How long do you have to name a baby?

  • By: Monica
  • Date: November 30, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Parents are always trying to think of the perfect name for their baby. For some, you know it before you even got pregnant. But what about those who just can’t decide? Can they leave hospital without a name?

In short, you have 10 days to choose a name (first name and surname) for your baby from the day your baby is born. Within 10 days of birth, you have to choose a name, complete a birth certificate, then submit the certificate to your local birth registrar to complete the process. In the event that you complete the certificate in the hospital, the hospital will file it on your behalf.

Can you leave the hospital without naming the baby?

Some people have the names chosen the minute they begin tracking pregnancy symptoms. By the time their due date approaches, everyone knows the gender and name, and often the child’s birthday! However, many people just simply can’t decide and often want to wait until the baby arrives before finally naming them, and even then they need more time to make the decision.

You don’t have to have the full name chosen before you leave the hospital, though many hospitals prefer if you do, and if you have filed paperwork at the hospital they will legally register the birth. You may be asked by the medical staff to complete the birth certificate before you are permitted to leave the facility. If, on the other hand, you require further time, you are not compelled to make a decision while still in the hospital.

While you are permitted to leave the hospital without giving your newborn a name, you should anticipate being contacted by the State Department of Health for failing to complete all of your paperwork.

What happens if I don’t name my baby?

You have up to 10 days from birth to choose the name. If you have not done, the state will file a birth certificate on your behalf. You will receive a birth certificate for “baby boy” or “baby girl” with the mother’s last name if you do not choose a name within ten days of giving birth. Later on, you will be required to file legal documents in order to have it changed to the name you desire.

Baby Girl Baby Boy On Birth Certificate Disadvantages

Although it is not against the law for someone to not have a name, there is no way to identify yourself if you do not have one. This means that you will not be able to obtain a social security card, driver’s license, or passport during your stay. If your child is born without a given name, he or she will never be able to vote, work (legally), or open a bank account. To be sure, if you’re looking to live fully off the grid, these things might not seem so horrible, but there’s also the issue of practicalities to consider. 

Because of common law, which was established via court decisions rather than legislative action, you can legally change your name without obtaining a court order by simply using it in all aspects of your life, regardless of where you live.

In the United States, no matter where a woman gives birth, she is legally compelled to report it to the relevant government organization at some point, which is usually the department of health and human services or the bureau of vital records, depending on the state where she lives. This requires providing the child with a first and last name on the application form. The length of time that the woman has to complete the birth certificate differs from state to state.

Can you change the baby’s name after leaving the hospital?

There are lots of reasons you may wish to change a baby’s name. I did on child number 3. He was given one name at the hospital. A week later, we just decided it wasn’t him and made it his middle name instead.

If the baby arrives early, you might have finally decided the baby’s name and felt rushed in the hospital to do the birth certificate paperwork. However, on getting home, you’ve realized how no one can spell it, pronounce it or someone immediately gives it a horrid nickname. Don’t panic, you can change it!

The specific procedure for changing a baby’s name varies from one county to another. If you have any questions, you should contact your local health department. Make sure to get in touch with the health department in the county where your child was delivered.

If you’re lucky, you won’t have to get a court order to change the name of your child. Many states allow for a name change without the requirement for a court order within the first six to twelve months. As a result, no one will be trapped with the legal name “Baby” since their parents couldn’t come up with a name before they were discharged from the hospital. That said, the Olympian Picabo Street was called baby girl until she was 3 years old as her parents chose never to name her! It was when baby girl needed a passport at age 3 they just chose the local town name!

I’m not sure how I would feel if for several years my parents had just called me baby girl. Perhaps they felt it was empowering to let their child choose their own name. However, I feel one of the joys of parenthood is being able to name your baby. Whether honoring family members or just choosing names you love, giving your kids a name is important!

What if my state requires a court order to change the baby’s name?

This is a little more complicated but still perfectly doable. The change may even necessitate the posting of a public notice of the change in some instances. Consent from both parents is necessary in all cases of parental involvement. In some counties, consent forms are available, however, in others, both parents must be present in front of the judge to sign the document.

Once you have both parents’ consent, contact the local court clerk’s office for advice on whether they insist you have an attorney. If they don’t they can send you the forms (Petition to Change a Minors Name Form), which you can fill in and send back to the clerk with the relevant fees. Once this has been completed just inform the social security office so they can update their records and issue a new SSC.

You may want to see expert advice if you wish to change surnames following a split.

Family Members with Different Surnames

Most parents give the same name to their children, but for each new baby, they can choose a different baby name and surname. For example, they could choose to call all the girl babies by the maternal surname and boy babies by the paternal surname. This is actually growing in popularity. Taking the name of the husband or father is now no longer assumed and you have full name choice.