Updated: Jun 7, 2019
The healthiest option I found for my family, and we want to share it with you!
With all the ingredients in baby formulas today, how do we know which is safest for their little digestive system and how can we change the game to create something plant-based, simple, clean, and non-toxic?
When I was pregnant with my first, I knew nothing about formula. I knew breast was best, but had no idea why. I was not told either, not by my ob gyn or family and friends. When I decided to go with a midwife she briefly touched on the subject, insisting I breastfeed if my milk came in and reminding me that this is what nature intended. Since that felt right with me, I didn't question it. But no one told me about the struggles of breastfeeding. No one said, "Hey, it can be hard, there may be struggles, so look into some formula options". Instead, I would receive random formula samples and coupons from different brands in the mail or at my ob gyn appointments (even some hospitals send you home with a bunch of samples from the brands that use them in their marketing schemes).
Since I was so new to the game, I saved those samples and didn't even think to look into their ingredients and company integrity. I was just starting my journey into motherhood and a healthier lifestyle. Organic, non-GMO, plant-based- these were all terms I was still playing around with. I never even thought to look into an organic formula, especially since I thought I was going to strictly breastfeed. Boy was I wrong, a few days in as a mom and my nipples were cracked, sore and bleeding. I would cry while breastfeeding. I stopped feeding from one side and of course, got mastitis which led to more pain and eventually a desperate visit to a La Leche League group (solution: feed baby on all fours, gravity helps drain the milk ducts...worked great for me!). I knew I had to give in to formula while I healed and pumped. I also knew it was good for my husband to bond with our son while he fed him. Looking back, I joke with him about how dramatic I was about giving in to formula-- and how my fear wasn't in the what the ingredients were of the brand we used, where it should have been!
Fast forward 6 years and 2 more babies later, I am standing in my kitchen after spending nearly half an hour on the internet looking for a vegan, organic formula that doesn't contain palm oil, canola oil or GMO soy, and shuffling through my pantry to find ingredients that could possibly work as a plant-based version of the stuff on the market. Actually, I should really be giving all the credit to my husband, since he's the one that created the first batch. He googled some vegan baby formulas (homemade and store bought) and played around with their ingredients. We have since revised the ingredients some more and found what works for us and our growing babe! Even though I do recommend breastfeeding over formula, like I so quickly learned, that isn't always an option. So, I would love for you guys to try this out and feel free to also adjust the ingredients to what works best for you and your family. I would also recommend speaking with your child's pediatrician first, especially if there is an underlying digestive issue or autoimmune issue.
When it comes to mothering, especially in breastfeeding, I am a big believer in what is best for mom, is best for baby.
I would never want a mother to feel like she isn't enough because she can't breastfeed. I do find it important though, to educate new moms on the options they have when giving their babies the healthiest formula possible. The majority of the baby formulas on the market are made with ingredients that aren't easy on such a delicate digestive system. They have synthetic vitamins, GMO ingredients, hormone filled milk, and unhealthy oils. The more I research on the sources of these ingredients the more upset I become and not everything is transparent, so you have to really dig (and that leaves me skeptical). I also never understood why it wasn't okay to give a baby under 1yo cow milk, but every formula I see is made with evaporated cow milk, even for infants under 1yo.
I did find a few brands though that offer an organic baby formula and even a plant based one. These are great because they give you the convenience of the powder formula but are a MUCH better option compared to whats on the market. Some of those include Earth's Best, Baby's Only, and some pretty amazing brands in Europe (since they already have more plant-based formulas there) like this one from France, Premiriz! I personally have Earth's Best in the pantry for easy access and convenience for my husband and family when I am not around and there is no pumped milk in the fridge. Otherwise, we make the homemade version I'll be sharing here.
I can't stress enough the importance of an infants diet and how it affects so much of their life. While it is crucial they get all the vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, proteins, and amino acids (etc.) into their diet, it is also just as important to avoid certain things that can lead to a number of intolerances, allergies, and digestive diseases. Their digestive and immune systems (which go hand in hand) are still immature and need the best of the best resources for optimal growth and maturity. Unfortunately, you can't get that from ingredients derived from a lab, that are sprayed with pesticides or genetically modified, and/or have added hormones like most milks do. Don't get me wrong, the human body is incredibly adaptable and resilient. However, you want to lay the foundation for their bodies to thrive and you cant do that with the ingredients mentioned above. This is why I have taken it into my own hands this time around for our little Luna. I know exactly where the ingredients are coming from (brands that I trust), I know exactly how much of each ingredient I allow in the recipe, and have the best quality for her growth.
The ingredients we chose are all full of the vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins needed for baby's growth. These are carefully chosen in their most pure form possible, avoiding any synthetic versions.
Note- If you would like a more in depth explanation of what eat ingredient provides and does, please let me know in the comments and I will update this post😊
Vegan Baby Formula
For babies 6mos + up
Makes approximately 20oz
Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 48 hours
2 cups of homemade nut milk (almond, walnut, macadamia, or cashew)
1/2 cup of nuts soaked in filtered water overnight (drain and discard water)
2 cups of water
Blend and strain in nut milk bag or cheese cloth
Refrigerate for up to 72 hrs
1/2 cup of organic coconut water (we like this brand here)
1 tbs of organic extra virgin coconut oil, unrefined and cold pressed
1 tsp of Spirulina (our go to brand is this one)
2mL of vegan, infant DHA (I recommend Nordic Naturals)
1 tsp of Nutritional Yeast (we use Bragg)
1 tbs of date syrup (we use Just Date Syrup)
*For added bonus we sometimes add Philosphie's superfood powders or butters! We love how clean and straight forward their products are. Theres no added bullsh*t and everything is sourced from the best!
Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender and serve in bottle or sippy cup. The rest can be put in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Fell free to chug some yourself for some delicious superfoods.
This homemade formula may not be the most convenient form, but it certainly is clean (free of toxins) and healthy! Our baby Luna loves how it tastes and even though she is mainly breastfed, i prefer making her this formula over feeding her any other form available.
I would recommend this formula for babies 6 months and older, however, I know that many moms need a formula from the moment baby is born. This is why I would check with your family doctor or pediatrician if you can give this recipe to your newborn. If not, and if you are okay with the idea, there is a milk bank dedicated to helping moms who cannot produce breast milk called HMBANA.
I really hope this helps another mom out there make the better decision for their babe! Let me know if you've tried it and leave any question for me in the comments!
I am not a doctor or nutritionist, nor do I specialize in pediatric care. Please check with your doctor before trying any new supplement. I am only sharing what I have found is best for me and my family.