Does anyone remember playing with one of these back in the day…
Carter received this Fisher Price Music Box Record Player for his birthday last weekend and I believe the last time I saw one I was somewhere between the ages of negative 1 yr. – 11 yrs.
Chapters/Indigo recently brought in a selection of these reminiscent, classic Fisher Price toys!
This got me to thinking…what kind of baby food related products were in the market back in the day, and how did moms and dads feed their little ones back then?
When something gets me to thinking, it usually gets me to finding an answer.
I do however like to allow myself some time to ponder and wonder about it for a while, but my husband tends to deliver me the answer within 2.3 seconds of hearing the question in this wonder stifling, technologically driven “i” world we now live in.
I imagined that homemade baby food was the only option back then, but I was surprised to see there were lots of commercially prepared foods available.
I came across an interesting article at answers.com from the “Gale Encyclopedia of Food and Culture” that featured a vast history of infant feeding methods.
Pre-Industrial First Foods – “Historically, semisolid mixtures of grains and water, animal milk, or broth, were the first semisolid food an infant received.
In many cultures mothers would chew food, making it similar in consistency to gruel, then feed it to their infants.
This was introduced to infants as a supplement to breast milk and then became an increasingly prominent part of an infant’s diet until they were completely weaned, which varied from several months old to three to four years of age.”
“The earliest known infant feeding devices date back to the second or third centuries, though few specifics regarding their use is understood.”
1920’s – 1950’s - “From the late 1920’s to the postwar baby boom of the 1950’s, mass-produced solid infant food, especially fruits and vegetables, shifted items of rarity into a rite of passage, a normal, naturalized part of an infant’s diet in the United States.
In the early twenty-first century commercially produced infant food not only remained a mainstay of an infant’s diet in the United States but manufacturers also sought new markets, including developing countries.”
"While mass-produced baby food increased infants' year-round consumption of fruits and vegetables and provided a welcome efficiency in preparation, it also had its deficiencies. Throughout most of the twentieth century commercially canned baby food was overcooked and contained added salt, sugar, starches, fillers, artificial preservatives, and even, though infrequently, dangerous contaminants, such as lead, glass shards, or pesticides. Moreover unitl the 1990s baby food manufacturers did not have to list the precise percentage of each ingredient on the label."
1970's - 1990's - "During the 1970s the return to breast-feeding and the renewed popularity of homemade baby foods were products of the public's more sceptical attitude toward corporate capitalism and institutions in general. In the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in response to consumer demand, baby food manufacturers eliminated sugar, salt, and modified starch from most products, introduced organic lines, and eschewed the use of any foods containing genetically modified organisms."
Here is a Bird's Eye Frozen Instant Baby Food commercial from the 1960's. Boy have we come a long way!
Here are some other interesting, antiquated baby food related items...
“Wonderful vintage baby food warmingdish by Majestic. Made in the USA circa 1950's. Ceramic 3 section dish withbeautiful painted design. Metal base with baby blue plastic handles. Screw plugthat allows you to add warm water to keep baby's food nice and warm duringfeeding time. Signed Majestic on bottom.”
Now here is a quick little Blueberry Pear recipe that requires no pre-chewing by you before serving to baby like they did back in the pre-industrial times.
Quite the Blueberry Pear Pair
Age – 6 months +
- 1 ¼ cups of blueberries
- 5 medium sized ripe Pears
- Rinse blueberries and set aside.
- Peel, core and slice pears and place in a saucepan with 1 tbsp. of water.
- Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
- Add blueberries to pears and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Transfer to a blender, food processor or bowl if using a hand blender to puree.
- Puree until smooth and transfer to freezing trays to last up to 3 months in the freezer and leave an appropriate amount in the fridge keeping in mind it will need to be used within 3 days.
Makes 13 servings…translated into dollars that’s about $0.33 per serving.
You can use the $ saved to get a babysitter for a couple of hours so you and your spouse, or even just you, can go catch a movie or better yet…sleep!
I remember those sleep deprived days of early parenthood very well!
I wonder if vintage parents were sleep deprived?
I think that may be the one common denominator of the parental experience across all decades.