Almost a year ago, we brought home our precious little boy through adoption. He was 9 hours old when they placed him in my arms. I am not at all biased: he is perfection. He is yummy and snuggly and delightful. I refrain from eating him but do bite him occasionally. 😉
I wanted the best for him nutritionally, but as an adoptive mom, I had some limitations in my options. There are 4 options when it comes to nourishing a child through adoption. They are not unlike biological mommas, but they come with a twist. You can:
1) Induce lactation. For various reasons, I did not take the drugs involved in doing this. Without them, it is much harder, and it didn’t work for me.
2) Use donated breast milk. You cannot legally purchase breastmilk in AZ, but you can accept it as a donation. This “liquid gold” as we call it, has been a supplement for us. Our son probably gets an average of about 32 ounces a month. We have awesome friends that have donated to us. It is nice when you know where it’s coming from.
3) Use conventional powdered formula. We used this in the very beginning and do so now in a pinch.
4) Use homemade formula. This is my new. . . . passion? love? obsession? Many of my well-researched friends (myself even) had never heard of this, but it really changed our world.
From the very beginning, our little man was on conventional formula and was a “happy spitter.” It is what the medical world calls babies that have reflux and barf but don’t cry. Up would come ounces of formula while he cooed and smiled. He wasn’t terribly bothered by it, but I knew it wasn’t best. I was completely discouraged and frustrated by the ingredients in his baby formula. Have you ever read the label? I hadn’t and was shocked when I did. Nonfat milk and corn syrup solids are not things I tend to reach for for any of my kids, let alone my baby. At this time, I was also researching the benefits of Raw Milk. (I know, that is a discussion in and of itself).
This led me on a long journey that ended in a place I never thought I would be: I now make my own Raw Milk-based homemade formula. It seemed overwhelming and incredibly daunting at first. It took me forever to make sure I got it just right.
Here it is in a nutshell. This is going to sound way worse than it actually is. I am now in a rhythm, and I only make it 2-3 times a week. There are 14 ingredients consisting of supplements, oils and fats. I love that I know what they are and why they are going into my baby. 🙂 The most complicated part of this is that you need whey. You can’t buy it. You have to make it. Using raw cow’s milk, I make yogurt. I then strain the whey off to put in the formula. The yogurt is then thick and creamy and a great option for breakfasts.
Once the whey is ready, I dissolve gelatin and lactose and harder oils in simmering water. Then blend all the ingredients together. I pour it into glass bottles and store them in the fridge. I make at least 2-3 days worth at a time. It really is not any more time consuming than making individual bottles. It is just all at once. I said this has impacted all of our lives. I really meant it. The cookbook I use for the formula (see link below) is a fascinating read and has become a staple in meal preparations. We are now all raw milk drinkers and our home is moving more and more to organic and locally grown foods.
In all of this, here’s my disclaimer: I am not crunchy. I am totally not a hippie. I eat popcorn every night and have a love relationship with Ben & Jerry. 😉 But if I am going to the trouble of cooking for my brood every night, I want it to be the best it can be. The more I learned, I just knew I couldn’t keep doing some things the way we always had. My baby formula is one of those things. I love it and will never go back.
If you are interested in learning more, you can find the cookbook (which contains the formula recipe) here or locally at the Simple Farm and the ingredients at Radiant Life. For more information on raw milk, visit this site.
If you have any questions, comment below. I’d love to hear from you.