Podcast

What Did Babies Eat Before Baby Food was Invented? with Amy Bentley, PhD

  • How the guidance and recommendations about when to start solid foods has swung so rapidly over the past decade...but why it looks like 6 months is here to stay
  • How the confluence of industrialization of the food supply, medicalization of labor and delivery and the discovery of vitamins catapulted commercial baby food into the market
  • When commercial baby food is appropriate or useful and how social norms, cultural expectations and advertising and marketing efforts all shape our purchasing decisions

Katie Ferraro

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE

Do you ever take a look at all of the crazy baby food items for sale today and wonder: how did they get here? What did people feed their babies before the advent of commercial baby foods? Do babies need to eat pouches? Do I need to buy baby food?

As a new mom who also happened to be a food historian, my guest Amy Bentley definitely did. She is a professor in the department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University and author of the book “Inventing baby Food: Taste, Health and the Industrialization of the American Diet.”

In this interview Amy is discussing the history of the baby food industry, shifting guidance and recommendations on the appropriate age to start solid foods over the decades, how pouches came to dominate the baby food aisle but how they also remove the socialization aspect from family meals.

SHOW NOTES

SUMMARY of episode

In this episode I’m joined by Amy Bentley, PhD - NYU professor and food historian and the author of Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet. 

In the interview Amy is talking about:

  • How the guidance and recommendations about when to start solid foods has swung so rapidly over the past decade...but why it looks like 6 months is here to stay

  • How the confluence of industrialization of the food supply, medicalization of labor and delivery and the discovery of vitamins catapulted commercial baby food into the market

  • When commercial baby food is appropriate or useful and how social norms, cultural expectations and advertising and marketing efforts all shape our purchasing decisions

LINKS from episode

TRANSCRIPT of episode

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