Are There Alternatives To Commercial Baby Food And Formula? By Amy Allen for The Organic Prepper
So we’ve been watching the news and hearing all about the baby formula shortage. We’ve been to our usual stores and seen the empty shelves. Our baby is hungry and needs to eat! We have to break out of the programmed habit of relying on the centralized food system in order to provide, but how? This article will discuss what mothers did before commercial formula and baby foods came into existence.
Disclaimer: I am not giving medical advice! If your child needs a medical diet, discuss the matter with your doctor.
So what did mothers do before formula was invented?
Mother’s milk given via breastfeeding imparts a great many benefits to the baby, many of them immune-related. Breastfed babies tend to have stronger immune systems, fewer problems with diarrhea and other more serious issues, and tend to become healthier children. Breast milk provides nutrient components in a more readily absorbed form, including antioxidants, enzymes, and live antibodies that will help the infant form immunity to anything the mother has immune antibodies for.
The oldest and most common way to feed a baby when a mother couldn’t do so herself is wet nursing, where another mother breastfeeds. This practice dates back over 2,000 years. This gives all of the benefits of breastfeeding from the mother. For an interesting and detailed history of the practice, go HERE.
I’ve also seen ads on social media from mothers who have excess pumped milk offered. Caveat emptor, however! Due diligence is a good thing.
Other animals, such as goats, sheep, and donkeys, to name a few, do produce milk.
Goat’s milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk, but it does have its risks. According to this article from PubMed, goat’s milk needs to be diluted to reduce solute load and fortified with vitamins, most notably iron. It’s also recommended to pasteurize or at least boil it. Also, be aware that babies allergic to cow’s milk can have bad reactions to goat’s milk as well.
Condensed milk is another possibility, but like goat’s milk is not without its cautions. If you choose to go this route, you’ll need to supplement with vitamins and minerals, most notably iron. An 18-month follow-up study from Canada found that infants fed evaporated milk had higher levels of anemia as well as lowered thiamine and selenium activity. When the same infants were tested 18 months later, no significant differences in these nutrient levels were found, but those who had been fed evaporated milk at an earlier age were more likely to have iron depletion, visit a physician, and have anemia than the breastfed infants.