More than once I have been asked: “I can’t breastfeed, can I make my baby homemade infant formula instead of buying commercial formula?” It’s a very simple answer (although I will provide you with other alternatives) –N.O.
Despite what your chiropractor or naturopath says, it is not safe. A nephrologist knows that new infants have troubles digesting the large proteins in cow’s milk. The chiropractor? Does not know, but claims to know. Side note: Homemade or “natural” formulas are not appropriate for infants. I have seen them lead to bowel growth problems in the short term and the long-term consequences are unknown. Puleeeeze make sure you are getting very important nutrition information for your infant from someone who knows what they are talking about (a pediatrician or pediatric dietitian). It could save your baby’s life.
Ok, off of that rant. Weston Price Foundation has popular homemade baby formula recipes. One, which is made of liver (far to high in vitamin A), and another with raw cow’s milk (which is illegal and may kill your baby. Yes, yes lots of good bacteria too. But easy to be contaminated with bad bacteria, and an infant is especially sensitive given they are drinking it so often and have an undeveloped immune system). Oh, and you should buy multiple expensive supplements from a company called ‘Radiant Life’ to add to your homemade formula. Does Weston Price get a kickback from directing people to Radiant Life? I don’t know, maybe.
Ok, so now that you are not going to make your infant formula, here are some other options to look into:
1) You can try to re-lactate or start lactating. Even if you are adopting, with the help of hormones, it can be done. This article from the Mayo clinic explains more:.
2) Use another mom’s breast milk. Screened and pasteurized breast milk is available from the Calgary Milk Bank. Most of this is used for premature babies in the hospital NICUs, but also available by doctor prescription or for purchase if there is extra supply. There are also informal milk-sharing organizations like Human Milk for Human Babies on facebook, or from another nursing mom you know. Health Canada warns against milk-sharing, as the milk is not screened and your baby can catch HIV from breast milk. This article from INFACT Canada argues against Health Canada’s warning, and supports donor milk as a better option than commercial formula.
3) Purchase commercial infant formula. While you may not understand or like some of the ingredients, they have been formulated to meet baby’s nutrition needs. While they will never be able to stand up to breast milk, they are created to mimic breast milk as much as possible, and are a much safer option than homemade formula.
I welcome your support or arguments. Please comment below!