In my last post I talked about why I chose to make my own formula when I was faced with the need to supplement my daughter’s nutrition. In this post I’m going to let you know:
- How to make that homemade formula
- My tips on making this formula in the middle of the night, while in major sleep deprivation and with a hungry baby needing you
- How to use this formula and keep breast feeding
Here’s how to make your own homemade baby formula:
The homemade formula recipe that I chose is one recommended by the Weston A. Price Association. You can find the recipe with directions on how to make it in the video here: http://www.westonaprice.org/beginner-videos/baby-formula-video-by-sarah-pope-2/ and also below. I chose this one because the Weston A. Price Foundation has done a comparison to it and breast milk and it seems pretty similar— maybe as close as you can get without using the real thing. I did look into purchasing breast milk from a breast milk bank, but at $9 per serving that was just too costly for me.
Here’s the written form of the ingredients that I used:
•2 cups whole raw grass-fed cow’s milk
•1/4 cup homemade liquid whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk
•4 tablespoons lactose
•1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis (Natren)
•2 or more tablespoons good quality cream (raw)
•1/2 teaspoon high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil
•1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil
•1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil
•1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
•2 teaspoons coconut oil
•2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes (I used Lewis Labs)
•2 teaspoons Great Lakes gelatin
•1-7/8 cups filtered water
•1/4 teaspoon acerola powder (I used Madre Labs)
1.Fill a glass measuring cup to the 2-cup mark and remove 2 tablespoons. This leaves you with 1-7/8 cups water.
2.Pour about half of the water into a pan and heat on medium. Add the gelatin and lactose to the pan, stirring occasionally until they are dissolved.
3.Remove the pan from heat and add the remaining water to cool the mixture.
4.Stir in the coconut oil and high-vitamin butter oil and stir until melted.
5.Place the milk, whey, bifidobacterium infants, fermented cod liver oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, nutritional yeast, acerola powder, and water mixture into the blender.
6.Blend about three seconds then add cream and lightly pulse to combine.
7.Place in glass bottles or a glass jar and refrigerate.
8.Before giving to baby, warm bottles by placing in hot water or a bottle warmer. NEVER warm bottles in a microwave oven.
Makes 36 ounces.
Special tips for the sleep deprived brain to make this easier:
- Help! : Lets face it, you are probably very tired and very busy and that list of ingredients looks overwhelming. Have a friend help you get all the ingredients, or just order the first batch on the internet as a package- later you can substitute brands or find better deals on things
- Perspective: There is a learning curve in the beginning, but after a few run throughs you will know the recipe by heart and it will be easy. It now only takes me or my husband about 5 minutes to make up a batch and get it into bottles in the fridge.
- Boxes : Get two boxes, light-weight baking pans or tupperware- about 12″x 8″ x 4″. One is for all the refrigerated ingredients and the other is for all the non-refrigerated ingredients
- Labels: put the ingredients in the boxes—get a sharpie and some masking tape and label each ingredient with the amount that you will need to make one batch of formula.
- Tools : Have a designated measuring cup and measuring spoons for this project and always keep them with the formula ingredients so you don’t have to search around the kitchen for them
- Tip: If you are very sleep deprived, when you make the formula, take each ingredient out of its box and add the amount needed to the blender, then put the ingredient on the counter. It sounds silly, but it will keep you from wondering if you already added that ingredient—you will know that if it’s in the box you need to add it, if its on the counter, you already did.
Here’s how to use this formula and keep breast feeding:
A lot of moms face the reality of needing to supplement their breast milk. I needed to, but I really wanted to breast feed. There are so many reasons why, but for me it was primarily because of the incredible bond that comes when all those attachment-promoting hormones are flowing and because of the unparalleled nutrition that comes from breast feeding. I chose to supplement using the Lact-Aid. http://www.lact-aid.com. This is a supplemental nursing system. It’s basically a bag that holds the formula that has a tube connected to it that goes to your nipple. When your baby nurses, your body gets the cue to make more milk, and you baby gets a little extra from what is coming out of the bag. You will most likely have to fiddle around and work with your baby so that you both feel comfortable using it, or at least we did, but when you get it down it’s great!
Many women only need to do this for a short period of time—during growth spurts or just to help their body re-regulate to a higher level of milk output. Since I adopted my baby, I used it continuously for the first four months. My body did create milk through the stimulation, but not enough without the extra formula.
I need to be honest here, this kind of supplementing can be very challenging and a lot of work, but, if you really want to breast feed it will help you get on track. Remembering the benefits of breast feeding helped keep me motivated. Here are some highlights:
- The closeness and incredible bond that I felt with my baby made it completely worth it. I really loved having those extra hormones to make it through the sleep depravation and hard work of caring for my baby.
- Breast feeding helps you regain your pre-pregnanacy shape
- Breast feeding helps bring your uterus back into shape
- Breast feeding is sooo much easier and cheaper than any formula! It’s worth it to try
- Your baby receives special food made especially for him/her—loaded with all the right quantities of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
You can also talk with your hospital lactation support or La Leche League for help in using the supplemental nurser. If you really can not get the hang of using the supplemental nurser, don’t fret, I have found that the homemade formula really is a great substitute for breast milk. I have also heard of some women having success breast feeding for the first part of the session and then bottle feeding straight formula for the second part so you might want to try that, too.
Tips to use the homemade formula with the Lact-Aid:
- In order to make the formula fit through the little tubes of the Lact-Aid, you’ve got to take out the gelatin. We made sure that our daughter still got the nutrients from the gelatin by making the formula without the gelatin, then putting all the gelatin into just four bottles and fed these at the second part of a regular feeding.
- If you are producing most of the milk and just supplementing a little, you can probably just skip out the gelatin all together as your baby is getting all kinds of extra nutrients from your breast milk.
I hope this post gives you some support in trying this homemade formula that my babies have loved so much and absolutely thrived on. Leave your comments of questions below!
Dana Gorath has a bachelors degree in Neuroscience from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently completing her masters degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, Ca. Dana has been a massage therapist for 16 years, specializing in Orthopedic Massage. She has also been a loving foster parent to many babies and children for four years. Now, she is a mother of one very loved, baby.
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