I’m not one of those women who have the ability to breastfeed her babes on an open-ended timeline, stopping only when I decide we bother are ready. Unfortunately, my milk supply is limited. I only had about three solid months of breastfeeding Jordan before the tank started running dry and we had to start supplementing. We went with a readily accessible organic formula from the grocery store shelf, and things began to unravel slowly.
It makes sense when I think back on it. When I was pregnant, any time I would have straight milk in my third trimester (in some cereal, for example), Jordan got the hiccups. Not with all dairy products, just milk. And it happened every single time. And the one time that I had some milk after he was born? He screamed all the next day. I didn’t have it again.
After slowly supplementing with more and more cow’s milk formula, Jordan began to get increasingly fussy while eating and simultaneously sleeping worse at night. So I started doing the research and learned that food allergies or sensitivities could affect sleep habits in babies. But, even more than the research, I trusted my gut of his sensitivity to cow’s milk proteins and found an alternative.
It took a lot of digging to not only find an alternative organic formula to cow’s milk but also to find one that would ship to our tiny island in the middle of the ocean. I finally decided on a goat milk formula – the ingredients were sourced in Austria, imported from Germany, and the ingredients list was half of what is in other organic formulas. And once we started him on it, I saw a change almost overnight.
One weekend, a couple of weeks into the new goat milk formula, I ran out of our supply while we were traveling. Since goat milk formulas aren’t readily available on the shelf in natural food stores (let alone regular, mainstream grocery stores), I tried a cow’s milk-based option one more time, to see. The poor guy didn’t even drink a quarter of it before crying – almost like a child with a peanut allergy who takes a bite of something and instantly knows the dreaded ingredient is there.
And that was it. We chose to stick with the goat milk formula which, based on all the research I had done, is as close to breastmilk as you can get anyway.
Fast forward two years, and we found ourselves in a similar situation with Jonathan. While his nighttime sleep has been rough since the end of March, it started going downhill while we were a recent trip to Arizona – one night waking up every 45 minutes, all night long. And then, when we got home, his daytime naps suddenly tanked. Until that point, he refused a bottle. I tried four different brands, nipple flow speeds, and milk temperatures. No luck. And then a girlfriend shared a piece of advice she received: if your baby refuses a bottle but takes a pacifier, try the same bottle brand as the pacifier he prefers. So I gave it one last shot.
One morning a week or two ago, after the third day of waking up every ten minutes during every nap, and every hour all night, I tried one more bottle an hour after breastfeeding him. He didn’t just take the bottle; he guzzled it. And then he went straight to sleep and didn’t make a peep for two hours. And that was it. We’ve been exclusively bottle feeding him ever since.
I spent weeks trying different schedules, introducing solids, stopping solids, swaddling, not swaddling, you name it, I tried it. It turns out the poor babe was just hungry. 😢 My milk supply had been slowly drying up, and I didn’t know it. I had so many people telling me to sleep train him already, and I’m happy I trusted my gut and didn’t. We’re still not sleeping through the night, but we’re inching our way.
After Jordan’s formula experience, I decided not even to chance it and went straight to the goat milk formula. But this time, I’m making my own at home with a recipe that my sister used with both her boys. The upside? It ends up being a fraction of the cost! (The boxed formula I bought for Jordan worked out to about $2 per bottle, and this homemade recipe is $0.44 a bottle!) Also, I know exactly what’s going into it!
I had quite several people asking for the recipe I’m using, so I’ve shared it below (sourced here).
Homemade Goat Milk Formula – 32 oz.
Ingredients – click each for shopping links
32 oz. filtered water
4 level scoops full fat Meyenberg Goat Milk Powder (base for protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals)
1 tsp. Great Lakes Gelatin Powder (helps digestion, builds/seals gut)
4 Tbs. raw, organic turbinado sugar or real maple syrup (carbohydrate)
1 tsp. unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses (B vits, iron, helps move bowels)
2 tsp. olive or avocado oil (healthy monounsaturated fat)
2 tsp. coconut oil (healthy saturated fat)
2 tsp. nutritional yeast (B12 + folate)
In 1 bottle per day
1/4 tsp. powdered probiotics (healthy gut flora, immunity)
6 drops Vitamin D (400 IU/dy.) or 1/4th tsp. fermented cod liver oil (Vitamin D)
1/4 tsp. baby vitamin drops if not nursing
1. In a blender, add 3 cups of filtered water and 1 cup hot or boiling filtered water. Add all ingredients except the probiotics, Vitamin D, and baby vitamins. Blend.
2. Add the probiotics, Vitamin D, and baby vitamins to 1 bottle per day.
3. Storage is the same as breast milk: Store in the refrigerator, and when pouring a bottle, only leave the bottle out at room temperature for a few hours. It should keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, and some people have had success in freezing it. When taking a large amount with you for the day, bring a mini cooler to keep it from spoiling. Some people like to take the dry ingredients, oils, and water separately with them and mix as they go. You will find your groove and what works for you!
Note: The original poster recommends storing it in a glass mason jar with a BPA-free lid. I use the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ blender, which comes with a 32-oz BPA-free cup. So I blend everything in that cup at night after he goes to bed and put it straight into the fridge, so it’s ready to go for the next day.