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UPDATE – MAY 15, 2022: This post was written in 2011. To say it needs an update is an understatement. Due to the current baby formula shortage, we are working on simplifying these recipes, providing much more in-depth safety information, and providing thoughtful critique so you can make informed decisions for your family. Thus, we thank you for your patience and please check back over the next few days for more up-to-date help. In the meantime, if you're needing a quick, effective formula for your baby, check out our emergency baby formula recipe formulated from the World Health Organization's guidelines.
I've worked hard to breastfeed my babies. I love nursing and believe breast milk is the “perfect” food that has been specifically designed to give them the optimal nourishment they need for every aspect of life, especially in their early days of life.
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However, my body hasn't always cooperated. While all of my children have nursed eagerly and easily, my milk supply just wasn't sufficient for either of my first two children. And in the evenings when my body was tired from a long day, often the milk supply dipped even more, causing tired, hungry babies to howl and frustration to set in for all involved.
With our first child, our pediatrician adamantly insisted we supplement with formula. I was very reluctant, but I hadn't done any research and knew no alternatives, so we obediently went out and purchased formula for well over a year.
When our second child began to need more than I could give, however, I set out to devour every piece of information I could find about the ingredients in conventional formula and about how women through the centuries had traditionally dealt with this problem (short of finding a wet nurse). The more I learned, the more uncomfortable I was feeding my child the vast majority of the formulas on the shelf at the local supermarket (not all, just most). You can read more about my qualms and misgivings about commercial formula here. (this article is in progress – check back soon if you land on the error page)
Homemade Baby Formula: A Blessing for This Tired Mama
Enter powdered goat milk. Goat's milk is a traditional substitutionary food for infants, but the trouble is that goat's milk lacks folic acid and Vitamin B12, we didn't have access to raw goat's milk, and store-bought goat's milk goes bad rather quickly. Since we were merely supplementing my breast milk, not substituting all together, I knew we wouldn't go through fresh goat's milk quickly enough to make it worth the cost.
But then I found Meyenberg powdered goat milk and my worries were assuaged – not only does it have a longer shelf-life due to being powdered, but Meyenberg fortifies their milk with folic acid and Vitamin D, specifically because it's often used for toddlers.
I'm also particularly excited about New Zealand Full Cream Goat Milk Powder. It's creamy and tasty and made from the milk of pastured goats. ❤️ However, they don't fortify it with any additional vitamins or minerals, so the nutritional yeast in the recipe below is an absolute must.
Note: Back when I originally wrote this in 2011, powdered goat's milk was difficult to find. Now there are dozens of brands available on Amazon and I regularly see powdered goat milk in my local grocer's dairy case, so look to find the best option in your budget.
Once I consulted with my naturopath, we added a few more ingredients to the goat milk to add in specific vitamins and minerals and I used this formula to supplement my son's diet for more than a year. This find was an absolute blessing for our family – financially because conventional formula is incredibly expensive, nutritionally because my son got what he needed and thrived (and avoided other questionable ingredients), and ethically because we weren't supporting certain conventional formula companies whose business practices I questioned.
And of course, please remember to check with your naturopath, general practitioner, or lactation consultant before making any major feeding changes to your baby's diet. I am not a medical professional and your child may have specific or subtle needs which would require some tweaks to this recipe. Also, Dr. Sears has some excellent nutrition information comparing goat's milk to cow's milk for infant supplementation which I encourage you to read.
- Is homemade baby formula safe? (And why the FDA is urging parents NOT to make homemade formula)
- The dangers of homemade baby formula
- The benefits of homemade baby formula (particularly for supplementing)
- Can you make your own baby formula?
- Is making your own homemade baby formula safe?
- Is commercial baby formula safe?
- Why are a baby's nutritional needs so specific?
- What do I do if I run out of baby formula?
- Infant formula ingredients
- But what if I don't have these ingredients? My baby is hungry right now!
- Is the brown rice syrup in this recipe dangerous? I've heard that rice often has arsenic and that brown rice is particularly bad.
Goat's Milk Homemade Baby Formula (for supplementation)
- 8 ounces clean water at body-temperature
- 2 scoops (28 g) powdered goat milk
- ½ teaspoon nutritional yeast (for the B vitamins and folic acid)
- 1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (for the carbohydrates), use Lundberg brand if possible, due to their careful testing for arsenic
- 2 teaspoons blackstrap molassas (for the iron and the sugar)
- ½ teaspoon cod liver oil (for Vitamins A & D and balanced omegas), (once a day)
- Vitamin D drops – amount according to brand, optional (once a day)
- Mix the ingredients. Place all ingredients in a bottle and shake vigorously to combine. You may also use a small mason jar or pre-mix enough for 2-3 bottles in a blender.
- Serve. Give to the baby right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Discard any formula that has been served to the baby but has not been finished.
Goat's Milk Formula (for supplementation)
8 oz. water at body-temperature
2 scoops (28 g) powdered goat milk
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (for the B vitamins and folic acid)
1 tsp brown rice syrup (for the carbohydrates)
2 tsp blackstrap molassas (for the iron)
1/2 tsp cod liver oil (for Vitamins A & D and balanced omegas) (once a day)
Vitamin D drops – amount according to brand (optional) (once a day)
Place all ingredients in a bottle and shake vigorously to combine. You can also use a small mason jar or pre-mix enough for 2-3 bottles in a blender.
I also recommend that for the first few days of using the formula, use half the recommended amount of powdered milk and slowly work up to the full amount, especially if your baby hasn't started eating solid food.
For Further Information About Conventional Infant Formula…
- Genetically-modified soy shows up pretty much everywhere – why babies should avoid it
- Mom's Non-GMO Shopping Guide
- DHASCO and ARASCO in Infant Formula (PDF) – from Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand
- Infant Formula Report – from the Cornucopia Institute
- Ingredient Quality, Nutrition Data, and 2 PDF's comparing data from the leading formulas – from Nature's One