how long do you have to name a baby

How Long do You Have to Name a Baby?

In November 20, 2020

Sometimes choosing the perfect baby name can be quite a struggle! Do you name your new addition after your mother-in-law? What about your grandpa’s namesake? Some cultures and religious observations mean your new baby won’t be named for several months after it’s born. So how long do you have to name a baby once they are born? Let’s take a look at some of the naming rules surrounding birth certificate documentation, below.

How Long Do You Have to Name a Baby?

The decision on what to name your baby can be a tough one. Some parents know what they’d like to name their new addition the moment they learn they’re expecting, while other parents like to wait until they’ve met their little one to make a concrete decision. 

There was a time, not all that long ago, where parents could leave the hospital without having named their infant. This led in some cases, to parents never following up and assigning a name to their child legally, or by putting their chosen name on the birth certificate itself. This occurrence wasn’t common, and adults that have recently discovered they don’t have an assigned name on their birth certificate will have to go through the process to amend their official birth certificates legally. This process can be time-consuming, and in some states can cost the birth certificate holder fees for processing. 

naming a baby right away
Naming a baby right away can be a difficult decision! If giving birth in a medical facility, you have a few days to decide once you meet your new addition. If you’re able, having a list of names ready that you like ready to go, in advance of giving birth, may help you decide on the perfect name once your baby arrives!

In more recent years, the rules and regulations surrounding birth certificates and naming have become a bit more strict. In most situations, parents who give birth in a hospital or birth center, have until they’re ready to be discharged from the medical institute to name their baby. This typically means you have 48-72 hours to choose a name and fill out the appropriate birth certificate forms. This isn’t the case of course, for parents who give birth at home. Parents that give birth at home are required to submit their new baby’s birth certificate and social security card forms themselves. This action is normally taken by the facility where they gave birth. 

In some rare cases, parents are able to leave the hospital with their new little one without having put a name on the birth certificate paperwork. In situations like this, parents can expect a phone call from the State Department of Health letting you know your paperwork is incomplete and that you’ll need to decide on a name as soon as possible. Not choosing a name for your baby can also impact your ability to obtain a social security card for your new baby, as well.

Can I Just Change My Baby’s Name if I Decide I Don’t Like It?

If you’re a parent who would like to meet and spend time with your new baby before assigning them a name, taking a few days to decide might be a great way to help you know them first. But if you’re backed into a corner and you’re not 100% sure you want to decide on a name, you can always go through the birth certificate amendment process once you’ve decided. 

Naming a baby is a big decision! Be sure you take your time coming up with the perfect name, but give yourself a timeline to ensure you get it done without creating more hassle for you and your little one. Once you’ve decided on a name and the birth certificate forms have been submitted, remember you’ll still need to obtain physical official copies of your baby’s new birth certificate. You can do that by visiting the vital records office near where your baby was born, or by visiting and ordering conveniently right from your own home!

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