Baby names

How we named our baby

From Twitter to Shakespeare, here's how some parents found baby name inspiration.

By Today's Parent
smiling baby in towel Photo: iStock

“We let Twitter name our baby!” With boys’ names, I was at a loss. We went through all the books and magazines and nothing jumped out at us. My friend suggested we throw it out on Twitter. From that came this idea to create a whole contest online with a playoff-style voting process to pick his name. Hundreds of names were sent in, and my husband and I ultimately picked the top eight that went into the brackets. Every week, one name was pitted against another. Obviously there were some names I preferred over others, so it was exciting and a little bit stressful—I wanted the names I loved to move on. In the end, we just love his name: Calder Allan William Reid. My dad won the Calder Cup, which is the trophy in the American Hockey League, and my great-uncle won the Calder Trophy, which is for NHL rookie of the year. Hockey is a big part of our lives, and it suits him perfectly. It’s amazing that a crazy idea turned into one of the best things we’ve ever done. —Meaghan Mikkelson (member of the women’s national hockey team), Calgary

“We let our first kid name the baby” When I was halfway through my second pregnancy, my husband and I asked Evan, our then four-and-a-half-year-old, what he’d name the baby. “If it’s a girl, Princess Leia,” he said. “If it’s a boy, Judah Maccabee.” This wasn’t surprising. He was really into Star Wars at the time, and Judah Maccabee is one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history—he’s the hero in the story of Hanukkah, and it was right after the holidays. When we found out our baby was a boy, my husband and I realized we actually love the name Judah. We couldn’t believe it, but we were going to let our preschooler choose our baby’s name! Evan was thrilled and so proud when his little brother, Judah Grey, was born. —Kim Shiffman, Toronto

Shakespeare helped us out” I was an English major and I still love Shakespeare, and Cressida was a name I always liked. My husband and I couldn’t agree on girls’ names, and when a friend suggested Cassandra, it reminded me of Cressida. Cressida wasn’t in any of our name books—even ones that listed Shakespearean options. Naming our second was harder. How does one compete with Cressida? It took us over a week after she was born to decide. (I don’t recommend that!) Shakespeare once again offered up an answer: Imogen from his play Cymbeline. —Shiralee Hudson Hill, Toronto

“We made my grandmother smile” I always looked up to my grandmother Ruby—she was talented at everything she did, and she was the kindest, sweetest woman you could ever meet. I was seven months pregnant when she was moved into a hospice. I knew she was holding on for something. When I found out we were having a girl, I went to visit and showed her the ultrasound video and let her know we were going to name the baby Ruby. She could no longer speak, but she looked at me with a grin I will never forget. My grandmother took a turn for the worse the next day, and three days later she passed. —Jessica Rice, Ancaster, Ont.

“We used the name I was supposed to have!” My daughter’s name is Aubrey Rose. My mother and father were, in fact, going to name me Aubrey Claire, but the nurses kept calling me Audrey. My mom got frustrated and went with her backup, Rebecca. My mom and I were sitting in my postpartum room, and hospital staff kept asking if I had picked a name yet. I eventually said, “Yep, it’s Aubrey—always has been!” The man who wheeled me out when I left the hospital said, “Oh Audrey, what a beautiful name!” (Face palm.)—Becky Cooper, St. Peters, Missouri


“Three is my lucky number!” I chose the name Nia for my daughter. Her grandmother’s name is Ina and her father’s name is Ian. So we have three generations of three-lettered names all using the same three letters. —Meaghan Spence, Cobourg, Ont.

“We named her after my favourite place” Our daughter’s name is Kaia. Hawaii is a special place for me and my husband: We got engaged on the Big Island and honeymooned in Maui. I honestly feel like I am destined to live there at some point. The Hawaiian meaning of Kaia is “the sea; restful place.” I sailed around the world in grade 11, so with our love of Hawaii and the fact that the sea is important to me, this beautiful name was perfect for our daughter. —Karen May-Kim, Whitby, Ont.

“I wanted to pay tribute to my brother” When I was three months pregnant, my older brother committed suicide. I was devastated. I have an extensive history of pregnancy loss (six previous losses), and I was worried my heartache would cause something to happen to this baby I wanted so badly. As the months passed and our daughter continued to grow, it felt as if my brother was protecting both of us. It was really important for me to honour his memory. When our daughter arrived three weeks early and absolutely perfect, I knew my brother was with us, ensuring her safe arrival. Her name is Paisley Bryce, and I’m so proud that she carries her uncle’s middle name. Not only is her name beautiful, but it is filled with so much love from someone who will be with her always. —Kari Erickson, Vernon, BC

“It started as a joke” When my husband, Brett, and I started dating, I was studying theatre in university. Almost every weekend I was dragging him along to a show, most of them very bizarre. Just when I thought he was going to give up on ever enjoying live theatre, I took him to see The Importance of Being Earnest. He enjoyed the play so much we joked that we would have to name our first-born after the playwright, Oscar Wilde, as a thank you. When we found out seven years later that our first baby was going to be a boy, we knew we had the perfect name! Our “Oscar” joke had lasted the years, and when he was born we knew it was exactly the right name. Oscar or “Ozzy” is now three and a half, and we’re still thrilled with our choice. —Andrea Ferguson, Mississauga, Ont.

A version of this article appeared in our June 2016 issue with the headline, "How we named our baby," p. 72.

This article was originally published on May 31, 2016

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