Before Formula: What Did Babies Eat?

Welcome to a journey down memory lane, where we will explore the dietary habits of our tiny human counterparts before formula became all the rage. Hold on tight, this is going to be a wild ride.

Before Formula: What Did Babies Eat?

The Good Ol' Days

Babies were once fed with whatever was available during their time. In some cultures, they were given animal milk directly from various barnyard animals (you read that right). Back in those days, baby food jars weren't exactly accessible and there wasn't anyone around taking notes to share with future generations.

Who Needs Chewing Anyway?

As you can imagine, babies didn’t come out of the womb gnashing away at steak frites or mashed bananas--they lacked teeth for one thing! There’s no doubt about it; prepping food for babies back in the day must have involved some serious creativity so let's dive into what actually went down

"Breast is Best"

It won’t surprise you that breastfeeding heads the list here as having provided essential nourishment for newborns since primordial times. Giving “second boob juice” a bad name isn't particularly funny but suffice it to say breastmilk did–and still does–keep babies healthy and growing until they can handle solid foods(a timeless classic if you will).

Goats Milk

Before cows replaced goats according to superior bovine logic hundreds of years later, goat's milk filled many nutritional gaps in feeding infants(seriously now,) .

  • Goat’s milk closely mimics breast milk
  • Easier than milking cows with smaller teats
  • High levels of calcium and vitamins beneficial for growth.

However today giving children under 1-year-old whole cow’s milk are recommended by pediatricians instead so this practice has fallen out of favor like scrunchies (which I’ll defend till my last breath because who doesn’t want a little extra oomph in their hair?).


Porridge may be seen as set-it-and-forget-it gruel nowadays but this staple was once an infant’s mealtime champion–especially oats. Oats had magical properties that made them easy to digest so they were often given mixed together with breast milk or water and sweetened with natural products such as honey or fruit juices (better ingredients than some of our modern industrial stuff). As soon as babies acquired those teeth, porridge could have been tweaked to contain all sorts like poppy seeds ,flax seed which helped build healthy bones.

Vegetable Purees

Vegetables are crucial for a growing babe (minus the Brussels sprouts please) and when pureed served up delicately from utensils : unsurprisingly cress obtained the title “King of Herbs”.


Cress wasn’t only crammed into sandwiches at high tea time : it is also packed full of Vitamin A; essential for eyesight and baby brain development(what clever little things aren’t they!?) . Once cooked thoroughly until tender, these tiny green balls were blended down into a silky smooth soup-like consistency-so fancy!

Soup For Baby?

Pureeing vegetables acted then like making soup does now- providing nourishing meals whilst protecting delicate tummies not yet ready for fiber. It seems we’ve gone back around on this topic because souping/smoothie-making has become pretty popular recently too--all hail vegetable puree!--much easier on tummy troubles


Fast-forwarding just a smidgeon further reveals ground-up meat being plated (er .. jarred effectively) for wee one's consumption . Arriving jarred/tinned meant you didn't even need to cook/find/hunt anything yourself - but best not ask about any Rudolf namesakes...


Deer meat otherwise known as venison was a particularly popular choice because

  • High in iron + other essential vitamins
  • Hardly any connective tissue so relatively easy to swallow.

Mutton & Chicken

Ground chicken, beef or even mutton with vegetables and spices allowed budding baby food enthusiasts the chance to experiment with flavors often resulting in:

  • Spaghetti Bolognaise
  • Indian Mango chicken mousse (just kidding!)

Pretty upmarket considering what comes out of our children's’ mouths now–gold stars for adventurous parents who successfully pull off gourmet meals that stay down.

A few parting (possibly unnecessary) tips:

Before we close this chapter, let’s leave you some sizzling-hot tips related to feeding your newborn.

  • Hydration is important for all us but especially those being accustomed/made liable for new foods.
  • Solid foods don’t guarantee better sleep–SOMETIMES THEY MAKE THINGS WORSE!
  • If introducing pureed soups/homemade goods introduce one ingredient at a time before getting creative.

A massive amount has changed since babies were limited dietary menus opened up fresh birth opportunities while also giving smug satisfaction when picturing laborious cooking skills required,yet it seems delving back into history might not such bad idea after all ...Have fun making your very own bespoke deer/venison mousse !!!!11!!1!!!!==~=/0=)

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