Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Alternative human breast milk recipe that was used for decades prior to commercial infant formula

I’m not advocating people use this recipe. Let me say that at the top of this post. Anyone thinking about this should talk to their pediatrician first before trying anything with your newborn.

I was raised on infant formula and so were both my kids. I’m not against commercial infant formula. Neither I, my children, nor the millions of children all over the world are worse for wear for consuming it.

I was curious as to what people did prior to the creation of the commercial infant formula we use today. Most of my search results were legacy media screaming to never ever ever make your own infant formula. But surely something was used prior to modern infant formula’s invention. I finally came across, “ A concise history of infant formula (twists and turns included)”, posted Feburary 1, 2003 on the website for Contemporary Pediatrics. The article included a simple recipe for infant formula that was used for over 40 years by mothers who, for one reason or another, could not breast feed. Here is the recipe:

If you are a “mature” pediatrician—one older than 40 years or so—there is a good chance that, if you were not breastfed as an infant, you were fed a formula created by mixing 13 oz of evaporated milk with 19 oz of water and two tablespoons of either corn syrup or table sugar. Every day, parents prepared a day’s worth of this formula, transferred it to bottles that they had sterilized in a pan of boiling water, and stored it in a refrigerator until used. In addition to formula, infants received supplemental vitamins and iron.1

History of infant formula – Contemporary Pediatrics

The article is written by Dr. Andrew J. Schuman. He was, at the time, adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and practiced pediatric medicine at Hampshire Pediatrics in New Hampshire. He was a contributing editor for Contemporary Pediatrics and served on the speakers’ bureaus of Ross Laboratories and Mead Johnson. He appears to have the proper credentials for the subject matter.

Starting sometime in the 1920s until sometime in the 1960s, unsweetened evaporated cow’s milk combined with water and sugar and supplemented separately with iron and multi-vitamins, was the go-to substitute for human breast milk. Why hasn’t this been discussed as a good alternative during the infant formula shortage?

A method of producing unsweetened evaporated milk was developed by John B. Myenberg in 1883. The process involved evaporating approximately 60% of the water from milk in a sealed metal still, then sterilizing the condensed milk by heating it to above 200°. This process altered the physical properties of milk, homogenizing it and rendering the curd smaller and more digestible than boiled pasteurized milk. Studies published in the 1920s and 1930s demonstrated that large numbers of babies fed evaporated milk formula grew as well as breastfed infants did.5 Physicians and parents, reassured by this evidence and encouraged by the low cost and widespread availability of evaporated milk, almost universally endorsed evaporated milk formula to feed infants. In the 1930s, physicians were taught to mix evaporated milk formula by combining 2 oz of cow’s milk per pound of body weight per day with 1Ž8 oz of sugar per pound of weight per day and enough water to provide an infant with 3 oz of fluid volume per pound per day. During the Great Depression, corn syrup replaced sugar as a source of carbohydrate because of cost and availability. 

History of infant formula – Contemporary Pediatrics

Forget about the cluster-fuck of government regulation, for a moment, that lead to the shortage the nation is experiencing today, and the fact that all those nonsense regulations can be temporarily suspended in order to fill the gap in supply. Let’s forget that for a moment and ask why our illustrious legacy media and our much celebrated medical expert class of scientists haven’t informed the public of something that was used to feed newborn infants for almost half a century. This is a simple affordable method that seemed to be nutritionally adequate until commercialized infant formula was created.