30 Parents Answer The Question 'How Did You Choose Your Baby's Name?'

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 

My parents have told me the story of how I got my name about a zillion times. They were still pretty newly married when they found out my mom was pregnant, and they were in their very early twenties. They had never really discussed baby names or even having kids, but when they found out I was on the way, my mom was absolutely certain I was a girl. They chose the name Katie almost immediately. Nothing else. Just Katie.

When I was born and it was time to fill out my birth certificate information, my five-letter nickname name started to sound like it wasn’t “a real name.” They talked for about a minute, and decided I should be Katherine, just in case I wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor or something that needed a “grown-up name.” My mom said, “How about Katherine Elizabeth? Then she can choose to be Katherine, Katie or Kate E.”


That was that. My maiden name ended up being twenty-five letters long, which was tough when I had to learn it in kindergarten! All those letters, and nobody has ever called me anything but Katie.

I’ve always loved the story of how I got my name. I just love talking about names in general. It’s really fascinating to me to see how people got their names and how they named their babies.

If you like interesting naming stories like I do, read on. Here are thirty good ones.


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Before my husband and I met, we both wanted our first son to be called Caleb. Our first child was a girl, and we chose the name Callie for her. When our second was a boy, we used Caleb as planned. That kind of established a pattern. We have had four more boys since then—Canaan, Camden, Caelan and Cash. –Amanda P.

Asher means blessing. He was born close to Thanksgiving, so I wanted a name that meant thankful, and that’s what I found.—Amanda P.

As a Southern woman, I love a monogram. My oldest daughter had a wealth of monogrammed clothes, bags, hats, you name it. When our second was another girl, I decided I was going to get some use out of all that beautiful stuff again. I named her Ava Layne because I loved it–and also so she could wear Amy Lynn’s personalized clothes! –Jenn P.

We chose our son’s name before we even got engaged. Henry Thomas. (Not after the kid from ET! We just loved it.) Years later when I was actually pregnant, we threw around a few other choices, but in the end, he was always going to be Henry, and it suits him perfectly. –Kate C.

My husband chose our daughter’s first name, and I chose her middle name, Wren. When we were trying to get pregnant with her (she was our fifth pregnancy, but our third child), a wren built a nest in the wreath on our front door and laid five eggs. We watched five babies hatch and eventually fly away. It felt poetic to me. I knew if my fifth pregnancy brought us a daughter, I’d name her after those wren babies because they gave me a little hope. –Katherine G.

After one biological baby and a struggle with fertility, we decided to adopt to complete our family. Two weeks after bringing home our second adopted infant, I realized that the tummy bug I had been battling for a week or so MIGHT be something else. I took a test, and sure enough, I was pregnant with number four. I held my newborn daughter in one arm and a positive pregnancy test in the other, and all I could do was laugh. That baby’s middle name is Isaac, which means laughter. –Jocelyn T.

My husband had a baby girl in his 20’s that was born at 6 months and didn’t make it. That baby and our Mila share the middle name Nicole. —Lauren M.

Our rainbow babies are partially named after their late sister. Her name was Elaine Christine, so we have an Eden Elaine and an Evelyn Christine. Also, all of our kids’ names have a strong meaning. Eden’s name means place of delight, and Evelyn’s name means longed for. After losing a baby before them, those names just fit perfectly. – Caila S.

I’m the youngest of 6. Two of my older brothers passed away in infancy. All of us have names that start with S. My living siblings are Susan, Sean and Shelley, and the brothers we lost were Seth and Stephen. I guess my mom just really loved S names. –Scott C.

My late father-in-law’s name was Clarence, but everybody always called him Cob. We wanted to name one of our sons in his honor, but didn’t want to use Clarence … so we turned to his nickname, added a Y, and got Coby. – Rita T.

I watched a really awful Nic Cage movie when I was a teenager called “Wicker Man,” and the little girl that Nic Cage’s character was trying to find was named Rowen. I instantly fell in love with the name. When my husband and I found out we were having a little girl, I told him her name had to be Rowen. Luckily, he laughed so much at the Nic Cage story that it won him over. The best part of the name though is that I never looked up the name meaning until we settled on it. Rowen means little red head. And she has lived up to her namesake with beautiful red curly hair. —Maggie L.

When I was in high school, I met a preschooler named Irie and thought that it was a cool name that I hadn’t heard before. I had dreams about my baby several times over the next few years–even though my baby appeared at several different ages, it was always a daughter, and her name was always Irie. When I got married, I got pregnant seven times and each pregnancy ended within a few days of finding out. We sought medical help and had all kinds of testing done, but no cause was found. We decided to put getting pregnant on the back burner and pursue our foster parenting license. We officially became licensed to foster on October 7th, 2020 and became foster parents to a beautiful little girl. Unknowingly, we also conceived again the day we were approved. Our Irie is due June 30th, 2021. — Siel S.

My daughter is named after the town we vacation in. My husband and I were watching TV and they named the baby after their favorite place. We joked that Hammonassett was too long of a name, but we could name her after the town the park is in. She’s named after Madison, CT which is named after Dolly Madison. – IG @jpadd

Loved the name Olivia from the moment I heard it. My mom randomly suggested it, too, so my little brown-haired girl is Olivia. Now that’s a simple story, but wait for it… She’s actually Olivia Benson like [Mariska Hargitay’s character] from “Law and Order: SVU.” I thought after she was born that the show would get canceled at some point. Oops. She’s 15, and she still gets asked if she is named after the show. She handles it with grace. It annoys her more when they ask about Taylor Swift’s cat–which is also named Olivia Benson! –Becky

I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad who passed away when I was 11. I especially loved “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” My favorite character was first commander William Riker. I remember thinking how much I loved his name and how I wanted a little boy named William someday. I told my husband when we got married our first boy had to be William! Luckily, he loved it, and now we have our own little William, who is spicy, sweet, strong, confident and smart; everything I ever dreamed and the perfect embodiment of his space traversing namesake. I love watching him grow, and I can’t wait to share Star Trek with him. –Mary

We planned to only have three kids but pregnancy #3 resulted in twins. We named the youngest twin Cai (Welsh for rejoicing) Ephraim (Hebrew for fruitful) because we were more fruitful than originally planned. –Leanne

My 14-year-old is named Emily Leonor Anberlyn. I was 21, and her dad had always wanted Emily. Since I found it boring, I decided to add our favorite band at the time, Anberlin– but misspelled to be different. I added Leonor after my great-grandmother for good measure. Her ss card is long! BUT she loves it and I love her, as well as the name Emily now, so all’s well. –Amy

My husband and I married somewhat later in life, and I have PCOS, so we figured conceiving might not come very easily. After five years of trying, we had more or less given up hope. You can imagine our shock at discovering I was not only pregnant, but four months along! When our son was born, I was nearly 40 and the hubster was 43. We named our boy Ian Michael…Michael is my husband’s middle name, and Ian means God’s gracious gift. We most certainly felt that our boy was a precious gift straight from heaven and wanted a name that would remind us every day. —Rachel S.

When I was 14 sitting in English class almost asleep my freshman year of high school, my teacher mentioned that her mom’s name was Halle. I instantly perked up because I had never heard the name before, and I fell in love. Twelve years later, I had my first child, a daughter, Halle Fayth. When Halle was two, we ran into that former teacher. She asked my daughter’s name, and when I told her, she began to cry. I told her that I remembered her story from years ago, and that moment in her class was when I named my future daughter. –Kris

We HUNTED for a name that would reflect both of our cultures. My husband is Indian American, and I’m Italian American. We settled on Kiran Vincent for our first son. Kiran is an Indian spelling of his name, but there’s also a Catholic St. Kieran, plus Vincent after his grandfather. For our middle son, we just picked a name we both liked, Isaac. As it turns out, Isaac means laughter, and that is the PERFECT name for our goofball middle baby. Our daughter is named Lena… it’s a shorter version of her great-great-grandmother, Nicolena.— IG @lwsathees


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My wife worked at our local Jewish Community Center at the time. She began searching for names when I was about five months pregnant. She chose their names from a Hebrew baby name book, so we have Lera and Aviah. –Nikkya H.

I knew I was having twins. My stepfather’s mom used to drink Kendall Jackson wine, and staring at the bottle I said, “If I have a boy and a girl, I like those names.” When we found out we were having two boys, we decided to each pick a name. I stuck with Jackson from the wine bottle, and my husband chose Van for the other twin. –Kelly G.

My mom lost her first baby at nine months pregnant due to preeclampsia. She said after that loss, everything was grey. When they found out they were expecting me, they didn’t want to pick a name until they were sure they were going to have me. When my mom knew for sure, she said the grey lifted. That’s why they named me Sunshine. –Sunshine O.

I was at work and overheard the girls gabbing about how in love they were with this guy Aiden. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE that name!” I later found out they were talking about Aidan from Sex and the City. —Shelley T.

My husband was really pushing for Walter for our second son. I tried so hard to love it, but it just wasn’t for me. I used to nanny for a kid whose middle name was Walker, and I always loved it. I suggested it as a compromise, and my husband was on board. He let me choose the middle name, and that’s how we ended up with our Walker Rhys. – Kate C.

I’m the seventh of eight kids. Numbers five and six are a set of twins that were born just ten months after number four. My mother didn’t know they were twins until they were born, and she joked that in order to pay for all these kids, they would have to rob Peter to pay Paul. That’s how my twin brothers Pete and Paul got their names. –Jeanne S.

My daughter’s name is Elise Kendra. Elise is my middle name, and my husband loved it so much that before we even got married, he said that would be our daughter’s name. Kendra is my sister’s middle name. I never got to meet her because she was my parents first child and passed away in surgery at 8 days old. –Carli J.

Before we were pregnant with our first child, we knew we were going to name our first son Jackson Christopher. Jackson after my dad, Jack, and Christopher after my husband. We hung out with some friends, and they said they were going to name their son Jackson. We said, “We’ll race you!” We both got pregnant within weeks. We both didn’t find out what we were having. We both gave birth on September 28. To girls. We had our second child first. A boy named Jackson. Their second was named Ben. –Lillian B.

I was about 4 months pregnant with my first and didn’t know the sex yet. I was looking through a parenting magazine, and there was a Desitin ad with two babies in diapers– a boy and a girl. Above the boy I wrote Brayden Vincent and above the girl I wrote Abigail Elise. I fell in love with both of the names before I knew what I was having or if there would be more. I ended up having a boy followed by a girl. Brayden and Abigail. –Emily D.

My husband and I chose to not know the gender of either of our kids, so I went into the hospital to have my firstborn with a Post-It in my pocket with three boy names and three girl names on it. Just first names. We named her Charlotte, but forgot to come up with a middle name. I was experiencing new baby euphoria, and my husband and I were so in love with our new baby that we spontaneously chose LOVE as her middle name. Charlotte Love is graduating high school in two weeks, then heading to college, and she loves her middle name. –Laura S.

Choosing a name is such a personal thing. You get to decide what the world will call a person for the rest of their life. That’s a big responsibility! There are as many naming stories as there are people on earth, and every single one is special in its own way.

Stories may be edited for grammar, length and clarity.

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