I’ve had a number of questions, on this site, on our Facebook page, and on various other forums, about Barley Formula. A number of direct questions came from my earlier post on my wife as a breastfeeding centerfold model, but I wanted to answer some of these questions directly here.
Barley Formula vs. Breastfeeding
I first of all want to dispel one myth I’ve seen talked about around the net, and asked of me directly with respect to formula feeding as compared to breastfeeding. I’ve seen folks saying that Scientologists are required to use a barley formula and so forth, completely false. Breastfeeding is widely regarded as the preferred, superior way to nourish a baby, and that’s no different in Scientology. If you can breastfeed your child, and physiology or other factors do not prevent it, do so.
In a 1953 lecture that Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard was giving regarding energy and the lack of energy people sometimes have, he said,
“You’ll find the basic on this sometimes in the failure of the mother to breast-feed the child.” – LRH
He went on to describe research he did in the area, talking also about the shoddy substitutes for infant nutrition being offered at the time,
“Why they feed a child pasteurized milk is a great problem, since the amount of nutrition in pasteurized milk is comparable to water and chalk compared to good raw milk taken from a cow who has fed on pretty good fodder like good natural grasses and so forth.” — LRH
So by all means, if you can breastfeed, breastfeed. Our daughter was breastfed until 8 months old, and our son is presently 7 months old and still on a primary diet of breast milk.
Barley Formula as an Alternative
Anyone who’s been a parent knows that there are only a handful of reasons why a baby gets upset. Either they’re tired, they’ve got a full diaper, they just got bonked in the head by a flying toy from their big sister, or they’re HUNGRY.
In an article which you can read in full here, Mr. Hubbard said:
“An incorrectly fed baby is not only unhappy, he is unhealthy, a matter of concern to any new parent. Proper nourishment is, of course, a necessary ingredient to good health. Based on personal experience, here is something that worked; it is being offered as a helpful tip to parents who seek better ways to raise healthy children.” — LRH
So, if you either can’t breastfeed, or if your child is going through a growth spurt and your breastmilk supply simply can’t keep up all of the sudden (which happened with both of our children) one seeks alternative ways to supplement the diet. Mr. Hubbard, in the article above, tendered a solution which he found worked and which any parent can easily try.
The recipe is:
15 ounces of barley water
10 ounces of homogenized milk
3 ounces of corn syrup
The amount of syrup should be varied—depending on the baby—some like it weak—some take it stronger.
This formula can be multiplied by any number according to the number of bottles desired but the ratio remains the same.
To make the barley water, put about half a cup of whole barley in a piece of muslin, tie loosely to allow for expansion. It is slowly boiled in a covered, vented pot not made of aluminum for 6½ hours in about 4 pints of water. (In venting the pot, one allows steam to escape either through a vent built in the lid [if there is one] or by placing the cover slightly askew so there is an opening between the cover and pot.) Barley water will turn very, very pink. This gives about the right consistency of barley water for making the formula as above.
Please read the full, illustrated recipe and instructions here on the free Volunteer Ministers course on Children.
Important Note: The instructions say “whole barley”. If you go to most grocery stores, or even to some Whole Foods stores, all you’ll find is “pearled barley” – which is barley that has had the hull and bran (i.e. some of the most nutritious parts) removed. DON’T use pearled barley, as it won’t get the same results at all. For us, we actually had to drive all around our area in Northern Virginia to find the ONE Whole Foods store that actually stocked whole barley – 5 others did not. So, just make sure to watch out for that.
Results with Barley Formula
My family and friends who’ve used barley formula have had great luck with it. My daughter used it as her staple basically from 8 months old through to about 15 months old, where she had cut over to primarily solids and was only taking a bottle at naptimes. My son, who’s 7 months old and going through a massive growth spurt, is on about 75% breast milk and 20% barley formula, the remainder is solids of various sorts that we’re starting him on.
For me, I like barley formula because:
- It’s all-natural. No powdered mess, no preservatives or chemicals.
- It’s extremely inexpensive, compared to prepared formulas. $10 worth of barley from Whole Foods will make you something like 2 months worth of formula. It’s probably two orders of magnitude cheaper than buying premade formula.
- My kids have taken it extremely well. No upset tummies, they seem to love it, and they’ve both grown quite well with it. My daughter at two years old is as tall as all her three-year-old friends, so I’ll say her year of being primarily on barley formula was successful.
I got a few other questions personally after posting this, so I’m posting my answers to such here:
Corn Syrup: Were you concerned at all about giving the corn syrup? I have read that it can cause harm to a baby, kind of like giving honey to an infant. Did you heat the corn syrup or anything?
No, this didn’t particularly concern me. The research I saw on corn syrup wasn’t really conclusive as to relative health issues. Meaning – yes there have been demonstrated problems, but when comparing to the sheer number of people who consume corn syrup the numbers just don’t indicate much to me besides that some people have an adverse reaction to it. I’ve heard of more folks that are lactose-intolerant and can’t have milk at all. So I figure it’s simple enough to try, and see if it works for the child. If not, find something that works better. For me, I always just make sure to get a brand that doesn’t have a bunch of artificial flavor & color & such, just plain corn syrup. And incidentally, for me, I found also that by regulating the amount of corn syrup in the formula, one could also loosen or solidify their stools. Later on, only, I found that corn syrup used to be an old-school remedy for infant constipation.
Raw Milk: We drink raw cows milk as a family. Should I lightly pasturize this before giving it to her? I am just wanting to do what is best.
Well, for us, we get raw milk from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania sometimes, and it’s FANTASTIC. Kids definitely love it in their bottles. But failing that, we get the whole unpasteurized milk from whole foods (the stuff with the gold lid) and that works great too. Bottom line is always how your kids do with it, of course. I know one baby that didn’t seem to like whole, raw milk at all and had to find a replacement for such.
Barley: I went to whole foods and asked for whole barely. I have never eaten or seen uncooked barley before. I now realize after reading the article that I was using pearled barley. I experimented with the formula last night and the water turned brown, not pink. Maybe this is the reason. I did find a place online that sells whole barley. However they stated that is for growing barley grass. Is this still what I am looking for. It is actually hard to find.
Batch Size: Did you and your wife make it just for the 24 hour batch or did you make enough for a few days?
We usually make a double-batch at a time – which is approximately the size of our crock pot, and lasts for about 2-3 days. That’s usually about the max of how long we feel good about having it in the fridge before tossing it, and that’s seemed to work.