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 Once upon a time there were no prepared baby formulas. If a mother didn't breast feed her baby, she used cow's milk. And it was raw milk, because the process for pasturizing milk had not been devised.

There were a number of diseases carried in that raw milk, caused by a diseased cow. Some of those diseases were tuberculosis, diptheria and typhoid fever.

I have read that particularly in American cities there were large numbers of infant deaths caused by the contaminated milk. With the advent of evaporated milk, and mothers using it for their babies, the number of deaths fell greatly.

Because evaporated milk has had water removed, the formula is mainly to put water back into it. The sugar has two purposes, taste and the bowels. If your baby gets constipated, increase the sugar slightly and it should help.

There are 3 ingredients:

1 can evaporated milk

18 ounces water

2 tablespoons white sugar

Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat.

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Mix in the evaporated milk and stir or shake.


It's good to have a dishwasher safe bottle to store the formula in. Just pour however much you need into a bottle at feeding time.

It's best to make this formula fresh every day for your baby, throwing away any unused portion.

I began making this formula when I had my third child. With the first two I had used the store-bought formula the doctor suggested but I became unhappy with it. My babies never seemed content, they seemed uncomfortable. How often I walked the floor with them, or rocked them, with their little legs pulled up as though they had a stomach ache.

There's no evidence to prove me right, all I know is that when I was expecting my third baby I wanted a happy, content baby who felt good. That's when I went searching for a homemade formula, and found this one.

My third baby was a happy baby, he slept well, he was never in pain, and I believe in this formula. The 3 ingredients are simple, water and milk and sugar. It is horrifying to me to read the ingredients in prepared baby formulas, such a long list of chemicals I've never heard of. What IS all of that stuff? Why is it in a baby formula?

The decision of what to feed your baby is yours, but I wanted to provide mothers with this simple alternative.  Best wishes with your baby.


Kimber lee 1 on December 03, 2015:

My whole family was brought up on that except Karo syrup was used & n addition infant vitamins separately my whole family is wealthy & healthy & happy. The only reason company's came out w/ formula is 4 the $ they have made billions. Breast feading is best but thats only if the mother is eating right & not on meds both can do more harm then a little bit of sugar & it's n formula. It has bin proven sugar does not make a child hyper active hell im proof of that wen I was a kid I had add & i didn't eat candy & sweets l liked vegetables raw or cooked but all kids have tons of energy that's why they say youth is wasted on the young never a truer statement.

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Tallya on March 09, 2015:

This is crazy! Super processed sugar with super processed "milk" I wouldn't feed my baby this just as I wouldn't feed my baby commercial formula.

AmandaM on January 03, 2015:

This would be a good formula, except that all this will provide is satiety and a bit of glucose and fats. Where is the vitamins and minerals? The reason that infant formula has these added is that breast milk naturally contains them, as well. Don't forget that rickettsia and other nutritional diseases were FAR more common when this type of mix was used.

Additionally, for some babies this could be downright dangerous. Can you imagine a struggling mother with a preemie trying this?

This article is not only lacking, it's ethically WRONG. At least add a note suggesting that parents should verify any formula recipe with their paediatrician.

Abby on July 27, 2014:

I have 3 children who were all given carnation milk from birth .... I added Pentavite (vitamins)in there bottles/cups till about 9 months .... all my children are beautiful and healthy .... all slept full night sleeps from around 3 months old ... my daughter is now 20 , she is tall and thin.... next is my son 17 , he is also tall and thin ( he has not been to a doctors since he was 5 !) .... next I have a 5 year old boy who is in kindergarten .... his reading/spelling level is that of a year 2 child ! .... I was told I would make my children fat and unhealthy by feeding them carnation milk ! My doctor first suggested it to me because my daughter was reflux ... constipated ... windy ... you name it she had it !

Within days of using the carnation milk it was a huge turn around .... a beautiful settled calm baby !

By 6 months of age all of my kids were on cows milk !

I was brought up on it and so were my kids !

No one gets sick in this house !

Doxielvr3 on September 16, 2013:

Read this if you think evaporated milk is dangerous!

A study was conducted of 3 groups of infants to one year old. The breast fed group were of course fine, the infants who were fed formula vs canned evaporated milk formula were identical as long as the evaporated milk was fortified with vitamins. In a years time there were very little difference in any of the children health wise.

I was actually quite stunned to find this study, but found this very interesting with all the haters out there.

Mom on July 03, 2013:

I DID do my research, as strongly suggested above, and my pediatrician recommends it all the time! He said children have formula allergies all the time, but has not once had a child be allergic or have any issue with this formula!

Squeezer on April 17, 2013:

I used this formula for both of my kids (they are now 25 & 27 years old.) My daughter was allergic to every store bought formula at the time, to the point she was hospitalized for a week at the age of 6 weeks. Finally broke out the old fashion formula recipe and she immediately improved. I kept her on this formula until I switched her over to milk. Both of my kids were very healthy and never became overweight.

Steph on March 23, 2013:

There are no vital nutrients in this formula! Babies need fats for their brain development and lots of vitamins! There is NO nutritional value in this formula and the white sugar will harm future bone and teeth development as well...not to mention increasing the risk for diabetes! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if anyone is even considering this formula because commercial formulas are not working (they would be BETTER than this one!) then check out Weston A. Price's homemade formula. It uses raw milk or raw goat's milk or there is an organic liver formula.

AT THE VERY LEAST look at this link and see the ingredients that is in the Weston A. Price formula so you can see what vital nutrients are COMPLETELY LACKING IN THIS EVAPORATED MILK FORMULA!

For the love of God people, do your research!!

ritsukakunx on December 16, 2012:

The problem with this is... baby formula has nutrients in it; this would not. You REALLY risk your baby not getting proper nutrition if you make formula at home. Breastfeed or formula feed only - store bought formula, of course. Otherwise, you may end up with a really malnourished baby.

I don't think this article is appropriate to be viewed... by anyone. I don't even know why this is online. It could be dangerous if someone actually tries it.

Terrell on December 09, 2012:

At 67, me and most of my family and even parents grew up with this as a supplement. We didn't add any sugar, but sugar is optional. Check out this study and you'll see some of the myths that have been promoted by companies making formula.

Mama McKethen on October 20, 2012:

Could you use rice or almond milk instead of evap milk?

supersezabell on August 21, 2012:

Margo you definitely need to give her the vitamins in addition to the evaporated milk. A study was done showing that infact evaporated milk formulas do not make infants grow up much different to breastfed or commercial formula fed infants.

With today's knowledge of essential omega 3 and 6 oils, B vitamins, folic acid etc I myself have switched to this basic formula (after being unable to continue breastfeeding and having my baby girl reject 2 commercial formulas and after tasting them myself I don't blame her!)with my own twist.

I use evap milk, boiled water, blackstrap molasses, pentavite baby vitamins and an omega blend which contains the essential omega 3 and 6 oils to ensure she has all the necessary things for full development but in a more natural way than a commercial formula with many additives.

You basically mix as 1 can and 2 cans water and can keep it the same or as they get older drop it to a 1 to 1 ratio. I also chose blackstrap molasses over sugar as it contains iron, folic acid and B group vitamins particularly B12. The baby vitamins contain necessary vitamin c, d, a and a couple others b vitamins.

I agree with others that many people have misconceptions about this formula particularly the sugar content vs commercial formulas. This formula was the first one sold and if you research its the marketing by commercial formula companies which bumped it down and then suddenly turned it into a "bad" thing which it most certainly isn't!

margo2322 on July 22, 2012:

pls help i don't know what to do about milk.

margo2322 on July 20, 2012:

my baby is 2 months i have tried about every formula there is but she

refuses to drink it. Everytime i feed her its a war she doesn't like it. My only worry is that her doctors says not to give her vitamins and the evaporated milk. I am confused and I don't know what to do?

Emily on July 05, 2012:

This recipe for this formula (using Karo syrup) is the EXACT one my mom gave me thirty two years ago when my son was born. I also added baby vitamins-5 drops per bottle. At first I tried commercial canned formulas. My infant became instantly constipated and his stool had a fowl odor. I couldn't understand the chemicals and other listed ingredients on the label. Like the other moms here - my son grew up healthy with no problems!

new momma on June 30, 2012:

my baby is 8 weeks old now and has tried 4 different formulas and same result every time, gas and tummy aches. I was raised on canned milk and am very healthy. Im going to try this with my son and see if it helps because i cannot just sit and watch him be miserable anymore.. I am so glad to see that i am not the only one that is using this homemade formula.

someone awesome on June 13, 2012:

I am actually a new mommy and am looking for a formula that I can give my newborn so that it is easier to make and not have an uncomfortable baby. I didn't ever agree formula was a good source of food even though it does have more than regular evaporated milk. I get pounds of evaporated milk for free and I was just trying to decide whether I should use it or not. Anyone who wants to share their opinion should email me. everyone is welcome to comment. I need all the advice I can get!

sheila b. (author) on May 31, 2012:

In answer to the last comment: Sorry, I don't know anything about powdered goats milk, but an old Vermont farm wife/school teacher told me she fed her last baby goats milk because he was allergic to cows milk. The fact is, baby formulas like the one I wrote about were used in place of cows milk because the cows milk might carry diseases where the evaporated milk was pasteurized. Before there was evaporated milk, if the baby could not be breastfed it was fed the same milk as everyone drank. With that in mind, I'd ask my doctor about feeding my baby regular goats milk.

As for other comments about the sugar in the recipe. My pediatrician explained to me that the sugar helps the bowels. Once food was introduced, if the baby became constipated, he'd have me add a bit more sugar to the formula and it helped.

Also, in these days of so much obesity, some parents are going overboard with their babies. Don't believe what I say, check for yourself, but my understanding is babies need a certain amount of fat and sugar in their diets. I have been told by a doctor that she has to tell parents to give their toddlers whole milk, not 1%.

Gabe A. on May 31, 2012:

I have a couple questions. Would any powdered goat's milk be ok? Also, do you add any infant vitamin drops? My wife and I are having trouble breastfeeding and the lesser of the formula evils I've found has been 'Nature's Best'. I hate the idea of it but our baby needs to eat. Please shoot back a comment as I'm very interested in this. Lastly, would adding coconut oil be ok?

Jackie on May 22, 2012:

I am confused as to how baBY GETS his vitamins and all the nutrients he needs? Can someone please explain?

Jackie on May 21, 2012:

I am currently trying to find an alternative to store bought formula because I just found out recently that it is full of things called excitotxins, same as splenda!! That stuff is terrible!! I'm a bit uneasy with this recipe but I DO think it is better than store bought. Just to the ppl whoi said about all the sugar, that's all store formula is made of anyway! Plus loads of other toxins! Do your research about excitotoxins. You wouldn't believe what they are doing to our future generations

Ronda on April 01, 2012:

All 3 of my kids were on this formula. I never had a sick kid or babies that spit up all the time. When I had my youngest my husband wanted us to put him on store bought formula. For 2 months all he did was cry and was in pain. My husband finally went to the store and got what I needed. After the first bottle he was good to go. I would never put my child on store bought formula. I used Karo syrup instead of white sugar. The first bottle of the day had the vitamins in it. I have healthy kids to this day and they are not over weight either. My oldest is 30 this year.

Vivi on March 27, 2012:

I have given my daughter homemade formula that consisted of evaporated milk, water, a tbl spoon of sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon! She is now 8months and PERFECTLY fine!! This recepie has been past on from my great grandmother. All of my nieces and nephews have also been brought up with this formula and they are also perfectly fine! The oldest is my cousin who is now 19!!! I HATE when ppl tell me it's bad for your baby or you shouldn't be doing that but let me tell you my relatives hardly ever get sick!!! Plus there are going to be more than enough "home made formula gone bad" stories than those of success! It is the way thing are!! If you want to do it, then do it if not don't criticize other parents because you don't know their situation!

meredith on March 04, 2012:

You cannot give honey to babies!

Rhonda Valls on March 03, 2012:

Oh..don't be so shocked about sugar...that's one of the main ingredients in commercial formula!!

Nicholle on February 24, 2012:

I would like to add to all of this and say that I DO have my pediatricians approval for this recipe that I have done much research on. Karo Syrup and Agave Syrup are natural sweeteners (not processed like what you find in store bought formula) they are also loaded in vitamins. I add 1 tsp. of liquid baby vitamin provided by my doctor to this mix every day. My baby is getting more vitamins and less crap in this formula than they would in store bought. Before we start to put down this recipe I would guess that most have not done the appropriate research before doing so. Turn over that can of formula in your cupboard and look at how much sugar is in it and then come back here and say that karo syrup and agave nectar are bad.

Belinda on February 18, 2012:

I used this formula only like some of the others I used karo but the sugar is fine too. I used this formula for both of my kids and it was great and we have now used it on all of the grandkids which began on regular baby formula and had nothing but problems and this is what we changed to,to SOLVE the problems and as many others have said I too was raised on this formula I wouldn't trust any other kind.

luminousmoon14 on January 17, 2012:

my grandmother used honey, instead of sugar. out in rural northern British Columbia, honey is easier to get in the field honey bee boxes, then going all the way to town63kms. honey and boiled goat milk or cow. today we add vitamin drops. Just having a baby boy, and at first not producing enough for him after pumping and breastfeeding, i'm producing more then enough now with pumped back up/travel supply. tho at night time, the hospital gave me formula, to top up as takes longer to digest. he seems to like it fine, but i am a more natural as oppose to genetically modified and chemical laden foods. so now my boy has gained his weight back and is doing very good on the boob, he has his midnight homemade formula to help his mommy sleep a few more minutes. and if i've ate something that upsets his tummy with my milk, this formula calms him.

happy baby, happy mom! and grandmoms too!

Honeybear on January 14, 2012:

I have been hunting down this recipe. My mother had fed it to all 5 of us kids after breastfeeding for 3 months. She hated breastfeeding, I on the other hand loved it and fed my girls till 14 (the first two) and 18 months for the third. On the odd occasion when I had to I used this recipe or a similar one with plain milk. My eldest first had it at about 3-4 weeks old, no problems. She absolutely refused to put the bottle in her mouth when I had tried formula, even her father couldn't get the bottle into her mouth. It was so sad seeing a tiny baby with mouth clamped tight because of the smell/taste whatever of the formula yet she would have this mix or my breastmilk.

My mother never added the sugar but always added Penatvite (baby viatmins) 5 drops per bottle. We are all quite normal and healthy.

As has been said the first or second ingredient listed on most formulas is a form of sugar and mostly white. The list goes on from there and how many of the ingredients are natural? Not very many. I would NEVER, EVER give anyone let alone a child any form of artificial sweetener as someone else suggested as it embalms your insides, babies don't need to be killed off before they begin to live. Sugar is necessary for brain development if you read up on babies development, although a more natural form would be preferable to highly processed white sugar.

My daughter had a baby boy 7 weeks ago and I wanted to find this so I can let her make her own mind up, she is definite she doesn't want to feed formula because of all the artificial stuff in it and is successfully breastfeeding at the moment but it is always good to have an option.

Linda koenig on December 20, 2011:

I highly recommend this recipe. I have two daughters that are now 28 and 33 years old. I began making it after reading a recommendation from Dr. Spock in redbook 1983. It was economical and the consistency was closer to breast milk than formula. My daughters were introduced to this recipe after being breast fed for the first 6 months of their life. Presently, they are both healthy and have no weight problems. I was looking for this recipe so my daughter can make it for her son.

x on December 13, 2011:

Oy, don't feed this to your baby. It is severely deficient in vitamins and minerals, which both breastmilk and formula would provide him/her with.

If you can't breastfeed, use cow's milk formula, organic if you can afford to do so. Do NOT rely on homemade mixes without your doctor's previous approval.

read the packaging on December 07, 2011:

I read the side of my sons formula and glucose-suclose is number 2 on the list! Being so high on the list means it's has the most of that in it...I'm stuck in a rural area without a good supply of formula for my son (it was suppose to be a day trip but the snow is too deep to get back home), I will be using this at lease until I can get back home. Heck if it makes his tummy feel better than this formula does I may switch him for good! I will however be adding vitamins to make sure he gets enough.

TO Elana from tthe comment above on November 20, 2011:

You say this recipe is loaded with sugar and will likely cause diabetes... I encourage you to go read the side of a formula package for the contents and their order by product quantity.. Feel free to report your findings back to us as readers.

For the rest of you innocent readers who will pass by, CORN sweeter is the first item on the list.. sometimes i wonder who is running the FDA.

Best to you.. ALL.

Lizardbits23 on November 17, 2011:

Just to point out, all FDA approved formulas contain some form of Sugar, so this recipe isn't any different, except that it's a heck of a lot cheaper and not nearly as processed. We feed this to our children along with probiotics and vitamins and they both grow so well and are happy and healthy.

Jane on November 03, 2011:

I used this receipe on both my son and daughter and they are fine they are in their thirties I was raised on this I tried the commercial formulas on my son first and he was miserable constantly kicking his legs up and crying in pain I changed to this formula and he was fine. When I asked the doctor he was amazed that I wanted to do this he thought it was great. He did not believe in ready mixed forulas as to the fact you do not know how much water , sugar or milk is in them not to mention all the chemicals in them to give them a long shelf life.

Veronica on September 16, 2011:

This recipe is awsome. There's always haters out their being just negative. I gave this to my oldest daughter who is now 16 and very healthy. She could not tolerate formula. Personally have you tasted formula? Yuck its horrible it tastes like tin. I now have a 8mo baby girl who I breatfeed but its time to ween her. This is what will be the alternative. Best Wishes God Bless.

Ana on August 31, 2011:

I used this recipe for my twin girls. I don't remember adding sugar but I did add vitamin drops. My daughters were never sick, never had upset stomachs and had little problems spitting up. They are 26 now and still very healthy. We will use this recipe for my grandson to supplement breast feeding. Oh, and the recipe was given to me by their pediatrician.

C on August 18, 2011:

Hmmm...I was given a recipe by a co-worker and before I tried it I thought I would do some basic online research about homemade formula's.

This recipe is not something I would consider giving my son. The recipe I was given by a co-worker has organic rice milk, organic rice protein, infant vitamin drop, organic black strap molasses and probiotics.

There are lots of recipes out there. I strongly suggest looking around before settling on this one.

And I agree- DO NOT give a baby Splenda. I don't touch the stuff myself so I can't imagine giving to a baby.

jaq on May 09, 2011:

No don't use splenda! Are you kidding me???!!! Splenda is so bad for kids. Its artificial sugar, its not even good for adults. And this homemade formula im assuming doesn't have the same vitamins and minerals found in store bought formula

mama Risner on February 21, 2011:

I used this formula on all my children. On my youngest I tried ready made formula, I had to take her off. She was constipated and had colic. Put her back on this formula(except instead of sugar I used molasses. her system settled down. ) You can also use splenda as it is dextrose Maltos which is what the early formulas used.

Emma S on February 08, 2011:

FYI I used this recipe for all four of my baby's 25 yrs ago ,yes I did use the commercial formula with my first, he was very fussy after drinking it and had diareah, once I started my baby on this formula never had any problems only I Use 2 Tablespoons Karo Syrup instead of sugar .All of my boy's grew up very healthy they are now 25 yrs old 24 yrs & Twins 22 yrs old ,My 24 yr old just had a baby girl and he will be giving this formula to her aswell, Good Choice.

Elena on December 29, 2010:

This is a recipe that may contribute to the epidemic of obesity! That amount of sugar is bad for adults, let alone babies. It is such a bad start for a child, this massive sugar addiction that so many people suffer from. There are alternatives to this, which do not have to be commercial formula, or Soy formula (soy isn't good for babies either). Sugar in such quantities is an enemy, which can lead to so many health problems!

sheila b. (author) on August 21, 2010:

With this formula, I kept the same recipe from birth to the time I switched to cow's milk. With my children, they'd start out taking only one or two ounces at a feeding, eventually working up to about 6, and by that time the doctor said change to cow's milk.

helen on August 20, 2010:

i have heard all about this formula and its suppose to be great, just one question how many mls do you give and does the formula ingredients change as baby gets older.

TLC on August 12, 2010:

A long time ago the cows were not given antibiotics and growth hormones, and they weren't fed genetically modified corn and other junk.

My friend was raised on raw goats milk. It is most like human milk.

Anonymoous on April 24, 2010:

Before you people actually comment on this recipe and turn it down, why don't you do research first for objections. My son has a good chance to being allergic to Soy and every formula around here is Soy Based. This was our next alternative since this is what his mom (my wife) was raised on. Back in the older days, a lot of people were raised on similar recipes as such.

rkhyclak from Ohio on April 21, 2010:

I nursed my daughter, well pumped and bottle fed the breast milk, until 9 months after which it just got too much with school. I switched to formula and we went through an extremely fussy period, turns out she was lactose intolerant! All of that aside, this formula recipe is what my mother and uncles were raised on as they were from the "it's not cool to breastfeed" era, except Karo syrup was subbed for white sugar. Thay're all fine and dandy in their 50's and 60's! I wonder though, is there a way this could be adapted for lactose intolerant babies?

Great hub, Sheila!

Using it... on March 11, 2010:

Sugar is bad, but it's no different from corn syrup and sucrose which is used to sweeten commercial formulas. My younger brother and myself were given this formula until 1 years old and we're now both happy healthy folks in our very early thirties. I'll be using this for my son as well (with baby vitamin drops).

sugar bad on March 10, 2010:

I posted the last need to check out one example of a trustworthy site to check out!!

sugar bad on March 10, 2010:

I cannot believe that you are actually starting your baby out on processed is so bad for you! You need to do more research before you go pumping sugar into your helpless little baby! Store bought formula would probably have been a better option! Don't feed this to your babies people!!

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