Baby Names.. How did you choose?

I created this post on my personal blog but it got me thinking about how names are chosen by different cultures around the world. We would love to hear your comments and suggestions for boys and girls names and any traditions that you considered when naming your children. You never know - you may just discover a beautiful new name too!


One of my friends is pregnant with her first baby and she's struggling to come up with a name that she loves. She knows that she's having a boy and she has a few names that she kind of likes but nothing that's blowing her away.
When I was pregnant with No1 son I had my names done and dusted by the time I was sixteen weeks. 

photo: my daughter Biba ages 9 months

Ethan for a boy and Polly for a girl. 
I'm not sure where I plucked Polly from but back then Ethan was a pretty rare name in the UK. I fell in love with it back in 1988 thanks to the US comedy drama Thirty Something.
Thankfully I had a boy and Polly never saw the light of day.

No 2 son was always going to be Sonny. I love his name and he loves it too (he informed me yesterday when we were discussing this very topic.)

My girls weren't so straight forward and I toyed with so many names before settling on Biba. I LOVE her name. It's original, quirky and cool and it really suits her but by the time you get to No 4 things start to get tricky.

Poor FunnyGirl... In the absence of a name we called her Spud and it kind of stuck. When my husband went off to register her birth I still had no idea what he was going to choose. We'd toyed with Coco, Betty, Kitty,  Kai and at least ten others but she was Spud to us!

He chose Betty and it really suits her. My mum's sister's called Betty and so is one of my cousins so I guess that it's become a bit of a family tradition.

How did you choose your children's names and do you have any great boy's names you can suggest for my friend? Come on be creative - we want to hear all of your favourites. Please do say where in the world you are from too.

Please leave your comments by midnight (GMT) on 20/04/11 and we'll pick one at random and send you one of our beautiful knitted cotton Stokke® Xplory® blankets as a thank you.


58 comments

  1. Vanessa Edwards8 April 2011 at 11:31

    Our boy was picked as it was a family name and we spelt it the traditional way as well. For number 2 we found it was a girl and it was so much harder in the end we found it in a book and it stuck.

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  2. Funny one as my youngest nephew actually chose my little boys name, he was only 6 at the time and said i like Reece and i said i did too and that was it he has been reece ever since had he been a girl he was gonna be destiny after my late grandad des

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  3. Hi Sian!

    My little boy is due on May 9th and we are calling him Jasper Raymond. If he'd been a girl we'd have been trying to convince everyone that Tigerlilie was a perfectly acceptable name. Jasper however is named for my Dad who passed away last April. His name was Raymond, which I think is a little old fashioned and I know he wasn't totally in love with it himself - particularly as he constantly had cold callers trying to be friendly by calling him Ray.. So the Jasper part comes in because he and all his forebears were fishermen. The last 3 boats his family owned were named from Revelations in the Bible - Crystal Sea, Silvery Sea and the Jasper Sea. Jasper was chosen by my Grandfather because it is named as the foundation stone of paradise, and coincidentally when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we'd been doing 8 months of a year long study of Revelations in our local church. So the name seemed perfect! My little Jasper Raymond, which means Treasurer and Advice/Protector. St Raymond is also the patron saint of midwives and expectant mothers!

    Sorry for long essay!
    Heather Manson (im on the facebook group!)

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  4. Well I am a keen gardener so we had to name our daughter after a plant. I collect carnivorous plants but the Name Nepenthes just wasn't quite right. We called her DaisyMae Bee. The Bee because it's a gardeners best friend heehee

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  5. I like the name Aiden but there's way too many Aidens/Jaydens/Haydens, especially in Asia. Thus, hubby came up with Lyndon as a compromise which is great as there's not many Lyndons around!

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  6. I have 4 children. It was easy with the first, I had the pick of the whole book. We named him Callum James, with our second we plumped for Harrison for a boy and Niamh for a girl. It was a girl, so it was Niamh Angel, Angel comes from my husbands mothers name 'Angela' who passed away when he was small. Then on our third we stuck with Harrison as we still liked it and Gabriella Rose. We had another girl so Gabriella Rose it was, Rose being my grandmothers name. Lastly we had a boy, we stuck with Harrison on our list but a few months before my cousin had a boy and named him Harry and we didn't want to be too similar as we probably would have shortened it anyway. So we had our list, but couldn't choose! It was going to be Ethan but he arrived and didn't look like an Ethan, lol! So he was nameless for a week and we then decided on William, after my Uncle who had passed away and David as his middle name after his grandfather. Its so difficult though, especially when others like to give their opinions too but we got there in the end and every child's name, not just my children's names, are lovely in their own unique way. :-)

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  7. My baby's name is Celia. My husband and I agree with it, it is very difficult chosing "the correct" name, a wonderful non-common one :-)

    Laura, from Spain

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  8. I'm a Finn and my husband is British, we live in the UK. We named our baby boy Otto - this is an old and traditional Finnish name but also international (it's German, and also known here), it's short and easy to pronounce and write, looks and sounds cool, my husband also thinks it's a strong name, also it's quite unique over here! For me it was important that the name is Finnish! Overall we love that name and have received lots of compliments :D

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  9. I loved an Australian TV show called Macleods Daughters and they had a girl called Regan on there and l fell in love with the name!

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  10. My baby girl is called Jessica. It's what I told everyone to call me as a child! I still love the name. I love Charlie and Oliver for boys. I'm in Leicestershire btw, recently moved from Yorkshire.

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  11. I always wanted jay to be my sons name but his name is jayden hehe
    I chose his name by not letting them rhyme with anything nasty or mean and jay or jayden doesnt rhyme with anything nasty so kids cant tease him at skool like i was wen i was younger.
    :) yvette sawa:)
    Couldnt figger out that comment as so find me on facebook yvette.germana@hotmail.com

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  12. Our baby (gender unknown) is due in June this year and the name decision has been quite a difficult one for a couple of reasons; My family are Bangladeshi and my wife is English so we are looking for names that transcend both cultures and languages. After a lot of research we have found that the best way to achieve this is to pick Persian or Hebrew names as ultimately both cultures have roots in these, this has helped us narrow the search somewhat! Secondly, my wife took my name when we married but unfortunately there are no boys in her family to pass her maiden name on to, this is quite something considering her Grandma had 11 children - you would think that the name would pass for a long long time that being the case - poor Grandma! So, we have decided that we will use her maiden name as a middle name, it also means there's one less name to worry about - phew! I will share the names with you in July but for now they are a little surprise for our family :-)

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  13. We were trying to come up with a girl's name.
    I sat down infront of the TV with the baby name book in my hand.
    Abby, Abigail, Alexandra... nothing we both like.
    I decide to give reading a moment and cast my eyes to the TV, it was on the show, Charmed.
    I watched a scene with Alyssa Milano in it.
    Then an ad break gave me more time to the names book.
    My eyes immediatley fell on the name Alyssa. I got goosebumps. It was almost like a sign! Had to see what hubby thought though...
    Yep, he liked it.
    So she was destined to be Alyssa. Emily was chosen as her middle name as it was her recently departed Great Grandmother.

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  14. Both of our kids' name can be convert into chinese name/word!!
    Kieran - Kai ren (in chinese)
    Caitlin - Kai Ling (in chinese)

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  15. We chose the name of our unborn daughter based on the meening and originality. We do not want our daughter to be one of fifteen children on her school called that way. The name represents a beautiful, smart en strong woman. That is wat we want for our little girl in the future.

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  16. we named oure little girl Melissa aysenur, Melissa because its a nice name, ayse from her grandmother in Turkey, it also means moon light<3 and nur means perfect. so perfect moon light it is:)
    carina- Norway

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  17. We went with Phoebe because it was a family name on both sides. In fact, we learned that there are a total of 4 Phoebes in our not too distant family tree (never met any of them, all passed on). We chose Noelle for her middle name because it is a happy word and aesthetically looks good with her first name. Also, because it means "first birth" (like in Christ's birth), and she is our first birth! So Phoebe Noelle it is!
    -Ariane

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  18. First off, let me say that I started a baby name list when I was about 16 years old and I still have the list (needless to say, most of the names on the list are hideous and I wouldn't even think of using them now - hee hee). I have twins, and didn't know ahead if they would be boys or girls. I wanted names that were trendy, but not too "out there." We had two boys names picked right away. Hudson and Jett - I've always REALLY loved those two names. For girls names, we really struggled, I couldn't think of any names that I was in love with. We finally came up with Emerson and Kenzie, which were both names that I have come to like a lot. We ended up having one girl and one boy, so named them Hudson and Emerson and I love both of them!!!

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  19. We have a son - Leo Bruno. I wanted a name that is international (me having a name nobody in the UK could either pronounce right or get the gender of - and it's annoying in emails when you get a Mr. just because...). So Leo was an idea my hubby got right at the beginning and it stuck ever since - the Bruno bit is funnily what made it quirky for me, but also gave it a sense of strength (plus it's Leo's grandfather's name and even though he passed away I have a strange relationship with him - he is my husband's father btw).
    For a girl I am strangely in love with the name Una...

    I love Biba - in my mother tongue it's a cute way of calling a little animal, like a caterpillar, we even have a nursery rhyme about a Biba! ... but yes, I love it!

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  20. We had a girls name sorted from very early on only to find out we were expecting a boy at the 20 week scan! We found it really hard to think of a first name my hubby and I liked but the middle names were easy - Robert (husbands Dad's name) Joseph (my late grandfather's name). In the end we have settled for Nathan as the first name. It means 'gift from god' which we feel is so very appropriate as not only was I told 12 years ago that it was very unlikely that I could have children but we were involved in a serious head on collision in 2009 which has left me with serious back problems and on stupid amounts of very strong medication. The fact that he is still here is amazing. Waters broke 3 weeks ago and we are trying to keep him cooking til 36 weeks - so far so good - Nathan Robert Joseph Poole will certainly be one very special gift from god when he arrives! :-)

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  21. My first child is a boy and I always loved the name Alexander but since his name is Alexander John everyone calls him AJ. I have a litte girl and that took awhile to find a name that we like but at the end my husband had no say and I choose Chloe. I now a 4 month baby boy and my husband told me this time he will pick the name, well I like Rilly but in the end he won and choose Ryder and I LOVE it!!! good luck to your friend in the finding the perfect name!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. I'm from Sydney, Australia. When I was about 17 I read a book and discovered a girls name for a relatively minor character in it. When I saw the name it must have struck on something in me and I never forgot it. It's hard to explain but the name, once discoverd broke off and became completely unrelated to where I'd found it. Sounds utterly romantic but I really feel like in all the names in the world, there never would have been any name like this one to me. Luckily for me I had a girl 11 years later and it absolutely suits her, feels like it's made just for her. My husband once he heard my special name, never went past it also and loves it just as much as I do and feels it is completely her name. I'd never heard of the name until I'd found it and don't know anybody else with it. It feels sooo right since always!

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  23. Here in Greece we mostly choose names from our parents ...so...
    my daughter's name is Vasiliki,meening queen(my mother's name)and
    my son's name is Nikos,saint of ships and sailors(my father's in law name)

    Good luck everyone!!!!!!

    Domniki- Greece :)

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  24. My husband and I are both Chrisitians and chose our children's names from the Bible. The bizarre thing was our sons initials are J.A.C. and we found out afterwards that they are the same initials as my husbands Grandad!

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  25. I had my list of girls names established when i was sixteen and i added to it over the years. I was 40 when i finally had my daughter and the names on my list i suddenly didn't like. Except for India - a name i first heard when an actress on Dynasty (which I didn't even watch) named her daughter India. Loved it for over 20 years. Indianna and Indigo were also possibilities. Whichever we went with she would end up Indy which we LOVED. So India (a nice unusual and hopeful not too common name) Molly (after my grandmother) I love my daughter's name and it suits her perfectly however, i have discovered MANY children around her age with the name India and Miss Two has decided she would like to be known as DIA! (PS I AM IN AUSTRALIA)
    Cathymac@aussiebroadband.com.au

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  26. Our first little boy has a fairly common name but one that is a strong, solid name in my opinion- Nicholas. I've always loved that name! My husband loves nice cars, so as soon as we found out we were pregnant with our second baby, he immediately threw out the name: Aston for a boy. We ended up having a boy and so he was named Aston after an Aston Martin. Our third baby boy was born yesterday and we had decided months ago on the name Maksim. I never liked the name "Max" for a boy until I watched Dancing With The Stars and the one dancer's name was Maksim. I knew then that the whole concept of the name and spelling was perfect. He is Maks for short! All three little boys have two middle names which are family first and middle names and baby Maks' first middle name is Anthony after my doctor (whom I'm very close withs first name) and who also delivered all three boys and I used to work for!!! I'm from Pennsylvania in the USA!
    -Tiffany H. (USA)

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  27. Our little boy is called Logan-Jett. I really liked Jett when a friend mentioned it in our teenage years but thought it was too 'out there' as a first name. And Logan came from X-men of course! Wolverine is just so cool and Hugh Jackman is rather nice! X

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  28. mikey was named after the baby in look whos talking

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  29. We named our daughter Vanessa Elle. We thought it'd be easy to come up with a suitable name once we see her, but it took us few days to find an appropriate one :) Vanesse is born Libra, an air sign, and we read somewhere the origin of the name (other than Jonathan Swift's explanation) is from "Van Ether" - "from air" - airy one. It's also a butterfly genus - another air-related one! Not to mention Vanessa Redgrave. Since Vanesska was born in Canada, we thought of the little French "touch".

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  30. We named our baby girl COCOMI as it means beautiful heart in Japanese. "COCORO" means heart and "MI" means beautiful and we put them together. Mostly we use Chinese characters to spell the names so the meaning is more important than how it sounds. Cocomi is a girls's name and it popped in my mind when I didn't even know it will be a boy or girl! It's very unique name and we love it a lot.

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  31. Hi I'm from ARUBA...My son's name is Keon ,originally I was going to spell it Keyone...as Key number one..because I truly love keys especially the vintage skeleton keys with beautiful intricate designs or even the simple ones I find so unique. Keys represent knowledge, mystery, and curiosity.They have the power to lock things you want to keep private to yourself or keep a valuable safe or to unlock a new door to a new opportunity ,a new beginning.
    So I always wanted my kids names to start with "Key" because they will always be the keys to my heart. Now I'm expecting my 2nd baby if it's a girl it's going to be Kimaya, Kiani or Kimani ( I'm hoping for a girl because I always wanted a pink Stokke LOL!!:P) and if it's a boy Keandre or Kyron. Other boys names that I love are Amaury ( bravery + power ), Tai (talented) , Zarion (angel of god), Dejan ( to act, to do), Kealem (honest),Cyril (lordly), Xylon ( woods , forest)hope it helps :)
    Angele

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  32. Our baby girl was born on 14 October - it is mothers' day in Belarus, as well as the church holiday of Santa Maria. My husband said he wanted this name (Maria) for our girl even before and the relatives were happy it was a church hiloday too. It is international, though here we call Masha that is a short form from Maria.

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  33. After watching my favorite soap oprea. I chose Aiden. I love his name. I love him!

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  34. We had our girl name picked out for a while. But when we found out we were having a boy, the fun started. Everytime I brainstormed a name, my husband disagreed. One day we sat in the aisle of the library looking at 4 different books; still no agreement. That night I just threw out the name of my "boyfriend" when I was 7...and we agreed :)

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  35. Sarah Clegg(facebook name) my oldest dd carla was named after my bfs lil sis who died after being born early.he never got 2 meet her so it was in memory of her.my 2nd dd rachel just because we like the name.my son was named after a movie director we saw the name and loved it(ethan), my 3rd dd again just came across it in a baby name book and loved it (alisha) :)

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  36. I had my first daughter in December last year. I've heard a lot of girls called Summer and decided 'why not Winter?'. I looked into it and found it was quite a popular name in the past and thought it was very unique, but still pretty. Rose is a family name in both mine and my partner's family so that was it, we had our gorgeous little 'Winter Rose'. We usually call her Winnie, which I love as a nick name.
    As for a boys name for your friend's up coming arrival: I love Sebastian and Gabriel, I think they're really strong names, whilst also being beautiful and a little unusual.

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  37. Our goal: a name that sounded pretty much the same when said in English or Swedish. We were having a boy so I had to rule out my friend's names that my wife liked. Once we found a name we decided not to change our minds because it took us weeks to figure it out!

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  38. Our first son didn't have a name for about a week. It is such a hard thing to decide on. We came up with Samson Marmaduke. It's perfect for him, althouh we do call him Sammy alot. Marmaduke is a family name. My husband's middle name is Marmaduke as is his dad and his dad etc etc. We were playing around with Samson for a few days and then I said to my husband 'let's just call him Samson and be done with it'. And just then the song 'samson' by Regina spektor came on he radio! We both knew it was the right name.

    Our second child Grace was named right away in the back of he ambulance. We had that name picked out for our first child if he was a girl. That was an easy one.
    Rebecca (NSW, Australia)

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  39. My daughter Elea is named after the heroin of a book called The Ice People (La Nuit des Temps in French) from french author Renee Barjavel.
    My partner Stephane and I are both french. When we started going out together, Stephane was reading this book. I can still remember it, I was sitting on the floor, my back against the bed and he was on the bed. I was looking through his stuff, thing I loved doing, when I took his book.
    He told me I would love to read this book, that it was about a man and a woman who got stuck in the ice and were "de-frosted" centuries later. When he said the name of the heroin, Elea, I had a flash, I LOVED the name instantly...he told me he liked it too. I kept it in mind for 8 years and now, we have our little Elea, 8 month, whose name couldn't suit her better!
    Will she survive the centuries the same way?...

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  40. #1- My old school captain
    #2 - Clothing brand!
    #3 - High Court Judge
    #4 - An old student of mine

    Wouldn't swap them for anything now!

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  41. I am due to have a baby boy in June. We plan to name him Jasper as it was his grandfather's middle name. He will be the 12th generation of first born boys on his father's side. I have always liked the name. We are unsure of the middle name-
    For your friend I really like the names Ambrose and Alasdair. Both strong amazing names. Best of luck!
    I am from Minnesota, USA.

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  42. brittney mariotti wood9 April 2011 at 02:02

    All 4 of kids names were picked right after I had my 4 -5 month ultrasounds. Their names literally just popped into my head and I just knew that's what they were to be named. My hubby loved all the names so it was super easy. We had 3 boys and finally a girl. Their names are McGuire Alexander, Nolan Sutton, Beckham James and Kensington Noel.

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  43. My husband is into his family tree and laid it all out on the carpet to look for an old family name. We knew we were haaving a boy from the scan and liked the name Henry. Henry's middle name is Stephen after my father.
    Maybe your friend could see what names are in her family.

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  44. With the help of fertility treatment we found out we were expecting triplets but was advised that as I have 2 wombs and had babies in each it would be lucky if any survived. I had chosen a boy’s name and my husband a girl’s name and together we could agree on a second boy’s name. I had my babies at 33 weeks our son was Steven with a V and the first girl was Julie and after a week we gave our other baby daughter my name of Nicola as it was the only girl’s name we could agree on. All my babies survived and when they were 4years 4days old they named there baby Sister Susannah as again my husband and I could not agree on girls names. We were very shocked when after 13 years we were blessed with our 2nd son but by then my sister-in-Law had used our other chosen boy’s name. Mathew was the name chosen and agreed by all of us. My five miracle children that at 16 I was told I would never have.

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  45. sarah said my oldest dd carla was named after my bfs lil sis who died after being born early.he never got 2 meet her so it was in memory of her.my 2nd dd rachel just because we like the name.my son was named after a movie director we saw the name and loved it(ethan), my 3rd dd again just came across it in a baby name book and loved it (alisha) :)

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  46. My daughter is named after my mother, Lucille - we shortened it to Lucy. I love the fact that we have kept that name in the family!
    Pat K.

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  47. Here in Greece traditionally it goes like this: if the first child is a boy, he's named after his grandfather from his father's side..If it's a girl she can be named after her grandmother from either sides, witch can be tricky sometimes :) I have an only son named Konstantine and I'm pretty happy with it. Otherwise I'd go for something picked out from mythology..lots of meaningful names there! Plus, I love the name "Phileas" for a boy, borrowed from Jules'Verne "Around the world in 80 days" character, Phileas Fogg. :)

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  48. We have really struggled with a name this time. For boys we liked Connor, Logan, Tom & Lucas.

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  49. My daughter is called Trinity, me and my husband were watching a documentary about a little dwarf girl who didn't have long left to live. She was so positive and brave and just fell in love with her and the name. My son is called Noah, after trying for 18 months and not conceiving me and my husband went to Spain for a week for new year. That evening out of nowhere i said i love the name Noah and funnily enough that night Noah was conceived. We didnt find out the sex of the baby but hen i was in labour on the tv on the local news they were saying about a new zoo in our area called 'Noahs Ark Zoo' had opened that day and from then on i knew we were having a boy. After a horrendous and long labour i finaly gave birth to a little boy and called him Noah

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  50. We recently named our precious daughter Moya Ava. A tiny fighter who we believe has a guardian angel watching over her and encouraging her progress. My husband's Aunty Moya passed away last year after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Aunty Moya was extraordinary in every sense of the word. Moya is a Celtic name meaning Extraordinary and Ava means Strength. Our own Mini Moya is proving to be just like her namesake.

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  51. PS - I'm in Melbourne Australia

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  52. From the moment the scanner told us we were having a girl she was Willow in my tummy. Id waited 12 years for her and bought her back from our honeymoon in the maldives. My son was 12 so we included him in the naming of her and added Evie in front so shes Evie-Willow. She has corkscrew curls and Willow suits her to a tee (Willowtree designs on stokke lovers page)

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  53. It's become a tradition for the Chinese people to have their newborns named by a fortune teller, who would analyse names with so many different kinds of methods to judge if the name is good. It's every parent's hope that their children would be healthy and happy and nothing bad would happen to them, so we went to this famous fortune teller and gave him few names, so such as Annabelle, Isabella, Isabelle, Vienna, all long names, and he chose Annabelle saying it'd be bring her happiness, luck and prosperity. So that's how we settled on her name.

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  54. Our boys were strategically named.. Our oldest Oren ends with en and is 4 letters, my middle son's name has 5 letters Kevyn and ends with yn and our youngest is Jaydin is six letters and the ending is in. Their father is Kevin as well.

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  55. Hi from Australia - my grandmother's name was Ruby Harrison (she died before I was born). I had the name Ruby chosen for years if I had a girl. We were at a loss as to what to call our baby if it was a boy - I had mentioned the name Harrison to my husband (without realising the family link) and then my mum asked a few days later if we had considered Harrison as it was her mum's maiden name - so boy's name chosen :) Our first baby was a boy so he is Harrison and our second bub (now 5 weeks old) is Ruby....we want another so no idea how we are going to choose the name third time!

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  56. Hi from Australia - my grandmother's name was Ruby Harrison (she died before I was born). I had the name Ruby chosen for years if I had a girl. We were at a loss as to what to call our baby if it was a boy - I had mentioned the name Harrison to my husband (without realising the family link) and then my mum asked a few days later if we had considered Harrison as it was her mum's maiden name - so boy's name chosen :) Our first baby was a boy so he is Harrison and our second bub (now 4 weeks old) is Ruby....we want another so no idea how we are going to choose the name third time!

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  57. my wife and I both wrote down our favourite names on separate lists and then looked to see if there were any names on both lists. And there was one - name picked!

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  58. I find boys names really hard. A friend of mine recently toyed with the name Fox, which I like .... but she had a girl.

    My little one Lola, was named after a bus I used to drive pass every day. It was a decrepit old thing with some rustic charm and called Lola. I loved it. And Phil didn't really get a say in it.

    I adore the name Biba and if I have another girl I will be paying homage to your Biba by calling mine that!

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