"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my Acquaintance in London; that a young healthy Child, well nursed, is, at a Year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food; whether Stewed, Roasted, Baked, or Boiled; and, I make no doubt, that it will equally serve in a Fricasie, or Ragoust."
In the very first Berserk manga story, the Baron of Koka Castle helps himself to a baby-kebab on his lance during his evil rampage through the village before throwing down with Guts. And that's just the beginning.
A Marvel ComicsWhat If (v2 #6, "What If... The X-Men had lost Inferno?") had a demon-corrupted Wolverine get handed a squalling infant by N'astirh, followed by a claw-popping snikt! and a barely Discretion Shot of Wolverine bending over the child's body. Immensely disturbing.
During the Inferno event in the main Marvel Universe, a few demons mention that "Nothing in Limbo [is] as good to eat as human babies," and come for the infants the New Mutants rescued earlier. The teens are able to drive them off. Whether or not the demons ate any other babies during the event (or even during Magik's tenure as ruler of Limbo) is thankfully left vague.
Sabretooth eats any human he wants, when he feels like it, but he favors the flesh of young children. He was once depicted breaking into a daycare center to eat the children inside, doing so as casually as if he was getting some snackfood at a store.
Villainess Baba Yaga from Fables mentions that she enjoys eating mundy (real world) babies. Additionally, Frau Totenkinder's magic is heavily implied to powered by killing children*
, though she seems to have eventually developed a less lethal basis for her power in the modern world.
It's implied she gets her power from abortions in the mundy world as they are commonplace.
In the world of Transmetropolitan, people eat anything, and it's apparently legal to serve cloned human meat as long as it wasn't taken from anything with a brain. "Powdered Children" are available in grocery stores, and protagonist Spider Jerusalem enjoys them.
In The Boys, the Homelander kept receiving photos depicting himself actually his clone Black Noir dressed up as him eating babies, among other horrible things. It's one of the major reasons he finally snaps.
Fairy Tales and Folklore
In the early versions of "Snow White", where Snow White is only seven years old when she surpasses the evil queen in beauty. The queen send her into the wood with a huntsman; he has instruction to kill her and bring back her heart. He lets her go, kills a young deer and brings that heart back to the Queen, who then proceeds to eat it.
Baba Yaga, as well as various other witches and monsters, are notorious baby (and child)-eaters.
The anti-Semitic "Blood Libel" was a medieval claim that Jews ate babies every Passover (which is still revived today by some anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists).
This was also rumored to be true of alleged devil-worshippers during the Satanic-cult scare of the 1980s.
In "Sun, Moon, and Talia", an older variant of "Sleeping Beauty", the prince actually rapes the princess while she's asleep, eventually impregnating her, and she wakes once she's given birth and one of the babies accidentally sucks the splinter of flax out of her finger. In the "happy" version, she winds up marrying the king after he first executes his jealous wife(!); the ickier version has the princess, once she realizes what's been done to her, wind up so enraged she eats the babies.
In the Grimm fairy tale "The Evil Mother-in-Law", which is more or less identical to the second part of Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty", the eponymous mother-in-law attempts to eat the heroine's children.
In "Dotor Jekyll e Gentile Signora" the titular character fancies about a child in his oven, as he waits for his butler to serve him supper.
In Legend, Blunder contemplates eating a human baby in its crib. This oddly horrifies his fellow goblin, Pox.
Blunder: I simply adore milk-fed meat! Pox: What are ya, some kind of animal?
W.C. Fields, staying in Child Hater character, asked how he liked children, replied "Parboiled!"
In the Dracula novel, it's implied that Dracula's brides ate a baby: they're after Jonathan's blood, but Dracula tells them to leave him alone because he's still needed for the big real estate deal. One of them whines, "Are we to have nothing tonight?" and they are subsequently contented with a small, writhing bag. A peasant woman arrives at the castle gates later, screaming for him to return her child.
Subverted in River Secrets, by Shannon Hale. When Razo (from Bayern) and Dasha (from Tira) meet after the war, they compare the ridiculous propaganda that their countries have spread against each other, including accusations of "You eat babies" from both sides. In reality, no one in Bayern or Tira is known to have a habit of eating babies any more than they have horns and tails.
Orson Scott Card's fantasy novel Enchantment, based loosely on the Russian version of Sleeping Beauty among other fairy tales, plays with and subverts this trope somewhat with Baba Yaga by indicating that while she never actually had eaten a baby, hearing about this in the many slanderous rumors about her made her want to try one "just to see what all the fuss was about."
The Fuller Memorandum has Bob giving a long internal monologue about the enduring nature of the Blood Libel - how every culture seems to have some outlying group that it defames with rumors of how they're so evil, they're willing to kill babies to provide blood for their holy rituals. Bob finally realizes to his horror that this legend has a basis in fact when the Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh, who currently have him captive, slaughter a newborn to start the ritual to bind an Eldritch Abomination.
In Dreams Of Joy, Joy catches her husband Tao waiting for their baby to die so he and his family can eat her. Probably one of the more justifiable examples of this because they are living on a commune in China during the Great Leap Forward. Truth in Television as well.
Justified and deconstructed in Marti Steussy's Forest of the Night. Tree Walker didn't want scavengers eating her dead son, after all; that would be an insult to his memory. And her species wasn't portrayed as evil, just very alien (although she was able to accept cremation as an equally valid death rite).
Donald Kingsbury's novel Courtship Rite features the extremely rare non-evil, non-comedy version. Well, somewhat non-evil. Cycles of famine for a Lost Colony on a harsh planet has made cannibalism necessary and socially accepted, and baby-eating has become morally ambiguous. The two main clans known for eating babies during non-famine years (out-of-season, as it were) are the protagonists' clan, the Kaiel, who ruthlessly cull their own babies, a practice most Getans find gauche at best, and the Mnankrei, sea-raiders who prey on coastal villages, and generally fail at being non-evil.
Discussed in the Land of Oz, where the Hungry Tiger is always hungry because what he wants to eat is fat babies, but his concience won't let him.
Invoked as the most common justification of Fantastic Racism against goblins in the Discworld novel Snuff. As it turns out it is true after a fashion; if food is so scarce that both mother and child would starve to death, the mother will indeed eat her baby, but she will also make a literal Soul Jar for her child's spirit in hope that she will be able to birth it again in a better time.
In The Dresden Files novel Death Masks, Duke Paulo Ortega of the Red Court tries to paint himself as a Worthy Opponent but fails when Harry makes him admit that he also drinks the blood of children and infants if needed.
Mary Gentle's Grunts!!: The Orcs who're the novel's protagonists certainly don't baulk at eating children. Even the ostensibly good Will and Ned Brandiman will chew on their corpses after murdering them to make it look like orcs did it.
The Changeover: The villain, Carmody Braque, although his methods are a little less literal than the other examples on this page, being an energy vampire.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daernarys Targaryen is shaken when a farmer shows her the charred bones of his daughter, and claims that Drogon roasted and devoured her. This makes her see that the dragons aren't her sweet little babies, they are dangerous powerful beasts that need to be tamed.
Live Action TV
The Baby Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells from Blackadder. And during the Regency Era: "People are worked up, sir, because they are so poor that they are forced to have children as a cheap alternative to turkey at Christmas."
Scrubs. Jordan had claimed that sex was only for revenge and making babies. Elliot immediately responded that Dr. Cox would hardly find sex a revenge and it couldn't be for making babies 'cause Jordan would just eat them anyway. (This is before Jordan had Jack or Jennifer).
One demon in Angel was said to eat babies. At one point, his monologue about how much he enjoyed it was used as a counterpoint to a horribly slanderous speech by one of Gunn's former crew.
In Doctor Who, the Doctor's companion Leela came from a planet where he had become their Devil figure (Shrouded in Myth) and was reputed to eat babies, as a consequence of his fondness for jellybabies. In The Face of Evil, Leela was appropriately horrified when he offered her one of the sweets. There's also the two lines that hilariously spoofed the trope...
Leela: It's true, then. They say the Evil One Eats Babies.
In Supernatural, Lilith apparently ate babies - according to her helper demon who was trying to get babies out of the maternity ward for her in the season four finale.
It's mentioned briefly in the Criminal Minds episode "Lucky" that the UnSub was institutionalized at the age of seven, after he tried eating his baby sister.
Discovery Channel's Life episode on birds includes some disturbing scenes of pelicans scooping up and swallowing live baby gannets, overfishing in the region having driven the pelicans to adopt an alternative diet.
The plot of episode two of Mongrels involves psychotic fox Vince eating a litter of baby foxes because he was hungry and it was either them or a pot of rhubarb yogurt. Played for Laughs obviously.
Multiple vampires in True Blood mention that they find infants to be especially delicious.
House of Cthon head Charlotte in Blade The Series. "You're so cute. I could just eat you up, yes I could." To the baby handed to her in a duffel bag by a minion.
In Greek Mythology, Cronus (Kronos) does eat his offspring, since it was been prophesied that one of his own children will displace him. Rhea tricks him into swallowing a stone instead of Zeus and the prophecy comes true: Zeus overthrows him and takes his place as supreme god. (Zeus's five older siblings emerge from Cronus's corpse, fully grown to adulthood.) In Roman mythology, the story is the same; only the names change: Cronus becomes Saturn, Rhea is Cybele, and Zeus is Jupiter. The baby-eating itself has been the subject of paintings by Rubens◊ and Goya◊.
Other versions of the story have Zeus (in disguise) and Rhea give Kronos some magically-drugged wine, which causes him to vomit up Hestia, Poseidon, Hera, Hades, and Demeter. They still grow up instantly, and share a bonding moment by overthrowing their Jerk Ass dad, and the other male Titans.
Atreus, after a life of one outrageous act after the other, tops it all off by killing his brother's sons and then tricking him into eating them; after the meal, Atreus taunts his stricken brother with his dead sons' hands and feet—which he had saved from the oven for just such purpose.
Kobolds Ate My Baby is a game where a kobold tribe has sent its youngest, most pathetic members off to either get dinner for tomorrow's big feast or be dinner for tomorrow's big feast. The only thing tastier than another kobold is a baby. Eating a baby restores your health, as does eating another player. Babies can suffer spontaneous combustion. There is a random chart of horrible baby deaths. There's several pages of Random Horrible Kobold Death Charts. It's a pastiche of every FRPG ever, a parody of low-level Dungeons & Dragons, and a whole lot of Black Comedy.
Raksi is this as well, though her main hat is being a Child Eater. She also requires this of her minions, so anyone thinking to infiltrate Sperimin for their own purposes had better have a strong stomach...
From Dreams Of The First Age, a Fair Folk noble has a human baby served on a dinner plate. She's also wearing a dress made of severed hands, and her guests are chained to their chairs.
Warhammer 40000, naturally. Although Dark Eldar generally avoid it (as babies make terrible torture victims) Chaos knows that the effectiveness of sacrifices are proportional to the innocence of the victims. And KHORNE CARES NOT FROM WHOM THE BLOOD FLOWS, ONLY THAT IT DOES. Although Khorne generally prefers that you kill something that has a chance of fighting back. He appreciates any bloodflow, but don't try to impress him with the infant skulls. He's put guy's heads on his own throne for making that mistake.
Werewolf The Apocalypse, in the revised tribebook for the Get of Fenris. After the tribe becomes conflated with the Nazis by other werewolves (due to such factors as a power center in Germany, a tribal symbol that looks rather like a swastika, and some actual collaborators), an indignant Get gives a speech including the line "You name us as eaters of babes."
In the Ravenloft setting, hags steal human babies to eat, and also consume any male babies they give birth to. If a hag gives birth to a daughter, the infant will be safe from her mom's appetite, but not from other hags', grandmother or aunts included.
In GURPS Cabal, there's a sample immortality ritual that requires the user to eat a royal infant every year. For various reasons (such as the milky aftertaste), the example character is still searching for a better method of living forever.
In the TCG The Spoils, the card "Smear Campaign" portrays a (literal) fatcat senator frantically ripping down pictures of him about to chow down on a human infant, some of which are captioned "BABY EATER!"
Desdemona Deathangel from the 2056 juncture in Feng Shui is an abomination (a supernatural creature modified with arcanowave technology) disguised as a drop-dead-gorgeous woman, and the public at large adores her. However, the CDCA has some nasty little secrets about her that they'd like to keep hidden, such as the fact that she kills virtually any man she sleeps with, or that she likes to eat people, especially babies, which are her favorite.
Romancing Sa Ga 3: The game's Eldritch Abomination the Death Eclipse shows up to consume all newborn life on the planet every 300 years when the stars are right. The rare survivor tends to grow up into some kind of Chosen One for good or ill.
To prove just how far off the deep end Adell goes in the Bad End of Disgaea 2, one of the very first things he does as the new incarnation of Overlord Zenon is kill and eat his little siblings. Complete with actual eating sounds. Thankfully, it is all offscreen.
In Kara no Shoujo Rokushiki didn't actually eat the aborted fetus himself. Oh no. He tricked the mother into eating it out of a twisted sense of justice.
The Great Dreamer in X-Com: Terror From the Deep feeds on Human/Alien hybrid fetuses. In order to kill it, you have to kill the fetuses, thereby cutting it off from its source of power.
One of the things that was cut from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream was giving Benny the option to try and satiate his intense hunger by eating babies out of her cribs.
Parodied in The Order of the Stick with the Monster In The Dark; he mentions that Xykon tries to feed him babies, but he finds the idea creepy, so it "just moves them around on my plate then throws them in the trash." The strip is here (don't worry, the kid survives).
It was implied in a much earlier strip in which Xykon promises to get the Monster a "Kids Meal" from a nearby village. It's entirely likely that the later strip was written partly to reassure the audience that he didn't actually eat them.
Sebastien: We feed the cow with nothing but cream cheese, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and rich creamery fresh butter. Then we feed the steaks to 14 month old babies... and a day later drink the baby's blood. It is so decadent. (Beat) The babies hate the steaks.
Zexion and Axel forced Sora into the 'Spock diet' in Ansem Retort, which consisted entirely out of dead babies.
Zexion: Hey! They were alive when we killed them!
Axel: You will drink the baby smoothie! Do you have any idea how hard it is to fit them inside a blender?
They've upgraded to fetuses: specifically, the aborted fetus of Axel and Aerith.
Zexion: You're not leaving until you finish it, you know.
Axel: EAT MY ABORTION!
In Episode two of A Modest Destiny the Vampire Lord Fluffy invites the Crimson Blade to dinner. "No way! I'm not eating with you! You'll feed me babies or something." "Don't be silly. (Babies were last night.)"
Exterminatus Now once had Lothar waking out of a drunken stupor, yelling "YOU CAN'T PROVE I ATE THAT BABY!"
Axe Cop and his mother ate babies. Supposedly, however, these were food babies, not normal babies, although the six-year-old author declined to clarify this point. (At a restaurant, no less, implying that's actually normal in the Axe Cop universe.)
Played for Laughs in Homestuck. To whit, uu tries to set up a Sadistic Choice for Dirk forcing him to draw weird porn for him, which Dirk agrees to instantly. However, uu's kinks turn out to be normal and vanilla examples of romantic affection like staring longingly or getting married. Right up until the end, anyway, when uu suddenly asks Dirk to draw Jake eating his and Roxy's own baby and Dirk does so without question. Roxy even makes the image her phone's wallpaper.
Implied to be widespread in troll society, based on the existence of grub sauce and grub loaf. Newborn trolls are basically grubs (although they're usually referred to as wigglers), and grub sauce and grub loaf are food products which are made from some form of grub.
A parody video in response to the National Organization of Marriage's "Gathering Storm" ad has the following dialogue midway through, after some more typical complaints that same-sex couples threaten marriage or could turn others gay:
Woman 1: They are shapeshifters.
Man 1: They want to end baseball.
Woman 2: They're going to turn tampons into rocket ships.
In Soviet Toys, the first animated short produced by the Soviet Union as a propaganda tool, "the Capitalist," who is the villain of the piece, is shown at one point feasting on a small pig that is drawn to look like a baby. At the time, it was actually fairly common for Soviet mothers to tell their children bedtime stories about capitalists eating babies.
One episode of Metalocalypse featured a "cannibalistic baby murderer" who has killed and eaten over 200 infants and toddlers. The episode ends half a second before he skewers a baby with a giant fork.
In Transformers Animated, Megatron has become such a bogeyman figure that he is said to eat protoforms - Transformer babies - by young Autobots. (He's actually more Affably Evil than that, though dangerous enough that they're right to say Oh Crap when he shows up.)
In Family Guy, when running against Lois in an election, Peter declares that she eats babies during a debate.
A similar claim forms one of JFK's campaign ads against Abe Lincoln when they're running for class president in Clone High.
The Planet Express crew of Futurama become very wealthy after finding and selling what turns out to be edible alien babies. Leela is horrified when she discovers this.
Then there was the time Dr. Zoidberg asked a hot dog vendor for "...one of [his] young on a roll". The vendor's response? "We're out of rolls."
Sparks makes reference to A Modest Proposal in Sealab 2021. He does it mainly to freak Debbie out.
In South Park, Christopher Reeve eats fetuses for their stem cells so that he can walk again. Then he continues eating them until they give him superpowers. Yeah...it's that kind of show.
In an episode of The Drinky Crow Show, Drinky Crow and Phoebe Bird are going to have babies, but Drinky Crow cooks the eggs into an omelet at the Baby Shower and feeds them to Phoebe, much to her embarrassment.
In the episode of Ben 10 Alien Force when Ben first gains his Rath alien form, he, Gwen and Kevin had to deliver a cute baby alien prince to another alien world's leader as a peace treaty. However, it turns out that the baby prince was meant to be eaten by the leader...which he is. To quote Rath before the ass-kicking, "Eating...BABIES...IS NOT...COOL!!!!"
The statue in the photo is on the Kindlifresserbrunnen (Kiddy Eater Fountain) in Berne, Switzerland. The fountain was built in the 16th century and the name has been commonplace since the 17th, but the exact origins of the image are unknown. It may be the Greek god Kronos, it may represent an antisemitic blood libel or it may simply be a bogeyman used to scare children.
Azariah Chamberlain really was eaten by dingoes. Hence the band from Buffy, Dingoes Ate My Baby. (Who were Four Star Mary plus Oz.)
Albert Fish, "The Gray Man", was a serial killer who murdered and ate upwards of multiple dozens of children in addition to some older victims.
The last victim of cannibalistic (...and necrophilic) serial killer Richard Chase was a one year-old boy, who he almost completely ate. Possibly to add insult to injury, he dumped what was left outside a church.
According to the Jewish historian Falvius Josephus, one woman in the siege of Jerusalem ate her baby to stay alive. Whether you want to believe this is up to you:, Josephus, who surrendered early and had a strong personal grudge against the Jewish commanders in the siege, wanted to put the decision to keep fighting in the worst light possible.
Since so few people live on farms these days, most people don't know that if you do not keep a close eye on your babies, pigs will eat them. In fact a joke used to be:
Where's little Johnny?
He went out to take a dump, and the pigs ate him.
In some shark species, baby sharks eat their fellow baby sharks, while they're still in their mother's womb!
Many mother mammals will eat their own babies if they're born dead or die immediately after birth, same as they'll eat the placenta. If it doesn't move or breathe, they figure it's not a baby at all, just more protein-rich placenta in need of "recycling".
In fact, many animals (especially prey species that give birth to large litters, like rabbits and mice) will sometimes eat their own young in times of famine. Or stress. Or... whenever.
The eating-stillbirths-and-placentas thing is also a safety measure for the mother and the surviving offspring, since leaving dead animals and afterbirth lying around is going to attract scavengers.
Atheists are accused of eating babies. Some have taken this idea and run with it. They even have t-shirts.. This is a running joke among members of the neopagan community as well, due to the added Satanic stigma associated with pagan beliefs. Several fat acceptance bloggers (playing off the idea that all fat people are absurd Big Eaters and that obesity is a moral failing) joke that in order to stay fat, they eat dozens of baby-flavored-donuts.
In Italy, during Cold War, the Christian Democrats used to call Communists "baby-eaters". Today, the term is used only as a joke.
Discordians seem to run with this, as well, as this recipe would suggest. Bon appetit!
Plenty of recipes exist for veal, suckling lamb, piglet, duckling, etc. Special mention must be made of balut, however, which is essentially duck fetus.
Conceptual artist Zhu Yu claims that he used real aborted fetuses stolen from a medical school to create a piece of performance art called Eating People, and that he actually cooked and ate the fetuses "for art's sake."
Chimpanzees have been known to eat human babies. And chimpanzee babies. (Not usually their own, though)
Infanticide of rival males' babies is pretty common in primates where you have one boss male and a group of females and juveniles, like gorillas and chimps. If the dominant male adds a new female to the group, and she brings a baby with her, the dominant male will generally kill and eat it so he can get her pregnant with his offspring as soon as possible.
There's a species of catfish that tricks other fish into believing that the catfish's eggs belong to them. Their target species holds its eggs in their mouths for safety, and actually keeps them there for a little while after they hatch, until they grow old enough to survive on their own. The catfish will eat the fish's own offspring, inside her mouth. Oh and just to add an extra twist the mother will believe the catfish are her own, and will try to take them back into her mouth - which the catfish's spines makes extremely painful.
At one point during the reign of his political adversary Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, received a threatening letter, wherein the author claimed he wants to kidnap his children and grind them into dog food. Included in the envelope were a few dog food ads to get the point through.
Chinese and South Korean officials have discovered that aborted and stillborn children are sometimes sold on the black market, where they're turned into "dead baby pills" and sold as snake oil on South Korean store shelves. Customs officials in both countries were horrified. Most purchasing the pills had no idea their "herbal remedy" was actually dead baby remains ground to a powder.
Power Rangers star Tracy Lynn Cruz (Ashley from Turbo and in Space) was once accused of eating babies by fans who hated her for robbing Johnny Yong Bosch of his car and money after he left the show. This is, of course, obviously not true, but the topic stuck with the Rangers fandom for years.