What’s in a Name, Baby?

Naming your baby is one of the first, and most lasting, decisions you’ll make for your child. Does it suit them? Will they like it? Will it get them cornered on the playground in 2nd grade?

So many tiny things to consider.

Do the initials spell something obnoxious? Will it make them the sixth “Jaden” in their grade? Is that name already associated with something negative in your life? (I disliked a girl in school named Becky and couldn’t bear the thought of naming my daughter Rebecca, which was on our short list, just in case she wanted to be called Becky!)

You also have to think about how it sounds with your last name. My married name is pronounced “-kers.” So if we’d named our son Mark, he would be “Mark-kers.” Joe, Shea, and Bonk were right out. (Though we did have a long debate about the name Grant William, just so we could call him G. Willy Kurz.)

We asked parents to share the unique (and often hysterical!) inspiration behind their baby names.


Dimetria and Azita“I was a Persian-Farsi linguist in the Navy for six years, and I loved the language so much. When I found out I was pregnant, we decided we didn’t want to give our daughter a regular name, because we both have very unique names (Dimetria and his name is Everis). We went thru a lot of African and Hispanic names until I started adding Persian names to our list. We finally landed on Azita Marie. Azita (Ah-zeet-tuh) is a common name that means “princess.” And her nickname is Azi (like Ozzy).”

– Dimetria, 27


“I found out my girlfriend was pregnant on Oscar’s night. I bet her and said, ‘If Leo DiCaprio wins his first Oscar tonight, can we name the baby boy Leo?’ And she said yes. And he won. So my one-year-old son’s name is Leo.”

– Clayton, 22


“About twHolly and Juliannao weeks after my husband and I got married, I had a dream that I had a baby girl. I took the baby and showed her to my former flute teacher, Julianna, and said, ‘See, her name is Julianna too.’ Then the dream got weird as we went to a Mexican restaurant where I ate a giant chimichanga, which I later realized was the baby. Bizarre, yes, but it made the dream memorable!

A few days later I found out I was pregnant (with a honeymoon baby). I knew right away that she would be Julianna. Her middle name, Rebecca, is after my husband’s sister.”

– Holly, 40


“So my oldest son is named Cruz. Back in the ‘80s, there was a soap opera called “Santa Barbara,” and the actor A. Martinez played a character named Cruz. I had a massive crush on A. Martinez; still do! So my husband, who is also Hispanic, has an uncle name Cruz. He was like, ‘How about Cruz?’ I was like, hell yeah! He thinks it was after his uncle, but really I only agreed to it because of my long-time crush on the character that introduced me to A. Martinez.”

– Patrice, 41


Libby and Gem“I wanted my daughter to be able to keep the name I gave her, no matter who she came to be. Her middle name is after my daddy Jim, only to be feminine I spelled it Gem. Her full name is MiKella Gem, but if she were say to be born female and identify as masculine, the name could then be Michael Jim and still hold respect for her given name, as well as my father’s name. Not something most first-time, single parents think of, but I have never been norm!”

– Libby, 31 


“We named our daughter Lillian Jane, after many matriarchs of our families. Lillian is for her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother (on either side of my wife’s family); Jane for my mother and my wife’s adoptive grandma (the woman on the farm next to them growing up, who never had kids, but who took on my wife and her siblings as though they were her own grandkids).

This also makes my daughter’s initials LJL, which she shares with my sister. And, though not intended, Lillian ends up being a nice combination of my wife and my names, Luke and Jill.”

– Luke, 37


Darla, Frank, Frank Jr.“Our son is a junior, so his name is identical to his dad’s, Frank Alvin. The name Frank dates back to his great-grandfather, and predates him with the name Franz going several generations back with Frank Sr.’s Austrian relatives.

Alvin comes from a furniture store owner named Alvin Kroemeke who gave Frank Sr.’s parents a dining room table in exchange for them naming their baby after him. Little did Alvin know he’d end up with two men named after him!

As a bonus, I was named after ‘The Little Rascals.’”

– Darla, 67


“I was ‘nesting’ and wanted to put a finishing touch on the nursery. So I went to Babies-R-Us to get wooden letters to spell out my soon-to-be son’s name for the wall. I wanted to name him EVAN but Babies-R-Us only had the “A” and “N,” so I decided to name him RYAN because they had a “R” and a “Y” in stock.”

– Kimberly, 39




Do you have a funny, touching, or unique story about how you named your little one? Share it with us on Facebook or Instagram with #babyation.

Natalie Kurz

Natalie is a writer and editor who published her first piece in 10th grade (in a national literary magazine, but her mother says it still counts). In her spare time, she's a parent to two kids (10 and 6) who provide her with daily fodder for her writing. And an added excuse to drink wine and eat chocolate.