What is this hole/casing in old cradles for?

It seems especially in old Irish cradles, but I see them in early American ones too, there is always what looks like a clock casing, or maybe a bird house at the head of the cradle. What is that bit, and why is it there?

Example

Are you asking about the hood of the cradle, or the large circular hole in the hood? Lots of cradles are built with overhangs or “hoods” to shade the baby’s eyes from light and/or keep drafts off its head.

It sez here about the item in the OP’s link that the “circular opening, built into the shallow hood”, was intended “presumably to store small items; perhaps toys or other distractions”.

Looks like it’s to stick toys/stuffed animals in. Probably also the reason it sort of looks like a birdhouse.

Also, shouldn’t this thread be in GQ? AFAICT the OP’s question has a factual answer and it’s probably the one suggested here.

I think (wag) a blanket corner could be looped through there to provide shade or warmth while not getting around the baby and perhaps smothering them.

I think you may be imagining the cradle hood as open underneath. But the quoted description says that the hole in the cradle hood provides storage for small items, implying that the space within the hood is enclosed by a flat bottom. So you couldn’t really “loop” a blanket corner through the hole. You could stuff part of a blanket into the hole, but you couldn’t fasten it there.

^^^Oh, well. There’s the answer then.

Moderator Action

I think you’re right. Moving thread from IMHO to GQ.

Thanks all!

Looks like a place to hold a bottle of milk while doing things with the baby.

Or things to do with nappy changing that you don’t want to get lost in the blankets like nappy pins, cream, cotton wool etc.