Newborn Care

Is Homemade Baby Formula Safe? Should You Use it?

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is homemade baby formula safe

In today’s world, all kinds of preservatives and additives are put in foods to make them last longer. Knowing this, many moms turn to homemade baby formula for their baby. In doing so, they hope to avoid all the additives. But is homemade baby formula safe? Is it really something you should be feeding your baby?

If you ask around, be prepared to get very strong opinions on both sides of the spectrum.

Some moms swear by homemade formula and would never consider feeding their baby anything else. At the same time, other moms are vehemently against it and will be quick to tell you, “No! You should never feed that to your baby are you crazy!”

It gets confusing really fast.

So, is homemade baby formula safe or not? Is it something you should be feeding your baby?

To be honest, I don’t think anyone can really give a yes or no answer to that question.

For me, the real answer is, it depends.

Before I explain further, let me just say that I do use homemade formula for my own kids.

After quite a bit of research into it, I decided homemade formula is what I am most comfortable feeding my kids.

I found a recipe that I felt would be good for my kids and all four of my boys have used it.

homemade formula vs store formula

Why Do I (and Other Moms) Turn to Homemade Formula?

The biggest reason mothers turn to homemade formula is, they worry about all the preservatives and the different things that are put into store formulas these days.

It’s no secret that infertility rates have skyrocketed over the last couple years. Many people feel that one of the major causes of the high infertility rates, is the way foods are now processed.

After all the research I’ve done, I feel like it is a lot more than the food causing those rates to skyrocket.

However, I don’t think the preservatives and all the additives in today’s cans and packages are helping. I do think they are part of the reason for the increased infertility rates, among other things.

It’s been shown in study after study with mice and other animals that some of the things being added to baby formulas make the animals sterile and cause a plethora of other problems.

If it has that kind of effect on animals, I don’t feel comfortable giving it to any of my kids, especially a newborn or young baby.

Some of the ingredients I worry about, among others, are soy and corn syrup. Both are in most formulas though they’ve been proven to cause numerous health problems.

Other things I don’t feel comfortable with are

  • Formulas are fortified with synthetic vitamins/minerals: I worry that because they’re synthetic, my baby won’t be able to process them and get the benefits from them.
  • Most of them have GMOs in them
  • Formulas are usually put into cans lined with BPA
  • I can barely pronounce half the ingredients on the can (I don’t even know what they are!)
  • They lack good bacteria (probiotics) that help your baby’s digestive system
  • Too many things in the formula have been proven to cause infertility in animals

Why Are Some Moms So Against Homemade Formula?

I’ve told you why some mothers are so against store-bought formulas so, I think it’s only fair I should explain why others are against homemade formula.

As I’ve done my research, I’ve found dozens of moms vehemently against it.

The concerns they have are very valid, and they are concerns that you should have as well.

1) Babies Have Extremely Sensitive Stomachs

When a baby is born, their digestive system is still maturing. Whether you use store formula or homemade formula, they all go through a period of a couple days to even a couple weeks where their body adjusts to any new formula they’re introduced to.

It’s very important that you make sure you always use the same formula for your baby.

If you keep changing it up and picking different brands/recipes, it will have negative effects on your baby.

It’ll hurt their digestive system. They’ll always have a stomach ache. They may be chronically constipated, and, put simply, their body just can’t handle it.

With that concern in mind, a valid concern with homemade formula is that the recipe might change slightly each time it’s made.

I agree 100% that if you were to constantly change the recipe or the quantities of each item, yes, your baby will likely have a hard time with it.

It’ll be just as hard on your baby as switching store formulas would be.

When you make homemade formula you have to make sure all the ingredients are on hand at all times!

If something runs out, you can’t just leave it out or swap it for something else. Even if you’re swapping it with something that is supposed to provide the same benefits.

You need measuring spoons and cups so you can be sure the formula is prepared the same way each time you make it.

2) What if Homemade Formula Doesn’t Have Everything Your Baby Needs to Grow & Develop?

This is another big concern I’ve heard from mothers who are against homemade formula.

I don’t have anything to prove homemade formula does or doesn’t have everything your baby needs. What I do have though is, I know every single ingredient in the formula I use for my sons.

I know why it’s there and what benefit it’s supposed to be providing for my kids. The same can’t be said for a single brand of store formula.

I actually worry way more about the store formula having everything my baby needs then I do the homemade formula.

As I said earlier, every single one of my boys has been on homemade formula until they were 11months-13 months.

They all did very well on it and today they’re very healthy.

3) They Tried it for Their Baby and Had a Very Negative Experience With It

I found a few mothers against the homemade formula because their own baby could not handle it.

Their body was never able to adjust to it and they ended up experiencing negative side effects.

To address this, I agree that there are some baby’s that should not be on homemade formula.

Some of them have stomachs that are much more sensitive than others and their digestive system is not quite ready for a given recipe.

Other babies might have lactose intolerance or another condition that makes them unable to tolerate certain ingredients in the formula.

However, this isn’t just a problem with homemade formulas. You’ll find that the same is true for any store bought formula.

Look at any single brand and you’ll find dozens of reviews from mothers stating their baby did not do well on it.

You’ll find mothers stating lists of problems and complications their baby experienced while on it.

Every baby is different. Some do well on one formula, others need a different one.

I’m very glad that each of my kids did so well on homemade formula. However, if any of them had any problems adjusting to it, I would not have continued to use it.

I would have found another recipe or just turned to an organic brand from the store.

Though I’m uncomfortable with the ingredients in the store formula, I think the most important thing is that your baby thrives and does well on whatever they’re eating.

Should You Use Homemade Formula?

This is something every mother has to decide for themselves. I highly recommend doing your own research and deciding what you feel most comfortable with.

As a mother, I think you should have the right to make that decision for your baby.

Whatever you decide, I want to urge you not to push your opinions onto those around you.

Be understanding and let them do what they feel comfortable doing just like you are.

No matter what you decide, there will always be people that strongly disagree with you. That’s ok.

As long as you’re comfortable with what you’ve chosen and your baby is doing well, I think that’s the best you can do.

To put it in perspective I think of the following example.

Though I don’t use store formula for my own kids, I do use other things that dozens of moms would advise against for some of the same reasons.

For example, I use disposable diapers for my kids. Even though I think that cloth diapers would be better, they take a lot of extra work.

I am not a stay at home mom. I work all day and come home afterward. That would mean somebody else would have to be doing all that extra work for me.

If I’m going to use cloth diapers, I feel like I should be the one doing the extra work.

Since I can’t do that right now, I do the best I can and use disposable diapers.

Coming back to formula, I don’t judge others who don’t feel the same way as I do.

If you decide to use store formula I don’t think you’re “ruining” your baby.

I recognize that I could be wrong. My fears about store formula could be misguided and completely wrong.

To be honest, I hope they are because so many people use those formulas! However, because I don’t know for sure, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of using it for my own kids.

I will continue to use homemade formula as long as my kids do well on it.


What do you think about homemade formula vs store formula? Have you looked into it for your son or daughter? Do you have any questions for me?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

-Julie

should you use homemade formula for your baby

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4 thoughts on “Is Homemade Baby Formula Safe? Should You Use it?

  1. Actually I had thought about making my home made formula also. The main reason is because I spoke to my nutritionist before and she told me that baby formula is actually made from cow’s milk.

    Of course, if it was just cow’s milk, it can be pretty harmful for the baby so it is processed in a special way. Instead of buying expensive processed milk, then why not process it myself?

    Another concern I have is that formula milk has preservatives. I am sort of on the fence for this one, because it is also possible that without preservatives, the nutrients in it will start degrading. I am not too sure. Do you think home made formula will last long enough for my baby to finish it in time? It would be great if it does.

    However, there’s a hurdle I can not overcome. My baby does have a sensitive stomach. She gets a diarrhea over everything except for formula and my wife’s breast milk. Now that has changed since she has grown up a bit. I am just concern that making that change will give her issues again. Maybe I will have to research a bit more like you said to see what I can or can not add to make homemade formula work. What do you think?

    1. Homemade formula definitely doesn’t last as long as store formula does. I’ve found that it must be used within a few days of being made or it goes bad. For this reason, when I make homemade formula I only make enough to last about 3 days.

      I make it twice a week.

      I’m more comfortable with formula that goes bad quickly because I worry a lot about the preservatives in baby formula and the effect they might have on my kids.

      That said, homemade formula is not for everyone. There are some babies with more sensitive stomachs that really can’t handle it. There are a couple recipes you can try but it’s not a good idea to keep switching things up on your baby. If you’ve found something that works and your baby doesn’t have a hard time with it, I’d suggest sticking with that.

      I wouldn’t feel comfortable experimenting with different recipes and/or ingredients with any baby.

      The most important thing is always that your baby is healthy and doing well on whatever you’re feeding her.

      -Julie

  2. Hi
    I am so pleased i have come across your post as i have a friend that has just recently had a baby and she was asking me the same question so after searching i have found your post 🙂 which has given me some answers as i really did not want to guess as that would be life threatening to a baby.
    The good thing about making your own formula is you know what is going in .
    This post is really good for mums out there and pretty informative it has deffo helped me out:)
    Would it be normal for the baby to be either sick or an upset tummy for the first few days for her to get used to it?.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Sharon 🙂
      I agree, the best thing about homemade formula is you know everything going into it. This is why I feel more comfortable with it. I know the ingredients and the purpose of each one. I wish I could say the same for formula on the shelves at the store.

      As for your question about it being normal for your baby to get an upset stomach when they’re switched to this formula then, in my experience yes it is.
      That’s not only true for homemade formula. It’s usually true for any formula (store or homemade). Anytime, you give your baby (especially a young baby) something new, their stomach has to adjust to it.

      Ideally, you won’t switch straight from breastmilk to this, but you’ll slowly add it to your milk.
      Just like when you’re weaning a baby off of formula and onto milk.

      It helps to start with about 1/4 formula and 3/4 your milk. Stay at that for a couple days or even a week or two.
      Gradually increase the amount of formula vs your milk until it’s all formula.
      This is what has worked the very best for my boys. I’ve heard the same from other moms I talked to who use formula from the store.

      It’s not always possible to do it this way, but if you can it’s easier on your baby!
      -Julie

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