What is the Best Baby Formula?

When it comes to feeding baby, we know that breastmilk is ideal. But what if it’s not an option and you want to find the best baby formula for your child?

If you’re having trouble with nursing, always check in with a lactation consultant (or at least a La Leche League meeting!) before you throw in the towel. Breastfeeding is hard in the beginning for almost everyone, but it does get easier so hang in there!

But, try as they might, breastfeeding simply isn’t an option for some moms and babies. Some babies have anatomical issues (lip/tongue ties or cleft palate) that make breastfeeding very difficult. Some moms don’t have enough glandular tissue, have low milk supply, are on a medication that is not breastfeeding friendly, or have another health issue. Some moms may have work conflicts and can’t find the time to pump their breast milk. And finally, some moms don’t want to breastfeed for personal or emotional reasons. But, all moms want to give their babies the very best nourishment.

So what’s a natural mama to do? Is conventional formula the only option?

No!

In this post, we’ll explore all of the options so you can decide which is the best baby formula for you and baby.

Best baby formula: Donor milk

If mom can’t provide breastmilk for baby, the next best baby formula may be milk from another human mama.

One of the biggest benefits to breastmilk is that it is a living food. (In contrast, most formulas are shelf stable and don’t “go bad” after a few weeks.) Breastmilk is brimming with live beneficial bacteria, antibodies and enzymes so it’s always best to use unpasteurized.

You can get live (unpasteurized) donor milk from organizations like:

Is donor breastmilk safe?

There are always risks involved with feeding baby anything but his own mom’s breastmilk via direct breastfeeding. Parents have to weigh the benefits of optimal nutrition (which can have lifelong health benefits) with the possibility of disease or pathogen transmission.

That said, any form of feeding besides direct breastfeeding (even feeding mom’s breastmilk via a bottle) has the potential to introduce pathogens, since contamination can happen at any point in the pump, store, bottle feeding cycle.

Pasteurized breastmilk may be even more problematic because it doesn’t have as much good bacteria left (it was destroyed by the pasteurization process) to fight off possible contamination. In other words, bad bacteria can proliferate faster in pasteurization versus unpasteurized milk, because it doesn’t have as much beneficial bacteria to crowd out the bad bacteria.

This study shows that babies fed unpasteurized donor milk were frequently exposed to a lot of bacteria but had no adverse outcomes because of the protective qualities of live milk.

Best baby formula: Make your own

If donor milk doesn’t sound appealing or isn’t an option, you can make your own “live” formula. This can be a superior option to conventional pasteurized formula because the milk is raw and alive, just like breast milk. Making your own formula is also less expensive than traditional store-bought options.

Cow’s milk formula

This cow’s milk formula was carefully created by Weston A. Price founder Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary G. Enig, to mimic the same nutrients found in breast milk.

A trusted and well-vetted recipe, this formula makes 36 ounces and can last in the fridge for 2 days.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole raw cow’s milk, preferably from pasture-fed cows
  • 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey, below.) Note: Do NOT use powdered whey or whey from making cheese (which will cause the formula to curdle). Use only homemade whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk.
  • 4 tablespoons lactose (where to buy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis (where to buy)
  • 2 or more tablespoons good quality cream (preferably not ultrapasteurized), more if you are using milk from Holstein cows
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil (where to buy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil (where to buy)
  • 1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil (where to buy)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes (where to buy)
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin (where to buy)
  • 1-7/8 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder (where to buy)

Radiant Life Catalog created these awesome Homemade Baby Formula Kits! This gives you all of your ingredients (except your raw dairy) and makes it easy, peasy to make.

Radient life homemade baby formula kit Mama Natural

Directions

  • Put 2 cups filtered water into a glass measuring pitcher and remove 2 tablespoons (that will give you 1-7/8 cups water).
  • Pour about half of the water into a pan and place on a medium heat.
  • Add the gelatin and lactose to the pan and let dissolve, stirring occasionally. When the gelatin and lactose are dissolved, remove from heat and add the remaining water to cool the mixture.
  • Stir in the coconut oil and optional high-vitamin butter oil and stir until melted.
  • Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients into a blender. Add the water mixture and blend about three seconds.
  • Place in glass bottles or a glass jar and refrigerate.
  • Before giving to baby, warm bottles by placing in hot water or a bottle warmer. Do not warm in microwave.

Recipe Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD.

How to make real, raw whey

Homemade whey is easy to make from organic plain yogurt or raw milk.

From Yogurt: Place 2 quarts of organic yogurt in a strainer lined with a tea towel set over a large bowl. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl. Place whey in clean glass Mason jars and store in the refrigerator.

From Raw Milk: Place 2 quarts of the milk in a glass container and leave at room temperature for 2-4 days until the milk separates into curds and whey.

Pour into the strainer lined with a tea towel set over a bowl and cover with a plate. Leave at room temperature overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl. Store in clean glass Mason jars in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes approximately 5 cups of whey, which will last several months in the fridge.

Recipe Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD.

Tweaking the formula

You want to be very careful with this since it was specifically designed to replicate what is in a mother’s breast milk. The only thing you can really omit is the nutritional yeast flakes and/or the butter oil from the cow’s milk formula.

Testimonial on raw milk baby formula

Babies have not only survived on homemade baby formula but thrived!

“The results were spectacular, bordering on unbelievable. She was never sick, slept through the night starting at about eight weeks, ate well and had a happy disposition. We were warned about typical childhood problems; these problems never materialized. For example, we bought things to help with teething before she had teeth but we never used it because her teeth came in with no pain or disruption to her sleep patterns.” -Patrick and Michelle, Toronto, Canada

“So maybe breast milk is best, but when it is not possible cow’s milk can be for babies if you apply it to the homemade formula using raw milk. This formula did boost my baby’s immune system and so far he has no allergies to any food we have given Zachary. I recommend this formula to anyone and for any baby. It is amazing!” -Bernadette Gewondjan, Livermore, California

“We had her on the formula for one full year, and she never had one ear infection, flu, fever, allergic reaction or colic. She had three minor colds the whole year, less than most babies from my observations. She has been in the 95th percentile for length and weight and has rosy cheeks and sparkly eyes. Her pediatrician has commented on how strong and healthy she is.” -The Ellingtons, Wilson, North Carolina

I remember listening to an interview with Sally Fallon and she said that she nursed her first 3 children but had to use formula with her 4th (I think it was because she was older and wasn’t producing enough milk.) She said that her 4th child was the healthiest… never needed glasses or braces (unlike her others who were breastfed).

I had to give homemade formula to Paloma for a while when I was bit by a tick and had to go on antibiotics. Paloma loved it and is bigger and stronger for her age than her brother, who was nursed until he was 2 1/2, so go figure! For me and my family, this was the best baby formula.

Pro Tip: Make double batches at one time so you only have to make every other day. Once you get the hang of it, the process is fast and easy. And like I said, my daughter thrived on it!

Raw Goat Milk Formula

Weston A. Price also has a goat milk formula. This may be the best baby formula for those who are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. Goat milk also has smaller fat molecules which can make it easier for some children to digest. However, goat’s milk is not adequate in vitamin B12 or folate so it should be prepared very carefully. This recipe makes 36 ounces of formula and lasts 2 days in fridge.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole raw goat’s milk, preferably from pasture-fed goats
  • 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey, below.) Note: Do NOT use powdered whey or whey from making cheese (which will cause the formula to curdle). Use only homemade whey made from goat yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk.
  • 4 tablespoons lactose (where to buy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis (where to buy)
  • 2 or more tablespoons good quality goat cream (if available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil (where to buy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil (where to buy)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes (mandatory)
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin (where to buy)
  • 1-7/8 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder (where to buy)
  • 2 teaspoons organic raw chicken liver (frozen for 14 days), finely grated

Chicken liver? Yes, you will also need to include 2 teaspoons organic raw chicken liver (frozen for 14 days and finely grated), which will add necessary folate as well as vitamin A. This formula also has to include the nutritional yeast flakes for B12.

Recipe Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD.

A mom created her own version of the goat milk formula but you must vet this formulation with your pediatrician first.

Liver-Based Formula

Some babies cannot handle any form of milk. So for their best baby formula, you can try Weston A. Price’s liver-based formula. Just like the above recipes, it also mimics the nutrient profile of breast milk. It is critical to include coconut oil in this formula, as it is the only ingredient that provides the important medium-chain saturated fats found in breast milk. This formula recipe makes 36 ounces and lasts 2 days in fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 3-3/4 cups homemade beef or chicken broth
  • 2 ounces organic liver, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons (where to buy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis (where to buy)
  • 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil (where to buy)
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sunflower oil (where to buy)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder (where to buy)

Instructions:

  • Simmer liver gently in broth until the meat is cooked through.
  • Liquefy using a handheld blender or in a food processor.
  • When the liver broth has cooled, stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Store in a very clean glass or stainless steel container.
  • To serve, stir formula well and pour 6 to 8 ounces in a very clean glass bottle.
  • Attach a clean nipple and set in a pan of simmering water until formula is warm but not hot to the touch, shake well and feed to baby.

Recipe Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD.

Breastmilk and Homemade Formula Nutrient Comparison

You may be wondering how these homemade formulas match up with breastmilk. Here’s a great chart that compares nutrients of all the Weston A. Price formulas.

These nutrient comparison tables were derived from standard food nutrient tables and do not take into account the wide variation in nutrient levels that can occur in both human and animal milk, depending on diet and environment.

Breast MilkCow’s Milk
Formula
Goat Milk
Formula
Liver-Based
Formula
Calories766856890682
Protein11.3g18g18g15g
Carbohydrates76g79g77g69g
Total Fat48g52g54g36g
Saturated Fat22g28g30g16g
Mono Fat18g16g16g12g
Poly Fat5.5g5.6g5.7g5.6g
Omega-3 FA.58g1.3g1.2g1.0g
Omega-6 FA4.4g4.2g4.4g4.5g
Cholesterol153mg137mg166mg227mg
Vitamin A*946IU5000IU5000IU20,000IU
Thiamin-B1.15mg1.05mg1.1mg.19mg
Riboflavin-B2.4mg1.2mg1.2mg1.9mg
Niacin-B31.9mg2.5mg4.4mg14.2mg
Vitamin B6.12mg.51mg.60mg.65mg
Vitamin B12.5mcg1.9mcg2.8mcg39mcg
Folate57mcg236mcg284mcg159mcg
Vitamin C55mg57mg59mg62mg
Vitamin D480IU450IU525IU460IU
Vitamin E***9.9mg6.2mg4.7mg4.9mg
Calcium355mg532mg548mgNA**
Copper.57mg.38mg.58mg1.9mg
Iron.33mg1.4mg2.2mg5.4mg
Magnesium37.4mg91.3mg96.1mg34.5mg
Manganese.29mg.034mg.12mg.24mg
Phosphorus151mg616mg729mg344mg
Potassium560mg949mg1228mg750mg
Selenium18.8mcg15.4mcg18.7mcg31.1mcg
Sodium186mg308mg320mgNA**
Zinc1.9mg2.8mg2.7mg2.5mg

* Vitamin A levels in human milk will depend on the diet of the mother. Nursing mothers eating vitamin A-rich foods such as cod liver oil will have much higher levels of vitamin A in their milk. Commercial formulas contain about 2400 IU vitamin A per 800 calories.

** Calcium and sodium values for homemade broth are not available.

*** Vitamin E values are derived from commercial vegetable oils. The vitamin E levels for homemade formulas will be higher if good quality, expeller-expressed oils are used.

What about the dangers of homemade formula?

Just like with everything we do from drinking raw milk to kombucha, there are risks.

There are definitely dangerous DIY or homemade formulas out there. You do not want to experiment or try to devise your own as this can be very harmful for baby. Homemade formulas have led to nutritional deficiencies, dehydration and even death. A popular homemade formula in the 60-70’s included evaporated milk and karo syrup?!

However, the three Weston A. Price Foundation formulas mentioned above were specifically and carefully designed to recreate (as close as possible) what’s in breastmilk. One of the formulators of the recipes was Dr. Mary Enig, who had a Ph. D in Nutritional Sciences. Over the 20 years these formulas have been in print, it is estimated that 10,000-20,000 babies have drunk these formulas safely.

Store-bought formula

If you don’t feel comfortable making your own formula (or don’t want to bother with it!), let’s talk about the store-bought options. Unfortunately, the FDA mandates certain nutrients, even in organic ones, which can only be created synthetically. (Interesting to note: None of these ingredients are legal in the European Union. More on this later.)

Here are some of the problematic ingredients:

  • Lutein, which is hexane-extracted from marigolds,
  • Lycopene, which is produced with toluene, a neurotoxic benzene derivative,
  • Nucleotides, which is produced from chemically treated yeast,
  • Taurine, which is processed with carcinogenic sulfuric acid,
  • and L-Carnitine, which was banned by the National Organic Standards Board because of concerns over carcinogenic properties.

If you’d like the convenience of store bought formulas, here are a few options that are more ideal than others on the market.

Nature’s One

They have several formulations for special needs and their products are organic. They don’t use carrageenan and palm oil, which is harmful and disruptive to baby’s delicate digestive system. This company also uses a non-hexane method of extracting their DHA and ARA, which is FDA-approved unlike other brands of organic formula. However, they do use brown rice syrup as a sweetener, which can be high in arsenic.

In 2012, Dartmouth researchers found that Nature’s One and Earth’s Best formulas, made with organic brown rice syrup, contained 20x the recommended levels of arsenic. Nature’s One responded with this statement: (We depend upon a) “qualified, world renowned, third-party, independent lab to test arsenic levels in their organic brown rice syrup. Their testing results report undetectable amounts of arsenic at laboratory testing limits.” 

Earth’s Best

They got rid of their brown rice syrup sweetener but their dairy formula includes soybean oil. They do also use hexane to create their DHA and ARA ingredients.

Ingredients: Organic Nonfat Milk, Organic Lactose, Organic Oils (Organic Palm Or Palm Olein, Organic Soy, Organic Coconut, Organic High Oleic Safflower Or Sunflower Oil), Organic Glucose Syrup Solids, Organic Whey Protein Concentrate, Less Than 1%: Mortierella Alpina Oil*, Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil**, Lutein, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Mixed Tocopherol Concentrate, Vitamin K (Phytonadione), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin, Niacinamide, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid, Choline Bitartrate, Inositol, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Hydroxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Cupric Sulfate, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Citrate, Taurine, Organic Soy Lecithin, Nucleotides (Cytidine-5′-Monophosphate, Adenosine-5′-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine-5′-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine-5′-Monophosphate, Disodium Inosine-5′-Monophosphate). Contains Soy And Milk. * A Source Of Arachidonic Acid (ARA) ** A Source Of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Healthy Alternative: Online European formulas

If I went with a powdered formula, I’d look into the following two European formulations, which don’t have to include various synthetic ingredients per the FDA but are still safe and qualified as baby formula.

They don’t contain funky ingredients or as many artificial nutrients. They don’t contain brown rice syrup either. I prefer HiPP formula because it includes prebiotic fibers, galacto-oligosaccharides, from lactose (milk sugar) which mimic those found in breastmilk.

HiPP Formula

HiPP Organic Infant Milk (where to buy) contains important prebiotics and omegas, but doesn’t contain any of the questionable additives of other brands. HiPP uses organic milk, which means no pesticides or GMOs. It contains added vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3 and 6 for healthy brain development and a healthy immune system.

The HiPP formula ingredients include:

Organic skimmed milk, organic whey powder (partially demineralized), organic vegetable oils (palm oil from sustainable organic production, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil), prebiotic fibers (galacto-oligosaccharides from lactose), organic lactose, whey protein, potassium citrate, calcium chloride, LCP oils (fish, vegetable), L-phenylalanine, sodium citrate, calcium carbonate, mangnesium sulphate, calcium orthophosphate, vitamin mix (vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2), biotin, vitamin B12), L-tryptophan, iron sulphate, zinc sulphate, stabiliser (lactic acid), inositol, copper sulfate, potassium iodate, manganese sulphate, sodium selenate.

Holle Formula

Holle Organic Infant Formula (where to buy) is made from 99% organically grown ingredients. The milk comes from cows raised on biodynamic farms and strictly adhere to EU organic regulations and the more stringent international Demeter regulations.

Other important ingredients include organic vegetable oils which provide essential fatty acids for your baby. Organic starch and maltodextrin derived from corn (maltodextrin) make the formula creamy and filling. The remaining 1% of ingredients are vitamins and minerals which are necessary for your baby’s development and are required by EU regulations.

The Holle Formula ingredients include:

Skimmed milk** (Germany), whey powder* partly demineralised, vegetable oils* (palm oil*, rapeseed oil*, sunflower oil*), maltodextrin*, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, vitamin C, vitamin E, ferrous lactate, zinc sulphate, niacin, Calcium-D-pantothenate, copper sulphate, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese sulphate, potassium iodate, folic acid, vitamin K, sodium selenate, vitamin D

If you go with the Holle Formula, be sure to add an infant probiotic.

Steer Clear of Soy Formula

Regardless of which formula you chose for baby, just say no to soy-based formula. These formulas consist of soy protein isolates and include significant amounts of phytoestrogens of the isoflavone class (source).

Total isoflavone concentrations of soy-based formulas ranges from 32 to 47 mg/L, versus only 5.6 +/- 4.4 microg/L in human breastmilk. Infants fed soy-based formulas are exposed to 22-45 mg of isoflavones compared with barely any in breast milk. So, this makes me pause, if breast milk doesn’t have it, why are we including it?

Soy is problematic for so many reasons but the top few include:

  • Over 90% of the soy produced in the U.S. contains GMO’s
  • Soy is extremely high in anti-nutrients like saponins, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, and goitrogens. Some of these can interfere with enzymes that help baby breakdown protein.
  • Soy is also high in phytoestrogens which mimic the hormone estrogen in our bodies. There haven’t been enough studies to show how this can affect a baby’s developing reproductive health.

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics states “In term infants, although isolated soy protein-based formulas may be used to provide nutrition for normal growth and development, there are few indications for their use in place of cow milk-based formula.”

If your child is sensitive to dairy, you can try the homemade Liver Based formula mentioned above or a lactose-free formula.

Weaning off formula

You can start slowly weaning your baby off of formula starting at around 6 months. For each child, it will be slightly different. If you make the homemade formulas, after 6 months, you can be more flexible about adding all of the ingredients (like acerola), as long as baby is eating solids and getting a nutrient-dense diet from other sources.

Here are some great ideas for baby’s first foods.

Wait until baby is 6 months old before adding in solids, especially egg yolks which can set up allergies. If you’re doing baby led weaning, you will want to add in some smoothies, shakes, and soups to be sure they’re getting extra nutrition if you’re cutting way back on formula. Most doctors agree that once baby reaches one year old, he can go onto plain milk. Once my daughter Paloma was one year old, she just drank plain, raw cow’s milk. Some children do better on goat’s milk. And some, just get their nutritional needs from food. You can experiment to see which is best for your child.

Best baby formula: bottom line

Though your breastmilk and colostrum is a perfect food for your baby, sometimes it’s not possible to exclusively breastfeed. That’s when donor milk, homemade formula, and as a last resort, certain organic formulas, can help you keep baby thriving.

How about you?

If you had to supplement, what was the best baby formula for you? Share with us in the comments below!

References

  • http://www.realmilk.com/safety/campaign-pasteurize-breast-milk/
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. 6th Revised Edition. La Leche League International. 1997. 340 – 341
  • http://www.drfranklipman.com/infant-formula-buying-guide/

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43 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Hello
    I know this is an old post but I was hoping for some help. My son has been exclusively fed with breastmilk(pumped as well as breastfed) for 7 months. I recently found out I need to go on a medication that they say is fine with breastfeeding but I am not convinced. At this point he is eating solids but we only started a month ago so we have not introduced a ton of food. I am leaning towards a European brand for forumla but I am not sure what is appropriate for a 7 month old on solids. Typically he still drinks around 25 ounces of breastmilk a day. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Our breasts do a pretty great job of filtering. If your provider says it’s safe to breastfeed and be on this medication, it is likely safe. Check out this website for more info:https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm

  2. We have my sweet adopted son on Lebenswert and the Dr is concerned about it having skimmed milk in it. After much research I actually can’t find any organic formula (American or European) that doesn’t use skim milk or whey. I suppose the oils are supposed to supplement healthy fats? Do you have concerns about not using whole milk in ages under 6 mos? My nurse said it would be fine once we can supplement with solid foods like avocado. We have 3 mos to go until that and don’t want to hinder his brain/spinal development since he was premature. Thanks!

  3. Can the cow’s milk recipe be frozen and stored, similar to pumped breastmilk?

    • The Weston A. Price website says: “We recommend making the formula fresh daily—this is part of your new baby routine. The exception might be when you are traveling and yes, you can set the jars in warm water to thaw. However, raw milk may be frozen with no ill effects. Many parents must drive long distances to pick up their raw milk, and the solution to this is to obtain it in large quantities and freeze it. When the raw milk thaws, there will be small clumps of cream that can be smoothed out with a whisk or by putting the milk in a blender”.

  4. Does anyone know anything about or have used Kabrita formula? I saw it at my local health food store. I currently feed Lebenswert Bio which I have to import and I was wondering if it was as good Holle, Hipp or Lebenswert?

  5. Great article! I exclusively pumped for my second daughter, who did not latch at the breast ever (possibly because of tongue tie). When we needed to supplement, I used different organic formulas and got donor milk. This kind of blog post is exactly what I needed when doing research for what our options were.

  6. I was so glad to see this article. I have a grandson due in 3 weeks. & we are trying to give him the best start. I’ve talked for yrs about alot of these formulas ( 22 yrs) & side effects to child.The only studies I have are hands on raising children (40 yrs). I do wish you had included more on canned milks-evaporated,goats,etc. Alot of the newer generation have gone back to the older ways (small towns doing this)& are using canned evaporated milk diluted. It would be of interest to see compared to other products. Thank you for all the time & research you have put into this & shared with the public. I can’t help but wonder if the trash put in formulas is a direct connection with the newer rate of small children with anger issues & mental illness. Everyone pointed a finger at shots a few yrs ago,but what if it was not the cause? Or a combo of chemicals in each. This is what the government pushes/forces on parents now. Look at W.I.C., they are strict in what you you can get.A poor parent is at the mercy of their state! Texas also forces shots!….Articles like yours are a way to enlighten the public. I know from your article what to do to give ny family better. THANK YOU.

  7. Thank you so much for this article! Perfect timing 😃 I just ordered the HIPP formula and am excited for it to arrive so I can try it!! I appreciate all the time and research you put into your posts 😃

    • Angela, how did you like the Hipp? I am EBF right now but am looking to start supplementing my 8.5 month old. Thanks! Nikki bits77@hotmail.com

  8. Hi other Mommas! If you have to go to formula, Gimmethegoodstuff.com has a really good safe formula guide. My almost 6 month old has been on Holle Lebenswert for almost 4 months and that stuff is amazing! Her poop looks just like breastfed baby poop and she is super healthy and thriving. We order through organicmunchkin.com and they have been wonderful! Also, if you want to purchase a USA formula, Plum Organics now has an infant formula that looks pretty good. It constpated my baby, but everybody is different. The price of European formula is actually not a whole lot more than the good stuff here (and I really do think it is better). I hope this helps!
    To all the broken hearts reading this right now because you have to put your baby on formula: You’re not alone. I know how hard you tried because I did it too. Both times. I know the pain you feel and the judgement you beat down on yourself. Your baby needs you far more than she needs that breast milk. Nutrition can come reasonably priced in a can. You are priceless and can not. I understand to hurt, be mad, cry, be terrified that every breastfeeding mother that sees you with a bottle will just assume you don’t love your child and your selfish and lazy. They might. Who knows? But that is a lie. She does not know your story and she has not walked in your shoes. Truly, are you doing the best thing for your family? Then that is beautiful! Don’t fall prey to all the lies and hatred Satan is spewing at you. You love your family the best you can and if that means going to formula, rock on! I could write a lot more. I just wrote this because I’ve been there (still kind of am) and I know how much it means to know someone else understands. I’m praying for you. Now go love your babies!

  9. Thank you for your recommendations! I am not making much breastmilk so I needed something to help out and I recently purchased the HIPP forumula from the UK and we are very pleased with it.My son is a month old. My baby’s gas issues went away and he is more satisfied after eating. He now sleeps 5 hours straight at night and then eats every 2-3 hours after that. The formula is powdered and when you make it you can notice the difference and it doesn’t smell sweet like US brand formulas. My baby is more alert when he is awake and is steadily growing and gaining weight the way he is supposed to. My first child was formula fed and she gained a lot of weight fast, not good. I bought the HIPP formula from Mariposakids.co.uk and they ship to the USA and it only took about 11 days to get here! The first formula i used before i found this site was enfamil newborn and it made him so gassy he was always in pain. Not anymore, i don’t even notice when he poops since he isnt crying over it anymore. Im so happy with my HIPP formula!

    • I’m trying to buy the Hipp brand following the link in this article, but can’t seem to find the right one. The instructions on the Hippformulausa.com site say to get the box that does NOT say ‘Bio’ on it, and also says it’s an 800g box.
      When I’m on the BritishSuperstoresDirect.com site, a box with that description isn’t available.
      Can anyone tell me which I’m supposed to be buying? (I know I want stage 1)

  10. What about “honest ” brand formula as a supplement??

  11. How much do you spend on a gallon of raw milk? Because everywhere I’ve looked around here it’s $16 a gallon. SIXTEEN flipping dollars, I have to drive miles out of my way to find it too. No way is that going to be less expensive than store bought formula. I feel like I’m missing something here. I can buy a 2lb canister of non-GMO formula from Costco for the same price, which makes throwing away unused formula less painful(because it happens a couple times a day). I might consider raw milk more if it didn’t cost as much as taking my husband and I out to lunch. At least my formula days are quickly coming to an end.

    • $16 per gallon is pretty flipping expensive indeed! 😱 Ours is $7 per, which I think it pretty fair.

  12. Hi

    Do you have any suggestions for homemade vegan or plant based formulas? I have a couple recipes that I have found, ( ie hemp seed/ coconut meat milk with seamoss, bananas or dates) but wanted to know if there were others who had success with them as well and what formulation worked for you?
    I plan on breastfeeding of course but just in case! And we don’t eat animal products outside of honey.

    • I would think vegan or plant based formula would be missing some major nutrition. Whole coconut milk could be a possibility, but you would need to add a whole bunch of other nutrients and foods to make this complete. I would only do under the care of a doctor with very specific instructions.

    • Hemp seed or coconut milk would be my first choices but I don’t know if you can get away with them without the liver.

  13. Mama natural,

    I’m looking into the the HIPP formula but it looks like it does contain palm oil. You mention that it’s from sustainable organic production. Does that make it better ? I know there’s no perfect formula but my choices are HIPP or baby’s only and I feel as though i have to choose between to evils, palm oil or brown rice syrub , which sucks !!!

    • Palm oil can be healthy if it’s not overly processed. I’d choose palm oil over brown rice syrup.

      • Thank you for your reply ! This is very good information

  14. What is a good infant probiotic? I plan on ordering Holle formula but liked that Hipp included probiotics.
    Thank you!

  15. Thank you so much for this information:)))
    It helps a lot 🌻

  16. I fed my son earths best and I really saw lots of mile stones hit before others who were on similac or something else.
    I was very happy with earths best.
    Target was the cheapest place to buy it and sometimes on sale with the cartwheel app

  17. I was wondering if you’d ever seen this recipe: https://www.mtcapra.com/homemade-goat-milk-formula-2-0/

    There is an old version of the formula as well, using low fat goat’s milk. The man who created it supposedly holds degrees in food science and human nutrition, but I haven’t dug that deeply into his street cred.

    I used this formula for my current youngest because he was sensitive to dairy, and I cannot exclusively breastfeed due to IGT. He was a little older when we started (around 8-9 months), but it is supposed to be okay for younger infants as well. He did very well on it.

    The reason I wanted to post it, is because I feel like it’s still a more natural alternative to store bought formulas, but it has ingredients that are more affordable and easier to acquire than the Weston A. Price versions. There are also those parents who, for whatever reason, will just not feel safe giving their infant raw milk. It also offers alternative ingredients if someone can’t find/afford the first choice items, and most of them can be found in your typical grocery store (including the goat milk powder itself). So you at least still have some control over the ingredients and the quality of the ingredients used.

    I have no idea how many kids have safely used this formula, but there are random blogs floating around all over of parents reviewing/praising it and the site itself has plenty of testimonials. My doctor also gave his blessing for using it (although to be fair, he didn’t painstakingly go over the ingredient list… as again, my son was a little older when we switched him over).

    • Thanks for sharing Erin. I’ve never heard or seen this one before. The issue with goat formula is that goat products are naturally low in folic acid and vitamin B12, both of which are essential for baby’s development. Maybe that’s why they add a multivitamin to it?

      • FYI – I also used this formula for my daughter from 6months-1 year as I was tired of pumping after 6 months due to her being on a feeding tube in the beginning.

        IT IS FANTASTIC!!! I cannot say enough good things about this formula. I didn’t want to do homemade formula in the beginning because I thought it was too much work and figured if I was going to do that I might as well keep on pumping. But I knew two friends of friends that used this one with their kids for various reasons and raved about it.

        This was so easy to make, ingredients are easy to get at grocery stores and is chock full of nutrients. My daughter THRIVED on it! I plan to use it with my next baby as well as a supplement or as needed.

        Yes, the multivitamin is added for extra folic acid. Also, I used Meyenberg Goat Milk powder – its available at Whole Foods and Walmart. I also used Maple Syrup instead of Sugar. I used Country Life Maxi Baby care vitamins although they hard to find lately.

        We also calculated that this was SO much cheaper than regular formula and its full of nutrients. This did wonders for my daughter on a feeding tube – she just thrived like I said and we loved knowing she was getting real food.

        If in doubt about making your own formula – do this one you won’t regret it! The Mt. Capra site has a FAQ page with tons of info on the formula, tweaking it, substitutes and other info. We can’t recommend it enough!!!

        • P.S. to what I said above…once my daughter was eating more solids, I also started adding liver powder to the recipe a few times a week and also started adding gelatin powder (Vital Proteins etc). I did this closer to her being 1 though. I would probably add the gelatin or collagen peptides to the recipe regardless to help babies gut.

          • Oops! Didn’t notice you’d already answered the folic acid question! lol. Glad you had luck with it too! I’m considering it for the baby we’re expecting this December, but I admit I’m still iffy on any homemade option for a newborn just because I think I’ve been conditioned to believe you just HAVE TO HAVE a store bought formula if you can’t breastfeed. I plan to use an SNS and stock up on supplements to try and boost my supply as much as I can this time, but I’m sure some supplementation will be needed for awhile. My boobs each have like three “pockets” where milk comes in, and the rest don’t seem to have any ducts at all. 🙁

      • It is. Someone brought up the same thing on the guy’s website, and he said that IS why the multivitamin is added. It fills in any gaps the goat’s milk and other ingredients don’t fill. Some of the comments gave additional info on good food based vitamins various moms had used for those who don’t want to use the one he had posted on the website.

        It’s obviously not breast milk! But he created it specifically because a lot of people wanted to do a homemade formula, but simply couldn’t find or afford the ingredients in the more popular WAP versions. So it was made to be practical for anyone on a serious budget (it was less expensive than store bought formula overall, because the oils and such last forever) or who don’t have free access to raw milk. So thought I’d throw it out there.

        • E – to answer your reply to my reply…:)

          Yes we had wonderful success with it – Also, regarding giving it to a newborn, I think this is addressed in the FAQ on the Mt. Capra page. I believe at first he was not recommending but I think may have changed his mind, can’t remember. I do know there were parents on there that asked about it and also gave feedback that they did use it for newborns. I personally would probably not give that exclusively to a newborn but I don’t know I’d have to research it more. I think if I could not breastfeed I would probably switch off with that and a store bought formula daily in the beginning to cover all bases and then after maybe 4 months or so I would just do the homemade Mt. Capra formula. I’m no expert, just a mom! Like I said, I started this after 6 months of breastmilk because I was so tired of round the clock pumping.
          Good luck!! It is a good nutrition!

          • Yeah…that is one reason we didn’t switch him sooner. I think my son was 9-ish months when I used it. I am a little paranoid I won’t mix something properly with a newborn! He does say it’s safe now, but it still makes me nervous with all the ingredients and newborns being so fragile. By 9 months, my boy’s kidneys were way more developed, etc… I’ve looked into donor milk, but it’s hard to come by and gets snatched up quickly. So I may have to order some of the better commercial formulas until I trust myself to mix this one up. lol.

          • E – yeah maybe wait a few months after the newborn stage and then do the goat milk – like he says on the site, breast milk varies in nutrition from day to day so don’t beat yourself up about mixing it all right – it is good nutrition and you don’t have to get the ingredients measured perfect! Everyone knocks formula and I agree breast milk is best, but when moms can’t do that I always say the best thing you can do for your kid is give them love and a safe home – so if you have to do commercial formula, bless it with prayer and then move on! My mom is one of 6 kids and my gma never breastfed any of them because that was “out of style” in the 50s….well they are all super healthy and doing great and they never had an ounce of breastmilk! Kids are resilient, do the best you can for your situation. I pray about things and when God gives me peace then I know its right for my situation, regardless of what others are doing. You baby will be great!

  18. What about studies that say that homemade formulas can be dangerous for babies? Since they can become contaminated easily or not have the appropriate nutrients that a baby needs for a growing brain?

    • Feel free to share those studies here. There are definitely dangerous DIY or homemade formulas as you don’t want to mess around with feeding baby. It can lead to nutritional deficiencies, dehydration and even death. A popular homemade formula in the 60-70’s included evaporated milk and karo syrup?!

      However, the three Weston A. Price Foundation formulas that I share in this post were specifically and carefully designed to echo what’s in breastmilk. Dr. Mary Enig, who had a Ph. D in Nutritional Sciences, it was specifically and very carefully created to mimic what’s in breastmilk. Over the 20 years these formulas have been in print, it is estimated that 10,000-20,000 babies have drunk these formulas safely.

      However, every mother and father needs to make their own decision regarding safety of products from homemade formula to raw milk to making their own kombucha.

  19. Love this article promoting Sally Fallon’s homemade formula. Due to complications with breastfeeding, I had to switch my son to formula around 2 months. I was very sad to need to do it but I felt so at peace knowing the raw milk homemade formula would provide for my son the nutrients he needs. I now have a very chunky happy 10 month old. His skin is just perfect and he has slept through the night since 3 months. I am slowly weaning him off of the formula so he’s starting to get more whole raw milk. I hope to have him completely on milk by the time he’s 1. I would definitely recommend this formula and as you mentioned, it’s not as intimidating as it looks and can be stirred together in 10-15 min once you have it down pat. Miller’s Organic Farm in Lancaster, Pa is a good co-op to source organic cream and whey. They also carry cod liver oil for a very reasonable price…both Blue ice fermented and Rosita brand.

  20. You may want to edit the ingredients in goat milk formula. Small typo “raw goat milk, preferably from pasture fed cows” should probably be goats? I know what you meant though.
    I Supplemented my firstborn using goat milk formula at around 9 months. Supplemented for about 2 months at most and got my supply back up :). He really enjoyed it. I did try conventional formulas but he didn’t like them and would throw up ( not spit up, THROW up).

    • Post updated, thanks Evelia! Awesome that your boy liked the goat’s milk formula — and that your supply boosted back up. 😀

  21. What about Nature’s One Baby’s Only formula?

    • That’s what I used and my daughter loved it! She did very well on it and it was easy to find at health food stores. 🙂

    • She mentioned that one in the article.

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