“Rock A Bye, Baby” – The Origin Stories

By Karen Harris
Babies in trees? Rock A Bye, Baby is a strange nursery rhyme. Source: (mamalisa.com)

If you think about it, the popular nursery rhyme, “Rock A Bye, Baby,” contains some strange lyrics. After all, it tells of a baby rocking in the branches of a tree and falling to the ground when a limb snaps, which is, in of itself, rather violent, disturbing, and horrible. Why is that baby even up there? Sticking an infant in a tree doesn’t sound like  a sound parental safe practice today, but the ditty must have some odd backstory that we don’t know about yet, right? Right. So, as it turns out, there are several stories that explain the origins of this somewhat disturbing nursery rhyme. Much like most nursery rhymes, and fairy tales (like, for example, the original "Ring Around The Rosie" meaning being connected to the black plague), the origins are rather dark.