- Type 1 - One character raises a child for an episode. This allows for a little Character Development in letting a character show his or her softer side. The character will often grow attached to the child. It's different from type 2 in that there's less focus on the interactions between the characters, and more on the character and the child.
- Type 2 - Two or more characters raise a child for an episode, letting it go after it matures by the end. It's a great way to add some Ship Tease, and quite often, some Ho Yay, as there's often the implications of a couple. Note that this isn't always the case, however; there's times when characters do this for different motives. Does This Remind You of Anything? is sometimes present, too.
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Anime and Manga
- In Maison Ikkoku, Godai and Kyoko are forced to look after the abandoned children of a runaway waitress (sort of, it's very complicated). This shows that both have good parenting skills. Shipteasing left and right.
- In Perfect Girl Evolution, Ranmaru Mori, being a ladies' man that tends to have affairs with married women, has this happen to him in one of the stories. One of the women he had an affair with left a little girl with him, telling him that she's his daughter. He takes care of her for a while and gets very attached to her, until the mother comes back and it's revealed that the daughter isn't his. Unfortunately for the little girl, her father is much uglier than Ranmaru, and she cries while saying she wants her "pretty daddy" instead.
- In the Tenchi Muyo! episode "Hello Baby!", the girls have to take care of a baby whose mother is ill. Ryoko, Mihoshi and Ayeka have no idea of how to care for the infant until Washu comes to the rescue.
- In Bleach episode 260, Kazeshini (Shuuhei's Zampaktou) finds a baby whose dying father asks him to take care of it. After growing attached to the kid, Kazeshini decides to leave him with a woman who wanted to take care of him. When they're attacked by a sword fiend (which, by the way, was the one who killed the baby's father), Kazeshini protects the kid with his own body, understanding why Shuuhei accepts to risk his life for others. After killing the sword fiend, he asks the woman to raise the kid, before leaving to fight his final battle with Shuuhei.
- In Sailor Moon Usagi and Mamoru have to care for a baby whose mother recovers from being attacked by the Monster of the Week. Actually, Mamoru volunteers and Usagi decides try to help him, mostly to try and get close to him since this occurs early in the first arc of the R season, where he has lost his memories of their time together while she had them back at the start.
- In Shugo Chara!, Rima and Nagihiko help look after a little boy for a few hours after he got lost.
- One episode of You're Under Arrest! has Natsumi and Yukari having to take care of an American boy who traveled to Japan by airplane on his own.
- Berserk offers an on-going example of Type 2. Starting in the Millennium Falcon Arc, Guts and his companions encounter a strange little boy on nights of the full moon. The boy has an attraction to Guts and especially Casca, and the latter takes it upon herself to care of the boy. His appearance offers development for both Guts and Casca: Casca because she currently has a child-like insanity and is unable to take care of herself even, yet she still has some lucidity and maturity to act motherly towards another, and Guts because despite his dark and brooding personality, he is still shown to have a gentler side to him. The kicker is that the boy's presence also offers Guts and Casca a small amount of Ship Tease, as it rekindles memories that Guts and Casca conceived a child that was tragically lost due to the events of the Eclipse - but it's hinted that the Moonlight Boy might be their lost child reincarnated. Ultimately, whenever the Moonlight Boy makes his appearance, he vanishes not too long after.
Live Action TV
- Clark and Lana do this on Smallville, with the odd twist that it only lasts a day because the child in question has a kryptonite-induced mutation that causes him to age by several years every few hours.
- The Birds of Prey had to do the exact same thing in "Three Birds and a Baby". The child's Rapid Aging caused him to die at the end of the episode in a surprising Tear Jerker.
- Person of Interest: When the Machine spits out the number of a 6-month old baby, Finch kidnaps it and takes care of it with Reese until it is safe. And speaking of dynamic duos taking care of babies in unsafe conditions...
- On Supernatural, Dean and Sam take care of a baby shapeshifter in "Two and a Half Men".
- In Charmed the sisters need to take care of a child not their own for a day several times throughout the series. It does serve as both a foreshadowing and practice for when they get their own child. Since they are basically 3 moms, there is no Ship Tease, Ho Yay, or implications of a couple. Just a foreshadowing/practice.
- In Battlestar Galactica (2003) , Leoben leaves Starbuck with a little girl the cylon had kidnapped, telling Starbuck that she's the pilot's daughter. Of course, he's lying, but she doesn't find that out until after she's bonded with the child.
- In the MacGyver episode "Rock the Cradle," Jack Dalton's ex-girlfriend, on the run from criminals, leaves her son "Jack Jr." in Jack's airplane hangar, with a note asking Jack to take care of him. Jack and MacGyver have to look after the kid while trying to track down Mama.
- Done on Remington Steele.
- In the Bones episode "The Baby in the Bough" Booth and Brennan take care of a victim's son. While Bones is rather Maternally Challenged and initially unwilling, she becomes attached by the end.
- For a few episodes during Heroes Volume 4, Hiro and Ando have to take care of Matt Parkman's son.
- The Jeeves and Wooster episode "Return to New York" (the part based on the story "Fixing It For Freddie") has Bertie and Jeeves looking after a toddler that Bertie "temporarily kidnapped" as part of his scheme to bring a couple back together.
- Mr. Monk and the Kid: Monk bonds with a boy involved in the case he's investigating, and starts wanting to adopt him. Eventually, he decides that he can't take care of the boy, because he can barely take care of himself.
- On Northern Exposure, an off-screen woman leaves her child in Dr. Joel's waiting room. The townspeople try to take turns caring for the child, with varying results. At the end of the episode, the enigmatic receptionist hands the baby back to the mother, who has second thoughts about the abandonment.
- In an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Opie and his friend find a baby on the courthouse steps. Worried that it'll end up abused in an orphanage (because they've read Dickens novels), they try to hide it in the backyard and care for it while searching for a new family. Unfortunately, Opie searches for foster parents by knocking on doors and asking, "Would you like to have a baby?" This confuses the neighbors and leads Andy to think his son needs The Talk, which makes him very uncomfortable. Finally the parents show up, and it turns out that they had an argument, which almost caused a divorce, and the mother panicked about being a single mother. Andy lets them take their kid back, but not before calling their hometown's sheriff to ask him to keep an eye out for other signs they aren't good parents.
- This happens to Dani Beck and Olivia Benson a couple times on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In Dani's case she takes in an emotionally disturbed little girl who sets her apartment on fire in an attempt to ensure that Dani will never leave her, which shocks her so much that she asks for a transfer. In the Season 12 episode "Trophy", Olivia is suddenly given custody of the grandson of one of their rape victims. Several episodes later, however, his drug-addicted mother turns up again and has the boy taken from Olivia and custody transferred to his grandparents.
- Designing Women - Season 2, Episode: "Oh, Suzannah" - Suzanne suddenly volunteers to foster a Vietnamese boat child, Li Sing, for a month (a month that lasts almost the whole episode), at which point she'll go to her adoptive home. Suzanne becomes attached to Li Sing quickly and has a hard time letting go.
- The Golden Girls - Season 2, Episode: "And Then There Was One" - Sophia runs in a marathon, while the ladies babysit several children of runners; the parents of one child do not return. The ladies must then contemplate whether or not to keep the baby and raise it themselves or hand it over to child services. This especially affects Blanche. Reluctant to even hold the child at first, Blanche becomes overly-attached, which brings up issues about her own daughter at the end of the episode.
- An episode of Spongebob Squarepants had this happen to Spongebob and Patrick with a clam. Hilarity (and Ho Yay) Ensued.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Scratch and Grounder create a robot with spare parts, then raise it, in an episode filled with Ship Tease.
- In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold and Helga have to raise an egg together. There's already enough UST, so hijinks naturally ensue.
- In Metalocalypse, the band members briefly take care of a foster child, though they treat him like an animal.
- An episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh features Rabbit stumbling across an orphaned bluebird named Kessie and raising it himself. Of course she flies away by the end of the episode, after Rabbit softens from his usual persona. Kessie appears quite a bit since then, making an encore appearance in a later episode and being a recurring character in The Book of Pooh.
- Family Guy had the episode where Peter raises a baby chick.
- Pinky and the Brain:
- There was an episode where Brain attempted to clone himself, and some of Pinky's DNA got mixed in. Cue Pinky and Brain acting like a bickering couple while they try to raise the clone.
- The episode "Whatever Happened to Baby Brain?" also had Pinky posing as the mother while Brain pretends to be a Deliberately Cute Girl in order to become a child star and raise money for his unstated world domination plot. Needless to say, Pinky took "her" own role too well.
- The Type 2 version is present in the Danny Phantom episode "Life Lessons", where Danny and Valerie have to be fake parents to a flour sack for a class project. This episode hints at a relationship between them that occurs a couple more episodes later in the series. Also, Sam and Tucker are fake parents of another flour sack, possibly to mock shippers.
- A Scooby-Doo cartoon from the early 80s has Scooby and Shaggy become babies from steam in the gym and Scrappy has to take care of them in the meantime before it wears off. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Itchy & Scratchy episode called Foster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! shows that Scratchy adopts Itchy for the whole episode, until Itchy kills Scratchy, steals Scratchy's TV, and runs away, with Scratchy saying his last words: "Why, my only son?"
- Total Drama Pahkitew Island had a weird example: in "Three Zones and a Baby," the contestants had to go through an obstacle course filled with deadly, sleeping animals while carrying babies, because Chris is a being of pure evil. Naturally the babies never got hurt, but the teenagers sure did while protecting them. Most of the contestants are happy when the legal department demands they give them up before the episode ends, but Max bonds with his little minion and actually gives back a fake at first.
- Samurai Jack ended its original run with "Jack and the Baby", where Jack finds a baby and has to find their parents. It wasn't a particularly exciting way to close out the series.
- Children in foster care generally stay with the foster parents for a period ranging from a few days to several months, and are then reunited with their birth families. Sometimes the kids don't go back, but that's a different trope.