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How I Named My Baby: Baker Hawthorn

May 27, 2020 Sophie Kihm

Courtney McKeegan lives in Cleveland with her wife, Liz, and their four-month-old, Baker Hawthorn.

Here, Courtney answers our questions about naming her son.

When did you know you found “The Name?”

As soon as we found out we were having a boy we knew for sure we would name him Baker. The middle name changed a lot though.

Is your baby named after anyone?

We wanted to name Baker after a strong woman who we admired and adored. Josephine Baker was authentic and revolutionary. She was an outspoken civil rights activist, an entertainer who refused to perform for segregated audiences, and openly bisexual before it was safe to be so. Most importantly, she always followed her heart and did so unapologetically. We feel proud to name our baby boy after her!

What name did you hate to let go of?

Ziggy was always very high on our list, but we had a cousin use it a few years ago!

What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?

If we were having a girl, I really wanted Domino or Dusty, and my wife was reeaaallly against both. I think I lean farther out of the box when it comes to names than she does. We were really both on the same page when it came to Baker Hawthorn, though!

Was it important to choose a name that ‘matched’ your baby’s older siblings’ — or future siblings’ — names?

Yes! This was a huge part of the conversation. Baker is our first baby, but we are constantly tossing around ideas for the next. I feel strongly about committing to themes, for example if the next baby’s name also ends in -er, then they all have to! If we chose another flower name, all of the babies will need flowers in their names, things like that! So, paying attention to avoiding patterns that lock us in was important.

Was it easier to come up with girl or boy names?

We have approximately 11 girl names picked out and probably 2 boy…

What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?

That’s still in the vault!

Did you decide on middle name(s) before the first name, or vice versa?

We had Baker picked out before I was even pregnant. We considered the middle name for months and had quite a few different ones picked out. None of them really felt right until we found Hawthorn, and then we never looked back!

Did you have different requirements for first and middle names?

We wanted one of the names to represent his mommy since his mama carried Baker. After we had decided on Baker, we focused on that connection for his middle name. We ended up with Hawthorn, which is the flower for the month of May, his mommy’s birthday. Now their births are always intertwined and a unique part of Baker’s identity!

How important a consideration was the flow of the first, middle, and last names?

We wanted it to “sound good together” but there wasn’t a specific flow like synonyms or alliterations we considered or focused on. So, I think that is all up to opinion, we feel that Baker Hawthorn McKeegan sounds strong and loyal!

What are the trendy names in your social circle?

I am a preschool teacher, in my 10 years of teaching I have come across LOTS of baby names! Sometimes there’s that kid you just fall in love with and then they can really be the only one with that name, so it gets crossed off your list! Some of the trendy ones I have come across are Artemis, Ozzie, Roman, Scout

What was your biggest fear related to baby names?

We’re in Cleveland so our biggest fear was people thinking he was named after the Browns quarterback, Baker Mayfield!

Have any unexpected nicknames come up for your baby?

Not unexpected nicknames but I have noticed we call him by a nickname pretty exclusively! Bakey has really stuck and most of our family and friends call him that, too!

What advice would you give someone just starting the baby name process?

Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it! Spend time reflecting on what feels important about your child’s name and prioritize that during the process.

Thank you so much, Courtney!

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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