Healthy Alternative to Conventional Infant Formula, Part IV
By Marie Bishop, Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD
From Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Volume 6, Number 2, Pages 18-28.
Make no mistake: the best food for baby is breastmilk from a healthy mother. However, many situations call out for a good substitute: adopted and orphaned babies, babies born to mothers with serious health problems, and babies whose mothers do not have enough milk (a situation that does happen occasionally) deserve to receive something better than commercial formula.
The following questions have been compiled by the authors over a period of several years and should cover most situations encountered by parents giving homemade formula to their babies.
Q: I'm having trouble getting raw milk to separate to make fresh whey. Basically it sours but never separates. One recipe for whey calls for bringing milk with added salt to a boil, adding 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stirring until it is curdled. Is it OK to make whey this way?
A: It takes longer to make fresh whey from raw milk than it does from yoghurt, sometimes up to five to six days for the milk to really separate, especially in cooler weather. Set raw milk on the counter in an airtight glass container. When the milk looks really awful, then you know that it has separated.
If you are still having trouble, make whey out of already cultured milk (yoghurt or kefir) or with a top brand of commercial whole milk yoghurt, such as Seven Stars Farm or Brown Cow. With yoghurt you can make whey overnight. Making whey by adding lemon juice to boiled mil k negates all the good things about your raw milk, and you will not be putting back any good enzymes or bacteria, which is what happens in yoghurt making.
Freezing the Formula
Q: Can I freeze the formula? What is the best method to thaw? I am guessing warm water. I would freeze the formula in mason freezer jars that are 8-ounce capacity.
A: 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.
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Healthy After a Rough Start
The Weston A. Price Foundation teachings, my pregnancy and the birth of our son Seth are infinitely tied together. I had first learned about the principles from a chiropractor just weeks before I found out I was pregnant. I had been having abnormal paps that just wouldn't clear up.
I'm sure now the reason was due to the raw vegan-fruitarian diet I was eating at the time. After four to five months on a nourishing traditional diet my paps finally tested normal. However, being malnourished and pregnant before that time affected our unborn son; he was born with hypospadias. I later learned that the penis is formed around the 8th week of pregnancy and I was still eating a fruitarian diet at that point.
Seth was born via cesarean section after a failed water-birth at home. My C-section resulted in a punctured bladder and heavy blood loss requiring 6 units of blood and ending up in the ICU. I was in the hospital for almost a week before returning home. Needless to say, nursing didn't get off to a good start and bottles were given.
I continued to try breast feeding Seth, but between the pain from the cesarean, dealing with my bladder and the catheter I was sent home with, etc., I couldn't handle nursing Seth on demand. He was a big boy, 9 pounds, 10 ounces at birth, and his weight bothered my tummy and aggravated my myofascial pain in my neck and shoulder region from an earlier accident.
In order for my family to help with the feedings we adopted the milk-based formula. Nursing fell off completely after 3 months, as Seth preferred the formula to me and the formula became his main-stay.
Seth is now 2 1/2 years old and has been extremely healthy. He was sick for the very first and only time this past winter with an ear infection. He never had so much as a sniffle when he was on the formula. I didn't have to worry about him being well enough for his hypospadias surgery at 10 months old, because he was so strong and robust. We couldn't be happier with the results that good nutrition has had on him, even though we had a rough start of it.
Robin Leuenberger, Michigan
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Modifying the Formula
Q: My daughter has 5-month-old twins and we're in the process of weaning them off of infant formula. I have ordered milk from one of the dairy farmers mentioned on the Weston A. Price Foundation's Web site. This particular farmer does pasteurize his milk but only to a degree that does not destroy the enzymes in the milk.
My question to you is what variations can be made in the formula that would make this affordable as well as a good formula for the twins? My daughter and her husband are on a budget that won't allow a large monthly expense for the ingredients. Is there some way that the formula can be varied so that it won't cost that much for them?
Also, I know my daughter won't have the time to make the easy whey recipe. Please give suggestions as to how to make this work affordably for them. My daughter is on the WIC program and the only formula approved is the Similac (which is what the twins are on now).
A: We do not recommend altering the formula to save money. You could be compromising a child. The recipe was formulated to exact specifications to mimic nutrient-rich human mother's milk. If you find that raw milk with shipping is too expensive, then do the meat-based formula, which is less expensive.
The homemade formula ingredients cost just under $4 per day, through mail order with shipping charges, or when purchased locally with sales tax. This does not include the cost of the milk and cream, which varies widely. Similac costs around $4 per day, including average local sales tax.
So while the initial homemade formula cost including milk and cream will be higher, over the long run it is much cheaper considering the typical health challenges and costs that come with conventional formula. This, of course, says nothing about creating a superior foundation for your child's optimal development and lifelong health.
If your daughter must rely on the only formula that WIC allows, she should use the fortified formula recipe. Unfortunately, from reports we receive from parents, Similac is one of the most problematic formulas for babies. In fact, virtually every parent we've heard from, who has had their baby on commercial formula before using the homemade formula, reports very unfortunate stories.
We recommend fortifying commercial formula only as an emergency back up. We have hundreds of customers report to us that when they get their babies off commercial formula, their health issues disappear and the babies thrive. They become radiant babies with vibrant health and beautiful dispositions.
I can really appreciate the circumstances of your daughter, and not with just one baby, but two! As far as the quick way to make whey, if she doesn't have time to take a container of yogurt, pour it into a strainer lined with cheese cloth and collect the liquid after it drains, she really doesn't have time to be doing any part of this recipe.
Once you get into the routine, it is very easy. Parents report that it's very fast and easy to make up the formula. Just think of how time-consuming it will be when these twins are age 2 and eat solid food and meals have to be prepared for them! Draining whey from yogurt will look easy!