For more information on whole baby foods formula, visit these links:
Recipes for Whole Baby Foods Formula
Homemade Baby Food Formula FAQ (on the Weston A. Price Foundation website)
By Sally Fallon Morell
The biggest concern parents have about making homemade formula is that it is based on raw milk which, according to medical orthodoxy, is a source of contamination and disease. The only possible way to protect our children, they say, is to be sure the milk is pasteurized.
The chart shown in the article Reported Outbreaks of Food Borne Illness was drawn up for a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vote on permitting raw milk in the County. (The vote was favorable, by the way, and raw milk is once again available in Los Angeles.) Except for a brief hiatus in 1990, raw milk has always been for sale commercially in California, usually in health food stores, although I can remember a period when it was even sold in grocery stores. Millions of people consumed commercial raw milk during that period and although the health department kept an eagle eye open for any possible evidence of harm, not a single incidence was reported. During the same period, there were many instances of contamination in pasteurized milk, some of which resulted in death. There have also been many instances of contamination of other foods, including baby formula. In fact, if we withdrew from the market every food type responsible for a case of food poisoning, there would be virtually nothing left to eat. But only raw milk has been singled out for general removal from the food supply.
Both raw and pasteurized milk harbor bacteria but the bacteria in raw milk is the healthy bacteria of lactic-acid fermentation while the bacteria in pasteurized milk is the bacteria of spoilage. And the overall bacteria count of milk produced under clean conditions is much lower than that of pasteurized milk. Both raw and pasteurized milk contain E. coli, normally a benign microorganism. The most likely source of the new strains of virulent E. coli is genetically engineered soy, fed to cows in large commercial dairies. If there is any type of milk likely to harbor these virulent breeds, it is commercial pasteurized milk.
Back in the days when scientists at our universities did real research, they compared the health of children fed raw or pasteurized milk. Children fed raw milk have more resistance to TB, scurvy, flu, diphtheria, pneumonia, asthma, allergic skin problems and tooth decay. In addition, their growth and calcium absorption was superior. (See: Abstracts on the Effect of Pasteurization on the Nutritional Value of Milk.)
Of course, as with all foods, raw milk must come from healthy cows and be carefully handled and stored. The same technology that we use to pasteurize our milk also allows us to keep raw milk fresh and clean. If you are buying directly from a farmer, be sure that the cows are mostly on pasture and that the barn is kept clean. The milk should go directly from the milking machine into a stainless steel tank or clean containers and be kept chilled. It should be used within a period of one week, after which it will begin to go sour (although it is not dangerous when it does so). With these precautions, raw milk is not only healthy but a safe food for all members of the family, even babies.
To find raw milk in your area, use our Real Milk Finder or contact your local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
This article appeared in the Fall 2001 edition of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
even if you put it in a formula is still going to be raw milk not to mention putting it in a formula only adds calories to the milk
I’m not quite sure of what you’re after here, but yes, the point of making a “raw milk formula” is that the milk in it is raw and remains raw, and we advocate that very strongly. Two, yes, likely the calorie total in the formula is higher than the total calories in an equivalent amount of raw milk alone. That’s not a problem.
Sally Fallon Morell had replied to a similar question thusly: “Yes, at age one, or even starting around age 8 months if the baby is mature enough, you can wean to straight raw cow’s milk. Sally”
My baby is one year old now and has cow milk allergy. I have stopped feeding him all the dairy products and soy and animal protein on doctors advice since the baby is 7 months old. Now, can I start giving him raw buffalo milk ? Have given him pasteurized buffalo milk for 2 days and I didn’t see any chronic reactions. Pls advice.
Sally Fallon Morrell says raw buffalo milk would be great for your baby.
My grandson is seven months old, he has symptoms and allergic reactions to proteins in whey formula and soy formula. for a better life, are there any options for him.
See our Recipes for Whole Foods Baby Formula. If raw cow or goat milk is not tolerated, try the liver formula. The Weston A. Price Foundation has testimonials from so many mothers who are grateful for these formula recipes, including some who raised babies exclusively on the liver formula because they had such sensitivities. These recipes can be life savers. Good luck!
Hello, have a quick question for anyone that can help;
I have just started feeding my 5 month old RAW Cow milk mixed with a teaspoon of cereal to add sweetness, I had been told by many different family members that it was the best switch–from breast milk– He now is having a bowel movement every time he eats it though…5 times today… Not sure if that is the change in diet or what but is this something I should worry about??
Response from Sally Fallon Morell: Five months is WAY to young to give cereal, and may account for the frequent bowel movements (although a bowel movement after each bottle of formula is normal). The milk should be sweetened with lactose, as per the formula recipe.–Sally
WIC still advises starting babies on rice cereal at 4-6 mos, but I was pleasantly surprised when my pediatrician recommended us NOT to use it. His recommendation was pureed vegetables, fruits, and meats. Perhaps mainstream medicine is beginning realizing how poor a recommendation starting babies on cereals is.
5 months is certainly not “WAY too young,” every baby is different and some babies are too hungry to satisfy with just breast milk or formula by the time they are as young as 4 months
It certainly is if you know anything about what Sally is trying to do by her nourishing traditions whole foods for babies. Grains are not digested easily by baby until at least 1 year of age and only then after they have been properly prepared by soaking them. Bone broths, meat broths, soft boiled egg yolk are great at 4 months, not cereal.
5 months definitely IS way too young to give a baby cereal, no matter how hungry! Babies don’t produce enough amylase to digest grains, so by giving a baby cereal you are potentially damaging the gut and causing allergies such as eczema which won’t manifest till later.
It was recommended by the pediatrician to add a little cereal to my grandson’s milk. It was recommended at age 3 months. Yes, I know you think that’s too young…however, there is a reason. He has a severe case of GERD, and has projectile vomiting after nearly every feeding. Mom can’t breastfeed, so baby was switched to formula. He can NOT tolerate regular formula, he is not only having issues with GERD, but is also lactose intolerant, and quite possibly allergic to cows milk. The doctor prescribed Neocate formula. While it did help some, it was not a big fix. Baby still has projectile vomiting and was really not gaining weight or growing. I am not impressed with any formula that has corn syrup as it’s main ingredient, although it is better than nothing. I am completely against soy in any form, any amount. Anyway, the cereal was suggested because it thickens the formula, and is easier to keep down since it’s thicker than just formula. We did end up switching to raw goats milk, and he is able to keep that down 90% of the time. However, it looks like raw goats milk alone is not good enough? Low in folic acid and vitamin b12. I will not do the raw liver. The liver functions to detoxify the body. It seems rather odd to add raw liver(full of whatever it detoxified) to a baby’s diet. So what else can be done to ensure baby is meeting his nutritional needs?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: If he is keeping the goat milk down without the cereal, then don’t add the cereal. You need to make the formula as given in the recipe. You can add powdered liver (from Radiant Life) rather than fresh liver if you want. The liver supplies B12, which will help the GERD. And liver should be baby’s first food. Most traditional cultures gave liver as a first food to babies, and your grandson especially needs it. See my book The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care.
I would pay a visit to the farm and take a look at the animals. Ask the farmers how they fed the cows, where does the cows’ food come from, how does they manage disease, how often do the cows get sick, etc. If I like the farm, I would feel comfortable drinking their milk. I would also try drinking the milk for a couple weeks to notice any effects in my body before feeding that milk to my baby.
I am a breadtfeeding mother of an 11 week old who has food sensitivity to egg, wheat, soy, and dairy. I know that raw milk is not processed so I was wondering if drink raw cows milk would he be sensitive to it as well?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: You will just have to try. Be sure the milk is full fat and from pastured cows. Start slowly–less than 1/4 cup, and build up. You should also be eating meat, liver, etc and hopefully you can tolerate butter.
I have nursed my kid for 17 months. She has had yogurt, cheese since turning one years old. I recently weaned her off and began giving her raw cow’s milk.
What I am curious to know, with your help, is is it normal for a child to develop a response to the cow’s milk? I assume its something new, new bacteria is being introduced, etc so naturally a response will happen, right?
I am also pregnant now, and on most days I still nurse her once a day in the early mornings just before she wakes up. I see that I have diarrhea (early in the pregnancy, and normal for me as I had the same thing happen before) and her poop is quite runny with her food not entirely broken down.
We are new to this diet, and to Weston Price Foundation.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Yes, sometimes there can be a reaction to cows milk, or to goats milk. Often is passes as baby gets used to it. But your baby at 17 months should be eating lots of other foods, not just dairy foods. Egg yolks and now whole eggs, liver, meat, vegetables with butter, fruit, etc. Also, it would be best for your next child to wean your child so your body does not have the stress of producing milk and building another baby.
I want to feed my baby raw milk formula, but I live in El Salvador and am a little uncertain about how to make sure the milk is safe. Does it matter if they give the cows an occasional vaccine? In the dry season, I believe they feed some kind of processed food to the cows, but for the most part they just graze. Is that okay? The people who own the cows are friends, so I can find out of they are clean about milking, but the cows really just pasture and I don’t think they even have barns. However, I do believe they use an injection every now and again. I will double check, but I am not sure what the conditions should be to make sure the milk is safe for my baby. Can you help me? My baby is 5months old and I am giving her the liver based formula right now, but I can only get dessicated liver since I can’t get organic here and I thought she might do well on the cow’s milk if I can get a safe source.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: The occasional injection and feed for the cows is fine. Try the raw cow milk formula and see how your baby does.
Hi my baby is 9 weeks old and needs to come off cows milk as it has flared up his eczema. I started him on shop brought goats milk semi skimmed I mix 3 ounces of milk with 1 ounce of water. Is this what I should be doing? Is shop brought pasteurised goats milk as good as raw farm brought goats milk? Am I supposed to mix the milk with water? And should I be buying full fat milk?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: You need to use RAW goat milk, not pasteurized or powdered. If you can’t get raw goat milk, use the liver-based formula.
Webmaster adds: And yes, you should always use full-fat milk, never reduced fat or skimmed.
At what actual age is it recommended to give straight raw milk? Cannot seem to find any specific age listing? Is it safe to assume just the 1 yr rule ?
Hi there. Have you got guidelines for the best way to milk in a sanitary/safe way? We have goats – we milk 2 of them currently. I wash their udders with a bleach/detergent mix (per Fiasco), into a sterlized (in the dishwasher), stainless steel milk bowl. That’s then transferred to a sterilized glass mason jar and when done, everything goes directly into the fridge. And if this is ok, is it safe enough for an infant to drink? Thanks so much.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: This sound fine although I would not wash the udders with bleach or detergent. Just rinse them with warm water, dry and then dip the teats in iodine teat dip. I would pour the milk through a strainer into the mason jars.
I am beginning to wean my 14 month old from breast milk to raw goat milk. I ‘d like to know if it’s best to make the formula with the goat milk or is it good to give the raw goat milk diluted with either breast milk or water? I’ve read that goat milk is high in sodium and it caused death of a child because it wasn’t being diluted. Also can anyone recommend a good source of b12 and folic acid supplements. Goat milk is also low in these two things.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: At 14 months, you do not need to make the formula. Just give raw cows milk or goat milk–try cows milk first as that is more nutritious and less likely to cause constipation.
My daughter is having trouble with milk production viabreast pump after she returned to work. My grandson doesnt do well on baby formula and had the hardest time with an organic variety. I am a raw milk drinker and big supporter myself. Is it okay for a 3 month old to consume the raw milk formula?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Yes, we have had babies on the formula from a very early age, even two weeks.
How do I get this recipe for this raw milk formula my grandson is 2 months and since birth has had problems with formula we’ve tried him on every type of baby formula on the market and he still cannot hold it down he has acid reflux real bad he’s very fussy can anyone help
The words “homemade formula” in the first line of this article are a link to the recipe, https://www.realmilk.com/how-to/recipes-for-whole-foods-baby-formula/
My daughter just had a baby and is having trouble breastfeeding. They can’t afford all the ingredients in the homemade formula but really don’t want to use commercial formula. Could they try raw milk alone?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: I would use the ingredients for the first few months at least. The lactose and cod liver oil are the most important. Maybe this is something that Mom can purchase for her?? In any event, we have done estimates and the homemade formula with all the ingredients actually costs less than formula.
So they could use just the raw milk and not the formula?
I have a 2 month old and my breast milk supply is running low, I was curious if it was safe to start feeding my two month old raw cow milk? I didn’t know if there was a certain age they had to be before you tried that
Sally Fallon Morell replies: It is safe to use the raw cows milk formula, but not straight raw cow’s milk–wait until baby is 8-9 months before giving straight raw cow’s milk.
Can I feed raw goats milk to a almost 4 week old baby? I have been strictly breastfeeding up until now, since I’m not making enough milk, I am having to supplement an am wondering the benefits an if I can even feed him goats milk.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: You need to make the formula. Try first with raw cows milk because that formula is simpler to make. If you use raw goat milk, you need to add liver so the baby has enough B12 and folate. It is VERY dangerous to give a small baby just goat milk, he could die from folate deficiency.
Please cite your source for deaths attributed to lack of folate for infants drinking goat milk.
Sally Fallon Morell replies:
These are reports of megaloblastic anemia from goat milk–no fatalities mentioned but this kind of anemia can be fatal. I personally know of a child who almost died on only goat milk. Sally
My baby is 9.5 months old and I have been giving her a little straight raw cows milk for about a month. I also nurse part time and she eats some solid foods as well. Will she get enough nutrition if I give her the cows milk and wean from nursing? Planning to do that here in the next few weeks, if so. Thanks!
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Fine to use regular cows milk at her age, especially as she is also getting breast milk and solid foods.
My exclusively breastfed baby is 6 months old. He is really interested in food and I have given him some sweet potato and avocado. We get raw greek yogurt, that is DELICIOUS, and he always wants some but I wasnt sure if it was safe since I’ve heard you should wait to give yogurt until at least one, is this true?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Yogurt is fine to give, but mostly he needs animal foods like pureed liver, pureed meat and egg yolks.Sweet potato is not appropriate, as baby cannot convert the carotenes. Any vegetables you do give should be cooked, pureed and with butter or cream added. See The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care for more detailed instructions.
I’m planning to start giving my 15 month old child raw cow’s milk. She is eating pasteurized cows and goats milk and does well on it. How can I introduce raw cows milk? With what amount should I start per day? And how can I warm it up to keep all good bacteria in the milk? Should my daughter drink it cold?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Start with just 1/4 cup at room temperature and gradually increase until you have replaced the pasteurized milk with raw milk.
Hi, I have heard that raw milk needs to be boiled before giving to 1 year old babies. Is it true? Or is raw milk straight from the farm safe for the baby to drink?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: When you boil the milk, you destroy the many health-giving properties.
Hi! We have been giving our 6 1/2 month old the raw milk formula for about 2 weeks now and she has developed cream colored stools over the most two days. I have read this can mean too much cows milk… Are we doing something wrong?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Cream or light yellow is the right color for a baby on breast milk or raw milk formula.
children under six months old Milka What he needs ?
well, I apparently have messed up. Finding all the ingredients for the formula is over whelming & I don’t have any fresh liver yet & can’t bring myself to buy store bought.
So 4 month old baby has been drinking formula since birth & cereal was added at 3 months because he was hungry all the time even though he was drinking 8 oz bottles.
He’s a big boy.
Can I undo all the gmo formula & cereal damage that I may have caused or do you think that he will be fine if I switch soon.
Our family does drinks raw milk but I get free formula with WIC but I have huge convictions over this as I know store bought formula is junk.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: If he is a big boy, probably by 6 months you can change him to raw, whole milk. Meanwhile, you can start giving him purees of liver, meat, vegetables with butter and egg yolks.
I have an 8 month old baby exclusively breast fed on demand but eating finger food. Thinking to wean onto cows and goats milk at 12 months.is it ok to interchange with one day cows and one day goat and how much and how often should it be done?. Should I just wait for the baby signs like rooting at breast?
Sent from my iPhone
Sally Fallon Morell replies: It’s a good time to begin making the change. And, by the way, baby should be given purees–liver, meat, vegetables with butter, egg yolks.
Hi, I have an 11 1/2 month old that I am currently weaning off of formula, she was breastfed with supplementation up until 7 months. I really want to give her raw cow’s milk instead of the pasteurized whole milk her pediatrician suggests. However, I am deathly nervous because of the horror stories out there associated with young children and raw milk. I just recently started drinking raw milk myself and can’t imagine going back to pasteurized, let alone give it to my daughter, so I am extremely conflicted. I have been buying our milk from a small Amish store here in rural southern Illinois. They only have one cow and she is grass-fed and lives mostly out on the pasture (as far as I know). They do no testing of the milk or the cow, but they and all of their children drink the milk themselves. The women don’t seem to wear shoes, and walk barefoot throughout the store so that makes me uneasy about sanitation habits they might have. Though I have directly asked her if they strive to keep the milk clean and cool and clean the udders and she told me they do and she wouldn’t hesitate to give the milk to her 1 year old, but that their and children are used to the bacteria on the farm so it may be different. She says that the horror stories about raw milk come from inner city children who have sterile environments and guts and cannot handle the milk. I’m not exactly convinced that’s how it works, and I don’t want to take her word for it because they aren’t educated on the sciences of the milk and disease, but obviously they are doing something right because she says no one has been sick from their milk. This is obviously not a new practice to them. My question is, based on this information, do you think that it is safe milk source to give to my daughter. I feel like they do know what they are doing, I just need some reassurance from someone educated on the subject before I will feel comfortable giving it to my sweet girl, she is my whole world. I could never live with myself is something happened to her. Hoping for a reply soon!
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Actually, I don’t know of any horror stories involving raw milk and children–transitory illness, yes, but nothing proven that has been serious. Raw milk will protect your child from really life-threatening diseases like asthma. If you are nervous about this source, find another–there are many in Illinois. But by all means, give your baby raw whole milk, it is the best food for her optimal development–both mental and physical.
I’m researching the safety of raw milk. I understand the health benefits but also want to be sure of what risks are involved as well. I’m considering feeding my 1 year old raw goat or sheeps milk as it is proven to be more digestible. I ran across this article though which is eye opening and I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the risk. I would love more information. I feel this is a very political matter on both sides. I just want the facts.
My baby is 9 months and I ran out of my breast milk. I nursed him up until now. I started him on fresh goats milk and am adding vitamins and giving him DHA daily. Anyone ever take it given their babies goats milk ? I give him meyenbergs goats milk. He seems to be doing well.
Sally Fallon Morell replies: The goat milk should be raw. We do not recommend the DHA, but give him cod liver oil instead. He should also be getting pureed liver and egg yolk.
For a 8 1/2 old baby needing to gain more weight could put 3 cups of raw milk and 1 cup water and all other ingredients minus yeast, sunflower oil ?
Sally Fallon Morell replies: Probably you can just do the raw milk without additives except for possibly extra cream. At 8.5 months, baby need to be eating a variety of solid foods, including egg yolks and pureed liver.
My milk supply is struggling and my exclusively breastfed five month old’s weight is stagnant. I’d like to maintain what milk supply I do have and nurse as long as I can, but I would also like to supplement with raw milk. Can I supplement with just raw milk (with additional cream) or do I need to make the raw milk formula at this age? I wish I didn’t have to buy all of the extra ingredients if not necessary.