4 Homemade Baby Formula Options

From unmedicated childbirth to cloth diapering, I’ve often been met with skepticism with some of the more labour (literally) intense approaches I’ve taken in motherhood. I see much of what I do as a labour of love for these sweet babies God has given me. I’m sure you feel the same way about how you parent!

Homemade Formula!

My journey with feeding my babies has been a long one that I’m still currently on. You can read more in depth about that here and here. This journey has brought me to making my own formula for my youngest son, Jack. He’s currently 4.5 months old. I had Jack on Costco’s baby formula. He was doing ok on it but started having some skin and digestion issues. My oldest was raised on Costco formula and he has no allergies or issues. He thrived on it! So, I’m not here to debate the ingredients or nutrition in store-bought baby formula. I’ll talk about some nutrition related facts today but not to discredit or demean the way anyone feeds their babies. It’s just part of the topic.

I have no doubt that there are some less than desirable ingredients in store bought baby formula but it’s what helped us thrive as a family for a long time. I wasn’t mentally (or emotionally) in a good place to be making my own formula, after Hudson was born. At this time in my life, I feel like I’m able to do this and I genuinely LOVE making this for my sweet baby, Jack. It’s a labour of love like many of the things I do for my babies.

I have 4 homemade baby formula options for you, if this is something you are interested in.

If you aren’t familiar with the Weston A. Price foundation, I highly recommend checking them out! They are a knowledgeable foundation with solid information and resources when it comes to nutrition, among many other topics. They offer three different variations of homemade baby formula. My sister has made their raw milk formula for 3 out of 4 of her babies. They all thrived on it! Unfortunately raw milk is illegal here in Canada, so this wasn’t an option for me. They also have a raw goat milk version of this formula. Also not quite an option for me, being in Canada. A 3rd option that WAPF offers is a liver based version. I loved the nutritional value of all these options but I felt a bit overwhelmed by ingredients and steps needed to make the formula.

One night, I stumbled across a goat milk based formula that was similar to the WAPF version but made much more simple. I cried tears of relief as I had been calculating what it would cost to put Jack on a dairy free or sensitive type formula. I was also able to easily obtain the ingredients needed for this formula.

Not only is this homemade formula cost effective, it’s SO EASY to make! It was tweaked by mama and Holistic Nutritionist, Rama Pfeiffer, along with the knowledge and expertise of Joe Stout M. S. of Mt. Capra products.

Rama talks about the difference of proteins in cow’s milk and goat’s milk and why goat’s milk protein is more easily digested. Nutritionally, goat’s milk is much higher in fat and quiet close to human breast milk, which is why many parents choose whole goat’s milk after they wean their baby. I personally do not use the powdered goat’s milk and I don’t have access to raw goat’s milk. I buy whole, pasteurized goat’s milk from my local grocery store and I dilute this by 50%, as per the recipe. I then add the remaining ingredients. I only make up to 2 days worth because I find that the formula can start to go sour if left for more than few days.

I will update this post with pictures of how I make the formula, once it’s time for me to whip up a fresh batch.

I eased Jack onto this formula by combining it with what he was currently on. 1 oz the first day, 2 oz the next, and then eventually a full 4 to 6 oz. The recipe calls for un-sulphured black strap molasses which is helpful in relieving constipation. You an add more if baby gets backed up OR less if baby is having super runny bm’s.

I’m thrilled to report that Jack is thriving on this formula. His skin issues cleared up within a few weeks and his digestive issues have eased up as well! He’s weighing close to 17 pounds. Not that weight is the only indication of health in a baby but I thought I would share his weight! I hope this post is helpful for someone out there, who is looking at different options for feeding their baby. You are doing fantastic, mama!

Feel free to ask me any questions about this formula and my experience using it. Have you ever made homemade baby formula? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. Please talk to your child’s doctor before changing what you are feeding them.

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Feeding My Babies.

There are a few things I’ve struggled with as mom that stand out more than others.

How I’ve fed my babies is one of those things. If you are a young mom like me, chances are you have struggled with this very thing. I think it’s great that we are talking about it in the mom community today. My mom says that no-one talked about it when she was in the early years of raising my sister and I. I can’t even imagine how lonely and isolating that must have felt for my mom as well as so many other moms.

When I became pregnant with my first son, I didn’t assume that breastfeeding would or wouldn’t work out. I was pretty neutral about the whole thing. When Hudson was born, we struggled to establish breastfeeding. After a myriad of decisions, I made the choice to pump breastmilk and feed that to him for 12 weeks. I couldn’t tell you if he was ever EBF (exclusively breastfed) because sleep deprivation blurs those early months. At some point in the early weeks of Hudson’s life we began introducing store bought formula to him. He thrived on both my breastmilk and Costco formula. I cried when I made the decision to stop pumping. I knew he preferred my breastmilk but I couldn’t keep going. If you’ve ever pumped exclusively or almost exclusively, you will understand how much work it is to keep up with. I remember the last 1/2 ounce I pumped for Hudson. I stood at my kitchen sink, crying quietly with the soft glow of Christmas lights behind me.

Meeting Jack for the first time!

When Jack was born he latched beautifully minutes after he came out. He wouldn’t get off the boob and basically camped out there for the next week. My milk came in within 24 hours. Because Jack was so efficient at nursing, I experienced true breastfeeding for the first time. It was like a train ran me over, on top of already feeling trashed from an intense labour and delivery. I loved those first weeks of Jack nursing as much as I hated the pain. I felt like my body was trying to kill me in the process of feeding my son. Eventually I began pumping so I could get more sleep at night. But I just couldn’t keep up with the pumping, while caring for a newborn and 14 month old. After going back and forth, I made the decision to switch Jack to formula completely when he was 6 weeks old. When Jack was 3 months old I began making his formula from goat’s milk. I’m happy to report he’s thriving on it!

Me and Hudson 2 weeks postpartum.

I want to share some things I’ve learned on this journey in hopes that I can encourage other mamas.

  • Everyone has an opinion and you have a choice. It will not matter what you do, someone will have something to say about it. People think they mean well (and they might) but you will hear all kinds of things about how you choose to feed your baby, as well as all the other parenting decisions you make. You have a choice in how you respond to people. It doesn’t have to be a war with another mama in some parenting forum over her poor choice of words. Honestly? I’ve just taken breaks from social media, situations and people if I feel like they are continually negative towards the way I parent. It’s worth it to let things go and keep moving forward!
  • Nobody has to know how you feed your baby. You might think this point is strange, but I really mean that. Nobody has to know how you feed your baby, except maybe your doctor for medical reasons. Did you know you have every right to say to someone, “He’s fed with love, thanks!” That may seem really rude or direct but maybe if we started this way, it could stop the questions (or saying things) that are pointless, time consuming not to mention ridiculous. Keep it simple, right?
  • It doesn’t matter how or why you chose to feed your baby the way you feed them. I think this has been the hardest point for me to come to terms with and actually put into practice. I mean here I am writing a blog post for the world to read, about my journey feeding my babies. When I say it doesn’t matter, I don’t mean that you don’t matter. You matter and the reasons for how you feed your baby are valid. I support you, whatever your journey looks like. But you don’t owe a single person an explanation, not even your partner. I think it’s important to include your partner in those conversations but only because you then can invite them into being a very important support person during this journey. (More on this later!) What is most important is that YOU are OK with how you choose to feed your baby.
  • Your partner is important. I can’t say this enough. The highs and lows of caring for a baby can be extremely lonely. I wouldn’t be where I am today, with the confidence, security, and firm footing in this journey, if it wasn’t for my wonderful husband. No our marriage isn’t all roses and chocolate! But his support has come through when I’ve needed it the most. I cried when he told me to put Jack on formula full time. I cried because of the immense relief, love and support I felt. I felt a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders and then I began to enjoy motherhood again. You need your partner during this season (and every season of parenting) even when it feels like all they can offer you is a literal shoulder to cry on. That shoulder is really important. Find a way to make them a part of your journey as hard as that might feel sometimes. You won’t regret it! The extra support of our families has also been a blessing. They have only ever been supportive of the way I’ve chosen to feed my babies. I can’t even put a price on how valuable that support is.
  • Love really is the most important. #loveisbest is something that I can get behind, when it comes to how I take care of my babies. At the end of the day, we all want what the best for our babies. That is going to look different for every family. I see all of you. You are important and you are doing incredible! Earlier I italicized that I made the choice to give my babies formula because I want to get an important point across. You have a choice in how you feed your baby. Only you will know what is the best for your baby AND you!

I’ve done both breastfeeding and formula feeding with my babies. I want to be clear that I’m not discouraging or promoting any one way of feeding your baby. Formula is just what worked for us and is part of our journey. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m PRO feed your baby! If you are looking for some homemade baby formula options, I’ve got you covered here.

I am here to tell you that however your feeding journey has gone with your baby (or babies) it doesn’t have to define you in the way you think. You aren’t more than or less than. You just are. And that is really important. You also aren’t alone on this journey so don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me anytime at sarahelaine225@hotmail.com

You are present in your baby’s life, loving them and being their mama. THAT is the most important. Go, mama, go!

What has been your experience with feeding your baby? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

5 Reasons Why Breastfeeding Didn’t Work For Me.

So here I am two months postpartum with my second baby and breastfeeding has not turned out to be what I thought it would……again.

I fully support, admire and respect mamas who can successfully breastfeed, choose to breastfeed and love every second of it. While I hate feeling like I have to explain my personal journey with breastfeeding, I do it in hopes that I can encourage another mama who is struggling with these very feelings.

I’ve shared before about how breastfeeding didn’t work with Hudson, my firstborn son. I’ll be honest in looking back-I really have no idea WHY it didn’t work out. All I know now is Hudson is a healthy 16 month old that thrived on formula. With Hudson I pushed through extreme postpartum anxiety and pumped for 12 weeks. 12 weeks! That is insane. I have no idea how I did that.

Jack, my second son, was a big boy from birth, 9 pounds, 2 ounces and 22 inches. As I write this, he’s at least 13 pounds at 2 months old. Jack had a beautiful latch from the moment he was born, literally. Within 10 minutes he was on the boob and wouldn’t get off for at least 2 hours. He continued this for the first few days of his life. But I was truly a newbie to breastfeeding since Hudson only ever latched a handful of times.

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I endured the painful, cracked nipples that got so infected my midwife prescribed me antibiotics. I would swear, cry and sometimes yell every time Jack would latch. I was so engorged I felt like I had the flu for a week! I went to the free breastfeeding clinic and had a sweet friend (whose a lactation consultant) stop by a few times in the coming weeks to help. Those were great resources for me and eventually the pain went away. Jack became a very efficient nurser. He could nurse for 5 minutes on each side and be satisfied! But that eventually started to change. I want to share reasons WHY breastfeeding has not been for me and where I am with it now at 2 months postpartum.

  1. The pain. I had both my sons without any pain medication. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back but med free birth is freaking painful. The second time around I remember yelling at my husband between contractions that I NEVER wanted to do this again. I still feel that way. You know what else can be quite painful? BREASTFEEDING in the beginning. It does get better but holy crap, pushing through the first 3 weeks is tough in all honesty. That might sound really discouraging but I’m keeping things real-I was not prepared for the pain.
  2. Pumping. Chances are (if you’re anything like me ) you’re going to want your partner to help. It’s nice to have a break in the middle of the night or be able to leave your house and have someone else feed your baby. But if you’re avoiding formula that means you have to express your milk. To avoid tanking your supply you have to pump as often as your baby would feed. This can be time consuming and a pain in the butt. I have a 2 month old AND a 16 month old to take care of. There are days that I simply forget to pump enough and then my supply starts to tank. No bueno!
  3. Worrying about how much milk baby is getting. All I knew was bottles with Hudson so it was all new to me to figure out if Jack was getting enough milk with nursing. I hated it and I found myself topping him up with expressed milk anyways. That was time consuming and counterproductive to nursing.
  4. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. These are both things that I have and am struggling with, currently. They come in waves and while I have support, breastfeeding has only made these worse for me. I’m not new to these struggles and I know that removing things that compound postpartum depression/anxiety is very important.
  5. I just didn’t enjoy it. Everything you read says that breastfeeding is all about the bond you create with your child. I didn’t find that to be true, for me. I’m not saying it isn’t true for others but for me, this wasn’t the case. I was really disappointed by that with my second son, this time around because I thought something was wrong with me. Initially I really enjoyed those first couple days of his life with him nursing but eventually I found myself feeling the opposite with breastfeeding. I began to dread it. I also stopped reading those articles on how breastfeeding is the BEST way to bond with your baby. Bond with your baby however you can, that is what matters! I also was NOT comfortable trying to breastfeed anywhere except my own home. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I was more of a, take everything off type person and you can’t really do that in public. Well, you can but I didn’t want to do that.
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Eventually, Jack started losing interest in nursing. It began slow with him dropping a feed and only taking a bottle. When I found myself pumping every 2-4 hours and Jack only nursing once or twice a day, I knew our breastfeeding days were coming to an end. I’m currently in the process of weaning myself off the pump. I know I am not my best self when I’m struggling to breastfeed or pump exclusively. I want to be the best mom that I can be and I can be her when I’m not breastfeeding or pumping. I love bottles and formula. They are literally lifesavers for ME and my sons.

If you find yourself identifying with these thoughts or feelings, I want you to know you are NOT alone. There is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t a bad mom and you aren’t failing if you choose to stop breastfeeding. Feed your babies however you can. It all goes so quickly and I know I don’t want to waste my time feeling frustrated, guilty and sad all the time. Much love to all you mamas out there. You are doing amazing!

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Did you hate breastfeeding? Did you love it? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

8 Natural Ways To Increase Milk Supply

Ok, Mamas. You want to increase your milk supply? Are you struggling to get your milk supply back up after illness? I’ve got some all natural ways you can increase that milk supply that really work!

Lets.Get.Real.First.

Breastfeeding is a journey. It wasn’t something that really happened for me with either of my boys. I did all the things I was told to do but at the end of the day a bottle was what worked the best for us. I honestly wasn’t even thinking about increasing my milk supply at this point. You know, I want to say whatever your situation is that YOU ARE DOING AMAZING!

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However you can feed your baby, feed your baby. That is what matters.  I went back and forth with the decision to be done breastfeeding/pumping with boy my boys. Ultimately it was a decision I made for my mental and emotional health because I’ve struggled hard with postpartum anxiety and depression . I’ll share more on that another time!

What was interesting for me was that I’ve had a great milk supply both times even though I struggled to breastfeed. So began my relationship with pumping exclusively. I pumped with Hudson for 12 weeks. I didn’t make it as long with Jack but I was able to combination feed Jack for about 6 weeks. It was more work than I’d ever imagined. Once I got into a routine with pumping I started to research natural ways to build my milk supply.

  1. Drink Water: You will read this in every blog post, website and article on increasing supply because it’s so important. How can you make more liquid if you aren’t hydrating yourself?! I would immediately notice a difference in my milk supply if I drank even a few ounces less of water than my usual. I made it a habit to chug 8 ounces after every pumping session and in between sessions I had my water bottle nearby. 
  2. More Milk PlusI saw immediate results with this tincture, as in within 24 hours I would was pumping at least 2-4 (per side) more ounces a session. It contains galactagogues which are herbs that promote milk production. Makes sure it has goat’s rue in it. This tastes disgusting and I had to choke it down with orange juice. They make capsules. But I had excellent results with this tincture alone.
  3. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle  These are the most common supplements for boosting milk supply. I had to stop taking fenugreek because it hurt my stomach and also made Hudson uncomfortable. The More Milk Plus has fenugreek in it but it didn’t bother me as much. I took 2 capsules of Blessed Thistle 3x a day.
  4.  Brewers Yeast: another galactagogue! I saw great results when I added brewers yeast to my daily supplement routine. The tablets are kinda gross and I found them a bit hard to swallow so if you hate pills, these might not be for you. Nurse, Nurse, Nurse or Pump, pump and pump some more: If you can successfully breastfeed, keep that baby on there as he’s the best option you have for stimulating production and increasing milk supply. If you are pumping exclusively try not to miss a session. Treat pumping as you would a feeding. As often as your baby eats, pump. 
  5. Power Pump: This is an interesting one. I tried it and I was surprised at how much more milk I could get. Pump for 10 minutes, hold off for 20, pump for 20, hold off for a half hour. I would advise waiting an hour after feeding baby, to power pump so you give yourself a chance to build up again.
  6. EAT: Keep yourself fed and eat whole foods. Flax, almonds, oats, smoothies, and protein are all great for milk supply. I never did the lactation cookie thing because that was too much work for me. But if they work for you that is great! 
  7. SLEEP: Obviously sleep is important. Easier said than done right? You have a brand new baby and sleep seems like a luxury. I used to get so mad when people would tell me to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s literally impossible sometimes, especially if you have other children. I did find ways to lay in bed and rest when my husband was home. That helped and it was better than nothing. 
  8. Relax: Taking hot baths was a way I was able to relax at the end of the day. Self care is important and you aren’t selfish for taking care of yourself! Go say that to yourself in the mirror! Find a way to de-stress and relax because cortisol (the stress hormone) won’t do anything good for your milk supply. I was a really stressed out new mama and I’m positive my supply would have really suffered if I haven’t been proactive in ways to boost it. 

Maybe you’ve tried all these things and are still struggling? It’s ok, Mama. I’m with you in the trenches. Our struggles may be different but we find solidarity with each other in the overall struggle of being a mom which is the hardest job on the planet. Be able to come to a place where if it’s time to stop and make the switch to formula, this is ok. Only you can make that decision for yourself and you can trust those God-given mama instincts!

Talk to your partner so you have support during this emotional time. I found a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders when I talked things through with my husband. I knew I had given it my best when I made the decision to be done with breastmilk for both my boys. Healthy mama, healthy baby! You are doing an incredible job, wherever you are at with feeding your baby!

What are some ways you have naturally increased your milk supply? What has your journey with breastfeeding been like? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below.

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How I Beat Mastitis Three Times Without Antibiotics.

Mastitis. I physically cringe when I hear or read this word because I know all too well the pain it can bring.

WebMD describes mastitis as:

” ………..an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. It can occur when bacteria, often from the baby’s mouth, enter a milk duct through a crack in the nipple. Breast infections most commonly occur one to three months after the delivery of a baby, but they can occur in women who have not recently delivered as well as in women after menopause.”

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Statistics show that mastitis most commonly rears its ugly head one to three months after the birth of a baby. For me, I was about 2 weeks into my son’s life when mastitis hit me and boy did it hit me HARD. One of the top reasons mastitis can occur is from having a ton of milk that is not being expressed-aka engorgement. This was the case for me. I have struggled with over supply with both my son’s.

Even though I pumped, I still had issues with engorgement. The strength of a baby’s suction is much more effective at removing milk from the breast. Since my son wasn’t breastfeeding I was at a higher risk of experiencing engorgement and a blocked duct.

I started realizing I most likely had mastitis when I began to experience these symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Extreme body aches
  • Intense fatigue
  • Pain and tenderness in my armpit and infected part of the breast
  • Redness around the infected part of the breast
  • Feeling like I wanted to die (ok that’s dramatic but I felt awful!)
  • EDIT: each time I contracted mastitis the infected area was usually quite hard which meant the duct was obviously blocked

The thing about mastitis is how quickly it sets in. I remember a friend was visiting and while we were sitting on the couch chatting away, I started to feel like I was coming down with the flu. It hit me out of nowhere. I had heard about mastitis from my sister (who has 4 children) so I immediately texted her. At her suggestion, I started taking extra strength garlic (capsules) every 2 hours. A few other things I began doing immediately were:

  • Hot showers with water directed at infected area
  • Strong massage to direct any milk and infection out/away from breast
  • Hot baths with tea tree and lavender essential oils
  • Raw potato slices laid over the infected area and left on for at least 20 minutes
  • Applying a heated rice sock to the infected area before every pumping session
  • Pumped frequently (I was already pumping every 2 hours so I just continued)
  • If you can successfully breastfeed, I highly recommend resting in bed with that sweet baby and breastfeed as often and as long as you can manage.
  • REST

I have no scientific, medical or health reasons why raw potato slices aid in healing mastitis but it has worked every time for me. Perhaps it’s the cold temperature of the raw potato to reduce inflammation and swelling? I’m not sure but what I did was have my husband thinly slice raw potato (because I always almost die using our mandolin) then I soaked the slices in very cold water for 20 minutes. I put on a sports bra and inserted the slices against the infected area. I left those on for at least 20 minutes and did this every few hours. I felt immediate relief from the potato slices.

Garlic, Tea Tree and Lavender are all antifungal so it makes sense why they work so well in fighting off infections.

While I try to avoid medicating fever, I did alternate ibuprofen and Tylenol at night so I could rest comfortably. Rest is the best thing you can do to give your body a chance to heal.

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A personal side-note on antibiotics: I do not respond well to antibiotics. I believe they have their place in healthcare and can be lifesaving. I was antibiotic resistant by the time I hit my 20’s and began to experience candida overgrowth, bladder infections and more. I continued the frequent use of antibiotics until I began my journey into holistic and natural health.

When I experienced my first bout with mastitis I called my Dr.’s office and I I made an appointment for the next day. You know what? Within 24 hours I was fever free and only slightly sore in the infected area. I had continued all my natural remedies in the meantime. I contracted mastitis two more times in the following months but was able to beat it doing all the natural remedies I listed above.

 I am not a medical professional. I’m not advising that you don’t see your doctor for any illness you may be experiencing, resembling mastitis.

But I will gladly share some safe, all natural remedies that have worked so well for me. I hope you found this information useful. Have you ever had mastitis? What were some natural remedies that worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife!