Feeding Abigail - What We ARE Feeding Her

I explained yesterday why I'm not breastfeeding Abigail like I did Gabriel.

Now I want to talk about what we are feeding her...and that is Homemade Formula.

It is a very precise recipe developed by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation  - consisting of 14 ingredients - that is calculated to mimic breastmilk as closely as possible.

Here is what Sally Fallon says about the homemade cow's milk formula:

Our milk-based formula takes account of the fact that human milk is richer in whey, lactose, vitamin C, niacin, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to cow’s milk but leaner in casein (milk protein). The addition of gelatin to cow’s milk formula will make it more digestible for the infant. Use only truly expeller-expressed oils in the formula recipes, otherwise they may lack vitamin E.

The ideal milk for baby, if he cannot be breastfed, is clean, whole raw milk from old-fashioned cows, certified free of disease, that feed on green pasture. For sources of good quality milk, see www.realmilk.com or contact a local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Using our beloved raw milk as its base, the formula also contains probiotics, gelatin from grassfed cows, and a combination of five different healthy oils and fats...among a few other things.

Why don't we just give Abigail regular over-the-counter formula?  Have you ever read the ingredients on a container of store-bought formula?   Simply put: It contains many non-real food items that we don't serve our family...and wouldn't want to feed our baby.  Just one example: the formula they had begun feeding A at the hospital (and that she received until we switched her to homemade formula at 4 days old) contains 2 different types of soy.  (Soy is not a health food and we avoid it.)

This formula recipe calls for 14 ingredients.  Yikes!   I don't normally make anything that calls for 14 ingredients.  If I see a recipe that gets above, say...6 or 7 ingredients, I'm hard-pressed to ever want to give that recipe a try.  But something like this, for our baby girl...that is different...

I was intimidated - and scared, frankly - the first time I mixed up a batch of this formula.  In the kitchen,  all by myself after the children's bedtime one night...I may have done some praying as I worked (I certainly did!).  I know this is a big deal, this baby is counting on us for...well, everything - including nourishing her!  I prayed as I mixed a 1/2 tsp of this oil, and a 1/4 tsp of this powder....and...

It wasn't bad at all.  I'd been researching and reading about this formula for months...and I'd read it wasn't hard, but I had to do it myself in order to believe it.

We bought our glass Evenflo bottles on Amazon.  BPA was finally banned in plastic baby bottles a
couple years ago...is there anything else in plastics that we just haven't yet figured out is harmful?  

If I was now alone in a quiet kitchen by myself, it would probably take me about 15 minutes to whip up a batch (or double batch), from clean kitchen to clean kitchen.  But the kitchen (and house) is never quiet, and I always have helpers...and it still only takes about 20 or so minutes to get done.  And it only needs to be made about every 2-3 days.

The kiddos help me by setting up empty bottles on the counter.  And the nipples and rings.  Retrieving ingredients.  Then putting ingredients away.

I set all the 14 ingredients out on the counter, and each gets put away as it is used, so I always know exactly where I am in the recipe.

And I always have my copy of Super Nutrition for Babies (Erlich and Genzlinger) on the counter to refer to for exact measurements.  In fact, I already had on my bookshelf three different books that all refer to this exact recipe.  (I cannot recommend highly enough this book Super Nutrition for Babieswish it had been published when G was born!)

When I talked with our pediatrician about the formula, she was impressed.  She nodded as she looked over the recipe and said something along the lines of, "Yes, this will be good for her.  What keeps me awake at night is thinking about what is in the store-bought formula!"

We switched Abigail to our homemade formula as soon as our supplies arrived (thankfully I'd already ordered them before she was born, not knowing when she/he would arrive).  At her two-week well-child appointment, she was up past her birth weight and Dr. D was pleased with how she is thriving!

So thankful we can provide this nourishing, nutrient-dense real food formula for our precious girl!

Abigail helping me whip up a batch of formula

If you are interested in more information, you can find the exact formula recipe and instructions (along with a great video) HERE.  For more information on raw milk, visit this site. 


Feeding Abigail - Why I'm Not Breastfeeding

One of the questions I'm asked most about this adoption is "Are you breastfeeding this baby also?"

And it can't surprise anyone more than it does me that my answer is........"no."

I breastfed Gabriel until he was 17 months old (and only weaned him then because we were trying to figure out exactly what foods were causing him trouble).

I am a proponent of real food.  Whole Food.  Traditional Food.  Food the way the good Lord intended it.  Food like my great-great-grandmother made.  Unadulterated.  Unprocessed.  And I believe that we can and should..."let food be thy medicine." (Hippocrates)

Given my feelings about real food, I worked hard to induce lactation so that I could breastfeed Gabriel. (You can read all the posts about this topic by clicking on the "Adoptive Breastfeeding" label on the right sidebar.)

I took two medicines in order to induce lactation.  The girl-who-avoids-medicines-as-much-as-possible took two medicines in order to provide G with the best start possible.

But I had to take those two medicines for months to get my body ready to breastfeed.  It is recommended that you follow the protocol for 6-9 months.  I started the medicines when our paperwork was done and we began "actively waiting" for Gabriel...and it ended up being 8.5 months until he was born.  Perfect!

But this adoption?  From the time our paperwork was done and we were "actively waiting"until we got "the call" that our birthmom had chosen us was about 2.5 weeks.  And then Abigail was born less than two weeks after that.  So we had less than 5 weeks from actively waiting until "she's home!"  Not enough time for a body to get ready to lactate.

But besides this whole timing issue (which was no small thing), there was an even bigger barrier to me breastfeeding this time.....

Those two medicines I took to induce lactation?  They took a toll on me (besides causing me to gain 25 pounds practically overnight - the point was to trick my body into thinking I was pregnant in order to induce lactation...it worked so good that I gained pregnancy weight also!).

I already had an autoimmune hypothyroid issue, and as I now know (hindsight is always so 20/20), those two medicines didn't do my body (and more specifically my gut) any favors.

Besides the wonderful stuff that gets passed to a baby in breastmilk, guess what else gets passed in breastmilk?  Mom's bacteria.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  And I had plenty of pathogenic (meaning "bad") bacteria to pass...and pass I did.

Babies are born with a degree of intestinal permeability anyway.  Add in the bad bugs that I passed to Gabriel through my breastmilk...and you've got a recipe for my sweet baby developing food intolerances that made themselves evident through eczema.

We finally figured out that dairy and eggs were causing him problems, and you saw the pictures of what happened with G's skin.  G has been on the GAPS protocol for almost 11 months now...and he has made HUGE strides...but still isn't having dairy and eggs right now.  (But we are prayerful and hopeful that this won't be the case for much longer.)

Basically what I worked so hard to do to help our baby...ended up hurting him also.  I don't (I can't) sit around beating myself up about it...but I hate that it happened.  The Ever-Faithful Lord has used this for good and has taught us so much through all of this.

I've been on the GAPS protocol for almost 11 months now to "heal & seal" my gut, but without my healing being complete, and knowing what I had passed to G...I wouldn't have wanted to take the chance of passing problems along to Abigail anyway, even if the timing had worked out.  

Now...because I'm me...the one who just said this at the beginning of this post:

I am a proponent of real food.  Whole Food.  Traditional Food.  Food the way the good Lord intended it.  Food like my great-great-grandmother made.  Unadulterated.  Unprocessed.  And I believe that we can and should "let food be they medicine." (Hippocrates)

....I'll post soon (tomorrow?) what we ARE feeding Miss Abigail....stay tuned....


Protective Big Brother

This morning during the worship service at church as the praise band was doing their thing and we were all just singing our hearts out, I look over and see Noah poking his finger at Abigail.

He was sticking his finger in her ear.


Me: "Noah, what are you doing?!?"

Noah:  "It's loud and I don't want it to hurt her ears!"

Thank you, Lord, for these precious children you've blessed us with!


2014 Beach Trip

We had such a good time at the beach this summer.

E-11, N-10, D-9, LK-8, G-2
My parents have two weeks at this timeshare, and we are so, so blessed to be able to go each summer!

Here are two shots I captured of the sunrise on two different mornings as I sat out on the balcony:

Absolutely stunning!

We love staying at this little resort...we get to see the same families every year.  Many of them are on their third generation of family members coming to this resort.

There are only 22 units in the resort, and with the v-shape of the building, every unit has a balcony with an ocean-view.  I took this picture from our balcony, overlooking the central courtyard....

....where the children spent MUCH time this year playing soccer, dodge ball and kickball with all the other children at the resort.

Here LK is playing with a high school varsity soccer player.  Other guests stopped me multiple times to tell me how good LK was at soccer and how she was "running circles around all those boys out there!"

G is **just** about to outgrow his pack-n-play...I guess Abigail will get to use it next year!

LaoLao was there with us the first week, and then daddy came and he got to stay for the whole second week (a first!).  We were SO glad he got to stay all week (especially given all that transpired during that week with us getting "the call").

LaoLao and Jas overlapped for a few days, and mom offered to watch the children so Jas and I could go on a date one night....it was wonderful!

When daddy arrived, he also kept the children busy playing.

Also, during that second week when daddy was at the beach with us, we spent some time at night watching Star Wars episodes 4, 5 and 6.  The children have been wanting to watch these for **years**....and were so thrilled that we finally did (thank you for the DVDs, Steven!):

And we also went on our second annual Beach Bowling trip.  And this year G played also (he rode on my back in the ergo last year, as he wasn't walking yet):

E snapped this great picture of me!

The bigger kiddos helping G on his turn

With all the beaching it and soccer and other activities, during afternoon rest-time it wasn't unusual for the children to actually sleep:

LK was out on the balcony with me during afternoon rest-time...
I couldn't resist getting a picture of my big (little) baby napping

This IS his picture "smile"

When we were out on the beach, these two could usually be found on their boogie boards:

G loved playing on the sand and digging...

...until he'd spot me and then he'd make a bee-line for me!

LK still prefers the resort pool over the sand and beach....

...but she doesn't complain and handles it pretty well.

Although she would ask about every 5 minutes if we were ready to go get in the pool yet.

I love that we have a place we go to year after year that we all enjoy so much.  The children have already started talking about being excited to go back again next year!


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