Monday, October 22, 2012

Homemade Baby Formula

I've been making C's formula for about two months now so this is long overdue! It's going really well! Let me back up a bit though...

C began with Enfamil Newborn formula in the hospital - the 2 ounce bottles. We stuck with that since we didn't want to change right away. When you consider that they come in a 6-pack, at around $9 per pack, you realize quickly that this will start to add up! He usually ate every 2 hours or so... which meant we were spending a TON on formula. After about 2 months, since we couldn't buy the Newborn formula in quarts, we ended up switching to Similac. He switched with no noticeable trouble, other than his poo changed. It didn't seem to bother him. We continued using only liquid formula because I never wanted to use powdered formula due to concerns that my lactation consultant shared with me on the safety.

And since I don't know that I ever really elaborated on inducing lactation... a side note...

My milk came in about 2 weeks after beginning the drug protocol and 1-2 weeks later the pumping. I was able to pump anywhere from 5-8 times a day (it was supposed to be 8), but C never really latched on well. I HATED forcing him. I really needed someone else with me to coordinate everything and while DH was completely supportive, he had to be at work during the day! C more often than not, when I used the SNS, ended up with a finger feeding. Either he'd pull the tubes off me (I must have a very short torso because the bottle was practically in his face - either that or choking me so that I had it out of his face. It was just extremely inconvenient. Since we didn't start trying to breastfeed until he was about 2 weeks old, he would latch on and fall off, latch on and fall off and scream in frustration and hunger. It was so NOT what I envisioned for bonding with my son! I initially just tried by using the SNS and the drugs to induce, but it wasn't enough - I knew I'd never get a supply in that way. I ended up starting to pump. My sister (the nurse) encouraged me to give him whatever I could get, even if it was just a few drops. And again, since I wasn't that consistent with trying to get him to use the SNS, or the pumping as much (remember those 3 weddings out of town when he was not even 2 months? Yeah, that interfered slightly!), I finally decided enough was enough - I just didn't have the energy to keep pumping when there was really no bonding. More often than not, since he usually slept in the Ergo carrier at that point, I would end up pumping while feeding him with him propped up on my knees. Yes, he was able to look at me, but it was just weird. It was not the sweet snuggling I wanted while he was feeding. So while I was really happy I was able to produce milk, the timing just stunk. 18 hours to prepare to be a mom, and the timing of everything going on during that time (teaching, a recital and year-end adjudication for my students, my sister's bridal shower and wedding, 2 other weddings and trips out of town), it just became very stressful. I might consider doing it again - if we had more advanced notice (I could stimulate lactation before the baby was born) and if I could start with breastfeeding in the hospital before the baby was fed with a bottle.

Around month 3, still considering the cost of commercial formula, knowing I didn't have the energy to keep pumping without being able to actually breastfeed, and getting concerned with feeding my baby not only a product that had a significant shelf-life but also that contained soy, I began looking into alternate options. I read several blogs - Lauren and CallMeMama and these ladies inspired me to consider making my own formula.

Being the type-A that I am, I called the Weston A Price foundation to ask a few questions. I read through the testimonials as well as the directions on making the formula on their site. I watched this video as well. It didn't look as challenging as I thought it would be.

I order all the ingredients through Radiant Life Catalog. The kit is was the easiest way. (If you are going to do this, go all out and order a few months supply. I wish I had done that because it significantly saves on cost).

In my state, I can't buy raw milk unless I actually own the cow... hence, DH & I now own a cow share. :) We call our cow Petunia in case anyone wants to know. I don't know her real name... we could be getting milk from a number of cows. So anyway, our share in Petunia allows us one gallon of milk per week, delivered to a local drop-off point (the farm we order from is outside Richmond).

The video I mentioned really is the best, but here are some photos of how I do it:

I store all the dry ingredients in this container. It makes getting all of them out of the pantry easy.

I labeled all the ingredient containers with the quantity I need. It helped tremendously at first, 
but now I've got them memorized. 

I use a 1 tsp. measuring spoon for all these oils - the fish oil is 1/2 tsp. so I fill it half up.

I put the 2 tsp. of coconut oil in the remaining half of distilled water. (The other half is heated in the pan with the gelatin and lactose.) Once the lactose & gelatin are dissolved, I add the hot water back to the measuring cup. It's not boiling, but it melts the coconut oil which is still slightly solid at room temperature.

These are the refrigerated products. I was able to find liquid whey from grass-fed cows at 
a local health store. Apparently you can buy it for cats, no questions asked. Meow. 
I add all these products to the blender when I am about ready to blend it.

After I'd been doing the standard recipe for a month, I added in the egg yolk that is recommended as well (C was 5 months at this point). I cook it until it's slightly past soft-boiled (4 minutes on my stove)- enough so I can remove the egg white. C hasn't had any problem with the egg yolk thankfully. I haven't yet added the raw liver flakes (you grate them from frozen. I'm thinking about adding that soon, since he'll hopefully be starting solids later this week.)

We have a Vitamix blender that I use to blend the formula. I blend it slightly longer than the video recommends because I found that the powdered ingredients weren't mixing in well. I blend it about 10 seconds.

C LOVES this formula! And it really is super easy now - all it takes it getting into a new routine. :)

Please feel free to ask any questions! :)


  1. So impressive!! And without all those additives that are in formula. Go go mama!!

  2. Soon interesting! The shelf life of formula skeeves me out. I may be picking your brain about this if I have the typical pcos milk supply issues.

  3. This is the same formula I made for Isaiah too!! He thrived on it!! I labeled all the stuff at first too, then I could make it in my sleep if I needed too! We added egg yolk at 5 months and then took it out when he started solid food because it was easier for me to feed him egg yolk in his solid food rather than add a step to the formula.

    I totally thought my boy would transition to drinking raw milk from a sippy cup when he self weaned from the bottle (because he was familiar to the taste), but he won't drink it. Maybe some day!
    LOVE that C is doing so well on it!!

  4. This is the most interesting post, ever! First of all - drugs can make you lactate?! Cool! That's great! Sorry it didn't go so well.
    That is SO exciting you are making your own formula! Very awesome. I'm going to go watch that video now. Can't get raw milk here either. I'm so glad to hear C likes it as well! (formula companies give me the hebie-jebies - glad you can get away!)

  5. I would so do this as well! I even considered weaning at 6 months to make this formula! I think it is so nourishing and I'm so glad the option is available! Way to go! Love it!

  6. I'm going to share with a friend who is having severe difficulty with breastfeeding and has been searching for natural ways to make formula. Awesome post...


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