7What Did We Do Before Baby Food ?
Before 1880, baby food and formula didn’t exist. Babies were exclusively breastfed until nine to twelve months old, and then they were introduced to soft foods.
Fruits and vegetables weren’t a regular part of baby’s diet until after the age of two, when most babies were fully weaned. It wasn’t
until the 1900’s when vitamins were discovered in fruits and vegetables that this changed. Until then babies were fed gruel, egg yolk, bone broth, or finely minced meats.
In the 1920’s a man by the name of Harold Clapp introduced the world to jarred baby food that was mass produced in large quantities after finding that his baby recovered quickly from an illness by eating vegetable soup.
Meanwhile in Michigan, Gerber began pureeing fruits and vegetables and that was the beginning of a lucrative baby food empire. Women loved the convenience that this “modern” innovation offered and jars were soon flying off of the shelves.
As baby food became more available, the age at which parents introduced solid foods dropped from nine to twelve months to less than three months old. Mothers embraced this modern wisdom, and breastfeeding began to be seen as “primitive”.
By the 1960’s and 1970’s over ninety percent of babies were fed jarred baby food and breastfeeding rates dropped to all time lows as mothers embraced the ease and convenience of modern feeding methods.