Fed Is Best: Formula Substitute Recipe

Thankfully, human breastmilk is recognized around the world as the best source of nourishment for a baby. What a relief to put that debate to rest, after decades of marketing tactics by formula companies that led many women to believe their goddess-given, life-sustaining nectar is inferior. Now, as a whole, we can recognize and validate the art of breastfeeding for the gorgeous, miraculous act that it is. But for the women who don't produce enough milk, who struggle for whatever reason to breastfeed, or who simply choose the bottle, I would say this: "Fed is best." Your giving and loving is good. Thank you for feeding your child. You are doing a great job. I've been there. My first two children self-weaned at four and three months. It was devastating. Now currently breastfeeding my third child nine months after his birth, I feel victorious in having made it this far. It wasn't easy. No, not at all. From the moment he was cut out of my body we had to fight for it. I've lost track of how many times I've googled "how to increase breastmilk supply." I've pumped in bathrooms, offices, and freeways. We've nursed on demand, anywhere and everywhere. I've guzzled gallons of tea and swallowed countless capsules of herbs and supplements. (I'll write more on boosting supply another time.) We have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship, and I'm damn proud of us.

But yesterday, after a month of struggling with a lagging supply and dwindling freezer stash, he was just too hungry. Unable to nap or be soothed, I realized the time had come for supplementing. Instead of succumbing to feelings of failure as I did with my first two children, I went to the market with joy in my heart and purchased some raw, grass-fed cow's milk. With yet another gallon of Mother's Milk tea brewing on the stove, I assembled a delicious formula substitute for my son. He loved it! I rejoiced! We did it! It's all okay. He is fed, that is what matters. So with no further ado, here is the recipe I used, with a few helpful tips and links.

Cow's Milk Formula Substitute

  • 2 C raw, grass-fed cow's milk (it can be tricky to find, but start your search here. I found it at Sprouts. If you are unable to find raw milk, then try goat's milk, organic pasteurized milk, etc.)
  • 1/4 C homemade liquid whey (it's so easy! I used a nut milk bag and it worked beautifully. I made the whey from plain, organic whole milk yogurt from Trader Joe's.)
  • 4 T lactose (try Amazon. I couldn't find it anywhere else.)
  • 1/4 tsp bifodobacterium infantis (I used Udo's Choice Infant Probiotic, which is carried at many whole food stores)
  • 2 T organic cream, not ultra-pasteurized (this was also tricky to find, as nearly all creams these days are ultra-pasteurized. I finally found some at Sprouts and Whole Foods.)
  • 1 tsp Udo's Oil 3-6-9 Blend (I found it at Whole Foods, but you can also buy it online. Other formula substitute recipes call for the use of the individual oils found in this blend. I found it more cost effective to buy this high quality blend rather than each oil separately.)
  • 1 tsp organic extra virgin olive oil (in my experience, Trader Joe's has the best prices for this. You can also buy it online here.)
  • 2 tsp organic coconut oil (Trader Joe's sells 16 oz. for $5.99, which is the best deal I've found. You can also buy it online here.)
  • 1/2 tsp. nonflavored fermented cod liver oil (find it here)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (carried by many whole food stores, or you can buy it online here.)
  • 2 tsp bovine gelatin (no luck at any stores here in LA, so I bought it online. Adds protein and a slight thickening to the formula.)
  • 1/4 tsp acerola powder (I searched at multiple health food stores but to no avail. Finally bought it here.)
  • 1 7/8 C water (just remove 2 T water from 2 C. Be sure to use either filtered or distilled!)

Combine water and gelatin in saucepan and heat just until gelatin has dissolved. Then add all ingredients in blender and mix well. I used a low setting on my Vitamix for about 30 seconds.

You can find the original recipe here. I made a few changes to my recipe... I use the Udo's Oil 3-6-9 blend instead of purchasing individual oils that various recipes I researched call for. I also did not include the optional high vitamin butter oil, because it's expensive and I am still giving my son breastmilk anyway, so I excluded it.

You might notice that guilt, shame, and failure are not included in this recipe. So long as you are doing your best to nourish and love your child (and yourself), then you have succeeded. Give yourself a hug, pour yourself a glass of wine, and remember that in the end, it's the love you have for your child that matters the most.

Making liquid whey is easy! And then you have fresh cream cheese leftover! Yum.

The final product!

Happy baby, happy mama. A bottle full of love. Success.

(This is not intended to provide medical advice. Please do your own research and consult with your pediatrician for what is best for your baby.)

If you are breastfeeding and/or pumping, check out my favorite hands-free pump bra by PumpEase and my go-to breastmilk boosting herbal supplements Euphoric Herbals. Using code EBP at checkout gives you a 15% discount off your total order. 

Disclosure: many of the active links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, Empowered Birth Project receives a small commission and there is no difference in cost for you. It helps support us and every little bit counts. Thank you!!