We have all heard that “breastfeeding is best.”
Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions reminds us, “We need to keep our eyes on the goal—which is healthy children. Breastfeeding is the best way to accomplish this goal, if the mother has a healthy [nutrient dense] diet and if her milk supply is adequate. To pretend that all women can breastfeed without difficulty, and that all breast-milk is completely nourishing, does women and their children a great disservice. … Women need to know that there are other options besides commercial formula, and that a healthy supplement can be given to a hungry baby even while he suckles at the breast.” Read about successful breastfeeding and successful alternatives.
See the various homemade baby formulas published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Before I receive a plethora of protest from mothers who want to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding, please note that this is not a post disparaging the virtues of breastfeeding in any way, shape or form but, rather a post offering an alternative to commercial baby formulas if and when that is needed.
Why homemade baby formula?
- Not every woman can breastfeed successfully. Some mothers do not have enough supply.
- There are circumstances in which breastfeeding is not an option, such as adoption.
- Human milk will be lacking in vitamins A, D, B12 and other fat soluble vitamin if the mother’s diet is poor. Junk foods full of trans fatty acids will reduce the fat content of mothers’ milk and cause trans fatty acids to be present in mothers’ milk. Homemade whole food baby formula will be more nutritious than the milk of mothers on a junk food diet.
Again, here is everything you need to know about the various homemade baby formulas we recommend, including recipes and a how-to video.
What is wrong with commercial infant formula?
Please note that we don’t recommend a single commercial formula, organic or otherwise.
Let’s look at the ingredient lists as reviewed by Naomi Baumslag, MD, MPH in her article Tricks of the Infant Food Industry:
Water: May contain high levels of fluoride.
Corn Syrup: Contains glucose. Mother’s milk contains lactose as the main carbohydrate. Not all brands of formula contain lactose.
Sucrose: Contains no lactose. The wrong sugar for babies.
Soy Oil: Processed using high temperatures and chemicals, bleached and deodorized. Likely to be rancid.
Whey Protein: High temperature processing likely to destroy fragile whey proteins.
Soy Protein Isolate: Highly processed, contains phytoestrogens that can adversely affect baby’s hormonal development and depress thyroid function. Does not have Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status.
Carrageenan: Extremely hard to digest. In most ready-mixed formulas, carrageenan is one of the main causes of digestive disorders in formula-fed infants, not lactose-intolerance. Caused liver problems and retarded growth in rats.
Soy Lecithin: Extracted from the soy oil sludge. Likely to be high in pesticides.
Synthetic Vitamins: Often have the opposite effect of vitamins naturally occurring in food.
Free Glutamic Acid (MSG) and Aspartic Acid: Neurotoxins formed during processing of milk and soy protein powders. Levels are especially high in hypoallergenic formulas.
What is wrong with soy formula?
As Sally Fallon Morell explains, “An estimated 25% of North American babies receive infant formula made from processed soybeans. Parents use soy formula in the belief that is it healthier than formula based on cows’ milk. Soy promotional material claims that soy provides complete protein that is less allergenic than cows’ milk protein. When soy infant formula first became commercially available, manufacturers even promised that soy formula was “better than breast milk.” … “The most serious problem with soy formula is the presence of phytoestrogens or isoflavones. While many claims have been made about the health benefits of these estrogen-like compounds, animal studies indicate that they are powerful endocrine disrupters that alter growth patterns and cause sterility. Toxicologists estimate that an infant exclusively fed soy formula receives the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.” Read more about the problems with soy infant formula.
Here is a testimonial about the homemade baby formula:
Making Homemade Baby Formula
My adopted son Tate started on the homemade raw milk formula when he was three days old-and has thrived on it. Since I knew I would be making formula for my baby, I was able to prepare ahead of time. I love to cook, but like most people, I took one look at the raw milk formula in Nourishing Traditions and was a little apprehensive with the long list of ingredients. Actually, I added one other ingredient-1-2 tablespoons cow colostrum to each batch.
I knew that sleep deprivation was in my future! Nevertheless, I forged ahead with optimism, and to my great delight, after the first few times of making the formula, it became easy as baby-pie! It only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish, including clean up!
Here are some of my tricks. First, before Tate arrived, I made ice-cube portions of the whey, cream and colostrum. A typical cube section in a tray equals two tablespoons. This is the perfect amount for the formula; four tablespoons or two cubes for the whey and two tablespoons or one cube for the cream and colostrum.
Here’s my early morning routine. First I rinse off everything with hot water to make sure there is nothing foreign on my utensils. I fill an 8-cup glass measuring bowl with a pour spout with 2 cups of filtered water, then scoop out 2 tablespoons to make 1 7/8 cups. I pour this into a stainless steel pot and add the gelatin. I turn the stove on between low and medium to just warm the ingredients, not boil. Then I add 2 frozen cubes of whey, and 1 each of cream and colostrum. I also add the coconut oil to the pot so that it melts sufficiently. In the same measuring bowl I used for the water, I add the milk and the rest of the oils and dry ingredients (which are available at most health food stores and/or Radiant Life. By the time I am done with that, the frozen ingredients are melted and I add them together in the big glass measuring bowl. At this point I blend the formula in the blender. I found when left unblended the oils in the formula do not combine well enough. Be sure not to blend for too long, as the cream may curdle.
Then I pour the formula back into the measuring bowl, divide it into glass baby bottles, add the nipples and tops, and that’s it! Even with sleep deprivation, I find this process to be easy and doable. For the actual feedings, I use a bottle warmer that heats with steam instead of going to the stove to boil water each time. When you have a hungry baby, as many of you know, warming a bottle is something you want to happen sooner rather than later.
Once you do it a few times, it’s easy. . . and our baby has thrived on the formula!
Jen Allbritton, CN, Evergreen, Colorado
Please read more testimonials
The Radiant Life Company is deeply committed to supporting our collective health and wholeness. They have many of the ingredients for the homemade baby formulas ready to be shipped to your door if the need arises with 11% to 17% discount when you order the items as a kit to be shipped in the United States! They also have kits available for international shipping. We do not receive a referral bonus from Radiant Life.
We highly recommend the books Nourishing Traditions and Nourishing Traditions Book of baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon, available via our Amazon affiliation.
Update: There is a robust discussion on this topic on Facebook, which has proven to be controversial. Some recommend that before one turn to homemade formula, that they explore the notion of donor breast milk from mothers who are consuming a nutrient dense diet. This source was recommended: http://www.hm4hb.net/
37 Responses to Nutrient Dense Baby Formula
Wonderful article, thanks! I used the formula for my daughter due to my inability to exclusively breastfeed her for medical reasons. I also created a video tutorial that has received thousands of views and lots of questions. I try to respond to them all, too. I’m so glad there is such a great network of support for moms out there wishing to avoid commercial formula.
Thanks, Angie — would you like to include your video tutorial? I am also including a link to your guest blog post here as well: https://nourishingourchildren.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/nourishing-babies-and-toddlers/
Sure, Sandrine, here is the link to part one of the tutorial (it is a 3 part video). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NATkyZNMQQ
I love this! 10 months ago I gave birth to twin girls. I was lucky and blessed to go to 37 weeks and had a regular delivery without a c-section. I was thrilled! The babies weighed in at 5 lbs 12 oz and 6 lbs 7 oz. I was so happy that all had gone so well after months of worry. A week later at their first pediatrician apt, Baylie (the larger of the two), was discovered to have a heart murmur. I was worried, but had several friends assure me that their babies had them as well, and they would eventually go away. At two weeks old we went to a pediatric cardiologist who informed us that she had two holes in her heart. One was small, but the other was very large and would require open heart surgery in a few months. We were faced with waiting until she stopped gaining weight, and stopped thriving, then surgery. We were shocked, and in a panic. Since keeping a healthy weight was crucial and I was nursing both babies, I quickly added things to my diet that would keep a healthy milk supply, as recommended by WAP. She thrived inspite of what Drs. said would happen…they were shocked at each appointment. She did stay a pound smaller than her sister, but maintained it. At 7 months (well past when surgery was supposed to happen), the smaller hole had closed completely and the larger had closed 25%. Soon after (for personal reasons), I stopped nursing and started formula (store bought). Three months later she had NOT gotten any better and had infact started slowing in weight gain. Drs. told me she needed to up her calories or she would fail more and face the open heart surgery. SO … I remembered reading about the formula in this post and asked a good friend what she recommended to help. She shared a link to Radiant Life and I bought a 3 month kit for formula. They love it! It really IS easy to make, and not that much different in cost with store bought formula. We are about 3 weeks into it, and I am very eager to weigh her in at 12 months old to see how she is doing. I am comforted each time I make it, that the ingrediants are good and natural, full of nutrients and as close to the real thing as possible. I truly wish I had started this when I stopped nursing so she would have never had the store bought formula. We live and learn. I can’t wait to share this article with all the people who feel I am taking a risk giving them raw milk,cream, etc. I am thankful everyday that I have great resourses like yours that help lead the way to better health. I will keep you posted on her progress, as I am SURE it will be good! Thank you thank you. -Windy Perkins
Thank you for this testimonial, Windy! I envision it will be quite helpful for other mothers who are faced with the need. Please do be sure to keep us abreast of her progress!
P.S. I hope this promotional opportunity may be of value to you: http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/donate-to-nourishing-our-children-0/
I have to say, that my dear friend Tandy Batt was the one who introduced me to WAPF and to this milk. While I still have much to work on with my diet and that of my family, I am thankful to have that little voice in the back of my head that helps me to think twice about certain food choices, and to be more thoughtful when there are health concerns in the family that may have been caused by something we eat/ate. I do wish I had found this 10 years ago when I started having kids!! Thanks again!
While I’m inclined to recommend human milk sharing and had no issues personally nursing but my friend did and her 6 month old is continuing to thrive on small amounts of her breastmilk and mostly the raw milk formula. I pumped for her for the first couple of months, and my milk is very rich, but I’m not a very good pumper (I just don’t respond to the machine very well,) and she wasn’t comfortable accepting from non-close friends. Based on how well her son is doing, I would readily give that formula to my son if for some reason my milk supply dried up and I couldn’t find a trustworthy human source.
I would probably make it with human milk though. It doesn’t have to be made with cow’s milk.
exactly, human milk for human babies:)
Hooray for this post, Sandrine! I was reading it and felt inclined to pass it forward to Windy Perkins- ha! She’s already read it an shared her experience! I am so passionate about nourishing children- especially babies, who so innocently trust their caregivers to nourish them! The need is most certainly there, for Moms to know that there are options! And that breast milk is not always best, if the diet if junk.. And I cry a little inside everytime I see babies drinking store bought formula :( .. Not out of any judgements- just that it’s sad to me so many women aren’t aware.. And that the food industry is doing such a great job hiding what they do. Sandrine, thanks for your diligent efforts in educating the masses- it sure makes it easier for me to share :)
Hi, my name is brandy. I have two children, a four year old and a five month old. I am currently breastfeeding my daughter, only I am afraid that I am drying up for I have recently started working and can only pump but once a day in a nine hour work day. I come home to breastfeed and feel like my daughter is not getting enough to eat. I was just reading about this homemade milk and I think I want to give it a try. Only down fall is that my daughter is also lactose intolerant, cannot have whey protein, cows milk, goats milk, soy milk, or kasine(found in many processed foods such as pop tarts). I wonder how I could switch around some of the ingredients a bit to fit her diet. Any ideas? I would LOVE to keep breastfeeding my daughter, but I am afraid it is going to end sooner than I want it to.:( would love any advise y’all have to give, I am open to anything right now for I am against processed formula.
Thanks a lot, brandy
Brandy, there is a liver/meat-based formula which was also formulated by the creators of the milk-based formula. There used to be a link to a video tutorial from the Weston A. Price website, but it appears the link is no longer good. The recipe and instructions are in the book “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. I have tried it with my baby, and at first I was worried that she would not drink it, but she did! So I would definitely try that before going to commercial formula. There is also a recipe for a goat milk formula. Since goat milk is much less allergenic than cow’s milk, you might try that. You cannot simply substitute goat milk for cow’s milk, however, as goat milk is lacking in B vitamins and folic acid, and you would have to change the recipe to provide additional folic acid and B vitamins. My daughter is 16 months old now and drinks only raw goat milk, but I feed her raw liver, egg yolks, and cod liver oil daily, so I’m sure she is getting enough of those nutrients.
Here is the formula Angie refers to: http://www.realmilk.com/formularecipes.html#lbf
I would look online for a hospital grade rental pump, even wic has breastpumps and with perscription hospital rental available. I would also try to pump more at night as your prolactin levels are highest. Fenugreek and Blessed thistle can up milk supply, Jack Newman web page, look up his name and his site will come up. he is a breastfeeding specialist and has great info, vidoes and you can emial his office, The donpridone/motillium is a great option for moms who may need it, he could tell you. Also Kelly Mom and the Le Leche League web page has great info on pumping and working. I suggest you contact one of them or a IBCLC or certified lactation consultant for help to up your milk production. The hospital grade pumps only take about 12 min for both sides so maybe you could do it more often then with your pump. Brandy, I urge you to really look into things more and really reach out for help before going to a formula for baby. As long as she is gaining then you are good, but there are options for you. Some rental places have scholorships in certian situations. Best of luck to you!!
FInd me on FB if you need help, I can help even if we do not live close to each other!! message me
I think Carrie offers some valuable resources for you to explore, Brandy. Some women have expressed that they did try all possible avenues and still found that they didn’t have the supply they needed. http://www.cheeseslave.com/how-to-make-homemade-baby-formula/ These homemade formulas are a viable, nutrient dense option I think mothers need not feel ashamed to consider. I support you in finding your own way with the many options presented without any sense of peer pressure.
Woman who adopt can lactate, I relactated after 7 years in hopes of adoption. Also domperidone a medicine can up your supply in these cases and a SNS can be used so baby can also get what you have with the suppliment of either frozen breastmilk or formula but baby gets moms milk first. This recipe has COW/ANIMAL contents, we are not cow babies, cows have 4 stomachs to digest theri own mothers milk and way more lactose then the human makes, we can not digest this! Babies hav ean OPEN gut till around 6-12 months to easily digest the milk and nutrients. If baby is given to large protiens, like the ones found in animal milk it raises the risk of allergies ad stomach disorders. Cow milk has less then half the carbohydrates then human milk has and the protiens are way to large to digest for baby. Cow milk is only good for cow babies, I do agree with the soy milk. RIce milk is also not good for children under 5 as the fields the rice is grown has high levels of arsenic. BUT donor milk is second best and then homemade plant based formula. Even if mom has a bad diet baby will pul lfrom her body and mom will be lacking in nutrition not baby. Yes some moms do not eat well and need better nutrition but this rarely has a huge effect on baby. Mom can get blood work to see what she is lacking and taek suppliments before NOT feeding baby and going to formula. I find it a pattern in moms who have adopted or not BF saying they did not make enough milk to be defensive about formula in general. Mom can make enough for baby unless is RARE cases of a medical condition. She should see and alk with a CLC or IBCLC for help and others need to point her in their direction before telling her “some woman can not produce enough milk” What ever milk mom has baby needs! Mom can make more milk and even with working there are ways, a hospotal grade pump rental is a good option for moms out there. JMP. Yes I do think homemade forula is a good option but not second best option out there.
“Cow milk is only good for cow babies”.
We are not in agreement. Raw cow milk and raw goat milk have been used successfully for babies who thrive. No allergies, no digestive or skin distress.
“Both our milk-based and meat-based formulas have been designed to provide maximum possible correspondence with the various components of human milk. Our milk-based formula takes account of the fact that human milk is richer in whey, lactose, vitamin C, niacin, manganese and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to cows milk but leaner in casein (milk protein). The addition of gelatin to cow’s milk formula will make it more digestible for the infant. The liver-based formula also mimics the nutrient profile of mother’s milk. Use only truly expeller-expressed oils (see Sources) in the formula recipes, otherwise they may lack vitamin E.” http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/feeding-babies
See this chart: http://www.realmilk.com/formularecipes.html#chart
“Even if mom has a bad diet baby will pull from her body and mom will be lacking in nutrition not baby. Yes some moms do not eat well and need better nutrition but this rarely has a huge effect on baby.”
Women routinely report that what they eat has a direct impact on their baby when she is breastfeeding and that impact is not rare. Women have healed issues manifesting in their children by changing their own diet.
I hope this will be of value: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/feeding-babies
I do not agree at all. Yes woman can lactate after not for several years. However raw milk formual with all the added ingredients are so much better then a commercial formula and in my eyes if you can not breast feed, do not have the option for donor milk then the homemade formula is the way to go. (Sometimes donor milk is not an option due to where one lives).
Exactly, Tracy! Sally Fallon Morell created these recipes because there was a need.
I know so much about this. My grandson was born premature, daughter’s milk supply dried up due to stress. He came home on a commercial formula and would reflux so bad he would asperate. He was not growing and was very very sick. Several trips to the hospital and being deemed as a non thriver we searched and searched for a new Dr. New hospital and new way to feed him. He had the nissum surgery but still refluxed on formula. I got a recipe from a whole food nutritionist it was raw goat milk based (perfect since we raise dairy goats) and has all the ingrediants that your raw cows milk does. We put in some infant vitamin drops to replace what the goats milk lacked. Today my grandson is a beautiful healthy 2 year old who I really believe would not have survived without us taking him off of the commercial formula. There is more to the story of the Dr.’s having a total fit about a homemade formula and us feeding him raw milk.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Tracy! I hope it will be of value to those who seek alternatives to commercial navy formulas.
I so do NOT agree that a mother with a poor diet would still give a baby what it needs…How? And where would it come from? I have lived both sides of that spectrum and believe me…there IS a difference. I am happy that so many of you are so passionate about it though. So much passion for babies health is better than none! Differences in oppinion often lead to the best solutions as well! :)
Hi everybody :)
I have been doing this formula for over a week and can see some good results in my 5 month-old baby. The cradle cap is literally vanishing out of her head thanks to this formula :)
I only have 2 problems:
1) I didn’t realise I would go out of lactose so soon! I already ordered more but it won’t arrive less than 1 week and a half time and I only have lactose for 1 more day… my question is… what can I use instead of lactose??
Has this ever happen to anyone here before? What did you do to solve this until more lactose arrived? I don’t want to give commercial crap to my baby and she refuses my breast. Please, will anyone answer me and give me some good insight!
2) She hates the taste of the FCLO… I tried almost every trick to give it to her but no luck. Now every time she sees the bottle she closes her mouth and refuses the bottle even if she’s starving… anyone has an advise on how I can solve this problem?
Thank you :)
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I had to start feeding my baby store formula when he was about 2 months. He soon developed eczema, congestion, and watery eyes, symptoms of a damaged gut. I experimented with all sorts of formulas trying to figure out the culprit and it seems to be mainly about the casein protein in dairy. He’s 7 months now and I finally found the WAPF homemade formulas, which I’m wanting to start using. But, I I don’t know whether to use the bone broth or cow milk recipe to start. The GAPS diet that is used to heal guts in older kids and adults is all about bone broth. Does that mean that I should give him the bone broth formula for a while to heal his gut, and then switch over to the cow milk one once that’s done? Or, will the raw cow milk and gelatin that gets added be enough to heal his damaged little gut? In the GAPS diet it says that dairy can be reintroduced once the gut is healed, but not before.
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I just wanted to be of encouragement to anyone who is wanting to make the formula, but feels hesitant.
I put off making it for months due to the (what seemed like!) long list of ingredients and worry that it would be burdensome or complicated to make. Additionally, my son had shown symptoms of a sensitivity to cow’s milk and I didn’t want to worsen things. We had a terrible experience of breastfeeding, and after starting him on commercial formula he became constipated, stopped gaining weight, would refuse to feed and showed signs of a damaged gut. This had eased after starting him on an organic commercial goats milk formula, but feeding had still been problematic.
Thankfully I felt God prompt me to give the WAPF formula a go, and I’m so glad I did – it’s so easy to make! I’m only a week in but it takes me around 10 minutes – genuinely less time than it took me to make up commercial formula bottles. I just make sure that I have everything clean ahead of time, ready for use, and a clear worktop.
Despite my reservations the ingredients weren’t hard to come by (despite living in rural New Zealand!) and it works out cheaper than we were spending on commercial organic formula. An additional blessing is that my son hasn’t showed any symptoms of cows milk intolerance, unlike when on commercial formula. Thank goddess for this recipe!