Homemade baby formula is a loaded topic these days – the FDA goes so far as to caution against it, but there are homemade baby formula advocates who tout its superior nutritional value.

First things first. If you’re contemplating making your own formula, I assume breastfeeding wasn’t successful for you. That, in and of itself, can be a difficult challenge to bear, particularly because you might feel judged from the breastfeeding mommas around you. But though you weren’t able to breastfeed, you still want to give your baby the best nutrition available. Enter the homemade baby formula debate.

Those who recommend making your own baby formula say that commercial formulas are highly processed, contain toxins like bisphenol A (the ones stored in cans, that is), and are formulated from synthetic vitamins that are not easily absorbed. And who can forget the great Similac scare of 2010 – when Abbott Laboratories recalled thousands of containers of Similac formula made in a Michigan factory found to be contaminated with beetles and their larvae – ew.

It is for these reasons that some recommend making your own baby formula. The process is detailed on the Weston A. Price Foundation website; you can watch this how-to video showing the steps to follow. It involves starting with a base of raw milk and then adding various vitamins and minerals from natural sources. There’s a liver-based recipe detailed as well.

The main problem that many have with making your own baby formula (unlike making your own baby food) is that the recipe’s primary ingredient is raw milk – that is, milk that comes straight from a goat or a cow without being pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process in which raw milk is heated and then cooled very quickly, effectively killing any bacteria. An article published in Pediatrics (a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) last year cautioned against giving raw milk to babies, pregnant, or breastfeeding women. "Contamination during milking or storage or milking from cows that may be diseased, exposes the consumer to severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and still births in pregnant women, meningitis and blood infections in both young infants and pregnant women," Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, one of the lead authors of the AAP statement, told Reuters Health.

Still, there are many who believe that the benefits of drinking raw milk outweigh the risks, and that the risks are actually far overstated. Chris Kresser, a highly regarded integrative medicine practitioner and blogger, wrote a detailed article about the topic in which he outlines all the facts regarding raw milk, its many benefits, and how to procure yours from a safe and reliable source.

No matter which side of the fence you fall on, most agree that a young baby’s immune system is more susceptible to disease than an adult, and extra care should be taken when choosing your baby’s preferred form of sustenance for his first year of life.

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