Formula feeding never crossed my mind during my pregnancy. I had learned so much about the benefits of breastmilk and I felt it was the right choice for our son.
I planned accordingly with nursing pillows, bras, and a pump for when I would return to work. Everything was going to be perfect.
Having begun my traditional foods journey just eight months earlier, my pregnancy cravings were must just food. I craved a natural birth and traditional start for my son's life. I joined online groups, read blogs, and bought any book I could find on natural birth and raising babies naturally.
When the hour came, Wyatt latched well. It was painful but I was determined to push through and my supportive friends assured me it would get better.
I could do this. I was going to be the best mom I could be. The lactation consultant visited me in the hospital, gave me tips, and assured me I was doing well for a new mom.
Night four, our first night home from the hospital, was a disaster. He cried I nursed. He cried more, I nursed more. It didn't seem like he was getting enough milk. He would nurse until I was all but dry and within twenty minutes, he was crying again.
By day six we knew something wasn't quite right. Wyatt seemed hungry all the time and nursed constantly.
My milk never seemed to come in like it should have. I talked to the lactation consultant several times, I supplemented with fenugreek, I pumped, I ate foods to increase milk supply but nothing worked. Nothing. I drank so much water it made me sick. Nothing changed.
I had an awful time breastfeeding. Even after lactation consultant calls, pumping, fenugreek and a whole host of other things it just was not happening.
Since I had never entertained the idea of not breastfeeding. It was a shock to realize that I was not going to be able to nurse my son for a year like I’d planned.
We tried commercial formula but it didn’t seem right. Even the organic powdered formula made Wyatt constipated within a day of using it. So when my sister in-law handed me a tattered paper with a nourishing traditional foods homemade infant formula recipe on it I was grateful and relieved.
Homemade Infant Formula
original source unknown adapted from recipe received from Caprine Delight Dairy.
This formula is staged based on the age of the child. Pick up wherever you need to based on your child’s age.
Day 1 through 3 – Provide a good source of colostrum. If at all possible, breastfeed these three days.
Day 4 through 7 – 2 part goat milk, 1 part colostrum, 1 part distilled water
Week 2 to month 3 –
1 gallon raw goat milk from a local, trusted source
1/2 tsp unsulhured black strap molasses
800 mg folic acid (1 capsule full)
400 IU Vitamin E (1 softgel full)
1/16 tsp vitamin C powder (with a strength of 2,000 mg per tsp)
Mix together and shake or stir well. Store in the refrigerator.
In the first and last bottles of the day add the following after the bottle is warmed
5 drops Flax Oil
5 drops Cod Liver Oil
Month 3 to Month 6
Same as above except increase Vitamin C to 1/4 tsp. In the first and last bottle, increase the flax to 10 drops and cod liver oil to 10 drops
Month 6 to 12
Increase cod and flax oils to 1 tsp for morning and evening bottle.
After 1 Year
Raw goat milk can be consumed along side a healthy, real food diet or you can choose to switch to raw cow’s milk.
A few notes from our personal experience
I breastfed what I could and supplemented with this formula for about 3 months. At that point, the roles reversed and I was using more formula than breast milk until month seven when I stopped breastfeeding altogether.
Wyatt would develop a bit of a red bottom (not rash, just red irritated around his anus) if he had too much vitamin C. Since our goat milk came in half gallons I would add Vitamin C to ever other half-gallon.
Be sure to keep cod liver and flax oils stored in the refrigerator.
Buy your goat milk in bulk and freeze it. The farm we bought from was only 30 minutes away but we still only went every 2 weeks. We would buy enough for 2 weeks and freeze it. I’d thaw it in the refrigerator, add the above ingredients and then keep it in the refrigerator. You can also premix and freeze. We did this when Wyatt was three months old and we flew to Florida. I mixed three half gallons, froze them and they traveled the whole way frozen inside my suitcase in a soft-sided flexi-cooler.
My breastfeeding journey was not at all what I expected. I didn't live up to the expectations of the naturally-minded community that I so dearly held in high esteem. The guilt I placed on myself for not living up to my own expectations was immense.
God used breastfeeding to teach me a valuable lesson I've seen repeated over and over again in motherhood. I cannot allow my expectations of the ideal to cloud my judgment, steal my joy, or convince me that I'm a failure.
If you are struggling with breastfeeding please do not lose heart! Breast is best in most cases (depending on your diet and/or necessary medication) but, please do not measure your success as a mother solely on your ability to breastfeed. You can read more inspiring (and not perfect) breastfeeding stories in the Womens Health eCourse by Traditional Cooking School.
There are healthy alternatives to store-bought formula and your child will still thrive.