Gerber cherry vanilla pudding baby food

20 Rare Pics Of Vintage Baby Food Moms Won't Find Today

Try to imagine the days long before big grocery stores, blenders and store-bought baby food. Women had babies to feed back then too, and they didn’t have the kind of conveniences we have today. If they felt their baby needed some kind of solid food because breast milk just wasn’t cutting it anymore, can you imagine what they had to go through? The kind of produce we have today wasn’t available back then. Most vegetables came right out of their garden and everything had to be boiled like crazy to make it soft enough to mash. Boiling takes out a lot of the nutrients, so it’s a wonder pioneer babies lived.

We are so used to the abundance and quality of packaged baby foods today. Parents now have the choice whether to purchase them or make their own baby food. Imagine the joy women in the 1930s must have felt at finding ready-made baby foods. There was delight among some but skepticism from others, who wondered what was going into these little cans and jars. However, with some cute baby pictures and some savvy advertising, baby foods and formulas soon took off and became the global phenomena they are today.

20 Gerber Custard Pudding


Gerber’s vanilla custard pudding was a favorite among babies and mothers alike. The iconic jars with the cute baby on the front were bought by millions of delighted moms whose babies lapped them up. The sweetened vanilla custard would no doubt be banned today! It probably contained all sorts of ingredients that are not allowed in baby foods today, but it was truly yummy.

Gerber does make a banana custard in their current range, but it’s just not the same. The new version promotes its high fruit and vitamin C content and impeccable ingredients, as well as the lack of artificial components and BPA free packaging.

19 Vegetable Soup


This delightful concoction contained vegetables, rice, and barley. Beech-Nut produced many baby products throughout its long history of food production. In fact, the company produced the first vacuum jar, according to Wikipedia.

They were forerunners in the baby food world as well, as they became the first baby food company to produce all its lines without salt, in 1977. By 1997 all their products were free of refined sugar as well. They sell baby food today, based on mom’s homemade recipes. They sound much more appetizing than the vegetable soup does, so maybe it is just as well we can’t buy that one anymore!


Egg And Bacon Breakfast In A Canvia:

This delight was not the only star in the old Heinz baby breakfast range, it also included a variety made of liver and bacon! While it would be unthinkable for a mother to feed their baby on such delicacies today, evidently babies of that era had somewhat different tastes.

Indeed, in the 1930s, Heinz was something of a pioneer, which aimed to help out moms in the post Depression era, by producing ready packaged baby food. By the 1960s they were forerunners by producing baby food jars with screw-on caps. Heinz is still producing baby food to this day.


Gerber Cerealvia:

Gerber sold several types of baby cereals back in the day. The cardboard boxes with drawings of a baby’s face are recognizable instantly to those that remember the ‘Gerber baby.’ The cereals were available in rice, oatmeal or barley varieties, or a mixed box for the eclectic baby.

Adverts from over fifty years ago picture a baby reaching for a box of Gerber cereal and advertised that they had added vitamins and minerals to the mixtures, supplementing that which the baby might be lacking. The cereal varieties were simply mixed with milk, much like today’s baby cereal that Gerber still makes to this day, although the packaging and ingredients are somewhat updated.


Apple Juice In A Canvia:

Beech-Nut sold apple juice specifically designed for babies, in long life packaging. They provided an apple and orange juice ‘food’ for babies, and for some, it may have been a great source of vitamin C in a post-war climate where rationing took time to die down.

Today, of course, food is plentiful and we have an abundance of choice. However, back in the 1950s meals were cooked from scratch at home, and to have the convenience of a pre-packaged drink or meal for a baby was a true innovation for many moms. Beech-Nut started producing baby foods in the 1920s, according to World-FoodHistory, and moms’ lives changed.


Meat For Babies

Swift made soft food designed for babies, under the slogan ‘nothing builds a baby like meat.’ The company recommended giving meat to babies every day, something that would have modern mothers reaching for their smelling salt equivalent.

Swift promoted their ‘healthy’ food as building strong babies all year round with healthy muscles. The baby meats boasted that they contained five times more protein than other baby foods on the market, or baby ‘soups,’ as the advert dismissively labeled them. It made the bold claim that the Swift meat meals were ten times richer in protein than mother’s breast milk.


Cow And Gate Milkvia:

Cow and Gate sold their milk food formula with the line ‘the food of royal babies.’ Quite a claim. A 1920s advert for the substance claimed that the milk was for ‘lithe, blithe babies.’ By the 1950s, the iconic red, white and blue tin of formula was still making its royal baby claim and was sold in full cream or half cream versions. The royal baby claim was still prominent on the tins of Cow and Gate tins of the 1970s.

Of course, Cow and Gate still make baby formula and other foods today, but the royal claim seems to have been dropped.


Gerber Tinned Foodsvia:

There are some delightful vintage baby food tins from the Gerber company, thanks to the inspiration of Frank Gerber’s wife, according to Encyclopedia. The cute baby on the packaging belies the contents. One tin describes the contents as simply ‘spinach,’ hardly an appetizing or appealing prospect for a mother or baby of today!

Other tempting delicacies include strained peas and prunes. The babies of the 1950s and 1960s must have loved meal times! Strained carrots join the clan of tinned Gerber baby food, along with the much more enticing strained apples. However, these magic tins of strained foods were a godsend to mothers who could leave the home with their baby and a tin of Gerber food.


A Suppliment To Make Babies Grow Fastervia:

Malto dextrose is a product that is made from starch. It is highly sweet and full of calories and sometimes used by bodybuilders to build up the bulk.

However, back in the last century, it was given as a supplement to babies in the hope of making them grow faster. There seemed to be a theory that a big, bouncing baby was a healthy 1950s baby. While maltodextrin is still a component of some formula milk today and is used as a sweetener and thickener in many foods, it is no longer given neat to a small baby! Another benefit of malto dextrose is that it helps to keep a baby fuller longer, so possibly it was a helpful way of getting babies to sleep through the night?


Malted Slippery Elm Foodvia: etsystatic. com

This old-fashioned product could be used as a drink or cereal, and was sold as ‘the safest food for babies.’ While it is still available today, it will not be found in the baby food section and is no longer marketed as a baby food product.

It is now marketed as an easy to digest foodstuff for invalids and the elderly and is thought to be a nutritious and calorie-packed way of sustaining a person who is struggling to eat solid food. However, the high sugar content makes it totally unsuitable for a baby, and today’s moms would no doubt rather use the strained spinach than this sugar packed treat!


Mellins Milk Food

Mellins milk food, or formula in today’s speak, was sold as a substitute for breast milk with the claim ‘Mellins food with cow’s milk is the equal of mother’s milk.’ That is an advert that would not be allowed to be published today, of course.

Mellins was certainly savvy in the adverts department and they had to be, according to Food Timeline, because of initial skepticism about baby foods from parents and increased competition. They described their milk with superhuman properties, saying that it resulted in ‘strong limbs and firm flesh.’ Mellin still makes formula today, but without such bold claims.


Chu Chus Biscuitsvia:

These biscuits were made by Bickiepegs, which are still on the market today. Chu chus were designed to help tooth production and it was recommended that they are given to a baby a quarter of an hour before eating.

Bickiepegs were marketed as ‘biscuit bones’ and were apparently specially shaped to prevent ‘overlapping teeth and adenoids’. They were also apparently a lifesaver in the royal nursery if the tins from 100 years ago are to be believed.

Bickiepeg also offered a nourishing broth made from veal bones and vegetables that apparently aided calcium production in teeth and cured constipation. More shockingly than those claims, the manufacturers suggested that it could be offered from birth!


Nestle Baby Food

Nestle has been producing baby food for over a hundred years. Some of the earlier recipes would no doubt be scorned today, but back in 1903, the adverts claimed that Nestle food made happy babies.

The convenience of the food, or formula, was promoted as easily digestible and ready for baby. It was promoted as a summer drink, when, it was said babies’ delicate digestive systems could digest nothing other than Nestle baby milk!

The adverts compared the milk to cow’s milk and reported that Nestle was far better because cows milk had too much curd and not enough sugar ‘which baby needs most of all!’


Heinz Jars - Pick Your Flavor!

Every manner of delicacy was produced by Heinz in the new revolution of jarred baby foods. Mothers swooned at the convenience and practicality of these jars, especially when they also included a screw-topped lid! They were literally a life changer for women who no longer had to prepare and store all the baby’s food themselves.

They could be reassured that the strained prunes, orange pudding or noodles and turkey contained all the ingredients that a baby needed and were if the adverts were to be believed, better than homemade. Strained meats were particularly popular, although the description leaves much to be desired to a modern mom!


Fruit Purees

Beech-Nut won the hearts of many by sponsoring a set of quads, the Breckers, born in New York in the early 1960s. Many campaigns featured the quads eating and thriving on Beech Nut foods according to Quintland.

Beech Nut evidently employed canny advertisers. They developed the Stages 1, 2 and 3 foods that hoped to hook moms into buying their products for a longer period.

The simply digestible Stage 1 foods were soft, fruit-based purees. Stage 2 offered a wider variety of foods and flavor and Stage 3 foods had soft solid foods like peaches and noodles to challenge an older palette.


Clapp’s Pears

The rather unfortunately named Clapp’s, produced a range of baby foods and were actually the first company to offer canned baby food. It started with their vegetable soup that was launched in 1922, according to Mental Floss.

The soup started out as a remedy for their daughter when she was unwell, and it proved so popular that the family sold it in a local shop and then to the general public. They diversified into strained baby food, cereal and junior foods, including the tempting sounding, liver soup!

They offered strained pears, apples and apricots, as well as asparagus for the more discerning baby.


Strained Carrotsvia:

‘Strained’ seemed to be the word of the moment for 1950s baby food. Every manner of meat, vegetables, and fruit appeared in baby food form, all strained. Carrots were one of the most popular, with many of the main brands cashing in on the strained bandwagon.

Heinz produced a revolutionary jar of strained carrots, and Clapp’s provided an early canned offering. Pureed carrots are still a favorite for moms to offer babies today, due to their sweet flavor and high nutritional content. Somehow pureed just sounds better than strained!


Swifts Chicken Broth

Swifts produced a strained chicken with broth and strained pork with broth for babies, ideal they said for babies who were too little to manage Swift’s strained meats. It may sound incredible to modern parents, but they were recommended for small babies and no age restriction is mentioned on the packaging. More worrying than that, the manufacturers boast that there were no other ingredients apart from meat and added salt!

The prepared foods are described as ‘tempting, thrifty and time-saving’ and they promoted their products as the best protein providers around and even claimed that babies who ate Swifts meat products contracted fewer colds.


Vegetable Omelettevia:

Heinz sold the tempting tinned vegetable omelet, complete with smiling baby on the front. Delicious. Other gourmet delights such as tuna with noodles and apples, prunes and honey were also offered by Heinz. These combinations would hardly be sanctioned for newly weaned babies today.

Every strained vegetable was on offer in the 1960s, of course, and even braised steak and kidney pudding. Not only would modern mothers run a mile at this selection in today’s market, but research has shown that some of these foods may actually have been harmful for babies. Solid foods are suggested for babies of six months old and beyond, and modern moms tend to start off slowly with cereals and vegetables and work up to the gourmet dishes later!


Birds Eyevia:

Birds Eye cashed in on the boom for prepared baby foods. Adverts depicted deliriously happy women proclaiming that they would never have to wash their vegetables again, presumably as they could purchase the ready prepared article courtesy of Birds Eye.

Carrots, peaches, pears and applesauce were offered to the overworked moms, making life much easier for them and saving them hours of time. Birds Eye presented their ‘frosted foods’ as the answer to a busy housewife’s prayers, declaring that husbands and children preferred them. The truth of this is of course, unknown, but moms must have been relieved to have not only a fridge and a freezer but less time slaving over the oven.

References: Wikipedia, World-FoodHistory, Quintland, Encyclopedia, Food Timeline

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