Before I really get into why I even started to make homemade infant formula, I feel like I need to say a few things.
1. This is a controversial topic, as it should be! Making homemade formula isn’t something you should consider without THOROUGHLY doing your own research. And not only research, but some soul searching as to why you want to go this route. Just because your second cousins dads friends co-worker had a child who grew a 6th finger on one hand while drinking formula, doesn’t mean that will happen to you. And, if it does, awesome! All I’m trying to say is, don’t go to the extreme if you don’t have too.
2. This blog post is not a rant about how terrible store bought baby formula is. I am a big believer in breastmilk and not a huge fan of formula, this is true. However, in the end, you need to do what is BEST for you AND your family… whatever that may be!
3. I am not a doctor, never have been a doctor, and have no plans on ever being a doctor. So please, talk to your pediatrician before trying this for your baby.
4. I wrote this post because it’s my story. Well, my daughters story really. If this blog post helps any moms and babies out there with the same struggles we had, fantastic!
From birth my infant (Baby J) wouldn’t nurse. Well, sort of. She would latch, suck for a few seconds, I would have a let down, then she would cry hysterically and completely stop nursing. I would put her down, praying she would calm down, and then go pump her a bottle. We did this song and dance for 3 months! So. Exhausting! After 3 months, I gave up. But I wasn’t going to give up on her getting the ‘liquid gold’ my body was capable of making. So I pumped 6 times a day. Over a couple months I was down to just 4 times a day, for only 10 minutes each time. It wasn’t a HUGE deal. Inconvenient, yes. But, I wanted my daughter to have the most nutritious food possible, so I continued to pump. My supply started to slowly go down because pumping just isn’t quite as efficient as the child actually nursing. In addition to my supply going down, she was getting older and her appetite was increasing. Not a good combo when you want to ONLY give your kid breast milk. But even when my supply WAS meeting her demands, she was just a cranky mess, all the time! Not colicky, just fussy. Yes, there’s a difference. I now know from experience.
After a ton of research, we decided she’s just a ‘high needs’ baby. Not special needs, but high needs. It’s as if nothing makes these babies happy and they’re completely unpredictable (she’d nurse great 1 feeding, then the next was a complete wreck… for no reason, for example). Once I realized she was high needs, I started researching how to deal with this type of baby. And then I prayed, like on my knees, DEAR JESUS HELP ME, kinda prayer. I could write an entire other blog post, or book, on how difficult she has been. But this post is about formula, so I’ll stay on track.
I had a freezer full of pumped milk I’d saved during the first few months, and that supply was starting to dwindle. So, I figured it was time to explore the formula route and I started trying out formulas to see which one we’d end up supplementing with. I started her around 5 months with just a random enfamil sample I had received in the hospital when she was born. She got an immediate rash. Not just a red diaper rash that a little cream and fresh air would clear up, but a bumpy, blistering rash spreading down her entire legs. Some of the bumps even bled. I stopped using that formula, let the rash clear up, then switched to a soy formula, assuming it was the dairy in the first formula that was causing the rash. ANOTHER RASH!!! What the heck. If it’s not dairy, then what’s the cause?!?! A little bit of panic kicked in. I took her to the doctor right away and my pediatrician gave us a Neocate sample. The baby wouldn’t even drink it! I tasted it to see why she rejected it SO much… it basically tastes like liquified iron, DISGUSTING! I can’t blame her for hating it. My pediatrician said to add some sugar to the bottle to try and entice her to drink it. So I did. Still, no dice. Ok, before you freak out like, ‘OMG OMG OMG how could someone ever add sugar to their child’s bottle???’ Go ahead and read the label on formula: SUGAR. Sometimes even corn syrup. Also, remember how I said she had bleeding blistering rashes? Riiiight. Sugar was the least of my worries at this point. Moving on. After all of this I concluded she must be allergic or sensitive to soy. It’s the common denominator in ALL formula, from dairy based, soy based, and the fancy ‘hypoallergenic’ kind.
I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and figure out what I could do, without the help of modern medicine or modern formula. I mean, what did people do before mass produced infant formula? They had to make it! So I assumed someone out there in the blog world had made it and had a recipe.
My first daughter (W) has a lactose sensitivity, and so do my husband and I. W drinks goats milk, so I wondered if that would be ok on my infant too. Trying to buy a goats milk based formula seemed impossible!! When I ended up finding a recipe to make one, I almost cried with delight. I went to the store that morning and bought all the ingredients. Now, I’m very fortunate that I live in an area that has 800 kajillion health food stores within walking distance, so finding the ingredients to add to a bottle wasn’t difficult. Should you decided to try this recipe and don’t have a store nearby that offer the ingredients, you can find them all on Amazon.
I made the formula for her that morning and she gobbled it up. You guys, this was HUGE. She has almost never gobbled up a bottle. Eating has never been her strong point. She usually takes a couple sips, turns her head, cries, anything to just NOT have to eat. Doctor said it’s not because of stomach issues, simple because she’s stubborn. I can’t wait for her teenage years! So from that point on I’ve been supplementing with the goats milk formula for 1 bottle a day. She hasn’t had 1 blistering rash since. I’ve tried making a large batch of formula that would last for a few days, but that made her vomit, not like spit up, but like legit vomit. Soooo, I have to make a fresh batch each time she needs a formula bottle. But, it’s keeping her healthy and happy, so I’ll do whatever I need to do.
Now that were out of freak out/desperation mode, I feel like I can calmly write a blog post. I am a little teary eyed because it’s been an extremely difficult 8 months. High needs babies are EXTREMELY EXHAUSTING, on everyone in the house. You wonder when you’ll get your sanity back! And as the days, weeks and months drag on, glimmers of hope start to get smaller and smaller. You’re physically and emotionally drained. But then they hit 6 months, and things start to slooooowly get better. From the first couple months of her life, I was convinced Baby J was wanting to achieve some milestone that her age and size just couldn’t do that yet, so she was just pissed. It’s like she’s been wanting to eat solid food and crawl, this entire time! I kid you not, once the kid started to crawl and eat solid food (so long as it doesn’t have soy in it), she’s a legitimate happy baby. Ok, and not like pureed baby food, ya right, she thinks that stuff is for ‘babies,’ which obviously she’s GROWN now. Remember how I mentioned she’s stubborn, yaaaaaa… Instead, give the kid a slab of meat and a loaf of bread and she’s stoked! She has her own rules and ‘baby led weaning’ is the only way she wants to play this game. The biggest thing I’ve learned with ‘high needs’ babies, you just gotta roll with it. So, that’s what I’m doing and everyone seems to be thriving.
How annoyed does she look in that picture? She probably was. I have no idea why… You know, it’s just that whole ‘high needs’ thing.
This little girl has my heart. Well, both my girls do. But this one has a special place. She’s trouble! Look out world, you’ve got a stubborn one who wants to take you over. And she may just do it! Assuming her sister doesn’t beat her too it.
I won’t post the recipe because I didn’t make it up. I got it from THIS site. Just click over and you can see it and also read his story on why his infant needed the formula he came up with. All of the products he suggests are probably great, but like I said before, I found similar products at my local grocery store (Sprouts) so I didn’t need to order anythign online. I’ve only ran out of Goats milk so far, everything else will last a really long time!