Sally Fallon, founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, whose mission is to restore nutrient dense foods in the American diet, will discuss what to do when you are unable to feed your baby breast milk. She will discuss the alternatives to commercial formula and the best first foods to introduce to your baby based on the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Full Interview Transcript
Kelly: Sally, thank you so much for being here. Weston Price has been a great resource to me for both my children and I was not able to breastfeed for most of my kids. I actually made the raw milk formula for almost four years. I know it’s very controversial and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. So, I think that it’s great to have you here to talk about that.
Sally: Great, thank you.
Kelly: Yeah. So, obviously breast milk is always best, but when should a mother consider that using formula
Sally: Well, I think there would be two scenarios. One is if the baby’s not gaining weight, that even though the mother may have a lot of milk, they’re just maybe something about the mother’s diet or metabolism, that means that there’s something missing. So that would be one and number two, if the baby is crying and fussing all the time. Now that could be that the babies in pain from something physically wrong, but usually it means that the baby is hungry and just not getting enough from mom and of course there’s also scenarios where mom just doesn’t produce breast milk. So, then the mother is panicked, there’s, I mean nothing worse than this panic about your child not getting enough to eat and not thriving and if you go to the store and look at the formulas, there are just the most awful combination of ingredients. It’s basically junk food and then you have the Fallon formulas as they call us and that’s based on raw milk and that raises a lot of eyebrows but after all, mother’s milk is raw milk and so it’s obvious that the next best thing would be raw milk from another species and we add things to the milk, whole food additions that make it more in line with the profile of mothers milk.
Kelly: breast milk is best. So, I’ve had friends for example, that have used the milk banks of other mothers, what do you say about that as like a second option?
Sally: Well, if you buy milk, it’s very expensive. if you buy milk from a breast bank, I think I calculated it was over a hundred dollars a gallon. If you buy milk on the Internet from another mother you know, that’s definitely a possibility. It’s a bit risky because you don’t know this mother, you don’t know if she’s a drug addict, you don’t know if she’s a drinker, smoker and that milk could also be a lacking in nutrients.
Kelly: The diet is just so important in terms of the nutrients that you’re giving to your child.
Sally: Yes, it absolutely is and unfortunately, the breastfeeding advocates say that diet has nothing to do with the quality of your milk and this is absolutely wrong. There are many studies showing that the vitamins and minerals and the components of milk vary according to the diet of the mother and one thing that varies a lot is the fat in the milk. Now, mother’s milk is 55% of calories as fat, it’s butter, it’s basically butter and the baby needs a lot of this fat. The fat carries cholesterol and babies don’t make cholesterol and they absolutely need cholesterol for development of their brain and nervous system and also the gut and mother’s milk is very high in cholesterol that’s in the fat and there’s a special enzymes in mother’s milk that ensures that the baby absorbs all this cholesterol. You cannot find formula with animal fat in it. None of them have animal fat, none of them have cholesterol in them and this is a huge failing of the baby formulas, even the organic ones, expensive ones from Europe, none of them contain animal fat and this is what baby needs most of all.
Kelly: Right. I was one of the panicked mothers that I wasn’t able to give my first child in particular enough milk and so I was reading the label and I know how important the brain development is, particularly in those first, you know couple of years and you know, when you read the ingredients on the…
Sally: It’s shocking.
Kelly: It’s amazing, so I’m just and so I actually found the Weston Price Foundation. I wanted you talk about the comparison between what’s in the store bought versus your raw milk formula.
Sally: Okay, well we already talked about cholesterol. Another thing that’s different is that the milk sugar in mother’s milk is lactose and I think there are very few formulas that contain lactose, it’s more expensive and so they just put sucrose in or even high fructose corn syrup. I mean, I’m not kidding, and so we start with the cow’s milk or goat’s milk, which has lactose in it and we actually add more because mother’s milk is higher in lactose, then an animal, other animal’s milk and the lactose is a critical for neurological development and that’s another difference. Another difference is the vitamin A, the vitamin A in formula typically is carotenes and in mother’s milk it’s the true vitamin A. Raw cow’s milk, raw cow’s milk for every vitamin and mineral and raw cow’s milk or raw goat’s milk there is a enzyme that ensures that those vitamins and minerals are 100% absorbed and this is not true in formula, baby formula. First of all, you have vitamins that are very difficult to absorb, these are the synthetic vitamins and nothing to help the baby absorb those vitamins and minerals.
Kelly: I did so much research and even actually considering doing a milk from Europe because it was better than even the American.
Sally: But even the ones from Europe have no cholesterol and is this the best that nature can offer. I mean, excuse me, is this the best that science can offer us? I mean, if they, if they can’t even get those fundamental things right how can we trust this industry at all?
Kelly: Right. I live in California, so raw milk is legal here. I think there’s probably ten plus states that you can’t get raw milk because I there’s a lot of controversy, people talk about the danger of just raw milk, let alone feeding it to an infant. So, can you talk about that?
Sally: Okay, raw milk is actually inherently safe. Now the government says it’s inherently dangerous, but actually raw milk is inherently safe. It contains a lot of compounds that kill pathogens and the real dangerous pathogen for an infant is listeria and there has never been a case of listeria in raw milk and making anyone sick. Raw milk kills listeria, kills germs on contact, you know so where you do want to be careful of at least for the pregnant mothers is soft cheeses and luncheon meats, those are the two big sources of listeria in the American diet. So, you know, all this stuff about raw milk being so dangerous, there has not been a death from raw milk, recorded death since the late eight, 1980s when they started keeping records there’ve been a lot of deaths from baby formula and the thing is when you make a powdered formula, it is never sterile, no powder is ever sterile. So, there’s lots of pathogens in that formula and then, you know how’s it mixed, if you mix it yourself, you’ve got your tap water, which is a problem if you buy the premixed that’s full of carrageenan, which is very hard for baby to digest.
Kelly: Right, I think it also matters the kind of where you’re getting the milk. It’s really important that I don’t like to always tell people, yeah you should because you have to be careful. I think having a regulated state helps.
Sally: I’m in favor of regulation of raw milk. I think it needs to be regulated by people who believe in it and people who are trying to shut these theories down but I must say I know lots of babies that have been nourished on unregulated farm milk and they just thrived and done fine but I personally am in favor of regulation.
Kelly: where the best places to find how to get raw milk too because that’s very important where you buy it because I don’t think…
Sally: Really two sources and you’d be surprised, it’s much more available than people think. There’s realmilk.com and we have a real milk binder where you can click on your state and find the sources of raw milk and if you don’t see anything close to you there, then I would suggest going to WestonAPrice.org and finding your local chapter and give your local chapter a call and they can help you find raw milk
Kelly: Right. So, then also people talk about the hormones in the cow and how’s that affect when you’re actually drinking the real milk, can you talk about like the worry of people, the hormones that the cows have, their certain kind of cow milk that you need to get and all that.
Sally: You know all milk has hormones in it, so does mother’s milk and these are hormones in a form that baby needs and can deal with. So, I’m not concerned about the hormones. I’m more concerned about some of the milk’s not having enough fat in them or what the cows are being fed a, it really should be grass fed milk and not getting a lot of grain and certainly not getting any soy because then you do get some kind of nasty hormone in the milk.
Sally: you have to find out from the farm, you know, what are they feeding these cows, I certainly wouldn’t use milk from cows that are getting soy, but cows mostly on grass with a little bit of grain, preferably organic grain, this is fine. The grain actually will help increase the fat content in the milk and that’s what you want, you want a good high fat milk so this would be Jersey or Guernsey milk and we also recommend sometimes adding a little cream in the milk.
Kelly: can you tell us some of the benefits then and we talked to about a little bit, but some of the benefits that the baby would have or even you know young children, anybody for that matter but I’m focused here on the babies of drinking that raw milk.
Sally: Well, first let me say we probably, on the formula, we probably had 10,000 babies on this formula and with uniformly great results. There’s the occasional baby who really can’t do any milk and then we have a meat-based formula for them, but I would love for somebody to study these babies because you know, the mothers are thrilled with the results. And by the way, we also recommend that they, there’s a device called the lactaid where like a little plastic bag and you put the formula in there and they can breastfeed at the same time through a little tube in the bag, you know kind of a pain but I’ve had a lot of mothers is very grateful for that. Okay, so now as baby grows, he should still be getting raw milk, you may not be making the formula, but after nine to twelve months you gradually switch to raw milk. This is the best food for babies to grow up on, there’s so many components. First of all, they’re all the factors that create a good immune system in the baby, there it’s you know, it’s white blood cells, make globulins, all the things we have in our immune system these are in the milk. Milk is rightly called a white blood and of course, all of these are destroyed by pasteurization. There’s also a number of components in raw milk that seal the guts that prevent leaky gut and help the baby have good digestion. Again, all destroyed by pasteurization and finally all the enzymes that help may be absorbed 100% of the nutrients in the milk. You know, as you know, it’s a real tough haul for moms to make sure babies get and their children get nutritious food.
There’s so much junk out there, you can’t keep them away from it completely. Moms are concerned, you know, how can I assure that I’m getting a hundred percent of what baby needs and you can do that with raw milk. You can slack a little on the rest of the diet if they’re getting a good whole raw milk because it gives them everything they need for growth and also to protect their immune system. The other thing I was going to say is we’ve had numerous studies now out of Europe showing that raw milk protects against asthma, allergies and eczema, rashes and respiratory infections. So, raw milk is giving your baby the very best protection he could have.
Kelly: So, what’s wrong with pasteurization and like, because I mean every, the government, everybody says pasteurized milk is what we should be you know mainstream. Why? What’s wrong with pasteurization?
Sally: The government is spouting the line of the industry and of course the industry wants everything pasteurized. So, all the production of milk is funneled through the processor and the processor who makes all the money. So, pasteurization heat’s the milk to 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Most milk today, however, even most organic milk, ultra-pasteurized, which means that it is heated to above the boiling point, 130 degrees, you can’t do that by boiling milk, you have to rush it pass through the superheated stainless steel plate and this pretty much destroys everything in the milk and it also warps and twists the proteins in the milk and makes it very allergenic and this is why milk has become the number one allergen in the American diet.
Kelly: Because the pasteurization, people are lactose intolerant and can’t eat dairy because of the…?
Sally: Well they call it lactose intolerant, but I think it’s just the pasteurization intolerance. There’s a lot of things that she’ll becoming tolerant if that milk is heated so high.
Kelly: Right. So, tell us about the impact on the brain development then, I think we talked a little bit about it that can you talk specifically about brain development and getting the right just nutrition in general.
Sally: Right. So, we talked about cholesterol, which is not in any of the formulas but it’s critical for the growing baby, baby cannot make cholesterol. Cholesterol is like the number one nutrient for the brain. We talked about a vitamin A which is also critical for the brain and lots of other nutrients, B12 for example, you cannot absorb any B12 from pasteurized milk, but it’s there ready to absorb in the raw milk. Saturated fats, again, there’s none of this in formula and you know, the brain is one of the highest organs in saturated fat in the whole body, they are stabilizing, they’re critical for hormone production and then there is also another fat that we get exclusively from animal fats, not in formula and it’s a very delicate, fragile fat that we’d be destroyed by pasteurization, it’s called arachidonic acid and the highest concentration of arachidonic acid in the body is the brain 11% arachidonic acid. This is actually an omega six fatty acid and it’s critical for tight cell to cell junctions and very important for building a good impervious digestive tract. That’s you can’t get it anywhere else, but animal fats.
Kelly: Weston Price is obviously it’s like the whole food and nutrient food. Can you talk about some of the best in addition to raw milk, whether some of the best first foods in particular for your child?
Sally: Right. So, weaning them right, we’ll make all the difference in the health of your child. First of all, we don’t recommend exclusive breastfeeding after six months. No traditional culture does that. In fact, some traditional cultures start solid food at one month.
Kelly: Oh, is that right?
Sally: That’s right, but all have started solid food by six months and the most common solid food that’s given to babies as your first weaning food is liver, and this is very wise because milk is, tends to be low in iron and that’s fine for the first six months they’re getting more acidic than iron, that’s good and they’re absorbed what iron is in the milk they absorb 100% of, but by six months they need more iron and of course liver is best food for this. Also, liver is the most nutrient dense food we have. So, we recommend for the weaning foods very kind of watery, pureed liver and you can put salt in there, you can put butter in there and also egg yolk, not the whites because they might be allergenic before age one.
Sally: I’ve written some blogs on baby food, you know the baby food is shocking today first of all. It’s only vegetables and fruits, you used to be able to buy a liver and egg yolk in the little jars, but you can’t anymore. So, it’s just all kind of all sugar. There’s no protein or fat in this baby food, the and then it comes in plastic. A lot of this comes in plastic or it comes in those foil things, they like toothpaste tubes and these are flash pasteurized, a very high heat. So, I guarantee you there’s going to be a little (Inaudible, 19:55) in that food. So you know, the care that you take with baby’s diet in the first year or two, I mean you always want to take care of your children’s diet, but that first year or two are so critical in getting baby off to the right start, getting all the organs formed, that gut, the brain and babies’ development continues but, that first two years are so critical.
Kelly: In terms of what you’re feeding your child and making sure they develop properly?
Sally: Right. I can’t help thinking about this university admissions scandal, you know and the parents spending all this money to try to get their kids into these schools. I can tell you how to get your child admitted to a top school and that, but you have to start before conception and feed them right those first few years…
Kelly: you’re just building up their IQ just through their diet.
Sally: Absolutely. I want to say something about salt also. Salt is critical for the development of the brain, especially the sodium part of salt is very important for brain development. The chloride part is very important for digestion and what we’re seeing is formula with low salt baby food with no salt in it. The baby books are telling moms to withhold salt and basically that leads to, less than optimal brain development but it also leads to the baby’s being hungry because body has a certain requirements for salt and if it’s not getting it in the food you just can keep eating and eating and you’re going to see a lot of obesity.
Kelly: Right. Is there anything else from the Weston Price diet or like philosophy that you think parents should know with raising their children?
Sally: Yes, well we’re also big advocates of cod liver oil, to give baby adequate A and D and vitamin A is just critical for the brain, it’s critical for the way the eyes function, not just seeing things, but then taking that input, that data and processing it into you know important thoughts. Okay. We recommend the cod liver oil to the mom and the dad six months before conception, all through pregnancy, all through breastfeeding, and then the growth of the child. Cod liver oil is a really nice balance of A and D and you don’t to give vitamin D by itself because that can lead to all sorts of problems, you need vitamin A as a balance.Kelly: Oh, interesting. You recommend that throughout childhood, the cod liver oil?
Sally: Yes! And I’ll tell you, if you start young, it was no problem getting them to take it.
Sally: I just I say to moms you know, there’s I think parents would, they are lack confidence in raising their children and they think they have to do this right and this right. I promise you if you’d get the diet right, everything else falls into place. They’ll be well behaved, they won’t be crying all the time, they’ll be easy to discipline. There’ll be just a joy and you can make a lot of other mistakes but if those children are well nourished, they are going to be developing as they should.
Kelly: Agree. Diet in particular, my son, I was so strict with his diet and he still to this day ask me for a vegetable for his snack after school
Kelly: Where can people go for more information about your work
Sally: Okay. So, I guess the main source of information would be my book, The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare, which has the formula recipe and has the recipes for weaning foods. All of this information plus wonderful section on natural remedies for the childhood illnesses. You know, maybe children are supposed to get sick, sometimes it’s supposed to have a fever or that kind of jumps starts the immune system. So, it’s all in there. The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare. I have a blog Nourishingtraditions.com and I do a lot of blogs on feeding children and then the Weston A Price Foundation is WestonAPrice.org and they, we have a check section on children’s health where we have a baby formula and recipe and also where you can get the ingredients.
Kelly: thank you for, for sharing this information. I think people are just inundated with formula and that’s what people say you should use and there are better options.
Sally: Yes. And you know, we’re now on our third formula generation and each generation the children get weaker, more prone to illnesses, more prone to learning disorders.
About Sally Fallon Morell
Sally Fallon is the founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which promotes wise traditions in food and farming. They are the co-authors of the self-published Nourishing Traditions, which has sold 120,000 copies in the US. For more information, visit: https://www.westonaprice.org.