infant drinking an emergency baby formula alternative

Emergency Baby Formula Alternatives

Disclaimer: This is not medical or nutritional advice. The FDA does not approve this message. All experts worthy of the New York Times disagree with all of this.

Stores are stocking 43% less commercial baby formula than usual.

Rather than provide solutions, the hallowed institutions of our once-great nation - the much respected and revered FDA, and the media - want to remind parents that "homemade baby formula isn't safe." And that only "commercially manufactured" baby formula provides "all the essential nutrients" deemed necessary by the FDA to feed children.

According to Politifact and other media outlets, it would be safer for your child to starve to death than it would be to feed them a homemade meal.

Now, in 1980 Congress passed the Infant Formula Act. This wasn't because children were dead and dying from lovingly prepared homemade formulas. It was because the commercially prepared formula of the time was insufficient. Many would argue that it still is. (The svelte American infant of days gone by have become lard-bellied fat babies who start life off on the wrong foot entirely.)

It's only been since 2006 that the FDA has warned against homemade formulas. And it wasn't until 2021 that they issued a vague public health advisory to "not make or feed homemade infant formula."

The advisory claims adverse event reports but provides no actual statistics on this. It doesn't even say which formula recipes were involved.

Hippies ruin everything

It appears that the cases causing the concern in 2021 were only three reported by the CDC - each linked to a pretty wonky "alkaline diet" baby formula that fell well outside the realm of actual good parental sense.

So because of this one stupid fad diet formula, America is prepared to throw all homemade alternatives into the trash and embrace, instead, Similac?

Judging from the entire history of civilized people up to the present, with breastfeeding going in and out of style in the US over the past 130 years - along with all populations of Earth since the beginning of time - chances are that the few "adverse events" in 2021 owing to fad diet shenanigans fall into an extreme minority of potential outcomes for homemade formula.

Obviously, breastfeeding is far superior to any formula. But not all mothers can breastfeed.

homemade formula dog is buff and similac dog is lame

Rather than shaming the fairer sex with feelings of inadequacy, and rather than tell parents to starve their children and that all hope is lost - we at Men of Order are going to provide some solutions.

Homemade Formula

There are a number of homemade formula recipes and they fall mostly into these categories:

  1. The Easy One
  2. The Complicated Ones
  3. The One that Has Honey in It

The complicated ones include all manner of powders and seed oils that go into the preparation. If you are unaware of the dangers of seed oils, then go educate yourself. Once you do you will never put that crap into your baby's bottle.

The one with honey is an instant no. Most parents know not to give babies and infants honey. But if you don't know that, now you do.

That leaves us with "the easy one".

"The easy one" is actually a series of easy ones - each with two or three ingredients only.

These preparations were actually recommended as emergency baby formula alternatives by the World Health Organization (until the link to that page on the official WHO website mysteriously got 404ed.)

The emergency baby formula alternatives

The link to the WHO document is here. The essential breakdowns are as follows:

The one with cow or goat milk:

2 parts milk to 1 part boiled water, with 1 gram of sugar for every 10 ml of milk.

The one with powdered full-cream cow's milk:

12 ml of boiled water to every gram of powdered milk, with 1 gram of sugar for every 15 ml of water.

The one with evaporated milk:

1 part evaporated milk to 2.75 parts boiled water, with 1 gram of sugar for every 4 ml of evaporated milk.


We also found some recipes that substituted blackstrap molasses for sugar (which sounds awful tasting). A couple used organic corn syrup instead of sugar (which sounds pleasant tasting).

There is one using water prepared from boiling whole barley for a few hours instead of simply using boiled water - and this adds more iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and protein.

But at the fundamental level, the simple homemade solutions were as listed above.

What not to use

Do not use honey. Seed oils are horrible. Don't use soy or plant-based milk substitutes. Oats and nuts don't have "milk." And it's probably not a good idea to add any other powders or vitamin mixtures to "supplement" the formulas above. Use only whole milk, not 2%, or fat-free.

Other options

There is currently a formula exchange board on Trello where mothers are helping each other procure formula. (Be careful of fraudsters.)

Milk banks may be available in your area as an option as well.


Breastfeeding difficulties and food shortages are not new to humanity.

Parents for centuries have fed their children homemade preparations from animal milk.

What's new to humanity is the FDA.

We always recommend doing your own research and being a responsible, capable parent.

Wherever possible, find and get to know a pediatrician personally. Preferably a solo practitioner. They can be hard to find, but they are out there. Nothing can replace a medical professional you can, and do trust.

Back to blog