Glossary of strange new terms for expecting parents: 'What the hell does Tog mean?'

Photo: Becoming a parent requires learning a whole new 'language' Getty/iStock
Photo: Becoming a parent requires learning a whole new 'language' Getty/iStock 

"What the hell does Tog mean and why does it matter?" was a text I received from an expecting friend a few weeks ago.

He had just completed his first lap of a baby superstore and as well as feeling rather overwhelmed by ALL THE STUFF, he was struggling to get his head around the bizarre, alien lingo.

I smiled with nostalgic recognition, remembering those simpler times - almost two years ago - when I knew absolutely nothing. It got me thinking ... learning how to speak 'New Parent' is very similar to studying a second language. 

Being the trusted friend that I am, I went ahead and created a glossary of terms which I intend to share with my community of expecting parents and now you can too. 

Onesie - An item of clothing you used to wear for novelty (and attention) when drunk. Now it's a one-piece pant/top combo that your newborn will live in. Dual zippers are game changing, FYI. 

Barrier cream - An ointment you used to smear on your pash rash. Soon you'll exclusively apply it to your baby's butt. 

Leak - Once upon a time, all you had to worry about was a leaky tap in your bathroom. Soon, you'll have to deal with leaky boobs and penetrable poo (hopefully the baby's, but can't promise it won't be yours too - that pelvic floor will never be the same).  

Stool - Something you used to sit on at a bar, while you sipped cocktails. Soon you'll only be using the word 'stool' in the context of describing the consistency and regularity of your baby's bowel movements

Meconium – I know, it rings a bell. But it's not the brand of instant coffee your office manager buys for the communal kitchen (you're thinking of Moccona, who did not sponsor this article.) Meconium is the first turd your baby will produce and it will have the consistency of tar. Don't fight the impulse to take a photo of it, it's normal to be strangely proud of this milestone. 

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Purée - A creamy paste or liquid that used to be drizzled on your fancy restaurant plate. Soon, a puree equals your left overs in a blender. Will mostly end up on the floor.

Rabbit - Back in the day, the only Rabbit you needed was your favourite vibrator. In just a few months' time, you'll search high and low for your baby's beloved stuffed toy rabbit (colloquially known as 'bunny') which they'll inevitably fling out of the pram when you least expect it.  

Comforter - Not a quilt or doona cover for your newborn (they stopped recommending those in the 90s). A comforter is like a flattened soft toy that the baby can snuggle with, to (hopefully) help them drift off to sleep, so that you can get into your comfort foods, beverages or trashy show of choice. 

Swaddle - This is a word you might not hear until you're an expecting parent, unless you've dabbled in a bit of bondage - no judgement - then you might be all over this one. The verb swaddle means 'to wrap firmly in cloth' and there are lots of tutorials online displaying the various techniques. A swaddle has also evolved into a noun which is what most people will buy you as a gift unless you request otherwise. 

Teepee – Remember when your dream was to camp in a pretentious white canvas tent at a music festival? Say goodbye to those dreams. The only Teepee you'll be seeing now is a cotton 'tent' that some people place on top of their baby's penis to prevent them from getting spritzed during a nappy change.

SAHM – According to the internet, Sahm was the charming half-Iranian, half-Dutch guy you had a magical adventure with around the island of Capri. Hold on to those memories when you're still in your pyjamas at 4pm, completing 80 per cent of the domestic duties as a Stay At Home Mum. 

FTD – If you google FTD, the first results will relate to 'Frontotemporal Dementia'. As a rule, I don't condone making light of degenerative brain disorders. But I have no issues making fun of First Time Dads, who coincidentally seem to 'forget' super important bits of information and instructions on the reg. 

DS – That slim game console your creepy roommate kept by the toaster in 2005? (Don't pretend you didn't play it sometimes.) On parenting forums, DS means Dear Son. Parents use it passive aggressively, e.g. 'DS generously gave me his conjunctivitis the day before my job interview. Any tips on how I can cure it before the morning?' DD = Dear Daughter. DW = Dear Wife. DP = Dear partner. You get the drift. 

Attachment – Something you include (or forget to include) in an email? Yes. But also, now that you're expecting, you'll start to hear people talking about 'Attachment Parenting'. It's a philosophy or style of parenting that promotes empathy and bonding through quick responsiveness and close bodily touch. Your old-fashioned parents will roll their eyes when you hand them the book about it. 

Clingy – A trait you once used to describe enthusiastic lovers who texted you (too) frequently. In a few months, it'll be a word you use solely to describe babies with VELCRO limbs who attach themselves to your torso and Will. Not. Let. Go. Even when you need to use the loo. 

And finally, we get to the most elusive word in your 'New Parent' vocabulary … the one that inspired this piece in the first place.

Tog - In some (weird) parts of Australia, people call cozzies, bathers and swimmers 'Togs'. It makes no sense and should never have been a thing in the first place. So please, swipe the plural term 'Togs' from your memory and replace it with the singular 'Tog'. It stands for 'Thermal Overall Grade' and it relates to the warmth of your baby's sleeping gear. The best way to get your head around it, is to go online or ask a baby store employee for a rating chart. 

And yes, in case you're wondering, I did not know that TOG was an acronym until about five minutes ago. Turns out, I still know nothing.