Choosing a name for your baby isn't just about finding something that has a nice ring to it. Names are a part of the first impressions you make, points out Disney's Family Education website. A bad name can invite schoolyard teasing, and make it difficult for people to take your child seriously as an adult. Names help carry our personalities, and form one of the first bricks in the foundation of our self-identity. All these factors combined present challenges for name-hunting parents.

Things You Will Need

A list of family names
A baby name book

Step 1

Use the names of very close family members and friends, as a tribute to your relationship. Choose parts of the names or new combinations of syllables if you'd like to give your baby a name that's not already in use. For example, if your grandmother's name was Gayle, choose the name Abigail, which carries your grandmother's name at the end of the word.

Step 2

Think about ways to express your ancestry and heritage, BabyCenter suggests. Extend this to include religious preferences. For example, if your family is French or Irish or Iranian, think about traditional names from those cultures. Choose traditional names for the Bible, Koran or Torah if you have strong religious traditions.

Step 3

Fill the well of ideas by reading as many baby names as you can. Post in baby name forums and read others' regular contributions. Purchase a baby name book. Browse websites devoted to baby names. Read over class rosters from your other kids' schools. Look through old yearbooks. Even a walk through the cemetery could yield that perfect name.

Step 4

Test the initials of your chosen names to make sure they don't spell an embarrassing word. Think ahead to when your child registers her first email address for school. If her name is Francis Art, a college email address that uses her first initial and last name might be embarrassing.

Step 5

Anticipate what cruel nicknames other kids could potentially derive from your name choice. While kids can think of a way to make any name into a mean nickname, some names just make it too easy. If your family has a tradition of names that can double as insults, think of nicknames or middle names you can call the child to ease his suffering while still honoring those traditions. Once yo have your baby names list narrowed down to a few names, sit on them for a few days to a few weeks. Practice saying them and get comfortable with them. Consult a baby name book for close alternatives and for spelling choices you might not have considered.

Tips & Warnings

Once you pick a name, keep it secret so other moms you're close to don't steal it!