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Jessica Wiant

Babies have their own fads, lingo

In early 2009, just weeks before I would learn that I was pregnant for the first time, I attended a baby shower.

We played a game: List all the baby lingo you can think of. The one whose list is the longest wins.

Not having been around babies for years, I came up short. Really short. I think maybe I just declined to play, though I can't remember for sure.

Another young mother had a list of 40-something words: Things like paci, binky and ba-ba.
Hearing all those words I had never heard before made me feel intimidated and ill-prepared for the journey I was wanting to begin.

Thankfully, pregnancy and the subsequent months spent with a newborn provide all the education one needs.

So, for those of you would-be mothers, or maybe just those who haven't been around babies in several years, here are a few of the key words and phrases you may be missing out on:

• Babywearing. OK, this one isn't new, but it seems to be hot, hot, hot. There are what seems like an infinite number of choices for baby carriers, slings, and wraps so that momma (or daddy) can strap on their baby and carry them around more or less hands-free. Many cultures have probably done this for hundreds or even thousands of years. Nonetheless, it's a term that moms these days are using a lot and companies are using to sell lots of products. When I was using a sling to help support the weight of my son a few months ago while shopping, an older lady commented how she wished they'd had things like that around when she was raising her children.
• Baby legs. A co-worker of mine first mentioned these to me, I think right after my son was born. Identical in appearance and purpose to the 1980s legwarmers trend, these colorful alternatives to pants are popular, cute and make diaper-changing involve fewer buttons.

• Boppy. Among pregnant and nursing women, this pillow seems to be overtaking the world. It's U-shaped so it wraps around the waist of the mother, offering a place for baby to lie while she breastfeeds. Some swear by them. I depended on them in the weeks following my son's birth. Now, the pillow just takes up space.

• Bumbo. Also the rage these days. The Bumbo seat is a molded foam chair that helps babies who can't quite sit up on their own do so. It is lightweight and convenient, but can be dangerous as there are no straps, and some babies (ahem, my own) learn to wiggle out of them at a surprisingly early age.

• Puffs. I've mentioned them on this page before, but they are basically a baby version of cereal that melts more quickly in your mouth. They come in a variety of brands and flavors, and some of my mommy friends have jokingly referred to them (as well as Mum Mums, which are kind of like a baby version of rice cakes) as "baby crack," because of their addictive nature among the in-diapers set.

Trends come and go. Some products make life easier and others just add to the expense of raising kids, but when it comes down to it, babies need the same things as they always have: milk, sleep, diapers and lots of love.

It's quite a trip, for sure, but it's well worth the ride.

• Contact Jessica Wiant at jwiant@nvdaily.com


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