Did you know that you can homemake your formula?
There are actually two recipes in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions book—for raw milk-based, and meat-based formulas. I have recommended this for babies I've cared for, and it has been an amazing thing for them. But I'm a practitioner... you are a mom. Don't you wish you could talk to another mom about it?
Well, today we have a special treat!
Carissa (mom of 3) gave one of her daughters the raw milk-based homemade formula, and was willing to share about her experience! I asked her the questions I thought that you might want answered. So you can hear what it is really like. From a mom. Just like you. So without further ado..
I sat down with Carissa and asked her some common questions about homemade formula. Following are her answers. Carissa's daughter, Ava, is now almost three years old and a delight! Carissa made the raw milk-based formula for her daughter for a year and a half!
Were you planning on feeding your baby homemade formula when she was born?
"No, I was planning on breastfeeding, and then she was born at 23 weeks gestation. I was able to pump until her due date (for 4 months), and at that point I had a lot of pressure from the hospital to have her gain weight more quickly in order to come home, so my husband and I decided to use conventional formula."
Why didn’t you stay with conventional formula?
"As soon as we started her on conventional formula, she rapidly gained weight, although she was constipated and crying almost all the time, so I had a few friends recommend trying homemade formula."
What made you want to switch to homemade formula?
"After researching formulas, I decided that homemade formula would provide better nutrition for her, especially since she did not get a good start."
Was it hard to start making it?
"Emotionally, it was extremely hard, and I scoffed at the idea of making homemade formula, because I figured that these big commercial companies had years of experience feeding babies, and I was not experienced enough to know how to create something that was that important at my house. But then, after taking a real look at commercial formulas, I realized that it was basically made up of a lot of sugars and fillers and I couldn’t come up with a real nutritional value that was superior.
Physically, it was a little overwhelming at first being that it seemed like it was a big cost investment, and a lot of these ingredients I had never heard of before. So I went to our natural grocery store, and ended up finding all the ingredients but one. And that ingredient I found online for a very reasonable cost. And then after a few weeks, I really had it down to only a few minutes every morning."
Is there anything you were worried about with giving it to your baby?
"I was very concerned with not giving her the right nutrition, but once I looked into the commercial formulas, and realized there wasn’t a huge nutritional value, and that she would be safe and thrive with all these nutrients in the homemade formula, it made me feel much better."
Was your doctor on board with you doing the homemade formula?
"He was slightly reluctant at first because he had never had a patient try it before, but he was willing to allow me to try it if we monitored her weight closely for the first month. And as she continued to correctly gain weight, and hit her developmental milestones, he became more comfortable with the idea, and eventually really appreciated the knowledge of a new way to feed his patients."
Did she tolerate all the ingredients, or did you have to leave some out?
"I ended up leaving out the nutritional yeast because it seemed to constipate her. It may have been okay to add it back in later, but I never did."
How long does it take you to make it?
"After a few weeks, it only took a couple minutes each morning."
How long does a batch last?
"It can last up to 7 days, but I just decided to make it every morning."
Can you reheat the bottles?
"I never did, because I was so cautious of overfeeding Ava. I quickly figured out how much she would eat in a sitting, so I did not have much, if any, leftover to reheat."
How did she like the formula?
"She really seemed to enjoy the formula, and the taste never seemed to bother her. My family always commented on how she must hate the taste of the cod liver oil, but it never bothered her."
Do you think she was getting enough to eat with the homemade formula?
"Yes, she was gaining weight and seemed happy and content after each feeding."
Are you glad you did the homemade formula?
"Yes, I am very glad. And if I ever was not able to breastfeed again I would use the homemade formula. I would never purchase conventional formula again."
Can anyone make homemade formula?
"Yes, definitely. I only had limited knowledge on what nutrients our bodies really needed and I didn’t have any friends that were currently making homemade formula. I was thankful for Sally Fallon’s research and information available on the internet because I was able to gather all the information without having to have someone in my personal circle doing it [making the formula]."
What benefit do you think it had for her?
"Ava is the only premature baby that I know that has not been hospitalized in the first 3 years of her life. My husband and I strongly believe feeding her the homemade formula gave her body the strength to fight off sickness. She gained weight at a very healthy weight, and continued, even after we moved to foods. I think that’s because her body learned how to correctly absorb and use the nutrients from her food. Her therapists are always very encouraged with her progress, and she continues to catch up to her peers, which is fairly uncommon for any baby born at 23 weeks.
In comparison to other children born at her gestation, Ava is free from many of the expected complications. My husband and I feel that the only major difference is that Ava was on homemade formula where as most micro-premies are on conventional formula."
Would you recommend this to other moms with premature babies?
"Definitely. I feel extremely passionate about sharing the knowledge of homemade formula, and allowing moms to do their own research on how to effectively feed their own babies, rather than just using something because it’s expected. I would encourage mothers to do their own research, and have an open communication with their doctors about it, which includes not just allowing your doctor to tell you that’s the way it’s normally done."
Are there any tips you learned that made it easier or that you would like to pass on?
"I usually started boiling my water first, and then kept all of my ingredients in one basket in my cabinet. I would pull all the ingredients out together. Then when the water was boiling, I could easily complete it from there."
Thanks so much to Carissa for sharing all this!
We are so grateful to Carissa for being willing and passionate to share what she has learned. Many moms need this! If you want to learn about Ava's journey, check out this Facebook page.
In addition to sharing about her decision to make formula, and how it went, Carissa let me film her making the raw milk-based formula so you can see exactly how to do it! She makes it look easy!
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