I’ve given birth to my babes naturally at home, practiced tandem and extended breastfeeding, made all of my babes’ food at home from scratch, remedied common ailments with essential oils and I love baby wearing (I mean, let’s be real – who doesn’t love having their sweet babes snuggled in close?!)
All of that is to say, like most every other mama I know, my kids’ health and well-being are of the utmost importance to me. I take my job very seriously and have always actively sought to do my best for them.
I was raised in an environment where breastfeeding was the norm – “breast is best” after all, right?? It always made logical sense to me – the female body was innately designed to create, carry, grow, birth and nourish new little lives.
So, barring extreme circumstances, there was no reason why breastfeeding wasn’t my obvious answer to the “how will I feed my baby” question.
Fast forward to the birth of my first daughter, when I was just 20 years old. After a 32-hour home labor and a transport to the ER for an emergency c-section where she arrived safely and NATURALLY only moments after arriving (nothing short of a miracle – more on her story later!) everything from that point on was a breeze.
She was the easiest, sweetest little babe and took to breastfeeding like a champ – well, when I could get her to wake up to eat, that is! Breastfeeding went beautifully for the first few months of her life. We had settled into a nice rhythm, the pair of us. And then, when she was just 4 months old, I found out I was pregnant again.
Things moved along as usual, and my daughter continued to nurse well, sleep well and maintain her sweet, happy disposition. But around 8 months old I began noticing that she seemed to be losing weight.
I closely monitored things, and within a few weeks realized that something needed to change. I’d planned to practice baby-led weaning and delay her introduction to solid foods until she had her first teeth (which did not arrive until after she’d turned 10 months old). But it had become clear that she wasn’t getting the nourishment she needed through exclusive breastfeeding.
We jumpstarted her introduction to solids and I nursed around the clock to boost my supply as much as possible. My deepest hope was that if I kept offering for her to nurse regularly, she would continue throughout the remainder of my pregnancy until her sister was born, at which point my milk would increase and then I could tandem nurse both babes.
I felt so strongly about nursing well into toddlerhood for optimum health that the idea of having to wean so early terrified me. Thankfully, she complied and we made it through. But not without a few tears and lots of nerves and frustration on my part!
When my second daughter was born, she had a more difficult time getting the hang of breastfeeding. I now realize it’s because all of my children have struggled with some degree of tongue or lip ties that affected their latch and nursing efficiency.
I was also trying to keep track of breast rotation and feeding times due to nursing them both, which was no easy feat to overcome! But eventually the three of us fell into a new rhythm and things progressed just fine.
When my oldest was 2-1/2 and my second-born was 16 months old, I was STILL nursing both of them when I found out I was expecting – again! I tried my hardest to continue nursing the girls, but somewhere around the 2 or 3 month mark I knew I needed a break.
Thankfully this wasn’t much of a challenge, but I remember feeling so torn up over the fact that I’d nursed my oldest daughter until she was nearly 3 and was cutting that amount of time in half for my second-born. It felt rotten, but I knew it would be too challenging to only wean one and not the other, and quite frankly – I was just ready for a break before the new baby was born!
When my third daughter arrived she struggled with similar breastfeeding issues as my second had. We continued on in the same fashion I always had previously, and we began introducing solids around 10 months old (shortly after she got her first teeth).
That summer we moved into a new house, and the week that we moved – my daughter stopped nursing, cold turkey! This little person had JUST started solids only a few weeks prior, and now she was deciding she wouldn’t nurse anymore?? NO!!!!!
I was devastated. If I thought weaning at 18 months was bad, weaning at 12 months was downright awful. I felt like a crunchy mom failure – and the worst part was that I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I could not control her free will.
The biggest challenge was figuring out what to feed her. After all the research I’d done, I really did not want to give her formula or cow’s milk. So instead I did my best to make up her nutritional requirements through high quality whole foods and smoothies. Again, we made it through, but it was an interesting eye opener for sure.
Skip ahead to my last baby. She nursed beautifully for the first few months of her life, gaining weight better than any of her sisters before her. Then, when she was around 5 or 6 months old, she decided she no longer like to nurse from the right side. How inconvenient!
So, we adjusted and moved to nursing exclusively from one side. You know what they say – when life hands you lemons (or boobs!) We continued on like this for a few months and she gained steadily until about 11 months old when her weight began heading in the other direction. Yikes, not again!
We had only just begun to introduce solid foods, so she would either need more breast milk OR a supplement – and she wasn’t ready to go gangbusters with solids just yet. What a quandary I found myself in – especially since she had never taken a bottle before!
Enter – the miracle manna nectar from heaven! Ok, I may be slightly exaggerating. But only slightly 😉
After desperately perusing all of my old resources and pouring through countless Pinterest articles about different methods of making your own formula, I found one that seemed to suit what I was looking for.
Rama from over at Freshly Grown had struggled with some breastfeeding challenges herself and set about creating a fantastic goat milk based homemade organic baby formula. She tested, and tested, and tested, ultimately having her daughter’s pediatrician sign off on the recipe – and her little one thrived on it.
After finding her recipe I remained cautiously optimistic that maybe, just maybe, I had found my answer – an answer I could live with! But I wasn’t sure if Isabel would take a bottle or not. I gathered the ingredients (everything except the gelatin because I didn’t have it readily available) and whipped up one small bottle to test it with.
After a nursing session, I brought the bottle out to try with baby girl, and what would you know – she straight GUZZLED that bottle! I couldn’t believe it – none of my other babies had taken to a bottle that well (granted, it had been months since I’d tried with her).
She absolutely LOVED the milk!
For several days following I fed her 4-6 ounces of goat milk formula AFTER each nursing session throughout the day, and she continued to drink like a champ. I had also started pumping in hopes of increasing my milk supply so we wouldn’t have to keep using the formula any more than necessary.
Alas, my attempts were in vain and about a month into supplementing with the formula, my baby decided she was done with nursing. Am I a bit sad that she, my last baby, decided to wean so early? Yes, absolutely yes.
It feels a little bittersweet. But she knows what she needs, she is getting what she needs, and we still get plenty of other snuggles in throughout the day. I am just so relieved to have found a fantastic alternative for keeping her well-nourished and that the whole process was just so seamless.
I’m incredibly thankful to Rama for sharing this recipe and am excited to share it with you in the hopes that it may help you or someone you know who may be going through a similar struggle.Check out this awesome healthy, homemade goat milk formula recipe! Click To Tweet
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PLEASE, if you have any friends or family who could benefit from reading this and possibly trying the homemade formula recipe, spread the word! I’d love to see this recipe get into the hands of as many families as possible that have been searching for an alternative to conventional formula when experiencing breastfeeding challenges.
**NOTE: After baby turns 1 year old Rama recommends to increase the formula to a full-strength goat milk mixture (no longer diluting it by half) and stop adding the maple syrup.
Where to Buy Your Ingredients
- 32 ounces filtered water
- 4 scoops of full-fat Meyenberg Goat Milk Powder
- 4 Tbsp raw organic sugar OR pure organic maple syrup
- 1 tsp. unsulphured organic blackstrap molasses
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 2 tsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp. powdered probiotics (I use Bio-Kult)
- 400 IU vitamin D drops
- 1/4 tsp. infant multivitamin drops (if not breastfeeding)
- 1/4 tsp. vitamin c powder
- Place 3 cups of filtered water and 1 cup of hot filtered water in blender.
- Add all remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed.
- Store up to 4 or 5 days in a glass container in the refrigerator.