"FTM here. My DS won't STTN. ISO EUC book on gentle CIO methods. TIA."
If you're a parent fluent in "online forum lingo," chances are you can decode the code above. (A rough translation is "HALP ME, my baby won't sleep.")
But to a new mom or dad just starting to explore the endless options of Facebook groups and forums for parents, it might look like the locals are speaking another language. All you wanted was to ask a question about car seats or see if anyone was selling used sleep sacks, and suddenly you're trying to figure out WTF VGUC means (vaginal guacamole?) and why people keep talking about the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in fertility forums.
Digital parenting groups can be a life-saver for new parents seeking to connect with others, ask questions, and vent. It takes a village to raise a child, and for modern parents, that village is often online: 75 per cent of parents use social media, according to Pew Research Center, and many use it as a parenting resource.
And it seems there's a Facebook group that caters to every type of parent. Say you're a working mom of a toddler and you live in Ottawa, just as a totally random example. You might be in the following Facebook groups: working moms, meal-planning parents, sleep-deprived parents, crunchy moms, frugal moms, fertility support, car seat questions, playdate groups for your neighbourhood, and three or four local buy/sell groups.
Parenting groups love acronyms
Their goals may differ, but parenting groups have one thing in common: acronyms. And not just the ones you'd expect of people trying to raise tiny humans, like WTF and LOL and OMG.
We can only assume acronyms started out of necessity as moms and dads struggled to ask questions of their online brethren while rocking a colicky baby in one arm or while running after a toddler hell-bent on flushing Play-Doh down the toilet.
A glossary of terms
With that, we give you this glossary of online parenting lingo. It's by no means complete (we'd need two years and an anthropology degree for that), but it should help guide you through most posts, and maybe save you the embarrassment of having to ask Susan from "Attachment Moms" what CIO means.
Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments! TIA!
If there's anything parents love, it is buying, selling, and trading used items online. You might be in several buy/sell groups on Facebook led by iron-fisted admins deleting pyramid scheme posts and frequented by people who want $45 for a half-empty can of formula that expires tomorrow (but only if you pick it up). Giddy up!
BNIB: Brand new in box. The NWT (see below) version of non-clothes items.
BNWOB: Brand new without box. It came in a box, but the person tossed it.
BNWOT: Brand new without tags. This person probably ordered maternity clothes online, ripped off the tags eagerly, then realized their boobs are three sizes bigger than they thought.
EUC: Excellent used condition. It was used, but there's nary a scratch, stain, or pull. Might as well be NWT.
GUC: Good used condition. Now it's getting borderline.
ISO: In search of. Samesies as LF.
LF: Looking for. Susan is LF a Hatchimal three days before Christmas. LOL, good luck, Susan!
NWT: New with tags. Happens more often than you'd think, because parents always buy way more than they need, or baby came out a whopping 10 pounds and doesn't fit in any of those newborn clothes, or you didn't get any gift receipts from your baby shower and don't need another effing "Cute Like Daddy" onesie.
WATCH: Postpartum hair loss is no joke. Story continues below video.
PC: Play condition. This item is rough. It's seen things. But your kids will probably destroy it anyway, so why not?
PO: Pickup only. If you want this item, you gotta go get it.
PPO: Porch pickup only. A stealth exchange that involves zero actual human contact.
PPU: Pending pickup. Someone nabbed this item already, but they haven't picked it up yet and the parent doesn't want to take down the post in case the deal falls through. It can still be yours if they're a no-show!
TIA: Thanks in advance. This person probably wants something tricky or annoying, like for you to drive across town to deliver an item.
UC: Used condition. A kid definitely pooped through this onesie or bit the ear off this stuffy. But maybe you don't mind, or really, really want it.
VGUC: Very good used condition. It's no EUC. This person is probably lying and it's really UC. You'd probably still buy it.
Fertility and pregnancy groups
So, you're trying to get knocked up, or maybe you already are and want more info. If you happen to be in a Facebook group, use an app, or look in forums, chances are you've seen these and wondered WTF people were talking about.
Wonder no more.
AC: Assisted conception. An umbrella term for fertility treatments and procedures.
AI: Artificial insemination.
AF: Aunt Flow. Your period. Men-stroo-ation.
AIH: Artificial insemination with husband's sperm.
BBT: Basal body temperature.
BC: Birth control.
BD: Baby dance. A cute way of saying having sex for the purposes of TTC. See also: DTD.
BFN: Big fat negative (on a pregnancy test) Not pregnant. Better luck next month :(
BFP: Big fat positive (on a pregnancy test). Congrats! You did it! Prepare for the MS.
BW: Blood week. Your period. Not cute. You hate BW.
CD: Cycle day. CD14 = day 14 of your cycle. If you happen to ovulate on CD14... get to the BD.
CM: Cervical mucous. Perhaps you are tracking this in an app you hope no one ever sees.
CMP: Complete molar pregnancy. A rare type of miscarriage.
DI: Donor insemination.
DPO: Days past ovulation.
DTD: Do the deed. Sex. Maybe you've been TTC for so long that it's a job now. A deed, indeed.
EP: Ectopic pregnancy. A complication where the embryo implants outside the uterus.
ER: Egg retrieval.
ET: Embryo transfer.
EWCM: Egg white cervical mucous. It's go time. Sorry to ruin your ability to eat eggs ever again.
HPT: Home pregnancy test. You'll probably need a few of these while you're TTC.
IUI: Intrauterine insemination.
LH: Luteinizing hormone. An LH "surge" can trigger ovulation. Get to the BD.
LP: Luteal phase.
MS: Morning sickness, i.e. why you can only eat crackers and no one is allowed to cook indoors anymore.
OPK: Ovulation predictor kit. Another way to attempt to track your cycles.
POAS: Pee on a stick. Take a HPT.
PMP: Partial molar pregnancy. Another rare type of miscarriage.
TTC: Trying to conceive, i.e. get pregnant. No, not Toronto Transit Commission, although it might also get sweaty and feel like it's taking forever.
VBAC: Vaginal birth after C-section.
People in these groups
You are no longer just Anna. Online you are Anna, FTM! Oh yes, you and your loved ones all have code names now. It's fun.
AP:Attachment parent. Someone who ascribes to a parenting style about providing consistent, immediate and nurturing responses to a child's needs.
DD: Dear daughter, and sometimes darling daughter. Your kid.
DF: Dear fiance. Your betrothed.
DH: Dear husband. "DH stepped on a squeak toy and woke the baby, so I filed for divorce."
DS: Dear son, and sometimes darling son. Your kid of the male persuasion.
DSD: Dear step-daughter.
DSS: Dear step-son.
DW: Dear wife. "DW has been hiding in the bathroom for three hours. Do I dare knock?"
DXP: Dear ex-partner. "DXP has the kids this weekend. Who wants to go out?"
FIL: Father-in-law. "FIL bought the kids a trampoline, FML."
FTM: First-time mom. "FTM here. When do babies sleep?"
FTD: First-time dad. "FTD here. When do babies sleep?"
LO: Little one. Your kid. "When will my LO start sleeping?"
MIL: Mother-in-law. "MIL thinks car seats are just a suggestion. Help!"
OH: Other half. Your partner in baby-raising crime.
SAHD: Stay-at-home dad.
SAHM: Stay-at-home mom.
WAHD: Work-at-home dad.
WAHM: Work-at-home mom.
WOHD: Work-out-of-home dad.
WOHM: Work-out-of-home mom
WD: Working dad.
WM: Working mom.
Congratulations! You joined a cult. JUST KIDDING. Kind of. The wonderful world of baby wearing has saved many a parent, but ... bet you can't buy just one.
BC: Baby carrier. What you wear your baby in. Not you, the carrier of the baby.
BW: Baby wearing. Wearing a baby strapped to your own person.
FFO: Front facing out. Baby is on your front, facing the world.
MT: Mei tai. A type of carrier. Like an SSC (see below), but without buckles.
RS: Ring sling. Exactly what it sounds like: a sling with a ring.
SPOC: Simple piece of cloth. A wrap, but probably homemade.
SSC: Soft-structured carrier, like an Ergo. It has buckles and velcro. It's for rookies, but good luck with that back shoulder clip.
SW: Stretchy wrap, like a Moby or Boba. You probably need to watch a few YouTube tutorials to figure this one out.
T2T: Tummy to tummy. Baby is on your front, facing you.
WW: Woven Wrap. Ah, now you're a true baby-wearer. Bonus marks if you can still carry your toddler in one.
Posts about eating, sleeping, travel:
Whether you're in groups specific to these things or you just dabble in general parenting groups, chances are people will be posting about feeding, sleeping, and getting around. You know, the basics.
BF: Breastfed. Baby eats from the boob.
BLW:Baby-led weaning. A style of introducing kids to solid foods where they take the lead. Baby wanna gnaw on a pork chop? Sure.
BP: Breast pump, also known as milking oneself.
CC: Controlled crying (a type of sleep training).
CD: Cloth diapers.
CIO: Cry it out (another type of sleep training).
DA: Dairy allergy. The worst.
EBF: Exclusively breastfed. Baby only eats from the boob.
EN: Extended nursing. Breastfeeding a toddler or small child.
ERF: Extended rear-facing. A car seat term. Keeping your kid rear-facing in their car seat.
FF: Formula fed. Baby eats formula.
FF: Forward-facing. A car seat term. Kid's car seat faces forward.
GF: Gluten free.
LC: Lactation consultant. Actual angels sent to this earth to help with feeding.
MIC: More in comments. Someone who has LOTS to say will probably tack this on the end of a post.
NAK: Nursing at keyboard. This person is BFing their kid as they type. Probably one-handed. Pardon the typos.
NIP: Nursing in public.
RF: Rear-facing. A car seat term. Kid's car seat faces the rear of the car.
STTN: Sleep through the night. THE ULTIMATE GOAL. Until your baby STTN, you hate all the other parents who talk about how their kids STTN. But once your kid does, you'll probably post about it.