How To: Homemade Baby Formula
The science is out.  Nothing comes close to true breast milk, because there is an innate connection between baby and mother.  When baby latches onto mom’s breast, baby’s saliva tells mom’s body what baby needs (more water, protein, fat, nutrients, etc).  Our bodies were amazingly designed!BUT, that doesn’t mean everyone is blessed with an easy time breastfeeding or the ability.  I do recommend trying everything you can to keep your natural milk supply going first before jumping into supplementing milk for your baby.  Explore all avenues before settling on formula.  You can try many things…supplements like fenugreek and nettle, extended naked chest time and “kangaroo care” with your baby, extra pumping time to increase your flow are a few common methods.  (Email me if you would like other methods, or contact your local Le Leche League.)  But sometimes no matter how hard you try you cannot keep your milk supply going, or the nursing experience does not go well for mom or baby (extreme pain, inverted nipples with a struggle to keep baby latched).  Or perhaps you are adopting a child and do not have access to donor breast milk.  After you have weighed out all your options, these are the cases where proceeding with a homemade whole food breast milk formula is a good decision.

Today I would like to share my whole food formula recipe that when used as supplement will be closer to a woman’s breast milk than one with synthetic vitamins and nutrients found at the store. I will write next week about why I recommend making your formula at home using whole food ingredients versus buying a store bought formula.  There are many many many reasons why making your own is important for the better health of your baby.  For time’s sake, I will save that conversation for another day. (I will come back to link it when I post it!)

This is my recipe for homemade whole food infant formula.  It is based off of Sally Fallon’s recipe in her book Nourishing Traditions.  (Every home should have this book on the shelf!  It’s a go-to wellness resource!  Thank you Allison for the best wedding present ever!)  I have edited Sally Fallon’s recipe to make it allergen-free as most of my clients and their children have an array of milk/nut/grain allergies.  I have listed alternative options in parentheses.

Homemade Whole Food Infant Formula
Based on Sally Fallon’s original recipe found in Nourishing Traditions
Makes about 36 ounces

LIQUID
2 cups of rice milk (make your own via this link) (you can also use raw cow’s milk or raw goat’s milk)
2 cups pure water (reverse osmosis + remineralized is best)
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk (or organic 100% grass fed heavy cream)
2 Tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp fermented cod liver oil
1 tsp  extra virgin olive oil

DRY
1 Tbsp organic pea protein (or 1/4 cup organic 100% grass fed whey protein)
2 tsp gelatin from 100% grass fed cows
1/4 tsp Acerola powder
break open 3 capsules of colostrum
2 tsp nutritional yeast
break open 1 capsule of Kirkman Labs allergen-free Bifido probiotics

Add the rice milk to the blender with all of the dry ingredients.  Blend on Low-Medium until blended smooth.  Add remaining liquid ingredients to the blender and blend on Low-Medium until smooth.  Pour into bottles and store in fridge with airtight caps up to 5 days.  Warm each bottle in a container of warm water on the counter before feeding, and shake well.You may notice the cold formula will be chunky from the fridge — that’s just the coconut oil and other oils solidifying from the cold.  It will thin out once it is warmed.  Do not heat the formula on the stove top.

Disclaimer: Before using any infant or toddler formula with your child, please consult with your pediatrician or main family practitioner. No parents should use this information without first seeking advice from their pediatrician or primary care physician before starting a nutritional program with their children.

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.

35 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this!
    I am at the end of my milk supply for my 8 month old and starting to run through my breast milk storage. I didn’t want to start on normal formula and was going to ask my Maximized Living Dr. what I should do. So this post came at a great time! I was wondering if there is an alternative I could use until I save up enough money to purchase all the ingredients? It’s just quite expensive.
    Thanks again for the post!

  2. GreenMom, I was researching this today in various places, and on this page below, there’s a chart showing how much you save when making your own formula. I realize the comparison is between commercial formula and homemade formula, not between breast milk (which is “free”) and homemade formula, but perhaps you’ll find it encouraging.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula

    Elise, I have a question about nutritional content. I was doing research for a friend whose baby is on Similac 60/40 because he has a (renal?) condition that requires him to have very little calcium and phosphorous. He was doing okay on that formula for several months (although the ingredients make me shudder), but now he’s had diarrhea for over a month so his mom is making the rounds of doctors to try to find out the problem. Perhaps he’s developed lactose intolerance? I thought maybe she could make her own formula with rice milk–or perhaps use the meat formula recipe–and it wouldn’t have as much calcium/phosphorous as the milk formulas. I found some nutritional info at the page linked above, but now I’m wondering about your rice version. I could try entering the ingredients at a recipe site, but first I thought I’d ask if you have any idea about this.

    Thanks!

  3. I make the original cow’s milk version of this formula and it cost me about $200 up front to gather the ingredients in BULK amounts, ordered between amazon and vitacost.com. BUT, a batch of homemade is about $2.75 for 36 ounces. A 40 oz can of formula, which makes 40 ounces of baby formula, is $20-40 depending on the type. Also remember the long term savings by giving him good health.

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  5. This is awesome!! If I get to needing this I’ll definitely try it! Probably do powdered version- the recipe makes 6 6oz bottles too?

  6. GreenMom – This certainly did come at the perfect time for you! Unfortunately there just isn’t an on-the-shelf option that will come close to making a whole food formula at home. And while purchasing all of the ingredients up front totals to a lot, you really only have to buy them once. Then each batch breaks down to around $3.00 each. For me, I will do whatever it takes to give my baby clean quality nutrition no matter the cost. That is one of the highest things on my value system. I would give up whatever was needed of me to make sure his food is the cleanest purest I can possibly provide, even if I had to give up luxuries (like my cell phone, cable, Internet, eating out, shopping, etc). If you value it enough, you will find a way. It’s the same mentality for folks switch from “SAD” to organic whole food living…if you value it enough, you will find a way to increase your food budget by 30%. You can do it! It just might take a little extra budget planning upfront. :)

    Ashley Mae – I don’t know if there is a powdered version. It’s best to mix this recipe up in the blender to get any chunks broken up and incorporated smoothly.

  7. Hi Diane,

    I don’t know the exact grams, but I know rice milk does contain calcium and phosphorus. But it is a bit less than cow’s milk. Check into it on one of the recipe sites where you can type in the measurements and it spits out an answer.

    Has baby been checked out at a Maximized Living office yet? That would be my first recommendation before taking baby off of breast milk. Often times there is blockage in baby’s nervous system going out to the stomach or digestive organs causing the upset. Once you can correct that, baby’s organs will function and heal at 100%. It’s worth at least having baby get checked out.

    Our son was checked at 3 hours old and he did have nerve interference. We went ahead with the adjustment and he has been the healthiest kid I have ever seen since. I can’t recommend Maximized Living enough! Let me know if you need help finding a doctor near you.

    • If you purchase store bought rice milk there are vitamins added to it. As far as I know they don’t occur naturally in the rice milk. I would be very wary of using rice milk as it doesn’t have any real nutrition to it. We used goat milk.

      • Elise Schwartz

        Very true Jamie, and that is why we add so many whole food vitamins and nutrients in this allergen-free recipe. Some babies are unable to tolerate dairy, and that is specifically who this recipe is put together for.

  8. Yes I agree that I will do whatever it takes to give my three children the best food possible! I am passionate about that! We have completely changed our budget priorities, making food our highest to ensure long term health and nutrition. We are also Dave Ramsey people and don’t spend a dime we don’t have. So I would love to purchase all of the ingredients today, but I don’t have the cash saved up so I just need a little time to do so.
    I did ask my Maximized Living Dr. about how to buy some time while I get the money. She gave me a recipe for homemade almond milk with a little maple syrup for the vitamin B’s and adding in some fish oil for the DHA along with ramping up the solids. This should help extend my breast milk storage until I have all the ingredients to make my own formula.
    Thank you again for the formula recipe and I will be using it! I just need a little time to purchase everything.

  9. I have a bit of a noob question, haha. At what point do you switch from homemade formula to plain old nut milks/juices/etc? My son is 14 months and is breastfed with some formula supplementation, and I’m wondering when babies usually finish with formula? Thanks!

  10. No such thing as “noob” questions! We’re all learning! :)

    In my opinion, it really comes down to listening to your son and watching his queues. My son is 18 months and still depends 80% of his meals come from breast feeding. Eventually your son will show you he is ready to wean and switch to water and whole foods (commonly around the 2 year mark when you allow baby to do it on their own).

    I don’t recommend giving your children juices or milks just to drink. Water is the best option always for drinking. The only time we give our little man nut milk or fresh squeezed juices are in his smoothies, paired with a healthy fat, a healthy carb, and a clean protein. We do add a splash of kombucha and/or water kefir to his water cup now and then, too.

    Keep listening to your baby! He will show you when he is ready to be on to solid foods.

  11. I was wondering what a vegan option for homemade formula would be thanks! I was thinking homemade rice milk, Chia milk, hemp milk, (look up the nutrients in Chia and hemp it’s amazing, lots of protein, omega, and vitamins) with coconut milk, and coconut milk yogurt, with added liquid vitamins.. Do you think this would work? What should I do or add to make it with all essential nutrition? Please help.. I need a vegan formula!

  12. Hi Christina,

    It first depends on the age of the baby. If 1 year or younger, baby needs to have animal milk fats for optimal brain development. The best is of course mama’s milk. But if you are unable to breast feed, I really recommend using colostrum and gelatin to help give a full spectrum of these healthy animal fats that you cannot get from plants.

    If baby is 1 year or older AND getting most of their nutrition from solid food, then they are ready to drop down to just a coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, or (like for our 18 month old son) just water. Supplement with a flax oil/hemp oil, multivitamin, probiotics, and D3 on top of baby’s nutrition.

  13. This sounds like a great homemade formula recipe. I am supplementing with a different homemade recipe right now, but think this one is more nutritious for the baby. I have been mixing it with my breast milk (half & half). My question is, is it necessary to add infant multivitamins to this, or is that too much, and would it be okay to add some agave nectar to it to make it taste sweeter? If you could get back with me Elise on this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Elise Schwartz

      Hi Samantha, You don’t necessarily need to add a separate multi vitamin. The formula as I have it written has a broad and complete spectrum of nutrients that baby needs. I don’t recommend using agave nectar. Instead, stevia would be a better sweetening option, or organic Grade B Maple Syrup or Brown Rice Syrup if you prefer. I recommend trying the recipe as-is with baby first. It will still taste very sweet to most babies with no added sweetener. See what you babe thinks! :)

      • We adopted a baby two months ago. Our daughter’s birth mom has been pumping but that will be coming to an end soon. I initially tried raw goat’s milk (before we had a supply of breast milk) and just started to add a dropper full to her bottles to reintroduce it. Her digestive symptoms all returned (frequent diarrhea and spit up, bloated belly and fussy). She appears unable to handle dairy. I’m researching making your formula with the rice milk. Two questions: 1. In the recipe that is linked for homemade rice milk, should I follow it exactly (eg. add salt and additional water when blending)?
        2. Is there rice that is free of arsenic? Thank you!

        • Elise Schwartz

          Hi Dana,

          Congrats on your new baby girl! To answer your questions:

          1.) Yes, 2.) Look for a certified organic rice. If you are wanting to investigate further, because it does depend on the soil content of where the rice was grown, find the customer support number on the packaging and begin investigating! I would start with asking when they last tested their soil for chemicals and if you can see that report. If you choose to limit rice milk or not use rice milk at all, you could instead use oat milk, hemp milk, something like that. But I do recommend making whatever type of milk from scratch at home with certified organic ingredients.

          • Hi, I was thinking of using hemp seed oil instead of codliver oil because of traces of mercury and other contaminants and poisons being put in our waters, if I do substitute this for the cod liver oil, how much should I use, 1 tsp, a 1/2 tsp, more?

  14. Also, do u think it is possible for baby to be allergic to any of these ingredients? Like the cow milk colostrum? Gelatin? Nutritional yeast? I don’t think it is the goat milk I use, he digests it fine, no diarrhea, or upset stomach. He has developed a rash over his stomach and in other spots, it happened in about 2 1/2 to 3 months. Pretty sure it isn’t the food I feed him. Do u think he could have developed an allergen to the cow milk colostrum and or the gelatin that comes from cows? Maybe I should drop those ingredients since he is eating baby foods? Do u have any advice? Take care.

  15. I know that many children are allergic to cows milk and I know that colostrum comes from cow milk, so It might be giving him this rash. He has been drinking the formal recipe for about 5 months and started getting the rash 2 weeks ago. Also, are there any other ingredients in this formula that can cause allergies for so than others and are common. The only 2 that really strike me are the colostrum and cod liver oil as possible ones. What are your thoughts. Thanks a lot! – Sam

  16. So just wanted to say thank you for this formula recipe, however, I did make 2 changes that seem to have made a HUGE difference. My babies rash is gone! I took out the regular colostrum from cow’s milk and use goat milk colostrum instead now. I also changed the cod-liver oil to “hempseed oil” because I know for a fact that there are many poisons being out into our oceans today and the Oceanic fish contain this….oil spills, corexit and many other harmful contaminants the public are not being told about on purpose by our media outlets. So, I tried Hemp seed oil instead because it also contains DHA. All the other ingredients are great. I would just recommend this if any other parents’s babies have this allergic reaction happening. Goat milk products are the best. So thankful the Lord has given us other options. Take care! Yah bless

    • Elise Schwartz

      Great Samantha! So glad you found ingredients that work for your baby. It can be nerve wracking to find the best nutritional options for our children. Way to go for putting the time and research in to find the best for your baby! :)

  17. Can I use good quality almond milk as a substitute for rice milk in this formula for my 9-mo old?

  18. My multiple sclerosis infusions require me to supplement once a month as I barely can make enough milk to nurse and pump but can’t nurse during or after the infusion. My 6 week old daughter seems to have a problem with me eating dairy while nursing and can’t tolerate dairy based formula. I am allergic to coconut. Can’t seem to find an organic dairy free soy free coconut free option. Even the homemade recipes won’t work for us as they all call for either dairy or coconut or both. Any ideas?

  19. What could I do instead of the colostrum? Im trying to avoid all milk. (one of my kids and I both have an allergy so I dont want to risk it with my baby to come in Dec) I cant breastfeed due to a mastectomy. THis recipe looks great, just dont know what to do abut the substitute for colostrum and I know that is important!

  20. Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it. Do you know if anyone has had success using full fat coconut milk instead of the rice milk? Would I then have to decrease other fats? Also, I noticed your recipe doesn’t call for added sugars like lactose – since breastmilk is quite sweet, wondering whether there are carbohydrates (and how much) in the other ingredients?

  21. Hi Elise, thank you for the great recipe!

    I have a few questions for you. :)
    1. I am using Meyenberg Whole Powdered goats milk I got from vitacost for this recipe, does that work okay?
    2. I have “Garden Of Life” Kids Probiotic I am using in place of the probiotic you have listed. How much of that should I put in so that it’s equivalent to what you use?
    3. Something (I think the gelatin) does not come through the nipple of the body, so my baby is not getting much (if any) of that…Do you have suggestions on what I should do? What purpose does the gelatin serve? Is there something I can add in place of that, that might fit through the nipple of the bottle?

    Thank you again for the great recipe!

  22. The original version says not to use whey powder. Have you had any problems with the powdered whey in this recipe? Thanks

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