Looking for Alternative to Infant Formula

Updated on October 23, 2006
S.H. asks from Chicago, IL
21 answers

Hello. I am the parent of a baby that was 3 months premature. She is just over two months old (adjusted age) and is about 5 months old chronologically. She was in the hospital for 4 months and my milk dried up while she was there. I have tried relactating without success. I have heard that there are other options to store brand formulas out there (i.e. homemade), but would like to know if anyone has actually tried them. The ones I've seen call for unpasteurized milk which makes me a bit nervous since she is very suceptible to infection / illness. Please let me know if you know of and or have tried any natural formula recipies. Also, I am considering adding some pharmaceutical grade fish oil to her standard formula - has anyone done this with their baby?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. I am going to talk with my pediatrician regarding some of these ideas (milk banks, other formula options, etc).

Here's a little more of the story if you are interested regarding my experience nursing (it seemed some people were curious). I was able to nurse Isabella (by pumping milk) for a while (she was only feeding through a tube at the time), but my milk supply was always low and, with being back at work, it dried up. We tried fenugreek and reglan to increase my milk supply. Unfortunately, the fenugreek didn't work and reglan made me feel awful. After she came home, I tried pumping again and taking the reglan to relactate. Once again I had a bad experience with reglan (I wasn't able to sleep at all).

While I am unhappy that I won't be able to breastfeed, I realized from some of these responses that I am still feeling guilty about not being able to carry my baby to term and give her everything I intended. Thanks for helping me to see that - it is something I need to work on for myself and for my daughter.

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.O.

answers from Chicago on

Several people mentioned lactation consultants. I have used Janet Talmadge in Naperville. www.lactationinnovation.com

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.W.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S., I'm not sure what your motivation is for wanting to make your own formula--cost? chemicals (mentioned by others?) specific allergy to something? If it's jsut wanting something more "natural," I know that Similac and apparently also a WalMart's generic brand (don;t worry b/c the government regulate s the ingredients of formula so generic is no worse than brand name) both make organic varieties. I woudl be EXTREMELY WARY of making my own formula at home. THere are jsut too many things you coudl mess up, nto to mention, really, the time that goes into making such a concotion every day woudl be better spent with your babies! As for the worrying though I totally hear you, I breastfed my son for the first 4 months but after a month of pumping while at work to keep him fed during the day, my milk production wasn't keeping up with him--no matter how often I pumped, I never got any more ounces. I started supplementing with formula at 4 months and then switched him over completely to formula at 4 and a half. It was ahrd at first, with all the propaganda out there to make us feel guilty about not breastfeeding for whatever reasons (and you certainly have a stellar one), being made to feel liek formula was feeding him "junk food." But I did some research and yes, though I still believe "breast is best," there are new studies comign out every day that not all the rhetoric is true. I woudl still choose to breastfeed as long as possible if I had another child, but I no longer beleive that formula is as bad as many woudl have you believe. My son hd reflux and digestive issues a lot as a small baby so I was relaly worried about the transition, but he's done fine and is growing great and did not become overweight as I was scared he would from formula. He's doing great. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up about not being able to continue to nurse.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.

answers from Chicago on

Talk to your doctor before you make this decision. Unpasteurized dairy is a bad idea for babies, especially a preemie. You will get more nutrients in a gentler form from formula.

As far as the "formula is full of chemicals" comment, that is uninformed and emotionally charged. Everything is full of chemicals. Breastmilk, cow's milk, formula, soda, juice, your vitamins, heck, even water. Our society is so paranoid about the word "chemical" they throw it around every time they want to discredit something - just like a cuss word.

You did what you could to nurse your child, and it didn't work. I've been there. Don't beat yourself up because of it, and certainly don't risk your child's health attempting to find something "natural." If you're so inclined, Similac makes an organic formula. The pharmaceutical companies that make formula started where our grandmothers did - with milk, sugars, and oils. They've spent a long time tweaking the recipe to make it safer. _It is not perfect_, but you've got a much better chance with the commercially manufactured stuff than you do with your own unpasteurized version.

When I was feeling bad about needing formula for my baby, my mom said something that still sticks in my mind: Put your baby, not your guilt, first.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.P.

answers from Chicago on

Hi,
My grandmother was unable to nurse any of her children and thought I would have the same problem especially since I have twins. So, she bought me all of the items needed to make the homemade formula. I told her I refused to use unpasturized milk and she said that you can buy pasturized but not homogenized milk at a health food store and use that.

Well, I never did use any of the ingredients that she bought. I'm in the process of moving out of my current home. I noticed that so far the sunflower oil that I got (which was never opened) has expired (says best if used by 04/06) not sure if it is still "good" since it hasn't been opened. I will check the rest of the stuff I got to see what is still good.
If you are interested email me at [email protected]____.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.H.

answers from Missoula on

Hi S.,
I agree with some of the other advice in contacting a lactation consultant if you are trying to relactate, they should be able to help you if you are up to it. If you are planning to bottle feed now, she needs a higher calorie premature formula-both enfamil and similac make them. Neosure and enfacare are what they are called. I too would be cautious with homemade formula, check with you ped to see if any of the homemade stuff is recommended for preemies. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.U.

answers from Chicago on

There are plenty of special formulas that are made specifically for premature babies, you should look for recommendations from your doctor....and you probably will have to get the formula from a home medical company. GOOD LUCK!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

Y.

answers from Chicago on

I am not sure why you do not want store brand formulas but in case you change your mind Carnation Good Start is very gentle on them and breaks down better than other brands. Plus it is a little cheaper. Much, much less spiiting up with this vs. other brands.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.M.

answers from Chicago on

I know you want a natural formula, but if you can't find one or it is too expensive, you can use a fomula by Enfamil for pre-mature babies.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.

answers from Chicago on

Have you looked into Milk Banks? I looked it up on the internet a few months ago and found that it can be very expensive (like 3.75/oz), but perhaps you get get insurance to cover it. You will need a perscription from your doctor. They screen the dontating mothers, pasturize the milk, culture samples for quality/safety, freeze it and ship it to you. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hello I have a son that was 3 month premature last year..we gave him enfamil (the high calorie)prematurity milk then we had to switch to enfamil prosobee now he is on enfamil next step. How has your journey been with your daughter if you don't mind me asking?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.

answers from Chicago on

S., Have you tried contacting the Le Leche League? They would be a great resource in ways to, perhaps, re-stimulate your milk production. Also, there are hospital- run "milk banks" where you actually buy breast milk (obviously, checked, and put through a rigorous process). It's very expensive, like $3/oz. Some insurances pay for it, if there is a medical need- you do need a doctor's prescription to get it. Also, why would you not want to use a well-known brand of infant formula- one recommended by your doctor? doctors in the hospital? I do think it would be dangerous to add fish oil to
any formula? If it were that beneficial and needed by infants, it would be in all baby formula. Consider waiting until they are older and add it then, if your doctor thinks its a good idea, or most importantly, safe. Another thing, I had a friend who had triplets prematurely and utilized internet support groups who offered advice on her babies. There are all kinds of support websites out there where you could get advice; also, call Lake Forest hospital- bet they
also would have some resources for you. Best of luck, S.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,
I'm also a mom of a 28 weeker and just wanted to lend my support. I can tell from your question that you know breast milk is best especially for preemies. I'm curious as to what you tried to relactate? And how long ago your milk "dried up" - were you pumping/trying to nurse in the NICU? I had GREAT success building milk supply with herbs such as fenugreek and "dry" pumping. Some OB's also advocate the use of Reglan (which is a reflux med, you're babe may have actually been on this in the NICU) it's an off label use but it cause milk production - I've read of adoptive mom's using this so that they can nurse their adopted babe. I'd also suggest contacting your local La Leche League for support and more info. I heard some suggest using donated/banked milk which is also an excellent idea. You should have no problem getting a presciption due to prematurity.

I don't know the first thing about formula, but if you have to use I'd be sure to use organic especially if you're using a cow's milk based formula- I've heard that Earth's Best Organic is good.

Good luck and I hope you and your baby continue to do well!
A.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.

answers from Chicago on

I have heard great things about goat's milk as well. Worth checking out if you are looking for alternatives. Check out the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally O'Fallon as well. I believe she has a section on feeding babies.

All the best to you and congrats on a healthy baby girl!

Warmly-
A.
http://www.familymemoriesalive.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.

answers from Chicago on

Are you worried about commercial formulas? I guess the only thing I could say is that we used them and felt really good about our choices.

If you are REALLY amibitious (which it sounds like you are!) then making your own formula should be done under the guidance of a medical professional. Quite honestly, I would worry about experimenting in my own kitchen!

Good luck to you and your precious baby!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.S.

answers from Chicago on

It must feel so good to have your Daughter home with you, I remember how great it was when I got to bring my premies home. (One born at 30 weeks and was in the NICU for 3 months and 1 day, One born at 35 weeks and home in a few days, With both leaving without them was so hard.) Let us know how things are going. I don't know if your daughter has any long term things going on but if so Let me know and I will help you with resourse.
~S.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,

You mentioned that you tried relactating without success. I did relactate when my daughter was nine months old and was able to produce about 10oz of breastmilk a day. If I had pumped more, I probably would have been able to produce more breastmilk. I did take a prescription medication called Domperidone (Motilium) which is used to treat acid reflux. As a side-effect, it causes lactation. Reglan, the drug commonly available, has some scary side-effects, however motilium doesn't really have any side-effects. I also took Blessed Thistle, and Fenugreek herbs. I used a hospital grade pump four times a day and as mentioned above, I experienced success.

You may want to try this approach. I also found a lot of good information on a website called asklenore.com. Dr. Jack Newman is also a good resource. You can google his name and get to his website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
[email protected]____.com
Good Luck,
M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi Suzanne- Why do you want an alternative to the store brand? Do you feel it is not good for your daughter? I am sorry your milk dried up and you could not re-lactate. I ended up not breastfeeding my daughter after she was born b/c she was in the NICU for a few days and we got off to a rocky start breastfeeding. I do know that there is organic baby formula as well as milk banks where you can buy breast milk. However, with the second option you really do not know what the lactating mother is ingesting.
If you feel guilty in some way about formula feeding your daughter don't. There is a terrible amount of preassure out there to breastfeed and it is not always possible.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from Chicago on

Suzanne,
I would not experiment with homemade formula for a baby who was premature and still is so young. It is not safe.
Do you know about Earth's Best Baby food? They make 2 organic infant formulas--dairy based and soy based. www.earthsbest.com. It probably contains the fish oil compounds already, too. Goat milk will be ok later. Now, your baby needs the special ingredients in the formulas for healthy development. Good luck.
Amy

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.G.

answers from Chicago on

Have you inquired to your pediatrican and found out what is available for your baby.

I dont know about the unpasterized and all the new things out there but the Pediatrican would be the one that I would talk to first on this issue.

J.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.S.

answers from Chicago on

This breastfeeding vs. formula always seems to bring up quite a heated discussion. Before I start I will admit to being a breastfeeding mother. I just was wondering if you had a lactation consultant or LeLeche help with the relactation process. It could be you did not get sufficient assistance with this. If this is what you prefer there are resources out there and it is possible. Could it be you did not speak to the right ppl? I wish you lots of luck and kudos to you for trying to breastfeed. Whatever you do , its the love a baby gets from its mother that does the most for its development. Congratulations! Enjoy motherhood!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.G.

answers from Chicago on

There are some recipes for goats milk formulas out there. I haven't tried them personally, but from my research, goat's milk is closer to human milk than cow's milk and has a better balance of nutrients. I know there is a recipe at www.drsears.com . Whole foods has Goat's Milk for not too bad of a price, and cheaper than formula:) It would be a good way to avoid all the chemicals in formula. Good luck!

**Just wanted to edit to add that formula is "full of chemicals" is not what I said. I assumed may want to avoid the chemicals in formula, which is reasonable. The first ingredient in formula is modified corn syrup. As with all vitamin supplements and fortified things it far better to get it from a natural source than an engineered one. The body absorbs things more efficiently when they are in an unprocessed state. As I mentioned, goat's milk is nutritionally closer to human milk than cow's milk- in fact in many other countries young children drink goat's milk for that reason.

I think it's wonderful that you were able to breastfeed your daughter for any amount of time in the NICU, that is tough! Keeping supply up while pumping and nursing a preemie is hard for even the most dedicated mom, sounds like you did your very best. And trying to relactate on top of that! You should feed your baby whatever you feel comfortable with and not feel any guilt.

By the way, the formula recipe I suggested is made from *pasteurized* goat's milk. Also, in case there is any doubt in my motives, both of my children have been mostly (store-bought) formula fed. My son is allergic to cow's milk and soy so I have had to look for some creative solutions to meet his needs. Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches