Friday, August 24, 2012

The "Second Best" Milk - An Alternative to Breast Milk

“Breast milk is the best milk,” but some women have a difficult time breastfeeding.  I believe God has designed a woman’s body to breastfeed effortlessly and beautifully, but if you are like me, you’ve had some frustrations with it.  I’ve sat in pain and tears, literally dreading the next time I would have to nurse.  And during each feeding, I anxiously watched the clock, willing it to move faster, while curling my toes in agony.  “I promise, it gets better,” friends told me.  And yes it did get “better,” but there was still difficulty throughout my barely-8-month breastfeeding experience.   
            I know I’m not the only one who has dealt with these obstacles, and I know many women have amazing breastfeeding experiences with little pain or struggle.  I encourage every woman (including myself), to keep pressing in for God’s will and grace for a joyful, effortless breastfeeding experience, because it truly is the best for the baby (if your diet is good), and because it’s just plain natural.  However, I myself completely understand if people have to turn to alternatives.  And commercial formula is just not a good alternative.  That is why I am sharing this wonderful recipe for a homemade baby formula that I found on THIS website.  Sarah is Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, and I’ve really enjoyed her blog, which has a plentiful archive of articles that speak on things like health.
            Let me start out by saying that while the ingredients in this recipe may seem daunting and confusing at first – what the heck is Bifidobacterium Infantis Powder anyway?! – this formula is super easy to make once you get the hang of it.  The biggest task is getting all the ingredients together, which you can search for at local health food stores or just get it ALL (minus the milk, cream, and whey) at THIS site.  Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, it’s just a matter of putting it together and storing it in the fridge.  I make a batch almost every day now, and I know each measurement by heart.  It probably takes me less than 10 minutes! 
            Is this formula cheaper than commercial formula?  Actually it is!!!  Considering that a container of commercial formula usually costs around $25 (or $40+ for organic), and that container usually only lasts about a week, I conclude that most people spend $100 to over $200 per MONTH on formula.  On the other hand, if you decide to purchase the starting kit for the baby formula that I mentioned in the last paragraph, with shipping it's about $200, and then only a few dollars each month after that (to replenish some of the ingredients).  Of course, you have to factor in the cost of milk, depending on where you find it, but either way it will still be significantly less than commercial formula!  And it is MUCH better for your baby than commercial formula.  You can read more about that on Sarah’s blog (which I mentioned above).  I have found it to be all really affordable.  All but two of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, and the two that are expensive last for a long time because you only use ¼ to ½ a teaspoon for each batch (which makes 36 ounces).  I’ve only had to buy them each once so far, and I’ve been using this formula for three months.
            One ingredient that may be hard to come by, depending on where you live, is the Raw Milk.  I found a farm 45 minutes away that sells raw cows milk, but I didn’t like the drive.  So, I use raw goats milk from a closer farm for my formula.  And when I can’t get that milk, I use Organic Farm Fresh Whole Milk from Crystal Ball Farms in Wisconsin, which is a low-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk found at Sydney’s, the local health food store in Moorhead, MN.  They come in reusable glass jars, which I love!
            Another ingredient that I had no idea how to come by at first is liquid whey.  (Is that, like, whey powder or something?)  Not at all.  But it’s super easy to make!  I make it out of Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt.  I buy a 24-ounce container of it and empty it into a cheesecloth, and let it drip into a bowl for 12+ hours on the counter.  Sounds weird at first (letting yogurt sit out over night), but it’s totally legit.  And once you let all the whey drip from the yogurt, you can store it in a glass jar in the fridge for up to SIX months! 
            OK, so now for the recipe…


-- 2 Cups whole, raw milk from organic grass-fed cows (If you use goat milk like I do, you will have to substitute vitamin B12 and folic acid)  Also, ultra-pasteurized milk, like Organic Valley, is NOT good.  If you can’t find raw grass-fed milk, then search for low-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. (For more info, I recommend Sarah’s blog and reading through her comments for ideas and helpful instructions)
-- 2 TBL good quality raw or pasteurized cream (use 4 TBL if the cream is from Holstein cows, and do NOT use ultra-pasteurized cream)
-- ¼ Cup liquid whey
-- ¼ tsp Bifidobacterium Infantis Powder (a probiotic for infants)
-- ½ tsp fermented cod liver oil (unflavored, Blue Ice brand is what I use, make sure you get the liquid and not the capsules)
-- 1 tsp expeller pressed, organic sunflower oil
-- 1 tsp organic, extra virgin olive oil (in dark bottle)
-- 2 tsp virgin coconut oil
-- ¼ tsp high vitamin butter oil (optional, but highly recommended.  This is a Blue Ice brand too, like the fermented cod liver oil, and they make one that is mixed together, which is not recommended since the measurements are different.  They also come in capsules, so you’ll want to make sure you get the liquid kind)
-- 2 tsp gelatin (NOW brand and Bernard Jenson are both good brands because they make it from beef, not pork)
-- 4 TBL Lactose (milk sugar.  I use the NOW brand)
-- ¼ tsp acerola powder
-- 2 tsp Frontier nutritional yeast flakes (not brewers yeast.  I use the NOW brand)
-- 1 7/8 Cup filtered water (2 Cups minus 2 TBL)


-- Fill a 2-cup measuring cup with filtered water and remove 2 TBL
-- Pour about half the water into a small pan and heat on medium (don’t worry about it being exactly half the water)
-- Add the gelatin and lactose and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.
-- When gelatin and lactose are dissolved, remove from heat and add the rest of the filtered (cold) water to cool it.  (I should mention here that I have found it helpful to add the acerola powder and the nutritional yeast to the warm water because I’ve had issue with it dissolving properly otherwise, and it would get stuck in the nipple of the bottle while feeding, causing frustration for both Mama and Baby J)
-- Stir in coconut oil and butter oil until melted
-- Put all the other ingredients in a blender
-- Add the water mixture and blend for 3 seconds
-- Pour formula into glass bottles or glass jars and refrigerate (makes 36 ounces)

Warm bottle in hot water (not microwave) before feeding to help the ingredients mix together again.

Making liquid whey - you can also lay the cheese cloth on a strainer and set it on/over a bowl, instead of hanging it like I did here
Everything you need to make your homemade baby formula
I warm these ingredients first
These are the remaining ingredients (with the Crystal Ball Farm milk and cream)

Blend and Pour into glass bottles!

Happy Formula Making! Hope this was helpful to those of you who need a healthy alternative to breast milk!


  1. Another way to get Whey is to make Mozzarella or Ricotta Cheese! Then you have delicious fresh cheese too!!

  2. Bethany: you are such an amazing mama!! I know all parents say they would do anything for their children, but the fruit of those words are not always evident. I was one of those moms that nursing came naturally and easily too. Both my boys delivered and nursed (before their bath or anything) for 2 hours. And with Kaiden I had some pain and cracking/bleeding for the first couple weeks, it went away. With Eli it was much less and he nursed for over 2 years. Reading your story makes me appreciate all the more that experience. You are doing such an amazing job and I know God has a purpose for choosing the path he has for you in this area. Keep up the great work! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing, Jennilee - I am so encouraged by your testimony of easy breastfeeding! And for TWO years with Eli! Praise God! I am believing for that experience next time around!