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Home Ec: Make your own dairy-free milk formulas for infants, toddlers, children

Are you looking for a dairy-free or milk-protein-free milk substitute or infant formula?

Maela with bottle from Green Mama website

First, please remember that it is extremely rare that a baby would be lactose sensitive or allergic. Breast milk is made up largely of lactose and baby’s are designed to consume breastmilk. There is a genetic condition that does occur that makes a baby unable to digest lactose. This is a test that all babies in North America born with a midwife or in a hospital receive and you will know your child has it. (It is also possible, some even say probably, that your older child could develop lactose intolerance. )

It is, however, possible that your baby might be intolerant to the proteins found in cow (or even goat) milk. Yes the very milk used in making most baby formulas or, even, passed through the mom’s breastmilk. If this is the case and you are breastfeeding, mom can cut out dairy in part or in whole and see if it helps. If formula-feeding, then it is far better (in my opinion) to make your own formula than to feed a child soy formula. As for older children, these recipes can be used with them as well.

Here are a couple of recipes to help in these cases.

First, let me say that if you are dealing with any sort of food sensitivity or allergy in your family (whether that is known or just suspected) there is ONE book I recommend over all others and that is Cure Your Child with Food: The Hidden Connection Between Nutrition and Childhood Ailments by Kelly Dorfman. It reads like a detective novel and will leave you feeling empowered to deal with picky eating; small and severe mood symptoms caused by diet (and many, perhaps most, are); and being the nutrition expert in your own family.

Second, I believe all families MUST have the book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon. This is a guidebook for learning to follow the traditional wisdom of our ancestors while proving the sense of it all with current science. In it you will also find everything you need for feeding your family healthy (as long as you aren’t a strict vegetarian) including recipes for making your own infant formula, etc.

My preference is to use high quality animal products and more traditionally available foods. Thus, I would recommend trying the Nourishing Traditions recipe first (unless your baby  is indeed suffering from a genetic condition forcing you to avoid lactose). Read more about the Nourishing Traditions approach to feeding babies here. If you are going to embark upon the path of making your baby’s food and infant formula you will find that owning the Nourishing Traditions book is essential because of the extensive research, recipes, and resources. Please note, however, that I try and link you to sources and recipes below to give you as much support as possible now.


Nourishing Traditions recipe for Meat-Based Formula

3 3/4 cups homemade ORGANIC beef or chicken stock. (For recipe refer to the Nourishing Traditions book or follow the linked words to a useful website.)

2 oz. ORGANIC liver, cut into small pieces

5 TBSP Lactose

1 tsp bifodobacterium infantis ((Natren Life Start Infantis)

1/4 cup homemade liquid whey

1 TBSP organic, unrefined coconut oil

1 tsp high quality (tested for heavy metals and impurities), preferably fermented cod liver oil. (Nourishing Traditions recommends Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil)

1 tsp unrefined sunflower oil

2 tsp extra virgin organic olive oil

1/4 tsp Acerola Powder

To prepare, simmer liver gently in broth until the meat is cooked through. Then use a blender to liquefy. When the broth has cooled, stir in the remaining ingredients. Store in a very clean glass or stainless steel container. To serve, stir formula well. Pour the amount you want in a glass bottle and set it in a pan of simmering water until formula is warm but not hot to the touch. Shake well and then test by squeezing a small drop onto your inner wrist. (Don’t heat your formula in any kind of plastic. And don’t use the microwave.)  Note: the above recipe includes lots of other information in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook about the importance of each item, including the coconut oil which is the only source of antimicrobial saturated fatty acids.

For a more traditional infant formula recipe that is not dairy-free and is tried and tested by Weston A Price visit this page.

Kelly’s Yummy Cow-Free “Milk” Recipe for older Kids

Here is Kelly Dorfman’s recipe for a dairy-free milk substitute. This is not laboratory tested but it is designed to meet the standards for most nutrients (except Vitamin C) according to the National Infant Formula Act. This recipe has The Green Mama ‘s extra green updates and suggestions. (If you are going to use this recipe regularly, I highly recommend you get Kelly’s book both to support her incredible work but also because she has so much information to help you sort out all food issues you may face.) I personally wouldn’t use this recipe until a child is at least two (ideally four as that is what the metagenics states on its label, and neither rice nor almond milk are that easy to digest).

  • 14 oz. calcium-fortified rice or almond milk (My warning is that finding these milks WITHOUT the most dangerous food additives, especially carrageenan, is difficult and essential.)
  • 2 oz. unsweetened coconut milk–the high fat kind not coconut water. (Kelly recommends getting it from the can, but beware as this will also be high in BPA) . I recommend making your own. It’s easy: see how.
  • One scoop of Metagenics - Ultracare for Kids which is a predigested rice protein–based drink mix developed for kids with allergies). She says that she rarely makes specific brand recommendations, but this one is tried and proven by her (not me) and she warns that NO OTHER protein powder should be used, because this one is specifically tested for babies.


You can mix the above and heat to use as instructed in the recipe above.


Article by Manda Aufochs Gillespie. As with any advice that I give you, this advice is not meant to take the place of that of a doctor, nutritionist, or trained healer. I offer it to help guide you into becoming the expert on the care of your own family. Feeding a baby is the most primal of all mothering tasks and as such I encourage you to feel empowered to make healthy, wise choices. Ideally, you will find a doctor, nutritionist, or healer of some sort who will help you in the process if you are dealing with food sensitivities or allergies.

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