An Overwhelming Glossary of Mommy Message Board LingoS

"I'm an FTM with DS and I'm actually NAK right now. My DH and I are NTNP, but my HPT gave me a BFN and I was wondering if this has to do with EBF." Huh? This is how people communicate on pregnancy, parenting and TTC (trying to conceive) message boards. While internet conversations are typically riddled with acronyms, shorthand and emoticons, mommy message boards have a language all their own that's not exclusive to any one forum or site, but rather is universally understood by online breeders. With these communities multiplying faster than Gremlins in the rain, the phenomenon can't be ignored. But can it be understood? We do our best to crack the code.

There's basically a message board community to cater to every type of parent out there: Christian parents; diabetic parents; working at home parents. The Bump is to pregnancy what The Knot is to weddings. What to Expect message boards are a catchall for women familiar with the popular books (What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year) who don't know where else to go. Scary Mommy is good for the irreverent and YouBeMom is a great resource for mothers who want to be completely honest about anything — be it pediatricians, Real Housewives, strollers, or sex toys — without getting the virtual side-eye from judgmental types in more mainstream forums. The many different TTC (trying to conceive) boards across the internet are no doubt comforting for its participants with fertility issues. But there are also geographically-based Yahoo Groups (like the oft-discussed Park Slope Parents) for mothers and fathers looking to connect with others in their respective neighborhoods. And while PSP gets a lot of flack for its flame wars, eye-roll inducing preciousness and "over-parenting," for the most part, these mommy message boards are used by people looking to feel a little less confused and a little less alone. Sure, there are the people who enter into these forums strictly to brag about their children or their own parenting prowess — but they're also obviously fulfilling a need that's not being met in their real lives, however annoying that might be for others.

I was never a participant of message boards while childless and this didn't change with the birth of my daughter. But I do tend to lurk every now and then. It's a good way to gauge how well your baby is doing hitting his or her developmental milestones. And these forums can provide tips and answers to the kinds of questions that aren't really important enough to ask the pediatrician, and that you'd rather hear from real parents and not books. Do all babies like the tags on their toys better than the actual toy? How do you deal with unsolicited advice from a mother-in-law? What kind of spoon is best to introduce solids? While never adding to a conversation, I've found some of the forums really helpful, particularly the stroller discussions on UrbanBaby, which helped me shop for the right fit for my lifestyle, which includes traveling on the subway and living in a fourth-floor walk up.

But Christ if they aren't difficult to understand. As someone whose job it is to be on the internet, I thought that I was pretty proficient in shorthand. That is, until I visited these mommy message boards. First of all, some acronyms that are already well-established in other venues mean a completely different thing in parenting forums, like FTM. It doesn't mean Female to Male transsexual, but rather, First Time Mom. It's confusing terms like this that make understanding postings through simple reading comprehension kind of impossible. So here, we present an alphabetized glossary, to assist you in wading through the murky waters of mommy message boards.

AC - Assisted conception
AI - Artificial insemination
AIH - Artificial insemination with husband's sperm
AIO - All-in-one; this means you don't need a separate cover over the diaper, as in a disposable diaper
AP - Attachment parenting; a child rearing philosophy
ART - Assisted reproductive technology
BBT - Basal body temperature
BC - Birth control
BD - Baby dancing (sex for conception)
BF - Breastfeeding
BFN - Big fat negative (as in a pregnancy test)
BW - Blood week (period)
CC - Controlled crying; a method of sleep training for infants
CD - Cloth diaper
CIO - Cry it out; a method of sleep training for infants
CM - Cervical mucus
CVSs - Chorionic villus sampling; a form of prenatal diagnosis to determine chromosomal or genetic disorders
DA - Dairy allergy
DD - Dear daughter
DF - Dear fiance
DH - Dear husband
DI - Donor insemination
DPO - Days past ovulation
DS - Dear son
DSD - Dear step daughter
DSS - Dear step son
DTD - Do the deed (sex)
DXP - Dear ex partner, for people who are still on good terms with their exes
EBF - Exclusively breastfeeding
EBM - Expressed breast milk
EDD - Estimated date of delivery (due date)
EN - Extended nursing
EP - Ectopic pregnancy
ER - Egg retrival
ET - Embryo transfer
FF - Formula feeding
FS - Food stamps
FTM - First time mom
GD - Gestational diabetes
GF - Gluten-free
HPT - Home pregnancy test
IUI - Intrauterine insemination
IVF - In vitro fertilization
LAM - Lactational amennorhea method; referring to natural infertility while breastfeeding
LO - Little one
LP - Luteal phase
MC - Miscarriage
MIL - Mother-in-law
MS - Morning sickness
NAK - Nursing at keyboard
NFP - Natural family planning; or the rhythm method
NIP - Nursing in public
NTNP - Not trying/not preventing
O - Ovulation
OH - Other half
OPK - Ovulation predictor test kit
OWT - Old wives tale
PG - Pregnant
POAS - Pee on a stick
POF - Premature ovarian failure
SAHM - Stay at home mom
SB - Still birth
SW - Starting weight
TTC - Trying to conceive
US - Ultrasound
VBAC - Vaginal birth after cesarean
WAHM - Work at home mom
WOHM - Work out of home mom
WM - Working mom

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