History of baby food

The history of commercial baby food in the US

Photo: Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Popular since its invention in the early 20th century, commercial baby food was seen as a product of convenience for women. "They were advertised as safe, modern and better than you could prepare at home," says Amy Bentley, author of Inventing Baby Food and associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University.

Noelle Carter: What did we do before commercial baby food? How did babies eat, and when did mothers introduce their babies to solid food?

Amy Bentley

Amy Bentley: Commercial baby food started in the early 20th century, in the late 1920s. Before then, there wasn't a category specifically called "baby food." There was a category of soft foods -- foods that were appropriate for infants, invalids and the elderly. 

But the advice and practice of the late 19th century was really that you didn't feed babies solid food until about 1 year of age. You were supposed to breastfeed them -- or use formulas, if you absolutely had to. It was thought that solid food wasn't needed until later. In fact, there was advice in practice that you did not feed children fruits and vegetables until about 2 years of age.

NC: How did commercial baby food come to be?

AB: As vitamins were discovered in the 19-teens, that was also about the time you had the industrialization of the food supply. Those products were more widely available and more affordable. 

There was a man named Harold Clapp in Rochester, New York, whose child was sick. He created a soup for his child made of vegetables. It proved so popular that his friends asked him for it. He went to the local cannery and commercially prepared this product. 

That was also about the same time that the Gerber Products Company was starting to produce baby food. Others just picked it up, and eventually you had the development of three or four really big commercial brands. But it was very, very popular from the get-go. 

The products were portable and convenient. They were advertised as safe, modern and better than you could prepare at home. They were seen as a product of convenience for women. Women could put them in their bags, remove themselves from the kitchen and travel around. It eventually made it easier for them to go outside and perform paid labor because they had this portable baby food.

NC: Baby food was incredibly popular until the 1970s. Then, all of a sudden, the use of baby food and a number of other things came into question. What happened?

AB: Through the mid-20th century, the average age of when it was understood you could feed a baby solids begins to drop dramatically. Whereas, in the early 20th century, the average age of feeding an infant solids is around 9 to 12 months of age, by the 1950s and '60s, the average age of introducing solids to a baby is 4 to 6 weeks of age. There are some doctors who are promoting introducing solids at 24 hours after birth.

"Once infants go off baby food, one of the top three vegetables they consume is french fries."
-Amy Bentley

This was because baby food was thought to be strong and healthy. Solid food was better than liquid formula. Most parents formula-fed their babies in the mid-20th century, so commercial solid food was the next step. There was no scientific evidence that this was harmful for a child.

Then, in the Cold War period, there was this idea that we need our children strong and we need them to be competitive. "I might be doing my baby a disservice if I don't feed my child commercial baby food early." 

This begins to change in the 1970s and '80s as you have a general ethos that's a little more mistrustful of science and institutions, and skeptical of technology. Women start to ascribe to an ethos called natural motherhood. "I should trust my instincts; I know better than anything how I should feed my baby.

There begins to be some scientific evidence that it probably is not the best thing to feed an infant solids so early. This is, in part, because of the way that baby food is made during that period, which is with a lot of additives, sugar and salt. Also, an infant's digestive system is not equipped to digest solid food so early. The best food is breast milk. 

Eventually they figure it out, so consumers push against the conventional baby food. They make their own baby food. The commercial manufacturers begin to take out sugar and salts, and begin to remove baby food desserts. Then you have a different era of what baby food should be, like: How I should feed my child and when I should feed my child baby food.

NC: You discussed the connection between commercial baby food and the industrialized palate.  How might food choices -- baby food or even formula -- play a role in developing a child's sense of taste?

Inventing Baby Food

AB: Scientists are finding out that infants learn, grow and develop through taste, through their palates, even in utero. We know that amniotic fluid is flavored by the food a woman eats. After birth, the foods that a child is exposed to have a big influence on how that child is learning, developing and understanding the world.

If children are only experiencing highly industrialized food products with milder profiles, more salt, more sugar and refined carbohydrates, then that's what their palates are becoming even more accustomed to. As humans, we're hard-wired to seek out sugar and eventually salt. But we need to learn to become acclimated to bitter flavors, sour flavors and a variety of profiles.

[Related story: It may take 10 tries to familiarize picky eaters with new foods]

There's more and more emphasis on first foods being something other than white rice cereal, for instance -- an avocado, meat or a red or an orange fruit or vegetable. There is no real scientific evidence that these can't be used as first foods. In fact, if we look around the world, we find that people feed their infants a wide variety of different kinds of first foods, including some very interesting spice combinations.

NC: Where do you see the trend in baby food going?

AB: In the last couple of decades, there's really been a rise of boutique baby foods that experiment with different flavors, grains and vegetables. Commercial baby foods are also expanding their repertoire. 

There's also a group that understands there wasn't a category called baby food in the beginning, and maybe are arguing that there doesn't need to be a category called baby food. This is a trend called baby-led weaning. Those people advocate that infants be breastfed until about 6 months of age. Then you can just sit that child in a high chair, chop up table food, throw it on the high chair and the baby will be just fine. 

That said, baby food is not going to go away because it is important for some children. Also, it is a product of convenience. In the U.S., we're very much attuned to convenience and mobility. These products allow women especially more flexibility with their lives.  

Some studies show that baby food actually does provide a wider range of fruits and vegetables for infants than otherwise. You can buy a jar of mangos or a jar of beets. A lot of families don't have a very wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Once infants go off baby food, one of the top three vegetables they consume is french fries. Baby food can actually have a protective quality for a lot of American infants.

Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.

Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.

The Food Timeline--baby food history notes

The Food Timeline--baby food history notes FoodTimeline library
Food Timeline FAQs: baby food

Peoples of all times and places have been feeding their babies. With the exception of mother's (or wet nurse's) milk, what was served and how it was made, was a function of culture, cuisine and economic status. Babies in Ancient Egypt thrived on different foods from those in Medieval England, Jomon Japan, 18th century Russia and early 20th century Kenya.

Up until the middle of the 19th century [in industrialized nations] infant food was generally made at home. Recipes and instructions for feeding babies were sometimes found in cookbooks. These foods were often grouped with invalid cookery. Why? They were generally thought to have similar properties. Both were highly nutritious and easily digested. Finely ground grains (oats, rice, barley) mixed with a liquid are found in most cultures. Example: Cookery for Children, Sarah Josepha Hale, 1852.

Food historians generally agree that manufactured baby food, as we know it today, was a byproduct of the European Industrial Revolution. The first mass-produced baby foods were invented by scientists/nutrition experts and manufactured in the mid-19th century by innovative companies. These were infant formulas, substitutes for mother's milk. At that time, tainted milk was often connected with infant mortality. Then, as now, there was much controversy regarding the use of artifical baby food. Ideas regarding amounts, timing, and what consitituted a healthy diet have likewise changed.

By the 1920s infant foods, which had grown to encompass ready-made baby cereals, fruits and vegetables, were promoted as convenience items. Food companies capitalized on "modern" notions of scientific feeding and the superiority of manufactured items over those homemade. Interestingly enough? American consumers did not immediately embrace these new foods. It took some very agressive marketing to win them over.

Some foods we regard today as sweets were originally marketed as health foods for children. Two cases in point: malted milk and chocolate pudding.


  • "History of the Development of Infant Formulas," Infant Formula: Evluating the Safety of New Ingredients, Food and Nurition Board
  • "Infant and Child Nutition," Cambridge World History of Food, Kiple & Ornelas, Volume Two, section VI.7 (p. 1444-1453)
    ---traces the history of infant feeding from prehistory to present; includes extensive bibliography for further study
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith, Volume 1 "Baby Food," (p. 57-59_ ---excellent overview; includes selected bibliography
  • History of the feeding bottle, The Baby Bottle Museum, UK


"Perhaps not surprisingly, a major step in capitalization on the new advances in chemistry by marketing proprietary infant foods came from the scientist who laid the foundations of the New Newtrition, Baron Justus von Liebig. If indeed foods were constituted of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, could these nutrients not be combined into a replica of mother's milk? Thus, in 1867 the Baron introduced Liebig's Soluble Food for Babies in the European market. By the next year it was being manufactured and sold in London by the Liebig's Registered Concentrated Milk Company and within a year after that it had migrated to the United States. Liebig did not challenge the prevalent notion that mother's milk was the perfect infant food. Rather, he claimed that he had succeeded in concocting a substance, at first liquid, then powdered, whose chemical makeup was virtually identical to that of mother's milk. Liebig's Food was soon followed by a host of imitators. Some contained dried milk and called only for the addition of water. Others, like Liebig's original formula, were to be added to diluted milk. Soon some doctors were proclaiming these foods to be superior to the milk of wet nurses."
---Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Harvey Levenstein [Oxford University Press:New York] 1988 (p. 122-3)

About Justus von Liebig.

"In 1867, the Swiss merchjant Henri Nestle invented the first artificial infant food, and in 1873, 500,000 boxes of Nestle's Milk Food were sold in the United States as well as in Europe, Argentina, and the Dutch East Indies. By the late 1880s, several brands of mass- produced foods, mostly grain mixtures to be mixed with milk or water, were on the market. These included Liebig's Food, Carnick's Soluble Food, Eskay's Albumenized Food, Imperial Granum, Wagner's Infant Food and Mellin's Food. Mellin's was perhaps the most widely used."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, volume 1 (p. 57)

"In 1867, Henri Nestle, a pharmacist, was asked by a friend to make something for an infant who could not digest fresh cow's milk...Nestle created a milk food form crubs made from baked malted wheat rusks mixed with sweetened condensed milk. This granular brown powder was the first instant weaning food. He dalled his alternaive to breast-feeding Farine Lactee Henri Nestle and adopted his family's coat of arms, a bird's nest, as a trademark...Nestle sold his company to Jules Monnerat in 1874."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, volume 2 (p. 180)

[1874] MELLIN'S FOOD/United Kingdom
"The exhibits of Mellin's food in the Mechanics and Instituted exhibitions now in progress have attracted the attention of thousands of visitors, and the people are beginning to examine and discuss the suggestive topic which the displays suggest. Time and experience have put this food to a successful test, and its important bearing upon the rising and future generations cannot be oversetimated. Its history proves again that it is almost invariably the case that a really good article is slow in making its way into the favor of the public, but, when finally its excellences are known, its success is assured and the rapidity of its introduction marvellous. This is notably the case with the article which is known as Mellin's food, and which is now being so generally received into public favor. For years it has been a deplorable but acknowldged fact, that an alarming percentage of children die before reaching the age of five years. In England, the number of children that die under one year old is in the ratio of one to every twelve births...Liebig's food,...came the nearest to a practical solution of the difficult problem, but it was unsuitable for distribution and exportation, and much trouble and a sacrifice of time were entailed by its daily preparation. G. Mellin of London, following Liebig's suggestions, produced an article which is portable, easy of preparation, and which gives entire satisfaction. Mellin's food, requires neither boiling nor straining, that having already been done, but is almost instantly prepared for use by dissolving a certain quantity in hot water and then adding cold milk. Analysis of the food after mixing shows it to contain a large proportion of grape sugar, which enters so largely into the composition of mother's milk, together with a large amount of protein and soluble phosphates, indicating flesh and bone forming nutrients of the highest type. ..Thus sucenc e finally conquered all difficulties, and produced a food that all mothers will hail with delight. Not until 1874 did it make its appearance in this country, and then through the enterprises of Theodore Metcalf & Co., who, in response to the growing demand, obtained the North American agency. In order to supply the greatly increased demand in Europe and America for this food the proprietor was obliged to erect larger works, and since 1877 the food has been regularly supplied....The best medical men in the country now acknowledge its merits and prescribe it in cases where formerly they were almost helpless."
---"A Public Benefactor: An Exhibit at the Fair--Mellin's Food for Infants...", Boston Daily Globe, November 6, 1881 (p. 5)

"The Duty of Every Mother and especially those who are charged with the delicate and great responsibility of rearing hand-fed children, is to investigate the merits of the best artificial food for the preservation of infant life. The universal testimony of our most skillful physicians, and of thousands of mothers who have practially tested it, demonstrated beyond a doubt that Mellin's Food for Infants is the best, and contains exactly the ingredients necessary to insure the life and health of the little ones to develop them in body and mind, and secure robust health in childhood, manhood and womanhood."
---display ad, Theodore Metcalf & Co., 39 Tremont St., Boston Mass., "Sole agents for the United States and British America," Boston Daily Globe, April 11, 1880 (p. 30) [NOTE: this ad contains physican testimonials.]

"By the 1890s the most popular by far of the powders to be added to milk was Mellin's Food, developed in England and manufactured in Boston, whose advertisements claimed that it was "the genuine Liebig's Food," The best known of the dried-milk products was another European import, Nestle's Milk Food, which was manufactured and distributed under license by a New York City firm. Advertisements for various proprietary infant foods because well-nigh ubiquitious by the 1890s....Nestle's ("Best for Babies") said it was better for babies than milk, for "impure milk in hot weather is one of the chief causes of sickness among babies."...A favorite promotional technique was to offer free samples by mail to the readers of middle-class magazines. Perhaps the most effective with middle-class mothers...were the free handbooks on infant care feeding distributed by the companies. Mellin's with its own press, was especially active in this field. The handbooks explained the chemistry of milk and feeding in clear but relatively sophisticated language, adding an aura of science to the food they were promoting. Not only did they prove effective in convincing mothers of the efficacy of proprietary infant foods, they convinced many doctors as well...Thus, by the 1980s a number of sources spread the growing impression that artificial feeding was both scientific and modern."
---Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Harvey Levenstein [Oxford University Press:New York] 1988 (p. 124)
[NOTE: This book contains much more information on this topic. If you need more details ask your librarian can help you obtain a copy.

How much did these powdered formulas cost? Advertisement published in the New York Times, Marh 30, 1884 (p. 3) states: Nestle's Milk Food, 70 cents--$1.00; mellin's Food, 30 cents-50 cents. Horlick's Food, 65 cents-$1.00.

Our survey of historic American newspapers reveals the Boston-based firm Dolibar, Goodale & Co. [41 Central Warf] was a distribtor for Mellin's in 1884. Articles and advertisements confirm Doliber continued to distribute Mellin's food at least until 1906.

"Farinaceous Foods. There are many farinaceious forms of food prepared fo r the use of infants and children. Probably the most valuable of them are those made according to the Leibig process. The starch of the grain from wich such foods are prepared is, int he process of manufacture, changed into soluble detrine, or sugar (glucose), by the action of the diastase of malt: the very thing which an infant cannot do. When we consider that the digestion of starch in the alimentary canal consists of this change into glucose, and that it is effected principally by the saliva and the pancreatic juice, the significance of the value of such foods will be seen...Mellin's food and malted mlk are prepared according to the Liebig process. in them the starch has been converted into soluble matter by teh action of the ferment of maltk. It is really a partial predigestion. Mellon's food does not contain milk...Mellin's food bears comparison with nilk. It is easily digested, and as an attenuant for milk may be used without harm during the early months of life, but it should not be used to the exclusion of milk for more than a few days at a time, and then only when milk is not retained by the stomach. Later it is doubtless a valuable addition to the regular daily food of the child. Malted milk is made form selected grain and desiccated or dried milk. To prepare it for the infant it needs only the addition of water. It is probably one of the best substitutes for milk but should not be used for any length of time when it is possible to get good milk....Nestle's food, Imperial Granum, Ridge's food, and some others are made very carefully from selected wheat by this process. Nestle's food contains dried milk. These foods are all valuable when made into gruel or porridge, but should be used very sparingly under the age of twelve months, and then only as attenuants ofr milk, not as substitutes for it. Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, editor of 'Domestic Hygiene of the Child,' by Uffelmann (a translation), in speaking of the value of the various preparations of infants' food on the market says: 'There is not the slightest reason to prefer them to milk or its preparations, except that the latter requires more care; and for any intelligent and affectionate mother this reason is quite insufficient."
---A Handbook of Invalid Cooking, Mary A. Boland [Century Co.:New York] 1893, 1898(p. 289-292)

"Of the many patent infant and invalid foods on the market, some consist of cow's milk combined with varying amounts of carbohydrates of other materials and others seem to be made of starchy materials without milk. In some cases the carbohydrates have apparently been malted before being combined with milk, or else malt extract is added during the process of manufacture. Experience had shown that these special foods, when they contain nutrietns of milk, are sometimes valuable for infants when it is necessary to resort to artificial feeding. Too much faith should not be put in the extravagant claims made for some brands of infant foods. The safest course is to follow the advice of a competent physician in selecting the substitute for natural feeding. It is often wiser to use cow's milk, modified at home under a physician's direction, rather than these commercial foods."
---Milk and Its Uses in the Home, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin No. 1359 [Government Printing Office:Washington DC] revised January 1924 (p. 15) [NOTE: This booklet also states "That the best food for an infant is milk from a strong, healthy woman is admitted by everyone. When it is not obtainable, the more nearly the substitute resembles it the better. Cow's milk is the most common substitute, and when necessary may be artificially modified. Goat's milk, too, is in some cases recommened for infants." (P. 5)]

[1928] GERBER'S/United States
Gerber's launched its new baby food line in 1928 with a special promtion intended to get mothers to try the product and create a demand for the item in retail grocers stores: About Gerber's.

"1928: Danel Gerber improves baby foods with improved methods for straining peas and finds by a maket surey that a large market exists for such foods if they can be cold cheaply through grocery stores. Gerber advertises in Child's Life magazine and offers six cans for a dollar (less than half the pices of baby foods sold at pharmacies) to customers will send in coupons filled out with the names and addresses of their grocers."
---The Food Chronology, James Trager [Henry Holt:New York] 1995 (p. 455)

"By the late 1920s, commercially canned baby food was introduced and quickly adopted by American consumers. Conditions were favorable: advertising had become widespread, the cost of canned foods had fallen, and experts recommended the addition of fruits and vegetables to the infant diet. The Gerber Company initiated this revolution in infant feeding by expanding the scope of the canned foods industry. According to the Gerber company history, in 1927 Dorothy Gerber laboriously hand-strained vegetables for her seven-month-old daughter, Sally, and urged her husband, Daniel, to consider manufacturing stained baby food a the Gerber family's Fremont Canning Company. The next year, the company introduced strained peas, prunes, carrots, and spinach to the market. The Gerbers launched an advertising campaign featuring a sketch of an infant known as the Gerber Baby that ran in such publications as Good Housekeeping, The Ladies' Home Journal, the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Gerber Baby icon, drawn by Dorothy Hope Smith, became the company's official trademark in 1931. "
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 58-9)

Who was the original Gerber Baby?
Ann Turner Cook, the neighbor of Boston artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Ms. Cook grew up to be a teacher.

"The Gerber baby—the face that launched a brand The tousled hair, the bright eyes, the round, pursed lips. The Gerber baby is recognized all around the world. So who is this special baby? People polled throughout the United States surmised that the Gerber Baby had to have grown up to become someone famous: Guesses ranged from movie stars Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor to Senator Bob Dole. But mystery novelist and retired English teacher Ann Turner Cook knows the real answer. Because she is the Gerber Baby. The back-story on the Gerber Baby In 1928 Gerber was looking for a face to represent a baby food ad campaign. The baby Ann Turner Cook posed for artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Her simple charcoal sketch competed with lots of portraits, including elaborate oil paintings. (Smith offered to finish the sketch if it were accepted.) Whether it was the simplicity of the drawing or the cuteness of the baby (or both!), the judges fell in love with the adorable cherub face of Ann Turner Cook. They were so taken with it that Smith didn’t have to finish the sketch. Gerber used it just as it was. The illustration became so popular that Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931. Since then the Gerber Baby has appeared on all GERBER packaging and in every Gerber advertisement, making Ann Turner Cook the world’s best-known baby image. Her sparkling eyes and inquisitive look personify Gerber’s commitment to happy and healthy babies all over the world."
Gerber's Heritage

"The most enduring urban legend about the famous Gerber Baby has to be the one about Humphrey Bogart. It's been said that the image on the labels actually was a diaper- clad Bogie, sketched lovingly by his artist mom. Trouble is, the tough-guy actor was already a grown man when the first Gerber jars appeared on store shelves in 1928. Ann Turner Cook -- the real, honest-to-goodness Gerber Baby -- has heard all the face tales. Her cherubic face as a happy infant is forever etched in time on every label of every Gerber product sold in 80 countries, one of the most famous and enduring trademarks in history. These days, Cook is an energetic 77-year-old fledgling novelist who's not above using her notoriety as America's most famous baby to drum up interest in her murder mysteries, featuring an erstwhile female reporter sniffing out intrigue in small Florida towns....The daughter of well-known comic strip artist Leslie Turner, Cook taught literature and writing in Tampa schools for 26 years and raised four children. Since retiring in 1989, she has published two novels regionally, with a third in the works. But Cook will no doubt always be best known for her picture on the Gerber labels. Cook was about 4 months old in 1927 when family friend Dorothy Hope Smith sketched the image in charcoal. Using a neighbor's baby as a model wasn't so unusual in the artist enclave of Westport, Conn. , and nobody thought much about it. Least of all Cook's dad, who for 27 years wrote and drew "Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy," a daily comic strip that ran in 500 newspapers. The next year, Gerber put out the call for images that could be used in ads for its new baby food products, and Smith submitted the drawing. "She wrote me [later] that she had thought it was kind of unfinished, and if they liked it she could finish it properly," Cook said of the sketch. "But they were smart enough that they didn't want anything done to it." Her likeness started appearing on the products in 1928 and became the official trademark in 1931."
---"The Baby of Gerber's Family; for 75 Years, Ann Turner Cook Has Enjoyed Her Sketch of Fame," Mitch Stacy, Washington Post, February 29, 2004 (p. D1)

Recommended reading

  • Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands, Volume 1: Consumable Products/Janice Jorgensen, editor
  • Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising, John McDonough, editor


[1960s, USA]
"Fixing formula for your infant will soon be quicker and easier than pouring a glass of milk for your preschooler. ..If your pediatrician approves, you will be able to buy ready-to-serve formula at your grocery or drug store in disposible glass bottles, marked with ounces. The formula is already sterilized, will keep unopened without refrigeration and need not be warmed before feeding. All you have to do is replace the bottle's cap with a sterilized-sized collar. The ready-bottled formula...is due for national distribution within a few months...A carton of four four-ounce bottles is priced at 75 cents; of size ounce bottles, 87 cents; of eight ounce size, 99 cents...The same ready-to-serve formula has been available in cans since 1962, but most be poured into sterilized bottles before feeding. Coming on the market soon is kit which makes it possible to attach a nipple to the metal can for quick feedings. A new manufacturing process had to be developed, however, before the formula could be preserved in the glass bottles without refrigeration. The last dozen years have seen major changes in the way infants in the United States are fed. Only one mother in five now fixes the baby formul using the traditional evaporated milk mixed with carbohydrate modifiers, a mainstay of two-thirds of babies in 1952. Half of today's mothers now use a prepared infant formula, either a powder or liquid which is mixed with water, or the ready-serve formula poured from a can into sterilized bottles. The percentage has doubled in the last five years, was only 15 per cent in 1952. One baby in five, usually those past three or four months of age, gets whole cow's milk. Only one in 10 is breast fed, still the safest, most convenient and least expensive method of nourishing an infant. But even some breast-fed infants are ocasionally given formula as a supplement, or when the mother must be away from home at feeding time."
---"Feeding a Baby is Easier, But There Are Still Problems," Joan Beck, Chicago Tribune, March 24, 1964 (p. A2)

Pablum brand baby food
The *problem* with pablum is this is both a proprietary tradename with a patented formula AND a generic word used by many to describe any fortified grain-based baby cereal. Some people (who are not fond of such products) use the term to indicate any bland, porridge-type food.

Who developed Pablum?
"During the 1920s and 1930s, considerable time and effort were spent studying the science of artificial feeding. The scientific management of child-rearing in general - from food to behaviour advice - increased the professional role and authority of physicians in child care issues. Society seemed to welcome the scientific approach to infant feeding and food and bought products that advertised increased nutritional value for their children. In 1931, Pablum, an infant cereal containing necessary minerals and vitamins for children's health, became available in Canada and the United States. The food was heralded as an excellent cereal addition to the infant's diet and remains a popular infant food today. It was three Canadian doctors - Frederick Tisdall (1893-1949), Theodore Drake (1891-1959), and Alan Brown (1887-1960) - who developed Pablum at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. "
Source: here

USA Patent & manufacturing
Mead Johnson secured US trademark rights in 1932 and patent protection in 1935:

"Harry H. Engel, a developer of Pablum baby cereal, has died at the age of 82. Mr. Engel, one of three patent holders on Pablum, died Friday at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. Mr. Engle worked 47 years for Mead Johnson & Company before retiring in 1967. Fourteen years after joining the company as a chemist, Mr. Engle helped develop Pablum, a soft, bland cereal for infants."
---"Harry H. Engel," New York Times, April 2, 1984 (p. D13)
[NOTE: Mr. Engel's patent is number 1,990,329, published February 5, 1935. The other people named in this patent are Lambert D. Johnson and Nathan F. True.]

According to the records of the US Patent & Trademark Organization, Pablum brand baby food was introduced to the American public by Mead Johnson June 4, 1932:


The US Patent & Trademark Office confirms Pablum brand baby foods were abandoned by Mead Johnson March 18, 1997. This indicates the company is no longer manufacturing a product with this name. The only "live" mark for Pablum in this database his held by private individual.

"Word Mark PABLUM Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 005. US 018 046. G & S: precooked, dried cereals specially prepared for infants and children Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS Design Search Code 26.03.21 - Ovals that are completely or partially shaded Serial Number 74579245 Filing Date September 23, 1994 Current Filing Basis 1B Original Filing Basis 1B Published for Opposition June 25, 1996 Owner (APPLICANT) MEAD JOHNSON & COMPANY CORPORATION DELAWARE 2400 West Lloyd Expressway Evansville INDIANA 477210001 Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED Attorney of Record Clark W. Lackert Description of Mark The drawing is lined for the color red. Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Live/Dead Indicator DEAD Abandonment Date March 18, 1997

How was this product initially received?
"Competition from cheaper infoant food products has been growing, but the quality of Mead-Johnson's products and the goodwill of the medical profession which has been painstakingly developed and retained, places the company in a position from which it cannot easily be dislodged. Some new items, notably 'Pablum' cereal, recently added to the well-known line of specialty food products, have been well received."
---"Inquiring Investor," Wall Street Journal, April 12, 1934 (p. 8)

FoodTimeline library owns 2300+ books, hundreds of 20th century USA food company brochures, & dozens of vintage magazines (Good Housekeeping, American Cookery, Ladies Home Journal &c.) We also have ready access to historic magazine, newspaper & academic databases. Service is free and welcomes everyone. Have questions? Ask!

About culinary research & about copyright
Research conducted by Lynne Olver, editor The Food Timeline. About this site.

© Lynne Olver 2004
3 January 2015

Baby food history | Maternity

Today's baby food market is the fastest growing in the food industry. It is hard to believe that even a century and a half ago the very idea of ​​feeding babies with something other than mother's milk seemed wild.

It is worth recalling that, of course, there were no maternity leave in the old days. A week after giving birth, peasant women had to work in the field, maids - to scrub the floor, factory workers - to go to the machine. In addition, there was a belief that before the baptism of the child, the mother should not breastfeed him. At that time, the child remained in the care of relatives, who instead of milk gave him "zhevka" - a rag with chewed bread or porridge. Sometimes it was soaked in milk, vegetable oil or sugar water. The rich had their own problems: feeding spoiled the shape of the breast, especially for mothers with many children. If a wealthy lady decided to feed the child herself, it was considered - depending on the fashion - either a feat or a strange quirk. Usually, a nurse was hired for this purpose, since there were enough young healthy women with an excess of milk. nine0005

K. Wenig "A nurse visits her child"

The reason for this excess was not joyful: the huge infant mortality, which in the 18th century reached 40%. The main reason for this was the complete lack of hygiene: in Russian villages, in addition to a dirty rag, children were stuffed into their mouths with other rubbish, like a cut off cow's nipple. It was put on a horn, into which the same soaked bread or oatmeal was charged. Russian doctors wrote that in some provinces it was customary, along with the nipple, to give children wort, mash from the very first days. French peasant women, in order for their children to fall asleep better, gave them diluted wine to drink. Yes, and the nurses themselves drank wine and beer, it was believed that this adds milk. In one of Dickens' novels, a young mother drinks four glasses of port at dinner "under the pretense of breastfeeding." nine0005

1925 "Pacifiers and chewing gum killed more peasant children than soldiers' bullets"

In most nations, breastfeeding continued up to 6 months, after which the child was transferred to solid food. Sometimes this was celebrated with a solemn ritual like the Indian "annaprashana", when the eldest member of the family blessed rice porridge with sugar, tasted it and gave it to the baby. In China, children were accustomed to normal food in stages: first, liquid rice porridge (sifan), then boiled vegetables, tofu, and fish. In Africa, the first solid food for babies was corn porridge. In ancient Greece, it was a liquid barley stew, to which bull's blood was added in Sparta so that the boy would grow up to be a real warrior. nine0005

When children teethed, they were fed just like adults, only worse, because they were of no use. And this applied not only to poor peasants: Elizaveta Vodovozova recalls her childhood in a large landowner family in the middle of the 19th century: “Children were given everything that was worse and could not be used by adults ... Every pot of spoiled jam or marinade, the nanny showed mother. or another, mother sighed heavily and said something like this: “What a misfortune! Really, it's no good. Well, let's go to the children. "And to prolong our pleasure, and not because we could get sick from spoiled food, she told us to give us a small saucer. " nine0005

1940 G. Shubina. "Our children shouldn't get diarrhea"

Doctors learned to cope with indigestion in children, but the lack of mother's milk became an increasingly serious problem. In big cities, the intense rhythm of life, air pollution, constant stress led to the fact that 30% of women did not have enough milk to feed a child, especially if he was the first or, conversely, the fourth or fifth. In families that could not afford to hire a wet nurse, babies were fed cow's or goat's milk. However, in composition it was very different from breast milk, so it often caused indigestion. There was also the problem of hygiene, which is why the German doctor Biedert warned: “It is necessary to observe pedantic purity both in keeping cows and in milking and preserving milk ... Since milk can acquire harmful properties from inappropriate food, cows should not be given any bards, nor waste, because the poisonous substances contained in them pass into milk and cannot be eliminated. There were also problems with the nurses, because they suffered from all kinds of diseases, up to syphilis, which, when fed, were often transmitted to the child. nine0005

All this made scientists work hard to find a substitute for breast milk. Gradually, the necessary conditions for this arose: they learned how to preserve and disinfect products, and in 1855 the Englishman Grimweid began to make powdered milk. But if it were not for the son of the Frankfurt glazier Heinrich Nestle, who preferred to call himself Henri in French, all these discoveries might have existed on their own. The problem of baby food arose before Nestlé after the birth of his first child. A certified pharmacist who ran a pharmacy in the small Swiss town of Vevey, in 1867 made a mixture of powdered cow's milk, wheat flour and sugar, which he called "Henri Nestle's Milk Flour". Diluted with water, this mixture turned into the world's first artificial baby food. nine0005

An old Nestle baby food advertisement

According to legend, the first formula-fed baby was a premature baby of one of the local factory workers, who, of course, thanks to the Nestle formula, began to grow by leaps and bounds. The delighted pharmacist opened his own company, whose logo was a nest with chicks, because Nestle in German means "nest". Very soon canned "milk flour" appeared in all European capitals. In 1872, it began to be sold in St. Petersburg, where a local merchant Alexander Wenzel became an agent of the Nestle company. He also sold other children's products, such as Maltos-Cannabis sugared hempseed extract, which was advertised as the best way to get a good night's sleep...

Antique Nestlé Milk Flour advertisement in Russia

In Russia, baby food did not catch on at that time, but in Europe its popularity grew rapidly. Feeding babies has become unprecedentedly simple - open a jar and dilute its contents in water. However, even then doctors warned about the dangers of this simplicity. The German physician Gottfried Kühner wrote: “As for mealy surrogates, such as Nestle, Gerbera, Kufeke, Hartenstein’s leguminous powder, rakout, arrowroot, avicen, maizena, avena, etc. , the same thing must be said about all of them: they are in many cases are well tolerated by children, but only after the second or third month of life. Violation of this condition, as well as the rules of hygiene, led to the fact that in 189In Berlin, infants fed formula were 13 times more likely to die than breastfed infants in Berlin in 1999.

The already mentioned Dr. Biedert noted: "The mass of artificial surrogates is not yet able to replace breast milk. Moreover, many of them, which have come into use solely thanks to numerous and loud advertisements, should be recognized as directly harmful." At the same time, the Nestle mixture was considered by many to be the best: both milk and flour for it were made in the environmentally friendly conditions of the Swiss Alps. In the mid-1870s, the company launched another new product on the market - condensed milk. Although it was invented back in 1856 by American Gail Borden, it was Nestlé that made it a popular children's treat. True, the doctors were again unhappy: no one followed the recommendation to dilute condensed milk with water in a ratio of 1 to 10 and only then give it to children. Children fed with condensed milk became fat, anemic and sickly. Henri Nestlé sold the company in 1874. After 140 years, the profit of the largest food producer has reached almost 8 billion euros. nine0005

Advertisement for baby food and condensed milk

Competitors were stepping on the heels of Nestlé more and more actively. In 1896, the Dutchman Martinus van der Hagen invented his own way of drying milk in a bakery. With significantly less flour and sugar, his milk formula quickly gained popularity, laying the foundation for Nutricia's international prosperity. In the United States, baby food was taken over by Clapp's Baby Food and Beech-Nut, and Pablum pioneered the sale of breakfast cereals for children. However, it was Daniel Gerber, a cannery manufacturer from Fremont, Michigan, who gave the real scope to the case. The reason for this was again personal: Sally. the sick daughter of Daniel and his wife, Dorothy, required special nutrition. Having learned how to make mashed vegetables, fruits and meat, Dorothy suggested that her husband start mass-producing it. The advice turned out to be successful, and at 1928 year baby food company "Gerber Prodakst" went on sale.

Its popularity was provided not so much by new products - they were successfully fed to children before, but by a purely American advertising scope. Immediately after entering the market, the company announced a competition for the best advertising, which was won by the artist Dorothy Hope, who painted a portrait of her neighbors little daughter. This Gerber baby has been sold all over the country, appearing in magazines beloved by housewives and on billboards. nine0005

Dorothy Hope's Gerber logo design

The Gerber family's brainchild flourished even during the Great Depression, when children were even more in need of artificial feeding. The company is still one of the three largest baby food manufacturers in the world, along with Nestle and Heinz, also known for its ketchup. And in the United States, where baby food is consumed the most, Gerber even occupies 70% of the market.

The Soviet Union lagged far behind in this area. Own baby food was not produced here for a long time. The elite could use the products of Nestlé and other Western companies, which were bought for foreign currency. For everyone else, dairy kitchens were intended, open throughout the country back in 1920s. There, milk mixtures, fermented milk products, cottage cheese, juices, mashed fruits and vegetables were made from fresh products. Such kitchens were very useful: the children attached to them received good nutrition even during the years of famine and war. In the 1950s, mass production of baby food began in the country: canned juices and purees, dry milk formulas, cereals and kissels. Twenty years later, in Istra, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, near Moscow, and then in other cities, factories were built that produce liquid mixtures for children, first in glass and then in cardboard containers. Now dairy kitchens did not prepare food, but gave out ready-made jars or bags. nine0005

1959 Maria Marize-Krasnokutskaya. "Kazzol and Plasmon"

in the 1990s, our market was flooded with all the abundance of world baby products - milk formulas, kefir, yogurt, cereals. All this is sold in dry, liquid or frozen form and is certainly advertised as the most delicious and healthy food for children. In the competitive struggle, numerous companies adapt to different categories of consumers. For milk intolerant children, especially in East Asia, lactose-free formulas are made, where whey is replaced by no less nutritious soy protein. In New Zealand, Bibikol has developed infant formula from New Zealand goat milk, which they say differs in composition from European goat milk.

Previously, any microorganisms were tried to be expelled from products for children, but today useful bifidobacteria are specially bred in them. Baby food has become so widespread that not only children use it. Hollywood stars go on a diet of puree and milk for other reasons: baby foods are so nutritious that even small portions of them allow you to fill up and not get fat. Products for astronauts were also created at one time on the basis of baby food. Some firms tried to do the reverse operation, but when the "space" tubes fell into the hands of the kids, their contents were squeezed out anywhere but into the mouth. nine0005

Children are special clients. To please them, the food must be not only healthy and tasty, but also bright, which is what producers use to make porridge or mashed potatoes red, orange or green. Sometimes this led to sad consequences. In the 1970s, a scandal erupted in the United States when a major company dyed a strawberry-flavoured children's breakfast cereal with an artificial dye that caused nausea. Thousands of parents called an ambulance - there was a complete impression that the children were vomiting blood. But the biggest scandal arose in the same 70s around the famous Nestle company - it was accused of the death of many babies in "third world countries", in which, due to living conditions, mothers could not use the product correctly, they mixed food with dirty water or pour the mixture into unsterilized bottles. According to UNICEF, an unhygienic artificially fed infant is at least 6 times more likely to die from diarrhea alone than a breastfed infant. nine0005

When a mother feeds her baby, she gives him not only nutrients, but also immunity to many diseases, and, no less important, strengthens the psychological bond with him. Speaking against artificial nutrition, activists from different countries created the World Alliance for Breastfeeding. Under his pressure, the World Health Organization in 1981 adopted the "Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes", adopted over time by all major manufacturers. It stated that companies should limit advertising and conduct sales of their products with the mandatory participation of medical professionals. True, this applies only to milk formulas, but other types of baby food are under close public scrutiny. nine0005

In 1981, the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was created to control unacceptable marketing practices. The Code was developed by WHO/UNICEF. The official author of the code is IBFAN - International Active Baby Food Network. The code was approved by the World Health Assembly by a vote of 118 votes in favor, against 1 (the US refused to sign the code).

The Code is addressed to governments and baby food companies. It is a concise guide to the marketing of breast milk substitutes. Its main task is to protect the lives of children by providing them with the best nutrition - breast milk. nine0005

Products covered by the code include:

  • artificial baby milk
  • other types of artificial milk
  • all types of baby food: juices, purees, soups, pates, etc.
  • feeding bottles and teats.

The Code contains the following guidelines:

  • Information or educational materials, equipment or products may only be distributed free of charge with the written permission of the relevant authorities. (The company logo may be indicated, but the trademark of the product is not)
  • No company materials may be distributed to mothers.
  • Health workers should support breastfeeding and encourage mothers to choose to breastfeed. They should help promote the principles of this code.
  • Do not use the healthcare system to market artificial breast milk.
  • Health system product display media such as posters, booklets, flyers, brochures, feeding bottles, labels, prescription forms, and other artificial nutrition promotional materials may not be used. nine0093
  • Representatives of manufacturing companies should not work in the health care system, in the field of child care and should not be in contact with mothers.
  • Demonstrations of artificial feeding techniques may only be conducted by health workers in families where there is an absolute medical indication for supplementary feeding. At the same time, information about the risk to the health of the child if the product is used incorrectly must be provided.
  • You cannot distribute artificial milk for free or at reduced prices in the health system. Donations in the form of artificial milk, feeding bottles and other products can only be given to orphanages and similar institutions, but not to hospitals and maternity hospitals.
  • Hospitals and maternity hospitals should buy this formula just like everyone else.
  • All information provided by health care professional firms must be limited to scientific facts and must not suggest that formula feeding is identical or superior to natural feeding. nine0093
  • Promotion of products by healthcare workers, as well as their material and financial incentives, is not allowed.
  • Health workers should not distribute artificial milk samples to pregnant women, mothers of infants and young children, or their families.

Summary of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes

  • No advertising of these products to the public!
  • No free samples for mothers
  • No promotion of this product in health care facilities, including free or cheap baby food.
  • No company representatives to contact mothers.
  • No gifts or samples for healthcare workers. Health care workers should never give these products to mothers.
  • No texts or pictorial products that idealize formula feeding, including pictures of babies on labels. nine0093
  • Information provided by healthcare professionals must be scientific and relevant.
  • All information about bottle feeding should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and dangers associated with bottle feeding.
  • Inappropriate products such as condensed milk must not be advertised as baby food.
  • Manufacturers and distributors must act in accordance with the terms of the code, even if their countries have not committed themselves to comply with the terms of the code. nine0093

Publication date 06/03/2015
Author of the article: Vadim Erlikhman, archivist, historian
A source: soznatelno. ru

as a medicine called "infant formula" has become a daily meal for children in America.

I've been thinking about putting all my thoughts on artificial baby food in one article for quite some time now, but I can't get my head around it yet! There are several reasons why I put off writing this article, one of them is that this topic is incredibly broad! Actually, while I was writing this post, I realized that I want to break this topic into two parts. nine0005

The first part (namely this article) will tell about the history of the emergence and development of artificial formulas for baby food. The second part will compare the nutritional composition of infant formula and breast milk, and look more closely at the risks and benefits of formula-only feeding.

It is important to note at the outset of this story that it is not the intention of this material to portray infant formula in an unfavorable light.

Our generation is blessed to live in an age when children no longer die of malnutrition and malnutrition if their mother cannot breastfeed. nine0202 As an emergency measure, artificial baby food is and always will be literally the only way to save children's lives in the absence of other options available . But feeding a baby exclusively with formula clearly has its serious drawbacks, and I really hope that by reading this article you will understand why formula feeding was NEVER intended for daily feeding of babies, except in dire emergencies.

Young children LIFELY need "living" food, which is human breast milk. nine0203 Breast milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, antibodies and at least 400 other unique components. This is a dynamic substance that provides the child with active immunity and protection against diseases every time he eats. And compared to this miraculous breast milk, artificial milk sold as infant formula is little better than regular fast food.

Infant formula is the only commercially manufactured food in the world that is recommended for consumption within a few months of life. That being said, it is well known to all that no human being will remain healthy and physically prosperous on a diet of highly processed and artificial foods. In my next blog post, I'll outline the nutritional comparison between breast milk and formula, but for now, let's take a closer look at the history of infant formula. nine0005


It's only been 60 years or so since bottle feeding culture began to encourage mothers to give their babies highly processed foods from birth . Not only do women not face the choice of "breast or bottle," they don't even want to have that choice! But this is until recently, in historical terms.

Infant formula was never intended to be consumed on such a widespread basis as it is today. nine0005

Fig 1.

1800 years and earlier - the time of wet nurses.

Throughout the history of mankind, if a woman was unable to produce milk for her child, or if the mother died, leaving an orphan to be fed, then the baby was found a nurse - a woman who fed someone else's child with her milk.

The practice of wet nurses was widespread before the introduction of bottle feeding and the introduction of artificial formula. The first mention of wet nurses is found as early as 2000 BC, and the practice of feeding children by wet nurses was widespread until the 20th century. nine0202 If a nurse could not be found, then the child was doomed to starvation or a constant lack of nutrients and vitamins, as he was fed milk from farm animals using a special baby bottle. The lack of human milk for a child born before the 1800s was literally a matter of life and death.

Rice 2. (Food for infants)

1845-1846 - the invention of the rubber nipple and baby bottle. nine0203

Experience shows that baby bottles and nipples have been used by people since ancient times, they were made from improvised means, trying to create something similar to a mother's nipple. Vessels of various shapes and sizes have been found dating back thousands of years BC. Clay feeding bottles with protruding nipple spouts dating back to 2000 BC have been found in burial sites of newborns. These roughly crafted feeding bottles, and of course the problems with cleaning them, were described by observers throughout the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. nine0005

But it wasn't until 1845 that Elia Pratt invented and patented the Indian rubber nipple, which became a truly functional and successful substitute for the female nipple. When it turned out that orphaned babies could easily suck on these new rubber nipples, which plausibly mimicked a woman's breasts, the problem of getting food for orphaned babies was solved. And now attention quickly shifted to the problem of finding food itself, which no longer entailed so many child deaths. nine0005

As early as 1846, scientists and nutritionists identified medical problems regarding baby food, and infant mortality was already associated predominantly with bottle feeding. The development of the world's first special infant formula for feeding has begun.

Rice 3. (Mom's Treasure)

Period 1867-1888 - the first infant formula was invented.

In 1867, Justus von Liebig invented the first commercially available infant formula. Liebig's Instant Baby Food was produced and marketed in London by Liebig's Registered Condensed Milk Company. Liebig himself did not accept the obvious fact that mother's milk is the ideal food for an infant, and claimed that he had succeeded in developing a substance whose chemical composition was "virtually identical to that of mother's milk." nine0005

The success of this product quickly stimulated the growth of competitors in the field, such as Mellin's Baby Food, Ridge's Baby Food and Nestlé Milk. By 1883, there were already 27 patented baby food brands on the market.

However, infant formula was still rightly regarded only as a supplementary food for infants who would starve if this type of nutrition were not available. These mixtures led to obesity in children, but at the same time they lacked valuable nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. According to an article in The Boston Weekly, April 11, 1880, “It is the duty of every mother, and of those who have the great and delicate responsibility of feeding their children by means of artificial nourishment, to continually look for the best artificial nourishment.0202 for the preservation of infant life .”

Figure 4 and women

Nine out of ten problems with naughty and irritable babies can be directly related to inappropriate food Let us provide you with a free half pound pack of Nestlé Food for your reference and our Mom's Book, which is full of useful tips on care for infants and young children Contact us today.)

The period from 1890 to 1907 - the emergence of homemade formulas for baby food.

While infant formula has had a significant impact on reducing infant mortality, medical luminaries have continued to spread the word to the public that formula is not a panacea for all childhood illnesses. Despite the advertising claims that formulas are "virtually identical to mother's milk", many infants still die from malnutrition, scurvy, rickets and bacterial infections. nine0203

And as physicians became increasingly concerned about the quality of commercially produced infant formula and found that infant formula was not light enough for infants to digest, various medical guidelines began to circulate, such as Dr. Thomas Morgan Rotch's "percentage method" (published in 1890). Such recommendations became widespread and popular by 1907. According to this formula, parents were advised to mix cow's milk, water, cream and sugar or honey in a certain ratio in order to obtain a nutritional composition close to human milk. nine0005

These homemade formulas were less expensive and people believed deeply that they were healthier.

However, the children who received these foods also continued to suffer from diet-related illnesses - scurvy, rickets and bacterial infections - that they could not bear.

Figure 5 better than White House infant formula.

Doctors know that White House infant formula contains the nutrients of fresh milk and pure crystalline vitamin D3 - an important "sunshine" vitamin - which has been generously added to the formula for the proper development of the child's bones and teeth. What's more, White House formulas are carefully homogenized for easier digestion by babies and are sterilized in safe, airtight containers. These manufacturing features are approved by the American Medical Association Food and Nutrition Board. nine0005

Indeed, there is no better powdered milk for feeding children than White House. And no nutritionist can recommend the best powdered milk for cooking, baking, coffee and other drinks, or much more.)

Period 1908 to 1950 - Powdered milk based infant formulas took over America in a wave.

In the 1910s, powdered milk formula became widely available at low prices. Inspired by the success, dairy corporations began funding clinical trials that proved that formula-fed babies thrive “as if they were fed real breast milk.” nine0202 This argument in favor of mixtures is not supported by modern research, but at that time they brought in a lot of money, based on deception.

Figure 6. (“My Doctor Recommends Carnation!”) ​​

families. And as more women embraced the fad and relied on the bottle to feed their children, the more “instant baby food” seemed magical to the public. nine0202 By the late 1930s, the use of powdered milk formula in the United States outpaced all other commercially available infant formula, and by 1950, half of the children in the United States were raised on powdered milk formula.

Figure 7.

1951 - 1970 - Feeding formula manufacturers begin to use aggressive advertising campaigns to boost sales.

In the late 1950s, Alfred Bosworth published the word Similac, reformulated and shortened from similartolactation (like breastfeeding), and Meade Johnson published the word Enfamil (from the combined infant and meal). , i.e. "children's food"). Several other formulas were released over the next decade and, thanks to extremely aggressive advertising campaigns with exaggerated health benefits and slogans about the ideal nutritional composition, powdered infant formula began to seriously compete with formulas based on milk powder. nine0202 Infant formula became widely popular when breastfeeding began to be seen in society as "unkempt" and "dirty".

In 1959, advertising campaigns in hospitals and pediatric departments of hospitals proliferated with inexpensive trial formulas and by the early 1960s in the United States, commercial formulas were already used more widely than formulas based on milk powder, which eventually disappeared altogether. off the market in the 1970s.

Figure 8. (When the milk is at the expense of the state - it must be the best)

1971-1996 - child mortality and morbidity associated with the use of formula for feeding attract public attention.

By the early 1970s, more than 75% of American children were fed formula, nearly all of which was commercially produced.

As birth rates declined in industrialized countries by the 1970s, infant formula manufacturers turned their advertising campaigns to non-industrialized countries. Unfortunately, poor sanitary conditions in such countries have led to a sharp increase in the death rate among infants fed with formula prepared with contaminated water. In addition, Third World women using formula to feed their babies lost their breast milk because they didn’t need it, and when formula ran out, they diluted it with three times the recommended amount of water in order to stretch the available quantity over a long period of time. This has led to mass child deaths from malnutrition. nine0005

UNICEF estimates that formula-fed children living in disease-ridden and unhygienic conditions are 25 times more likely to die of diarrhea and 4 times more likely to die of pneumonia than children in the same conditions but breastfed.

After it became known that 1.2 million infant deaths in third world countries were clearly the fault of formula feeding, there was a wave of protests around the world - the most famous was the boycott announced by Nestlé in 1977, calling for an end to unethical advertising campaigns for infant formula.

Unethical marketing of infant formula, the latest extreme of which is touting formula as a "healthy" baby food choice, eventually led to the formation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. This is the international health policy framework for the promotion of breastfeeding, approved by the WHO World Health Assembly at 1981 year. This Code was developed as a global public health strategy and recommends limiting the marketing of infant formula to encourage women to breastfeed their babies and using breast milk substitutes judiciously and only when absolutely necessary.

Figure 9. (Profits are rising. ..and infant mortality too. Boycott Nestlé)

1997 and present - breast or bottle. nine0203

Despite the best efforts of all public awareness campaigns, fast food culture in America is still widespread and involves the use of infant formula in infant nutrition.

In addition to the widely used commercial brands, generic (or proprietary) brands of infant formula appeared in the United States in 1997, the first being PBMProducts. These private label blends are sold at many major grocery and drug store chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens. nine0005

However, as more and more short-term or long-term health risks from exclusive formula feeding are now being identified in research, leading health organizations (WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as non-profit organizations organizations such as La Leche League) are trying to reduce the use of infant formula and increase the duration of feeding from birth to 12-24 months of age by disseminating information through various public health campaigns. nine0005

By now, the problem of choosing between breastfeeding or bottle feeding is complicated by the opposition between the opinions of modern medicine, basic nutrition and greedy marketing in fast food culture. Today, the global market for infant formula—a product that from its inception to the present day has been infant food only in case of emergency—is estimated to be around $11.5 billion in turnover.

US data clearly show that babies growing up in poverty and poor sanitation are still getting sick and dying because they are fed exclusively formula too early. nine0202 Research shows that formula-fed babies tend to be more likely to develop atopy, diabetes, and childhood obesity, all just because bottle feeding is faster.

Figure 10. (Breastfeeding is the best)

Brief facts about modern infant formula.

- There is still no single formula for infant formula. nine0203 The process of production of artificial formulas for feeding from the very beginning of its history is accompanied by trial and error.

- The ingredients in infant formula are a mystery in most cases. Only the manufacturers themselves know what they put in their product, but they will never say what is there and, moreover, they are not legally obliged to do so, thanks to the right of "trade secrets".

- Certain infant formulas are clearly known to contain toxic and hazardous ingredients . Like many other baby food products on the market, some commercial formulas contain frightening ingredients, from sweeteners like corn syrup to preservatives like copper sulfide, which is a toxic pesticide.

- Within reasonable limits, manufacturers can put whatever they see fit into the mixture. And in fact the recipe for the same product may vary from batch to batch, depending on the price and availability of the ingredients. While we admit that the composition of infant formula is carefully regulated, no one requires honesty from manufacturers. For example, they must not register specific components of any batch or trademark with any authority. nine0005

- Vitamins and valuable trace elements are added to the mixture, but not always in their easily digestible form. This means that the claim that "formula is nutritionally complete" may be technically true, but in any case, they add a load to children's organs and body systems (and NONE of infant formula contains live enzymes and does not have immunity-boosting properties, unlike live breast milk!)

- Many infant formulas are over-sweetened. nine0203 While most infant formulas do not contain sugar in the form of sucrose, they do contain high amounts of other types of sugars such as lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (also known as dextrose, a simple sugar, found in plants) and maltodextrose (maltose sugar). Due to flaws in the legislation, all of these ingredients may be described as "sucrose free" in the formula.

- The Food and Drug Administration found that more than 90% mixtures contain random contaminants. Contaminants that enter the mixture during the manufacturing process are found in the form of metals (aluminum, cadmium, lead, and others). Bacterial and trace amounts of melamine, a toxic kidney-damaging chemical, are also persistent contaminants in mixtures.

What we've learned from the history of infant formula.

Because mixtures are not - and never have been! - Nutrientally complete, and because they do not contain the components of breast milk that support the child's immunity, it has been found that the use of formula by the child day after day has a devastating effect on his health in the short and long term. nine0203

The World Health Organization warns that "lack of breast milk - and in particular the lack of it in the first six months of an infant's life - is a significant factor in increasing infant morbidity and even mortality."

When it comes time to choose how to feed your baby, you need to remember that there is not a single medical indication in favor of choosing inadequate artificial nutrition.

Learn more