How I Named My Baby: October Teddy

How I Named My Baby: October Teddy

Michelle, a breastfeeding counselor, and Neil, a research scientist, live in Ames, Iowa with their four children: Eisley, Avonlea, Idalia Rae, and October Teddy.

October was born on March 4, 2023. Here, we talk to Michelle about how she and Neil named their little boy.

Tell me October’s name story!

I love Anne of Green Gables. There’s a quote in the book where Anne says, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. Wouldn’t it be sad if we just skipped from September to November?”

A friend of mine posted the quote outside of her store and I thought that October would be such a cool name. I put it in the baby names note on my phone, even though I thought we were done having kids!

I forgot about the name until we got pregnant with our son. My husband and I have never been able to agree on a boy name. We went back and forth with our name ideas, but nothing felt right.

I showed Neil my name list, and he really loved October. He’s a huge baseball fan, and October is a big month with baseball playoffs and the World Series. The name means something different, but equally cool, to him.

But I had a hard time committing because I knew we’d use a nickname, and I didn’t like the sound of Toby Rowe. When I looked up October on Nameberry, it suggested Otto as a nickname, and that made the decision easy. Our girls call him Otto and sometimes I even call him Toby!

How did you choose the middle name Teddy?

Neil really liked the middle name Wild for a boy, but October is unique enough, I felt like we needed to pick a more standard middle name for him.

I love literary names. I’ve always wanted to use a name from my favorite book, Little Women, but there are not a ton of male names to choose from!

We gave our daughters three choices for the middle name: Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird, Edmund from The Chronicles of Narnia, and Teddy because in Little Women, the sisters adopt Theodore Lawrence and call him Teddy.

We let the girls vote on which one they wanted, and they chose Teddy together. The whole time I was pregnant they called him Teddy, and sometimes they still do.

What other names did you consider?

We unintentionally created a vowel initial pattern with our daughters’ names, so we wondered if we should go with an O name. I thought about October for a girl, but we really liked the name Mabel.

My grandmother’s name was Viola, which I like, and I had read a book with a character named Leonora called Leni, so we considered that.

For a boy, we talked about Dashiell and Milo, which is very close to Otto. We also discussed the name Lawrence and calling him Laurie, because that’s from Little Women.

Did you discuss names with anyone else while you were pregnant?

No, not really. I have a friend who was pregnant at the same time and we shared our long name lists with each other. She has a more traditional name style than me and was like, “Michelle, these names are crazy!” I expect that. But we didn’t share the name once we chose it because I was afraid everyone was going to hate it.

Some of our friends guessed Otto because they were looking for a boy name that started with a vowel — they know us well!

We got a lot of positive reactions when we announced his name. A lot of my friends love Anne of Green Gables and were super pumped about the connection.

How do you feel about your own name, and how did it influence your choice?

My parents don’t have a good story about how they picked my name — it was just, “We liked it!” I really wanted my kids’ names to have significance and meaning.

A name is something you carry everywhere. I want my kids to have good experiences with their names and be able to tell the stories of how they got their names.

What are the trendy names in your social circle?

I feel like there are two main types: our group of friends who are using traditional or vintage names like Noah, Hannah, and George, and our group of friends whose kids have quirkier names like Ingrid, Atticus, and Annika.

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

I want people to think about the names that make them excited or feel connected with their baby. Think about all the important things in your life — the books you love, people, and places that are important to you.

Starting outside of the box can lead you to the right name. We wanted to name our oldest daughter Eisenhower, but she ended up being Eisley. It’s a little less out there, but we wouldn’t have gotten to it without thinking of Eisenhower first.

How do you describe your style outside of baby names?

Our family is whimsical and fun. I like to say we’re a beautiful hot mess. We love what we love and surround ourselves with things that make us happy. It’s very piecemeal — I used to try to fit our home and life into a certain aesthetic, but now I focus more on connecting with things we love and care about.

Did October receive any special gifts?

After we find out the gender of our babies, we let our older kids go to this cute mom-and-pop toy store in our town and pick out a stuffed animal for the new baby.

My mother-in-law gave us all of these baby clothes that my husband and his brothers used to wear. They’re from Illinois, so there’s a lot of Cubs memorabilia. It’s been fun to take pictures of October wearing these outfits and compare them to photos of my husband wearing the same clothes.

What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in your area?

Summer is the time to live in the Midwest! We go to the pool every day, and there’s tons of hiking and outdoor stuff to do in Ames. Our community has concerts and programming for kids in the summer, and we like to go to Iowa Cubs baseball games.

On a whim, my husband bought season passes to a little amusement park called Adventure Land near Des Moines. It has been the best thing ever this summer. With little kids, there are no lines, and you can watch them ride a ladybug in a circle a hundred times.

Michelle's (and October's) Favorite Things

Tula Baby Carrier

When we retire this baby carrier that we’ve used for all of our kids, I might cry. It’s given us so much sanity!

Little Sleepies Pajamas

These are incredible. Otto lives in a cycle of five pairs.

Click here to see the entire Baby Shopping Guide or our Pregnancy Shopping List. And check out the Nameberry Amazon Store to see all products recommended in How I Named My Baby.

Thank you so much, Michelle!

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About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. 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.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at Sophie lives in Chicago.