Before I was a mama, I was an idealist. I thought I would never let my kids sleep in the bed with me, always make them cry it out, and of course breastfeed. The man-made commercial powdered formulas freaked me out as much as Pitocin and doctors with forcepts.
A great homebirth experience led to a horrific first month of breastfeeding – alarming baby weight loss, tube feeding, syringe feeding, cup feeding, pumping, taking everything from oats to fenugreek to fennel, lactation consultants, La Leche League, phone call to an expert in Israel, tears, tears, and more tears. I cried more than the baby, I think.
But I found an answer – an alternative to baby formula! And within a month, my baby became so healthy (and THICK!) that people began asking all the time, “What are you feeding this guy?”
Fresh goat milk formula. And breast milk.
The first 6 weeks of my baby’s life were the hardest and scariest of my life. When my 8lb 10oz baby weighed in at 6lbs7oz, I let go of my breastfeeding ideals and woke up to the reality that this baby needed to be FED! More! And now!
My midwife gave me the recipe of a homemade goat milk formula, and
I promptly ordered 14 ingredients, many of which I had never before heard of, carefully measured every day to make a blender of baby formula alternative, took coolers of ice when I traveled with bottles in the Texas heat, and kept all that up for over a year until I could switch my son to plain milk.
When I look at photos of my baby boy shrinking and scrawny, I feel sick and sad and want to just shake the memories out of my head and focus on something else. You would think that pushing an 8-and-a-half-pound baby out without drugs would be difficult, but it was honestly a breeze compared to my breastfeeding experience. There is nothing worse than a mom feeling like her baby is hungry, or that she is not capable to feed him.
The Perfect Supplement to Breastfeeding
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
I want to say to any moms out there struggling right now with breastfeeding – keep at it. Try everything. Try your diet. Try the experts. Try pumping. Try herbs. Try everything you possibly can, and keep at it as long as you possibly can. Every ounce counts. It absolutely will get better, and you will get through it.
I am proud to say that I did (kept at it and got through it). I nursed my son until he was almost three years old – let’s just call it a crazy way to make up for what he missed in his first three weeks!
Through all the hell, through supplementing with homemade goat milk formula, and fretting, and researching, and pumping three drops in a setting, and driving my husband nuts, I stuck with breastfeeding. No, I’ve never produced enough to feed him exclusively. But I’ve learned to balance my idealism with practicality, with whatever works for me as a mother, with the best I can do.
I’ve also learned not to judge other moms. Before when I would hear moms say, “Breastfeeding just didn’t work for me,” I would cringe with skepticism, thinking they just didn’t try hard enough or care enough or wimped out for whatever reason. Now I know. Things happen that are out of your control as a mother.
It turns out that my son had a rare type of tongue-tie which affected his ability to stick his little tongue out far enough to massage the breast properly and stimulate milk production. He could get a little, but it was never enough.
So I am very thankful to a mama goat named Sue, a milkmaid named Terri, and a midwife named Ginger for helping me feed my baby what I believe is nature’s next best thing to breastmilk for babies – goat milk.
My goal here is two-fold –
1) to encourage you to stick with breastfeeding and do whatever you can to make it work, even if it’s not full-time or exclusive – an under-publicized fact is that breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing – every little bit helps your baby, and
2) to offer a natural baby formula alternative that makes it easier for moms to give their babies homemade goat milk formula like I gave mine.
Goat Milk Mama’s Baby Formula Alternative means no measuring, no reordering, no remembering, no worrying. Just dump it all in the blender and go.
Research raw milk. Research nutritional components and ingredients of commercial formulas, raw goat’s milk formulas, cow’s milk formulas, all of your choices. Research without fear. You are the mama! You have the freedom, thank God, in this country, to choose what’s right for you and your family.
What’s right for my family was and is a combination of breastfeeding and homemade goat milk formula. I am sooo thankful that I didn’t have to compromise one of my ideals by feeding my baby something from a can.
May all the hungry babies in the world be fed, and may we do our part to help them. Goat Milk Mama donates a portion of our sales to feeding hungry babies.
Choose Your Milk (Wisely) –
1) Raw milk from a local farmer or natural grocery store. (Yes, raw means unpasteurized. Goat milk is the closest animal milk in protein composition to human breastmilk and keeping it raw keeps all the nutrients exactly in tact. Would you think about pasteurizing breastmilk?! Learn more about the benefits of raw milk here.
2) Pasteurized liquid goat milk available at some Walmarts, WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s.
3) Pasteurized powdered goat milk available online and at nutritional supply stores.
I listed them in order of preference for optimal nutrition and results. I have used all of them – raw most frequently, liquid pasteurized in a pinch, and powder for traveling, and my baby not only loves the raw most, but does the best with it as far as spitting up, weird poops, and gas. Especially, especially for infants 0-4 months I would recommend doing whatever you can to get the raw goat milk, as their little digestive systems need as natural as possible.
It is VERY important to closely monitor your child and if you have any concerns, either make a change to the recipe/formula using your own God-given common sense or ask a doctor/midwife or other professional. Most mainstream doctors will not be aware of the benefits of goat milk formula for babies, since it is just becoming popular in America.
If you are using this formula and seeing a doctor regularly with your baby be prepared to advocate for what you believe, and remember that YOU ARE THE MAMA! You have the right to do what you believe is best for your child. Once your doctor sees the nutrition facts and ingredients, he or she will find it easier to understand the amazing benefits of this natural baby formula alternative.