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7 Mistaken and Misused Baby Phrases

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Ashley Monique Menard

Parents with newborns speak a language with baby phrases all their own during the first few months of the babies’ life.

Conversations surrounding the baby phrases such as gestational age or bilirubin levels or the wonder of simethicone drops are fairly common among new parents.

However, there are some aspects of Newborn ParentSpeak that are flat out wrong.

Here are seven inaccurate baby phrases that misrepresent the actual activity or meaning they convey.

7. Fussing – this particular term almost sounds like a playful board game by Hasbro where players’ pieces rollick about the board sending other pieces back to the starting point all in good fun. The reality is that fussing comprises the enduring, ear-splitting cries and screams from a baby that are on the same decibel level as a jackhammer tearing up concrete.

6. Nursing – this word is used to describe the nourishing act of a mother breastfeeding a baby. While the word evokes images of a gentle caregiver administering love the actual activity is more like the  opening of a pod bay door in the dead of space that creates an inescapable vacuum that voraciously sucks life out of the mother ship. Don’t misunderstand me, nursing is great – especially since I don’t have to do it and it seems to be effective at ending the aforementioned baby phrase #7.

5. Bubble – a quaint, rainbow-glistening pocket of air located somewhere in the baby’s body that often results in fussing. However, based on the severity of cries these bubbles invoke, these interior orbs of torture seem to be galvanized spiked spheres travelling the babies gastro-intestinal tract that can only be destroyed by vigorous back patting, gripe water or the wonder that is simethicone.

4. Cute – this descriptive term gets bandied about so much by others regarding the baby that you almost believe your newborn must have large, moist doey eyes along with a perpetual genteel smile who’s also covered in downy rabbit fur. But have you actually seen a birth-canal baby moments after the birth? The cone-headed, blue-skinned, slime-covered baby seems more akin to the reptilian offspring from the alien invaders from the television show “V” than the term “cute.”

3. Vent – a wonderful euphemism used by pediatricians to describe the baby’s act of belching or burping. It is also used to describe the playful act of projectile vomit consisting of breast-milk-flavored cottage cheese the baby has cleverly concocted within their belly. Simply lovely!

2. Made a Present – this baby phrase is used almost universally by mothers-in-law to describe the nasty happenings from the business end of a baby that are wrapped and sealed with butt wipes and diaper tape. Here’s the phrase used in a sentence, “Daddy – I think Junior has made a present for you!!!”

1. Swaddle – a sweet-sounding word that evokes images of contentment, love, peace and sleeping babies [see photo insert]. Many believe that the swaddle comforts the baby because it mimics the warm, confines of the mother’s womb.

But let’s be honest.

A swaddle is a makeshift straitjacket to keep the baby’s arms pinned so that he/she doesn’t startle themselves awake with flailing arms which they can’t control until the nerves in their arms finish growing by the third month or so. Decades ago, the violently insane in this country were tightly wrapped in wet sheets to calm them down – this modified practice seems to work with babies as well.

Question: Are there any examples of ParentSpeak that I missed?

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  1. nope you seem to have covered them all from one end of the baby to the other end. It almost seems like you have had recent contact with the above mentioned items….

  2. How about cradle cap, or more rightly worded cradle crap. When it’s called cradle cap it sounds like something you’d voluntarily put on the baby to top off that onsie outfit and give baby a more dapper appearance, you know, complete the outfit. In reality it’s a flaky, permanently affixed crud that mysteriously appears on your “cute” baby’s head and is harder to remove than the time I superglued my finger to my kid’s piggy bank.

  3. I can’t decide whether to laugh, or shudder!

  4. I can say that I never considered anything my children did in their diapersa present.

  5. Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA says:

    I had forgotten most of these (except for simethicone, which was only used by me to calm the frothing that occurs in my bioreactors/fermentors- I would NEVER feed same to a human), and the fact that I live with a lactation specialist (so that nursing is the term I use, rather than the non-politically correct, but more apt to your description of suckling), they all brought back memories- of things I am glad are now relegated to my children and no longer my daily activities. Not that I don’t love kids, but once one is operating in his/her seventh decade, there are activities that one recognizes are no longer in the cards…

  6. Mullenann4 says:

    As the parent of one of my children who had to “vent” below the belt when she woke up or she’d cry until she did, I think while I never heard that phrase, it’s a show stopper. And yes, she still wakes up that way almost 3 decades later.

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