Choosing baby names

Isn’t naming a child such an important decision? I remember when Winston was born we both felt such pressure to choose the right name for him. One that not only suited him, but his parents too. We were going to be a family now – he needed a name that tied us together and one that felt natural when we said it. I’m also quite adamant that I want either their first or middle name to be a Bible name – something that Jared doesn’t feel strongly about, but is happy with.

We never set out to have unusual names – that was never a priority. Infact, I didn’t realise how unusual our children’s names were until people kept commenting on them. There are so many very common names that I love, but my very favourites just don’t seem to be very common. I think it has a lot to do with association, which I imagine is a total nightmare if you are a teacher! Jared loves historical names, so that plays a small part too.

The name Winston wasn’t even on our short list for a baby name, it was one that Jared and I joked about whenever we had a conversation about names. Winston’s name was going to be Toby. It’s a name I had loved for years and was desperate to use for our new baby boy. After a couple of days of ‘trying’ to call him Toby, we both decided it didn’t suit him. I asked Jared what he thought about calling him Winston, and Jared said that when he held Winston for the first time he said: “Hello Winston” in his head – something he didn’t tell me until afterwards. So that was that.

Rufus is a name that I have loved for years…since watching Gossip Girl as a student, that is. Rufus was the kind, steady, fatherly figure that somehow managed to always be lovely. It is also a Bible name, which made it a win-win for me. I added it to my mental name list for when I had children, and thankfully it is one Jared liked too. Rufus came out into the world looking like a Rufus, so we named him straight away. So yes – he is named after Rufus from Gossip Girl, but it’s not something I admit if I can help it (!)

Otto is a name I’ve encountered a few times – it is the name of Anne Frank’s father, a recent book I read had an Otto in it and the boys have a book called ‘Otto the Book Bear’. Enough encounters to make it memorable and the few other names we considered (Albert, Ezra and Marvin) didn’t seem to suit him. I said to Jared when he was first born that I thought he was a Charlie, but once his swelling had gone down, he didn’t look like a Charlie any more. Does that sound weird? We decided to start calling him ‘Otto’ and then decided to stick with it after a couple of days.

I still have the handwritten list of baby names I wrote when I was pregnant with Winston. I’ve kept it safe and added to it over the years. My parents decided to take it in turns when choosing names (which I think is very brave!) and I know lots of people that name their baby before he or she arrives, but we prefer to wait to see our little ones face.

How did you choose a name for your baby? Did you choose it before they were born? Or do you have to try it out for a few days?

Our ‘technique’ (if you can call it that) does seem rather haphazard!


E xx



  1. 4th May 2016 / 8:01 pm

    Ah I love this, I didn’t even realise Ru was Rufus and it’s even better that he is named after Gossip Girl 🙂 I like all your names, and we have been the same as you and wait until we see them. We had a few picked out for Lucas, I wanted Lucas even though James wasn’t as keen but once he arrived he chose that, it just seemed right. I’ve had a few people tell me Arthur and Brandon are unusual because one is old fashioned and one more modern but they are pretty much the only names we could agree on! I like names that are a little different anyway xx

    • Esther
      6th May 2016 / 8:06 pm

      I loved Gossip Girl so much! I know exactly what you mean about ‘feeling right’. It is so important isn’t it? Arthur and Brandon are very different to each other but sound so good when they are said together. I particularly love Arthur though! xx

  2. Jeni
    4th May 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Both my boys names were chosen before they were born. Our first born was always Levi we never hesitated with that name. Whereas our newest arrival i had several names I liked Edward”teddy”, Ezekiel “Zeke” but in the end he was Freddie. love all your boys names

    • Esther
      6th May 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Lovely, lovely names Jeni and thank you xx

  3. 4th May 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Your names are some of my favourites in the blogging world. I love ones that are a little rarer than average and ones that you remember as well as suiting the children perfectly. We chose Athena at about 6 months pregnant. I was looking on my phone for baby names and without even seeing the name, Athena came into my head. Hubby said it was beautiful and it was the first name he’d actually had an opinion on. I had wobbles though, I thought it was too different and chose a more common middle name – Kathryn – to try and keep her grounded. Troy had his name purely because it was the only name we could find that fit our strict criteria and went with Athena. If he had been a girl he would have been Celeste and I am still a little sad I will never have a daughter called Celeste! We are definitely done on the baby front x

    • Esther
      6th May 2016 / 8:00 pm

      I love the name Athena, Donna. I think it is so pretty and I love Celeste too. I’m a High School Musical fan, so you can’t go wrong with Troy either 😉 I love that Athena just popped into your head – meant to be! xx

  4. 5th May 2016 / 8:26 am

    I love all of your boys’ names, I particularly like Otto. One of my girls has an unusual name, she’s Evelia. Everyone calls her Lia though and it really suits her.

    • Esther
      6th May 2016 / 8:02 pm

      That is such a lovely name Nat! and one I’ve not heard of before. The important thing is that it suits them. I really didn’t like my name growing up, but now I love it! xx

  5. 5th May 2016 / 11:02 am

    Esther very cool! I love Albert, Charles Bernard and Gordon! Never had a bit but people think my taste in names is weird! When I named Sylvia. “Sylvia” no one liked it except of course my nanan Sylvia and her family! Some even said it was old fashioned and ugly and some nasty comments. It finally grew on people but I think at the end of the day it’s up to us and I love your choices and knowing where they come from is cool too! Ang xx

    • Esther
      6th May 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Otto and Albert were our two absolute favourites this time around. You know I love Sylvia and it suits her so so much. I love that it’s a family name too xx

  6. 9th May 2016 / 9:47 pm

    Love all your boys names! unusual is what we go for too really. I liked Albert too, and Ezra too for gender neutral name. I have a huge list of names boys, girls, and unisex and i’m sad I wont get to use them all now! I think the easiest we named was Phoenix as we had it for boy or girl! the others we settled when we looked at their little faces! E took a little longer as we also had Nico, Rudi for boy or girl and others too! SOOOO many boys names this time for me but a little girl flew out hence taking ages to name her! 😉 xx

    • Esther
      13th May 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Thanks Nat. Your names are amazing! I’ve never heard of some of them before. I think it’s good to take a bit of time – I think it’s hard to change once you’ve told everyone! xx

  7. 11th May 2016 / 9:42 pm

    I’m with your method and definitely about waiting. Although I had no choice because while I had a mammoth list (well, mammoth of girls names, and only 2 boys names) ready, the OH refused to discuss any until the baby arrived. So 10 minutes afterwards, I said we needed to talk names, I said the only 2 I had found that I liked, he suggested George which was ok for a middle name but I’m not a fan for a first name), and luckily he liked Nathaniel (over Oliver which was just too popular). We didn’t end up using George anyway, because I went to register him and the OH hadn’t made a decision about it when I mentioned an alternative, then wouldn’t answer the phone when I was there, so I ended up calling him something else.

    N was named after a boy who played trombone in an orchestra I played in at 6th form and fancied! And his nickname I first heard in a Mills and boon book. I can match you (and probably outplay you) on the embarrassing reasons for a name!

    • Esther
      13th May 2016 / 8:58 pm

      I love your technique! and you are so brave deciding on the full name on the day of registering him. The funny this is that I called my hubs (thankfully he answered) on the way to registering our first and we confirmed his middle name moments before. Talk about last minute too!

      I so laughed at your second comment – brilliant!!! xx

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