12 Words & Phrases the British Use for All Things Baby

The moment the UK, and much of America, has been waiting for has finally arrived. Earlier today the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, went into labor and has been admitted to the hospital. Suddenly this turn of events gave new meaning to the Royal Baby Watch, as thrones of reporters descended onto St. Mary’s Hospital in London, and news channels and social media outlets are all abuzz, waiting for news of the royal baby’s arrival. To help us Americans make heads or tails of various British bits of slang, phrases and words that we will soon undoubtedly be hearing a lot of when talking about the royal baby, I pulled together 12 common words and phrases that the British use for all things baby. Click through to see all 12.

British Speak For All Things Baby

British slang and colloquialisms sometimes sounds funny, interesting, beautiful and just plain cool. I’ve gathered 12 of the most commonly referenced baby words and items that are called one thing in America, and something else entirely in Great Britain. Click through to read all 12.


A pram is a 4 wheeled buggy, often called a carriage in America, for baby to lay down in. Often used for younger infants and newborns not yet sitting up, a traditional pram has large white and wire wheels and a cloth basket and canopy for baby, and look very regal.

Push Chair

Once the royal baby is sitting up, he or she will be wheeled around Buckingham Palace in a push chair, as opposed to a stroller, the word we use in America.


Not an unfamiliar word in the states, a layette is used to refer to a collection of newborn clothes, blankets, booties, hats, and any other clothing type items that new parents-to-be gather up in preparation for their bundle of joy. While sometimes used in America, it is considered more formal and isn’t as widely used anymore.


Many baby’s use them, but they’re called 2 completely different things in the states as they’re called in Great Britain. Americans call them pacifiers, whereas the Brits call them a dummy. The term is believed to come about because a pacifier quiets a baby, essentially shutting them up. While the reference may have a possible negative connotation, they are in fact a parent’s best friend at times, and help to fulfill a newborn’s natural sucking reflex.


Technically posset is a British drink made of hot milk mixed with ale or wine, which would curdle it. When referencing babies however, a posset means to regurgitate curdled milk, or to spit up.


You would think that wobbly would mean a toddler who is “wobbly” on their legs, but it actually refers to a young child having a tantrum. I wonder how many tantrums the royal baby will have?


Not a word strictly used for babies, it is a word that is common to most new parents. To be knackered simply means to be tired, and I’m sure the new royal parents will be plenty knackered in the coming days and weeks. While they will undoubtedly have a royal baby nurse around the clock, William and Kate seem very modern and the type of parents who will want to be very hands-on.


No, the royal baby doesn’t need a nap, which is what the word suggests. Rather, he or she needs a nappy change, or what we Americans would call a diaper change.


The royal baby will undoubtedly have a beautiful nursery with a lovely cot to sleep in. We call them a crib here in America, but the Brits refer to a crib, or small children’s bed, as a cot.

Au Pair

Often called a nanny, or even a babysitter for the more casual family here in America, an au pair is a live-in caretaker for the children.


British babies drink from bottles, just like American babies, but the nipple of the bottle isn’t called a nipple at all, but is instead called a teat.


In America we may call them by their brand name, like Bjorn or Ergo, but most commonly we simply call a body infant carrying device, a carrier. I use my carrier daily to hold my baby on my chest or my back, whatever mood he’s in, so I can free up my hands to get things done. But the British refer to these baby carriers as a papoose.

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