By Sherry Huang
April 14, 2015

Becoming a first-time parent probably ranks high on the life-changes list -- and for new dads, there's an overwhelming pressure to support their partner post-birth, learn how to be an awesome dad and bond with the baby, make tough decisions while avoiding parenting mistakes, and figure out an influx of new terms, like Apgar score and Ferberization.

After becoming a stay-at-home dad, Chris Illuminati himself was overwhelmed by a ton of new buzzwords and phrases he was hearing in the hospital, at the pediatrician's office, and on the playground. So to help other fellow dads, Illuminati compiled The New Dad Dictionary to help them understand the A to Z terms they'll encounter during three stages of their lives: partner's pregnancy, baby's first year, and the rest of childhood.

New dads now have one handy guide to help them figure out the difference between meconium and Mongolian spots. They can read textbook definitions and cheeky "dadfinitions," or as Illuminati shares in his intro, "an interpretation of the definition that's...put into straightforward language for other dads (or dudes) to understand." Illuminati wants to help dads "talk the talk of new parenthood" -- and, of course, keep their sanity and  good humor intact.

Check out the the definitions and "dadfintions" for 10 terms commonly heard during baby's first year.


Definition: Carrying a baby in a soft carrier, either a sling, pouch, or wrap. More convenient for new parents because it frees the hands to complete other activities.

Dadfinition: The act of turning a child into a backpack. Only this backpack cries, craps, and occasionally takes blows to the face when mom or dad doesn't take clearance space into consideration.


Definition: A bed, or cradle, specifically made for babies to sleep in from birth to about four months of age. Usually placed at the foot of the parent's bed or in the bedroom.

Dadfinition: Beds for the world's most unpredictable alarm clock. Not to be confused with the medieval war helmet called the bascinet. However, every bassinet should come with a bascinet because you'll wish for a metal war helmet to cover your head and muffle the sounds of your screaming baby.


Definition: A device that uses suction to pull milk from the breasts. There are manually and electrically operated breast pumps. Women use breast pumps for a variety of reasons: to feed babies who aren't able to latch onto the breast, to store milk for later use, or to encourage milk production.

Dadfinition: An outrageously noisy device that looks like an air horn. You'll want to pick it up, make a fake horn sound, and cheer on your favorite sports team. Pumps help deliver the key to keeping your baby healthy, happy, and quiet—the invaluable boob juice.


Definition: The medical procedure of removing the foreskin from the head of the penis, exposing the tip. Typically performed on male newborns during the first 10 days of life—often within the first 48 hours—either in the hospital or during a religious service.

Dadfinition: The term that makes all grown men shudder. Circumcision does carry potential risks, just like any surgical procedure, so it's wise to decide before the birth of the child either against or for skin. See what I did there? For skin. Foreskin. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Related: Is Circumcision Right for Your Family?


Definition: A reusable diaper made from manmade materials (an absorbent layer of microfiber to prevent leaking) and natural fibers (cotton, wool, bamboo, or unbleached hemp).

Dadfinition: Just one more baby item to wash. Just practice with whichever diaper mom chooses long before the kid arrives and you'll be fine.


Definition: Sharing a bed with newborns and infants instead of putting them to sleep in a bassinet or crib.

Dadfinition: A deceptive term that assumes that when a newborn child comes back into the home there will be any sleeping at all. Some kids take to it immediately, while others can't make it through the night because you and your partner both snore like farm animals.

Related: Choosing Cosleeping and Other Sleep Safety Tips


Definition: A bag that contains the essentials you need to care for your baby but also incidental items like an extra pair of clothes, sunscreen, toys, snacks, and a changing pad.

Dadfinition: A carryall to store everything a baby and a traveling mom would need on their short trip ... or if they decide to disappear forever and become gypsies or scale Mount Everest. Moms pack diaper bags to prepare for a child-led apocalypse, while dads prefer to carry a satchel that contains only a diaper, a couple of wipes, hand gel, and the map to find all of those things in case you ever forget to grab the diaper bag that was packed by your partner.


Definition: Known by many different names—binkies, binks, dummies, and soothers—the pacifier is large enough that a small child won't choke on or swallow it, and it often prevents children from putting other objects in their mouth to suck on.

Dadfinition: Mom and dad's best friend...until it becomes their biggest nightmare. Solves all problems and heal all wounds: tiredness, crankiness, anger, sadness, pain, boredom. But the day the binkie gets taken away forever will be a sad day. Buckets and buckets of tears shall be shed. Seriously, you're going to cry for hours. "But how will the kid sleep?!? The kid needs to sleep so I can sleep!!!!"


Definition: (Technically called gastroesophageal reflux) Occurs in babies when swallowed milk comes back up into either the esophagus or the mouth. Can occur with both formula-fed and breastfed babies.

Dadfinition: A pretty intense situation that typically leaves you covered in regurgitated milk or formula, wondering if your kid is actually getting anything to eat.


Definition: The act of placing a newborn on her stomach in order to help her build strong head, neck, and shoulder muscles and advanced motor skills. Can begin about a month after birth.

Dadfinition: A good change of scenery for the child and for dads. Watching a child wiggle around on her back is kind of like watching PBS—it's important but boring as hell after a while. Also an early sign that a child is beginning to develop into something besides a pooping paperweight.

Text excerpted and condensed from The New Dad Dictionary by Chris Illuminati. Copyright © 2015 F+W/Adams Media. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


Comments (2)

March 1, 2019
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly.
December 3, 2018
Quick tip for all you parents all out there: My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>>>SleepBaby .org<<<< - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! Sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link. >>SleepBaby .org<< Best of luck to you and your family! :)