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Meet 2023 Gerber Baby and Chief Growing Officer Madison Mendoza

A proud US Air Force family, the Mendozas share with The Bump what they plan to do with their $25,000 in winnings, Maddie’s favorite Gerber food and how they introduced their French Bulldog to their new addition.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated July 12, 2023
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Image: Mendoza Family

Introducing the 2023 Gerber Baby and this year’s photo search winner Madison “Maddie” Mendoza!

Born to US Air Force physican Jun Mendoza and dentist Crystal Mendoza, 10-month-old Maddie caught the attention of this year’s Gerber judges in part due to her stunning resemblance to Mom and in part because of her family’s inspiring story of love, adventure and resilience.

Crystal and Jun, who are both from first-generation families from the Philippines, met and started dating high school. Over 22 years the couple has weathered a long-distance relationship, traveling to over 30 countries with the US Air Force and a heartbreaking pregnancy loss. Throughout it all they pressed on and excitedly welcomed Maddie into the world on September 14.

Image: Mendoza Family

“Being a rainbow baby, Maddie has brought us immeasurable joy with every milestone, snuggle and moment spent with her enriching our lives and making every day more meaningful and beautiful,” said Crystal, Maddie’s mom. “We look forward to witnessing her grow into a kind, compassionate, strong, independent and worldly individual as we hope to be stationed overseas again to teach Maddie about all the different parts of the world.”

Since her arrival Maddie has brought so much joy to her parent’s lives with a love for adventure. Currently residing in Colorado, Maddie enjoys baby music classes, thrives in her swim lessons, loves hiking with her parents and fearlessly explores new foods.

Maddie also loves hanging out with her furry big sister, a french bulldog named Zoe. A family pet for 9 years, Crystal says she socialized Zoe around children and animals for a long time before Maddie came along. And when it came time for the big introduction, Zoe was given advanced nose-tice. “When Maddie was born in the hospital we had a friend take Maddie’s beanie that she was born with to the house so Zoe could smell it first,” said Jun.

Image: Mendoza Family

Just like mom, Maddie came into this world with a full head of hair, captivating expression and the most joyful attitude. New to the photo search this year Gerber asked parents not only to snap a photo of their adorable little ones but also to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane by sharing their own baby photos. Maddie and her Mom’s side-by-side photo submission looks nearly identical. With only an outfit and photo quality being the tell of who’s who.

“The throwback submission of Maddie and her mom brought a smile to the judges’ faces and perfectly captured the spirit of this year’s program. We’re excited to partner with Maddie and her family throughout the next year to highlight the fullcircle journey from baby to parent,” said Tarun Malkani, Gerber President and CEO, in a press release.

Image: Mendoza Family

As the 2023 Gerber Baby and Chief Growing Officer Maddie and her family were awarded free Gerber products for up to one year, a new wardrobe provided by Gerber Childrenswear and a $25,000 cash prize—money Maddie’s parents plan to invest in her future. “We’re big on mission trips—I previously did medical mission trips Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua and I think it would be wonderful if she could go on one too,” Crystal told The Bump.

The year supply of Gerber food is sure not to go to waste either. “She really likes the Gerber Banana Peach Teether crackers; we take them everywhere we go!” said Crystal. “We also used the Gerber Grain and Grow Multigrain cereal, which we mixed with breast milk when we were transitioning her to solids. It was great in helping us introducing Maddie to wheat.”

Gerber’s Photo Search has been a beloved tradition for over a decade, inspired by the countless photos sent by parents who see their little ones in Gerber’s iconic baby logo. It celebrates babies from all backgrounds and highlights the unwavering commitment to do “Anything for Baby.”

This year Gerber also made a commitment to match Maddie’s cash prize with a donation to support March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs and a $5,000 donation to Operation Homefront, which supports military families.

To learn more about Maddie and the Gerber Baby Photo Search visit, Gerber.com/2023-Gerber-Baby.

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