Barakat Bundle Blog

Sleeping babies: Past and Present Cradles from Around the World

We at Barakat Bundle are very excited about the progress we are making on our locally sourced, environmentally friendly, bamboo safe-sleep cradles! To achieve our goal of improving child health in South Asia, we focused on incorporating key factors of safety, comfort, and tradition in our cradle design. We explored various historical and traditional sleeping arrangements for babies and now we welcome you to share in this journey of past and present cradles from around the world

Historically, cribs and bassinets in Britain were often raised off of the ground as it was thought that detrimental fumes were present at the floor and ceiling, so air suitable for babies was in the middle of the room. Later, iron cribs were used to prevent lice and bug infestations, but these iron cribs were often covered in lead paint, now known to be extremely dangerous for babies. Several age old European cribs look familiar to cribs one might find in a store today.



Napoleon himself commissioned this extravagant crib for his child in 1811.





Ancient Chinese cultures often used wooden cradles and cribs. Many were made with bamboo and had a bowl shaped area for the baby, with a rocking base below.

Several Native American tribes, including the Navajo and Kiowa tribes, use cradleboards for their babies. Cradleboards are typically made from a wooden backboard, usually pine or cottonwood, and then a cloth is wrapped around the baby, and buckskin is used to fasten the cloth to the board. Ornate cradleboards, such as the Kiowa cradleboard shown here, often became family heirlooms. Cradleboards can be set down, worn like a backpack, carried around, or secured to horses or sleds in earlier times. While most cradleboard use dated back to before the 1800s, some cradleboards are still used today.


Across the globe, many cribs have feature movement – whether it be rocking or swinging. This “slave cradle” dates back to the 19th century and was likely wheeled to the fields where a mother could look over her baby while working.






Preserved in a Portuguese castle, this ancient, beautiful crib features a canopy on top and a swinging design below.






With similar ideas of swinging, many families in India use a crib style called a Ghodiyu or a Palna to hold their babies. 





Several different types of Ghodiyu exist, including ornately carved structures. 

By learning about past and present cradles from around the world, we have been able to build on their best features and create a safe, comfortable, and tradition-inspired cradle for South Asian newborns. We are excited to share our cradle with you soon!




Image Sources:

Kiowa Cradle Board, The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis,




Leave a Reply