The term originated in Jamaican Creole as "baby-mother" (pronounced [ˈbebi ˈmada]), with the first printed usage appearing in the Kingston newspaper, The Daily Gleaner in 1966. Another Daily Gleaner use dates from November 21, 1989. Originally, the term was used by the fathers of illegitimate children to describe the mothers of their children, but the term is now in general use to describe any single mother. Peter L. Patrick, a linguistics professor who studies Jamaican English, has said of the terms baby mother and baby father, "[they] definitely imply there is not a marriage—not even a common-law marriage, but rather that the child is an 'outside' child". Since entering currency in U.S. tabloids, the terms baby mama and baby daddy have even begun to be applied to married and engaged celebrities.
Baby mother and baby mama had entered wide use in American hip-hop lyrics by the mid-1990s. One of the first representations of baby mamas in hip-hop lyrics was by southern rapper Krazy, from Tampa, Florida. One of his songs was titled "I Hate My Baby Mama."  The Outkast song "Ms. Jackson", released in 2000, was dedicated to "all the baby mamas' mamas". American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino released a song entitled "Baby Mama" in 2004. In this song she is writing an ode to black single mothers and to be a baby mama should be a "badge of honor". She is able to make firsthand acknowledgements as a single mother. she even empathizes on the thoughts of baby mamas and how they are "fed up with makin' beds up." Planet Earth, an album by Prince released in 2007, features a song called "Future Baby Mama". Three 6 Mafia had a song called "Baby Mama" on Choices: The Album. Tupac's "Dear Mama", and "Brenda's got a Baby" are two hip hop songs that show a strong Black woman/ mothering trope.
Through these albums and songs, there has come to be an acceptance to the term "Baby Mama" and also a creation to an alternative baby daddy.
In many films, including some like Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns", that was released in 2008, there are many stereotypical representations of black baby mamas. Brenda, who is played by Angela Bassett, is one of the main characters in the film that is portrayed as a stereotypical Black single mother who is caught in an endless cycle of poverty and struggle. She has three children from three different men, none of which have a presence in their child's life. Throughout the film there is not indication that Brenda is on welfare but nevertheless, she is a clear representation of a contemporary "baby mama". In stereo-typically fashion her character is someone who is powerless.
- Turner, Julia. (May 7, 2006). "A Brief History of Baby-Daddies." Slate Magazine. Retrieved December 12, 2006.
- Patrick, Peter L. (1995). Some Recent Jamaican Creole Words. American Speech, 70(3), 227-264. Retrieved December 12, 2006.
- Cooper, Brittney (2007). Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology "Excavating the Love Below: The State as Patron of the Baby Mama Drama and Other Ghetto Hustles". California: Parker Publishing. pp. 320–344. ISBN 9781600430107.
- Azikwe, Marlo David (2007). Home Girls Make some Noise: Hip Hop Anthology "More than Baby Mamas: Black Mothers and Hip Hop Feminism". California: Parker Publishing. pp. 344–367. ISBN 9781600430107.
- McKay, Hollie. "Oxygen's 'All My Babies' Mamas' sparks calls for cancellation before it even airs". Fox News.
- "Shawty Lo: I'm Bringing "All My Babies' Mamas" to Oxygen! Read more: Shawty Lo: I'm Bringing "All My Babies' Mamas" to Oxygen! | GossipOnThis.com". Gossipmthis.
- Bell, Jamel Santa Cruze; II, Ronald L. Jackson (2013-10-23). Interpreting Tyler Perry: Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Routledge. ISBN 9781134510740.