March 18, 2014 11:00 AM

Kate Winslet drew on her own history — long past and recent past — in choosing the name Bear Blaze for her now 3-month-old son.

“We settled on Bear quite early on,” the Oscar-winning actress, 38, says in an interview airing Tuesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, explaining that her older kids, Mia, 13, and Joe, 10, all but insisted on picking a name well before the birth.

The name Bear goes back to her youth. “A friend of mine when I was younger was nicknamed Bear, and I just had always really loved it,” says the Divergent star. “He was very much a bear. He was everyone’s shoulder to cry on, he was a big bear hug, he was just this great figure in my life, and I just always remembered him.”

Michael Rozman/ Warner Bros.

Her son’s middle name, Blaze, is a reference to the house fire Winslet escaped in August 2011 while on vacation in the Caribbean. That was the weekend she met her husband, Ned Rocknroll.

“The house burned down and we survived,” she says. “But we wanted something of the fire, and so Blaze was the name that we came up with.”

Bear’s last name is Winslet, however. Asked why it isn’t Rocknroll like his dad’s, Winslet replies: “Why do you think, Ellen?”

Being a new mom again has its challenges, of course, as Winslet was reminded early Monday morning, when she happened to be pumping milk as a small earthquake hit Los Angeles.

“I’m pumping, staring at my beautiful picture of my beautiful baby boy, and my husband’s on the other line, and the room starts to shake,” says Winslet.

She and a friend ran to a doorframe to take cover, but Winslet says she never stopped pumping.

“You know us girls, we just do it, don’t we?” she says. “When you do it, you just do it.”

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— Tim Nudd

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