Liver & Bone Broth Baby Formula, Protecting Our Children from the Start
It's never been more important to eat healthy. With around four generations having consumed cheap, industrialized foods, our health as a society is on the decline. With each successive generation, we're consuming less nutrition, while at the same time, dealing with more of a toxic load on our immune system. From GMOs (whether you believe this is an issue or not, GMO foods come doused with pesticides, which we consume in our food)...
To industrial seed oils (soybean, canola, cottonseed, etc.) which may be the most irritating food to our whole gut/brain system... To shelf-stable staples like ultra-high pasteurized milk and dairy (which destroys the healing properties of milk and makes it very tough to digest)... And the rest of the grocery filled up with sugary, nutrient-lacking food-like items to eat, yet not satiate, not really taste that great, and not be that great for you.
With a wide zoom-out lens, it's interesting to see the myriad of problems we deal with today, from allergies, to mental instability, to the heart disease, cancer, diabetes... At the top of everyone's mind is the fear of our world's pandemic. With all that being said, as parents to our kids and ourselves, we want to protect everyone from harm and set everyone up to live happy, healthy, long lives.
Every time we eat counts! In a world of cheap, meaningless food, this sounds odd. Truly, what we eat literally becomes our future bones, blood, skin, and gut system. Medicine is our food and food is our medicine! With our children in mind, we can help them off to a great start of bountiful health with what we feed them
Breastmilk Raw Milk Homemade Liver & Broth Baby Formula Are the top, most nourishing things I have found to grow my babies strong!
I have made this formula a gazillion times at this point, and now am making formula for two babies enjoying it currently at 5 months and 20 months of age. Originally, I found it at the Nourishing Traditions website, where they provide a few different formulas and lots of information. You will see on this page that they have very carefully formulated the recipes based on breastmilk, using all of the best, most nourishing foods on the planet: beef liver, cod liver oil, and bone broth. With so many families with babies and parents-to-be visiting Copia for good food, I thought it might be useful to share all the tips I've learned in my weekly routine of mass-baby formula production. And now with a baby formula shortage, this information has become even more relevant. Keep in mind, it's a lot easier to buy the store-bought stuff. But why would we ever feed our babies soy and industrial seed oils (main ingredients in "safe" baby formula)? Having a new baby is an incredibly busy time; making formula for your little one is one of the most worthwhile chores to make room for, in our opinion.
We remind ourselves every time we make it of how we're doing right for our children. <3
Alright, let's get to it!
** I've made some updates to simplify and economize the routine on 5/27/22:
Before you assemble the formula, you must have 3 items ready to go:
1. 100% grass fed and finished Beef Liver in 2oz portions 2. Lots of homemade Chicken Bone Broth 3. You must cook the liver in your chicken broth and let that cool down for a few hours
Then you're ready to assemble and bottle the formula
With this process, you will see that it's going to be easiest to make big batches of beef liver, broth, and formula. If your kids are like mine, they love the taste of the formula (it is honestly good! We add lactose to it so it tastes a little sweet. And we serve it warm, so it's a little sweet, and very much a "comfort" food. Back to the beef liver:
What I do is get 4 packs of liver from our farm store. Defrost. Then, using a kitchen scale, cut the livers into 2oz pieces. I find this is easiest to do with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors used for cutting chicken backs, etc.
You'll need two stainless steel baking sheets to portion out your 2oz pieces.
**Update: I put a flexible silicon baking sheet over the baking sheet so that I can pop the pieces of liver off more easily. I also put a layer of parchment paper over the silicon baking sheet, because I'm not convinced silicon is a safe material to have in contact with food. So it's baking sheet, silicon mat, parchment, liver pieces, freeze...
Freeze. Then bag all of the liver portions into a tupperware. You will be glad you don't have to deal with this step each and every time you make formula!
CHICKEN BONE BROTH
Alright, making the bone broth is the most time-consuming part waiting on the cooking, so again, let's work in big batches. We will freeze the finished formula and take one jar out at a time, so the kids are always consuming fresh formula. What I have found that works great is using two crock pots!
I plop two of our stewing hens in each crock pot (4 hens total per super batch) in the evening before bed, and wake up to finished broth.
**Update: What I do currently, is use one crock pot with 1 stewing hen or even 1 chicken back, if I'm in a pinch. Making two crock pots of formula became too big of a job with two littles under foot. One crock pot worth is usually just the amount of spare time I have between baby care. Two stewing hens in one crock pot produces some very dense, amazing broth. One chicken back's worth in one crock pot is watered down for sure. Now that our kids are 2.5 and 1 years old, and eating lots of other nutrient-dense food, I'm ok with watering the broth down a bit. Plus, we were out of stewing hens for a few months! To make the bone broth: 2 @ 10 quart crock pots (or you could use big pots and simmer them on the stove) 4 stewing hens (that are mobile pasture-raised and GMO free) a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (this is to help extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the bones and into the broth) Get both crock pots Put two hens in per crock pot (use those sharp kitchen scissors to cut the stew hen packages quickly and safely) Fill nearly to the brim with water Add a splash of AC vinegar Cook for 8 hours
COOK LIVER IN BROTH Once your bone broth has been made, you're ready for the next step. We've got to cook the beef liver in the broth.
With this volume of broth, I split everything into 3 batches from here on out.
I pour 4 cups broth into 3 pots Add a 2oz disk of frozen beef liver to each pot Cover with a lid As soon as the broth starts boiling, turn off the heat Let cool for 2 or so hours
**Update: Save yourself a step and just plop in the liver portions into the crock pot when you turn the crock pot off and are waiting for it to cool. I've found that there are about 3 batches worth of formula in each crock pot with 1 chicken back. So put in 3 pieces of 2oz liver per crock pot. By the time the broth cools down the liver will have had time to cook.
THE FORMULA The temperature of your liver/bone broth is key here. I neither want it too hot because I don't want to pour super hot broth into my plastic blender, nor pour my cod liver oil into really hot broth. I don't want it too cold, because the coconut oil in the formula doesn't want to emulsify into cold liquid. Here are the ingredients on the Noursing Traditions website (scroll down to see list). This is the true blue list that links up all of the nutrition data, etc. For my purposes, I have relaxed this list a bit. Why? Because I feel safe that my kids are getting a ton of nutrition and all their bases are covered with breast milk (with me on a nutrient-dense diet) and raw milk from our herd (whom I know is getting a nutrient dense diet of stellar forages). I can extrapolate on why I don't use all the ingredients, if you make a request in the comments.
My firstborn loved the formula on it's own, and that's what I made for her, along with breast milk for her first months of life before she started eating. At 20 months, she still enjoys several bottles a day, along with food and breast milk. My second born did not like the liver formula, but loved it when we combined it 50/50 with our raw milk. Now feeding two kids, I just about always give them a 50/50 blend of formula and raw milk. It's nice because it cuts down on time - adding milk is much less time consuming than to make all of this. But this is just what I do in our house.
**Update: They are now 2.5 and 1 year old and they still enjoy several bottles a day and lots more at night. I don't see any reason to stop using the formula since it is the most excellent source of nutrients, along with their animal-based diet.
Here is the true-blue list and then what I do:
Nourishing Traditions Liver-Based Formula Ingredients:
3-3/4 cups homemade beef or chicken broth
2 ounces organic liver, cut into small pieces
5 tablespoons lactose
1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis
1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey, below)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin or high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil
1 teaspoon unrefined sunflower oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon acerola powder
Caitlin's Liver-Based + Raw Milk Formula
2 quarts homemade stewing hen broth
2 oz 100% grass fed and finished beef liver
5 tbs lactose
1 tbs organic coconut oil
1/2 tsp. Rosita cod liver oil
1/4 tsp. acerola powder
Reminder: this is one batch worth, which will fill a 2quart blender. We are making three batches at one time.
ASSEMBLE THE FORMULA In a powerful blender, add the amounts of everything on my list. This will completely fill the blender to the max. We are going to do three runs on the blender, to get three batches of formula. Blend everything up. Then, strain your formula. Another helpful tip that I have learned is the importance of the screen size of your filter! If it's not a super fine mesh, you will get specks of liver that will clog your bottles, and the kids will not like that at all.
We use a stainless steel filter like this for the raw milk and it works great. Since using this, I have zero issues with the formula clogging the bottle nipples.
From there, I use quart size mason jars to store the formula. I think plastic lids are easiest to work with but can live with my old metal ones. I also label them with an "F" for formula. I know what they are, but if you have folks helping you in your house, it helps to have the jars labeled, so everyone knows where the formula is.
If the formula is still very warm, I leave the filled jars on the counter to cool for a while before putting them into the freezer.
You must treat mason jars so gently when you put them in and out of the freezer and work with hot liquids. They do not like to be put in the freezer with hot liquid. They will crack. And all of your formula will have to be dumped, so be careful to let everything cool! Once the heat is off the jars, I go ahead and store most of them in the freezer. I get 8 mason jars full. My kids go through a mason jar of formula per day, so this super batch is good for about a week. I always have 2 jars in the fridge- one that is thawed that I’m using that day, and one that is thawing. They take about a day to thaw. So you won't ever need to feed the kids iffy broth that's been sitting in the fridge for too long. It should always smell fresh and yummy.
FEED THE KIDDOS Another thing that has helped me is heating the formula in this nifty warmer. It's in celsius and you can have it warm everything to your desired temp. I set it for 39 degrees C. It's nice because you don't get the formula too hot on the stove, and you don’t have to sit there and watch it vigilantly. It will maintain the desired temp. Remember, you have cod liver formula in the recipe and don't want to heat it up too much. I also use glass bottles. They've been great! They're often thrown on our wood floors and I've only had a couple crack ever.
I fill formula up to the little tip of the warmer's diode. I then add a roughly equal amount of raw milk. Up to the diode makes one bottle of milk, doubling makes two bottles. Heat to 39, and you've got a nourishing, warm meal of raw milk and amazing homemade broth for your precious children! Whew! I know this sounds like a lot but again, it's well worth it and becomes second nature when you've done it a few times. I hope these tips help you start making formula. Please leave a comment, if you have any questions or tips of your own!
Baby Owen giving a little smile before he tucks into his bottle of warm homemade formula and takes a cozy nap