Embracing the Newborn Phase with “Babies Don’t Keep” Poem

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By In The Playroom

The newborn phase is a magical time, filled with a wonderful hue of emotions, from the excitement of welcoming a new life into the world to the sheer exhaustion of sleepless nights. As parents, we often find solace in poems that capture these fleeting moments, and Ruth Hulburt Hamilton’s “Babies Don’t Keep” is one such sweet poem that speaks to the heart.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the poem in its entirety, and delve into the significance of its words and phrases, including “Little Boy Blue,” “lullaby loo,” “rockaby lullabye loo,” and “fifth child.”

We also have some beautiful free prints of the poem that you can download for your home.

Babies don't keep poem free printable for the nursery

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the poem’s connection to the Ladies’ Home Journal and how it has been shared on social media, as well as how you can bring this poem into your own living room through free printables and embroidered pictures.

watercolor mother and baby

The Poem: “Babies Don’t Keep”

Babies Don’t Keep by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

vintage style illustration for the poem babies don't keep

Reflections on the Poem “Babies Don’t Keep”

Originally published in the Ladies’ Home Journal in the 1950s, “Babies Don’t Keep” is a testament to the importance of cherishing the short time we have with our little ones.

Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, a mother of five, penned this poem during her own experience raising her children. From her first child to her fifth child, Ruth understood the need to prioritize personal moments with her children over the endless to-do list that comes with parenthood.

The phrases “Little Boy Blue,” “lullaby loo,” and “rockaby lullabye loo” evoke the comforting feeling of a mother’s soothing voice as she sings a lullaby to her child, creating a safe space for both mother and baby.

watercolour mother and newborn baby

The poem’s message is clear: the best things in life are the moments we share with our loved ones, and it’s essential to cherish them.

modern illustration style mother and baby

Bringing “Babies Don’t Keep” into Your Living Room

Over the years, this poem has found its way into the hearts of many parents who have shared it on social media, through word of mouth, and even by displaying it as an embroidered picture in their living rooms.

To make this poem a part of your home, consider printing a free printable version or creating your own embroidered picture to hang beside your rocking chair as a gentle reminder that, indeed, babies don’t keep.

Download Free Printable Babies Don’t Keep Poem Prints

Choose your free printable based on this beautiful poem, to print out and display in your home or use for your baby scrapbook or journal.

babies don't keep poem print
babies don't keep poem print

Ruth Hulburt Hamilton’s “Babies Don’t Keep” is a timeless piece that serves as a reminder to cherish the newborn phase and the precious moments we share with our children.

As we navigate the world of parenting, it’s essential to remember that while chores and responsibilities are a part of daily life, the love and connection we share with our little ones are the memories that will truly last a lifetime.

So, as you rock your own child in the living room or share a lullaby before bedtime, let Ruth Hamilton’s words be a gentle reminder to embrace these special moments. Because, as she so eloquently put it, “The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.”

Whether you’re a first-time parent or welcoming your fifth child into your family, “Babies Don’t Keep” serves as a beautiful reminder of the importance of slowing down and savoring the magical moments that make parenthood so unique.

Share this poem with other parents, create a keepsake for your own personal use, or simply keep it close to your heart as you navigate the joys and challenges of raising a child.

In the fast-paced world of social media, it’s more important than ever to remember the simple truth that Ruth Hulburt Hamilton captured in her poem.

So, take a moment to pause, breathe, and cherish the time with your little one – because, indeed, babies don’t keep.

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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.

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