Really? DIY Baby Formula?

5 min read
Really? DIY Baby Formula?

Here is something you may not know about me – I love fermented food and am so passionate about it, I run classes here and there – teaching it to others. For forever and a day, I have been viewed by my pals as a bit of a mad scientist. I’m always bubbling things away and then feeding, generally probiotic goodness, to my family – which most people turn their nose up at the first few times. Then suddenly, Pete Evans and his crew turn up with their Paleo cook books and basic fermenting recipes and suddenly I am the new cool.
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Completely unexpected really.

But then, while I love people getting back to basics, making their own food and saving bundles of cash in the process. I worry about decisions people will make after news broke this week about a new Paleo cookbook for mums and bubs, including a recipe for ‘DIY Baby Formula.’

You know we love all things frugal here at Stay at Home Mum. But here – ‘DIY Baby Formula’ – is where I personally draw the line.

I’m not the only one who is worried, according to news reports this new ‘all natural’ trend of feeding a baby homemade infant formula instead of commercial formula has health officials concerned too. Dozens of recipes have appeared online recommending ingredients such as raw milk and bone broths as preferable substitutes for infant formula.

Charlotte Carr, who’s claim to fame is being married to 2008 Australian Idol winner Wes, runs the Bubba Yum Yum blog, where she says she could never give her baby commercial infant formula.

Charlotte and Wes Carr via Instagram


“How on earth could I go from breast milk to a powdered formula that included corn syrup in its lists of ingredients?” she wrote.

She revealed how she abandoned raw goat’s milk in favour of a homemade baby formula made from bone broth on the advice of her naturopath.

As reported by the Daily Telegraph, her recipe for “baby building broth” that she calls “home made formula” on her website, includes chicken feet, chicken necks, apple cider vinegar and filtered water. Vegetables and garlic are additional ingredients for babies over six months.

This isn’t quite enough information for the every day mum to make a call. I mean, her naturopath is involved, right? So she’s sought advice. What we aren’t told is if the baby is already a good eater at the time of switching to the bone broth in favour of commercial formula.

My kids are huge eaters. I never bothered with commercial formula. But I breastfed them all until they were about 14 months and couldn’t see the need.

And while it wasn’t in Charlotte Carr’s recipe, let’s just take the opportunity to point out she changed over to feeding her baby bone broth from a raw animal milk. Holy hector. You know why it is so hard to buy raw milk? Because it’s not safe for everyone to drink. When you see stories in the news about babies that die or become sick from raw milk, it is important to note that the person who gave it to them lied to someone about how they would use it, to get it.

My Mum tells a story about a young mother who gave birth to a baby the same week as I was born in a rural hospital in NSW. This mother feed her baby Sunshine milk instead of formula. In case you are not as old as me, Sunshine milk is ordinary powdered milk. We never knew what happened to the baby but everyone was horrified.

Surely. I MEAN SURELY. A better option than DIY Formula would be extended breastfeeding (given they were breastfed to 6 months) and drinking the bone broth yourself?

While Charlotte Carr’s recipe is a stock standard broth – chicken feet and all – broth is basically a stock, made from scratch left to set and used as a base for all meals. You’re probably bone broth-ing throughout winter without even realising it. The concern I have is not with people feeding their families broth, in fact I think that’s awesome, it’s that the broth has been printed in a book with the title ‘DIY Baby Formula’ and endorsed by a somewhat popular celebrity chef. And maybe this won’t influence your decisions or choices – but for some folks, maybe it will.

Why not explain what broth really does and drop the ‘DIY Baby Formula’? What if people get the wrong end of the stick and start to think this is a cheaper, better option?

Consultant paediatrician Dr Patricia McVeagh told the Daily Telegraph she had serious concerns about the trend of homemade formulas.

“Human infants are born immature compared with other mammals, and human milk is particularly adapted so their immature kidneys are not overloaded,” Dr McVeagh said. “Commercial infant formulas have put extensive research into mimicking that aspect of human milk.

“I would have major concerns about it meeting the micronutrient needs of an infant while not overloading their intestinal and renal systems.”

The Breast Feeding Association also said infant formula was the next best thing to breast milk as outlined by the WHO.

Repeated studies from as far back as 1934 comparing the nutritional content of bone broths to milk and human milk show calcium levels are “extremely low”.

Broths are great for when you’re low and need more energy, like just after having a baby, helping to line and support healing of inflamed gut linings or topping up depleted reserves of nutrients. They are also perfectly safe for your kids already eating food.

Pete Evans has visions where we are all drinking broth instead of coffee, while that may never be a reality, it’s important issues like this come to the surface for discussion.

What are your thoughts on Paleo diets for kids?

Follow me on Twitter @KrissyHax

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