Actually, quite a bit.
Naming a baby is not all that different from naming middleware, perfume, or a venture-capital firm (all of which I have done). The rules are the same: You need to know what you're naming (new human), what you're communicating (boy/girl, member of X tribe, classic/trendy), and how the name will fit within the existing verbal brand (surname).
And, just as in naming companies or products, you'd be well ahead of the game if you outsourced the job to a professional.
Professionalizing the baby-naming process would prevent many of the common and egregious errors one sees among recent generations of naming victims. Before you protest, let me assure you I'm hardly as draconian as the government of Malaysia, which recently published a list of undesirable baby names that included "animals, insects, fruits, vegetables, or colors" as well as "inauspicious names" traditionally bestowed "to ward off demons and spirits." Nevertheless, I do have rules. Here are my seven cardinal Baby Name No-No's.
1. Patronymics rampant. Sometime in the early 1980s, parents all over this great land decided it sounded more dignified, WASPy, sexually ambivalent, or who-knows-what to christen their children (especially their girl-children) with surnames. With a nod to Dr. Doolittle, I call this the Pushme-Pullyu Syndrome. When both names are surnames, we don't know which way the poor tot is headed. Is it Riley Austen or Austen Riley? Anderson Cooper or Cooper Anderson? Or are you perhaps referring to a small public-relations firm? Many fingers have pointed to Daryl Hannah's role as "Madison" in Splash (1984) as the genesis of this unfortunate development; "Madison" has been among the top three girl's names in the U.S. every year since 1999. (Daryl Hannah's character, a mermaid, named herself after the first sign she saw: Madison Avenue.) (Daryl Hannah: Now, there's a name that should have been inverted at birth.) Others go back a little further to Tatum O'Neal, named for the jazz musician Art Tatum. And, yes, I'm aware there's a long tradition of surnames migrating over to first position: Bradley, Howard, Scott, Lindsay. It's hard to escape the ethnic bias in all these examples: "Whitney Smith"--yes; "Weinstein Cohen" and "Bacigalupi Calabrese"--no way, José. Well, humbug. I say we have plenty of time-honored first names to do the job for a burgeoning population. Let's not go rooting through the patronymic bin. (To check the popularity of almost any name at any time in the last century, see the very addictive Baby Name Voyager.)
2. "Creative" (mis)spellings. It is no fun having to spell your name twenty times a day or listen to a succession of teachers stumble over its pronunciation because your parents named you Maiyckkell instead of Michael. This isn't creativity, it's idiocy. And torture.
3. Rhyme. Vaughn Braun? Megan Reagan? Cute for Dr. Seuss, but not for real kids, who are going to endure plenty of cruel rhyming taunts throughout their childhoods without your aiding and abetting.
4. Clash of the civilizations. Names are not just collections of letters and sounds; they have meaning and context. Context #1 is the surname, and when it's distinctively ethnic--say, Krakowski--you need to have a nuanced ear for the way it fits with the first name. The first name isn't required to be "Wanda" or "Stanislaw," but "Muhammad" or "Soon-Yi" would definitely overstep the bounds of global consciousness into cacophonous mashup. (There are parallels in the branding world, such as the old Toyota Cressida. Perhaps they don't study the Trojan War in Japan; Cressida is a minor but pivotal character in the Iliad--and in Chaucer and Shakespeare--where the little hussy is repeatedly referred to as "faithless Cressida." Not a good association for a car!)
5. Unsound sounds. What's wrong with "Grace Sterling," "Mark Croft," and "Rachel Lamas"? Not much ... except the final sound of each first name elides into the initial sound of the last name. As a result, your vocal apparatus has to work a little too hard to pronounce the whole name. Same deal with combinations like "Hannah Arendt" and "Isaiah Harper," which force the speaker into a glottal stop, a catch in the throat that's common in languages such as Arabic but almost nonexistent in English--which means we perceive it as unnatural. Here's a tip that surprisingly few parents seem to know about: Say the whole name, first and last. Say it a bunch of times. Does your tongue fumble? Keep an open mind and try another name.
6. Mis-placement. "Brooklyn" used to be the cigar-chomping private in every World War II movie; in 2005 it ranked 78th among girls' names in the U.S. (Source: Baby Name Voyager.) Ugh. Ditto other place names such as Paris, Brittany, Indiana (the name of actor Casey Affleck's son), and Ireland (the daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin ... quick, try saying "Ireland Baldwin" five times, then re-read #5 on the list). If you must bestow a name that commemorates the site of the baby's conception, conceal it as a middle name. That way, your child can easily reduce it to an initial when s/he rebels against you.
7. Stars in your eyes. I hate to be the one who breaks it to you, but hip-hop celebrities and film personages tend not to be very ight-bray in this area (or most others). They should not be your mentors for baby naming; in fact, most of them should not be allowed to name their own children. Examples: Satchel (son of Woody Allen; daughter of Spike Lee, and one can only hope her inherited wealth protects her from the all-too-obvious jibes; and yes, "Satchel Allen" and "Satchel Lee" both violate #5, above), Coco (fine for a poodle, but not for the daughter of Courtney Cox and David Arquette), Yamma (James Brown), Lyric Chanel (Kenny Anderson), Alchamy (Lance Henrikson, who probably thought this was the correct spelling), Atherton (daughter of Don Johnson; imagine how her little friends abbreviated that), and, of course, the unforgettable Zowie Bowie, son of David. Exception: Jodie Foster, who graduated from Yale and very sensibly named her son Charles. Smart lady. (Source for celebrity baby names: Baby Zone.)