Regarding Barley Formula


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:

  1. It’s all-natural.  No powdered mess, no preservatives or chemicals.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
BRM-04148463ff001e93de58043f4a69fd1dRaw 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.

Try this:   This looks like the stuff you want — hull-less, whole-grain barley.  In our crock pot, cooking on high for about 7-8 hours is what it takes to get a nice, rich pink.
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.

69 thoughts on “Regarding Barley Formula

  1. Thank you so much for writing this article on the Barley Formula and explaining the use of whole barley in the formula.
    I have raised 4 kids in the last 21 years. I breast fed each one to as much as I could and then couldn’t supply enough to them at about 6 – 8 weeks old. I then supplemented with Barley Formula.
    All of my kids did very well on the Barley Formula.
    The biggest thing that I have run into over the years is a common misunderstanding of using whole barley, as it calls for in the formula, and people end up using pearled barley because it is not very widely known that there is a difference. So thank you again for writing that in your article.
    I have been able to ship my whole barley into Texas from Bob’s Red Mill in Clackamas, Oregon. I would ship a 25 lb. bag and then divide it up into 3 cup amounts, vacuum seal it, or double bag it and freeze it to keep it. That would usually last me for about 6-8 months.
    I looked all over the state to find whole barley to no avail, let alone some store clerks would point me in the direction to the pearled barley because that is what they thought was whole barley.
    Pearled barley is steamed and polished up to 5 times to get an easier product ingedient for chefs to use. It cooks faster and is easier in texture to eat.

    1. Thanks so much for that, Shelly! I updated the article & added a link to Bob’s Red Mill, as some folks indeed don’t have access to a local store that sells whole-grain barley.

    2. So my son got some barley, but it is treated with diatomacious earth and I was not sure if it can be used for barley milk. Could you tell me if it is useable or not?

      1. Joyce – Unfortunately I can’t answer that one for you. From what I can see, diatomacious earth is used as an anti-caking agent for grain storage, but I don’t know what effect it will have after being boiled in water for hours. U.S. Dept of Agriculture says it’s safe, but somehow that doesn’t totally put me at ease. Let me know if any further research you do turns up anything. Obviously, in the end, the proof is in the pudding — you may want to A/B test it with some other non-treated grain.

  2. in a letter LRH wrote to me in on 17 June 1980

    he said: PS: I am enclosing some issues that further explain the Barley Formula. The formula in the HCO B (vs. the VMH ) is the one to use.

    I wish i remembered what he enclosed and I forgot all about this letter until I was recently cleaning out my files….

    But I was meaning to get out the HCO B in the tech vols and compare it to the VM and see.

    Although … the VM Handbook has upgraded since 1980 edition, so perhaps that was handled.

    Just a note of interest – not trying to be a hidden data line.

    But it was an amzing amazing thing to feed our kids…they did great on it.

    1. HCOB is an abbreviation for Hubbard Communication Office Bulletin. VM is Volunteer Minister.

  3. Yea I couldn’t agree more! I breast fed my daughter exclusively until almost 6mo at which time we started introducing solids. I also started her on barley formula before bedtime as extra nourishment after I nurse and before her long nighttime slumber. Just to top her off so to speak! -As a note, I found that she seemed to have a harder time with runny noses and an upset tummy with cows milk, so I just use breast milk instead of the cows milk.
    I’m still breastfeeding her now at 9 months and intend to until she’s a year old.
    After a year we’ll be switching to just the barley and solids.
    We couldn’t be happier with the results. She’s a perfectly happy little 9 month old. Never been sick, not a single fever, and her peditrition tells us she’s at least 3 months developmentally advanced at each of her well visits thus far!

  4. Great article Tad! I’ve had a lot of parents ask Mace-Kingsley about this. I am passing this researched added data to our Parent consultants so they have the added information. Thank you so much!

  5. That’s very interesting about whole vs. pearl barley. There is another published version of the article “Healthy Babies” that states one should use pearl barley, which we’ve been using for the formula for our daughter. We’l have to try whole barley and see if we get better results.

    1. Which version did you see? Just curious where you found it, as I’d like to at least have the chronology straight for myself.

      1. Wow, sorry I missed your question. Didn’t get any notification. To answer: The two articles are from the current (1991) set of Scientology technical volumes. The Auditor No. 6 (1965), “Healthy Babies”, says pearl barley (and incidentally pasteurized, not homogenized, milk). HCOB 28 Apr 91, BARLEY FORMULA FOR BABIES, says pearl barley (and homogenized milk). I’ve been meaning to query this for some time. I assume the later issue is more correct, but it seems like an odd discrepancy.

        At any rate, I’ve tried whole barley for the last few months, and it does more easily produce a darker, pinker result than the pearl barley. I haven’t noticed a significant difference in infant satisfaction. It just seems to take less time to give a richer water. (If I boil the pearl barley long enough I get about the same result.) The whole barley is possibly more nutritious, but I have no way of establishing that just by looking at the result.

  6. I’m sure this is a silly question since you basically already addressed it, but just to be certain – I’m not one for corn syrup on the basis that a lot of Corn is now GMO which is something I avoid. Could one in theory substitute pure organic agave nectar instead?

    1. One could indeed substitute it in theory. But as corn syrup also functions as a natural laxative, you may be playing with a different set of problems by switching out the corn syrup. Barley is naturally a bit sweet, so its not as much the sweetness that seems to matter. For us, if we omitted the corn syrup, we would always end up with hard stools.
      However, a bit of googling found me this:
      You may want to give that a try!

    2. Try organic light corn syrup from Wholesome Sweetners available at WholeFoods or online it’s GMO free.

  7. An earlier edition Recipe calls for Pearl Barley and if you check The Handbook it reads “Barley water will turn very, very, very pink” so there seems to be some contrary data.

    My children grew up on “pink”.

    1. Pearl barley does not turn pink it is most brownish with maybe a slight tinge of pink after hrs . Whole hulled barley however turns really pink ( almost red ) after a short while.

  8. Regard whole vs pearl barley – There are three valid references on barley formula in the Tech volumes. One does not say what type of barley, one says pearl barley and one says whole barley.
    When my daughter was a baby the most current reference at that time called for pearl barley. We used that recipe and had awesome results.
    She was a very healthy and happy baby. She was rarely sick and never
    had an ear infection. Bottom line for me, it worked so if the only thing you have access to is pearl barley use it. It was approved by LRH.

    1. Rachel – Great that the formula worked for you, as that’s always the bottom line, for sure. However – could you post the date/title of the ref you found that covers use of pearled barley? Definitely curious.

      1. There are 3 LRH references that I know of on barley formula.
        The three references below are all in the Tech Vols.
        1958 HCOB “Processing on New Mother” LRH – just says barley
        1965 The Auditor article “Healthy Babies” LRH – says pearl
        1991 HCOB “Barley Formula for Babies” LRH – Tech Compilations
        Research Unit – says whole barley. It references the
        1958 reference above.
        There are three books that I know of that give the barley formula recipe.
        1980 VM Handbook – Based on the date I assume (gulp) it
        said either barley water or pearl barley.
        New VM Handbook – references the formula from the 1991
        reference so says whole barley
        1981 Second Dynamic book – no longer in print. It
        references VM Handbook and Healthy Babies and says pearl
        Note there is some additional data in the back of the
        Second Dynamic Book taken from Flag Info Letters
        for those that are interested.
        Whew!!!!! I hope this helps clarify things for everyone.

        1. Rachel – while your points are legit, you need to make sure you know that these references have been reviewed in a new unit of time to make sure they are exactly as LRH had written. The results of this are in the new Div 6 book. It’s very clear what the recipe calls for, what LRH wants and what type of barley to use.

        2. We were using pearl barley and it did not turn pink ( just a slight tinge after hrs) but was decidely brownish in color however when we swithched to organic hulled whole barley it got really pink ( almost red)after a short time.
          Also it stands to reason since this is based on an ancient Roman formula that the Romans did not have pearl barley with the bran removed as they would not have had that technology or need to do so plus the research I did revealed that the bran contains a lot of essential nutrition in it.

  9. Great article on Barley Formula. We actually never used this because both my husband and I are gluten intolerant (barley has gluten) and there was a high liklihood that our kids would have the same allergy (they do), but I think it’s good for people to know about this because it’s a great solution if your kids can tolerate gluten. I know many friends who have raved about this formula.

    I think it’s also good to dispel the myth that Scientologists don’t breastfeed because this is certainly not the case (I breastfed my son until 2 years and my daughter for 8 months.)

  10. Hi Tad,

    This is a great article. My only input would be to add that Corn syrup is NOT BAD for a baby and is not UNHEALTHY at all and you do not need to resort to a different syrup if you find the natural, 100 % healthy corn syrup and that is non-GMO. I found a company here in Newport, CA that makes it by the gallons and I use this with my daughter. It tastes totally different than KARO syrup (which is totally processed GMO based syrup NOW. Per the company when I called them, they said they use only GMO corn because the non-GMO is so little now and they make it in big quantities).

    The other point is that, recent studies proved that Whole Cows Milk is hard on a baby until 1 years of age. LRH says Homogenized milk. It’s hard to find “Homogenized milk” that has not been ultra-pasteurized. So I resorted to GOATS milk. Goats milk is NATURALLY homogenized, hypo-allergenic, you can get it WHOLE and while is has B vitamins and calciums in lower quantities, it’s much easier on a baby than Cows milk. And people with lactose problems can still drink/use Goats milk.

    In addition, it should be noted that this doesn’t replace the vitamins necessary that a baby needs so you should always supplement DHA, B Vitamins and Minerals for the baby.

    I have my own link on Barley formula here, with exact ingredients and where to get the the real stuff as LRH has laid out in the HCOB.

    In addition, there is a Auditors Mag Article and the HCOB that are conflicting. This was resolved in the new Div 6 Course on Having Healthy Babies and the reference has been updated to exactly what LRH states. So this should be the guidebook to go by as the Volunteer Minister’s Book doesn’t have it 100 % per the new Div 6 course.

    There you go.


  11. First, thank you for the post, I will definitely pass it on to all the new moms I know. =)

    Also, I want to say how wonderful barely milk has been for my now 11 month old baby, who I started on barely since 2 months old along with breast feeding (my supply did not meet his demand). I breastfed as long as could happily, I stopped at 6 months and went full barely to this day. My son loves it, never been sick or upset stomach. He and I are very thankful to know about this wonderful nutritious, inexpensive formula. =)

    After reading your blog entry on this, I got really worried and confused about what type of barely i should use, as the “happy babies” course only mentions barely but not what type. I use pearled barely as it was successfully used by a friend and thats also the only type we have access to. With this new information I ordered from the linked provided couple of bags of the hulle barely which i been brewing for now 8 hrs. IT HAS NOT TURNED PINK, IN FACT ITS WHITE?! why is the brew of the hulle barely white? I dont want to stop brewing it until it turns pink but its past the recommended brewing time. Any suggestions? does this happen? can I still make the formula with the white brew?

    I just started another batch of pearl as I need some done in the next couple of hours…it has been successful for the past 9 months and my son has out grown his age for about 3 months not to mention how happy he is. =) I do want to try the hull barely formula to see the difference in him so I will appreciate any responses/ suggestions to making the right brew! =)

    Thank you

    1. We stitched from pearled barley to organic whole hulled barley and it was like night and day as far as the pink goes. The whole barley turns bright pink right away and the pearled was brownish mainly.

  12. Your very welcome Tad on the Bob’s Red Mill. Love to have helped.

    I use the reference on Barley Formula from the Scientology Handbook.

    I also did some research on whole barley versus pearled barley for more detailed nutritional data, usage of both, etc. This is where I found out about the process that pearled barley goes through to make it a whole different ingredient product for recipes. Mostly for the easier use in professional kitchens and manufacturers of soups. Most stores will carry pearled barley because recipes for soups and such is what the majority of shoppers buy it for.

    Therefore, pearled barley over many years has become the barley product that people see and know.

    Scientologists have pretty much been the majority consumer that uses barley for baby formula that I know of, and need the basic barley grain instead of the heavily processed pearled barley grain. The knowledge on this particular grain is just as hard to find as the whole grain product itself.

    As well, I found an article on the nutritional value of whole barley that stated whole barley helps to fortify the gut. It also stated that whole barley has a myriad of other nutritional values that are still being researched. If I can locate this article again in my files I will pass it along.

    I used goat’s milk in my barley formula instead of cow’s milk. My first two babies were just miserably gassy from cow’s milk. As well as all of the bad things that are in cow’s milk nowadays like hormones, antibiotics, etc. I also read that goat’s milk is closer to mother’s milk than cow’s milk.

    When I made my formulas, I also doubled the recipe and made another double recipe. LRH says in the reference in the handbook that you can double the recipe. I would then put into measured containers and freeze it to pull out what I needed when I needed it. Just like I would freeze breast milk as well.

    The testimonial I can give about the use of barley formula is the wonderful compliments I have gotten from my pediatricians on baby checkups. The common compliment always was how healthy, happy, and great my babies looked.

  13. Hello Editor. 😉
    Just curious, can you address in your articles the issue of “supplementing” to breastfeeding. As an Advanced Doula, I advise clients on Breastfeeding and like I believe most consultants, we do not recommend supplementing to the breast milk at all, the reason for this is, breast milk is produced on supply and demand, so if you supplement, you cut down your own milk supply. I think this might be newer data, but in general, this applies to the entire time you are breast feeding exclusively- as in the baby hasn’t gone on to solid foods yet. I realize some people need to use something other than breast milk, if they have physical conditions which prevent them from breastfeeding. And I would recommend the barley formula with ALL Organic Non GMO products if they are going to do this. But otherwise, due to the idea that children can experience nipple confusion and a bottle nipple drips much easier than a real nipple, babies can get used to the bottle and not be willing to work on the breast; and thus again causing less milk to be produced by the body. So, if you could address this newer data, that would be great. Thank you!

  14. Just my two cents on barley. I have three kids who all had barley at some time or another. All were also breasted.

    My first kid didn’t do too well on the barley. I tried changing out the barley, the milk, the sweetener. Her body just didn’t assimilate it well (the barley or the milk).

    My second kid thrived!! on barley. On her own she stopped nursing at six months and ended up drinking double batches of barley formula daily. She is lean as a green bean too. And healthy as a horse.

    My third kid didn’t like the barley early on. (I tried to use barley on those occasions she was at the sitter for an afternoon or so). She’d drink it, but was also gassy and irritable. With goats milk too. I stopped the barley formula for about a year. I’ve just started it up again as she’s been asking for it.

    So, my point in all this is that babies are different. I would recommend for anyone to try the barley formula, but also make sure it’s right for the child.

  15. Do you have any tips to help keep the barley from sticking/ burning to the bottom of the pot? It’s making me go mad. Thanks.

    1. I had the same experience the first time I made barley. I took it to a boil and then put it at the lowest setting on the stove to simmer. It was totally burnt after 6 hours and there was no water left in the pot… totally unsuccessful.

      Then I tried just starting it at a low setting and having it at this low setting for the 6 1/2 hours. It came out perfect, pink, yummy — I wanted to drink it all myself.

      What I did to avoid burning the muslin with the barley in it was to have the muslin bag stick out of the pot (all the barley was in the water) and basically the lid of the pot (which should have a small vent in it) was askew and holding the barley off from the bottom of the pot.

      I hope that makes sense and is helpful. Good luck!

  16. A crock pot (a slow clay cooker) makes a wonderful barley water without burning or boil over! Also, barley water is good protein for adults. I’ve known some who take it to be more alert for study, etc. And drinking barley water can help treat urinary infection.

    All this, of course, is subject to consumers not being intolerant to gluten (the cereal protein) and of course, lactose (milk sugar)- when a baby has the complete barley formula.

    It certainly is a question of people finding the right options for them. My younger daughter was on the breast for a year and barley formula for over 2 years. I breastfed my son for over 4 years (he no had no barley formula).

    My elder daughter was on a commercial infant formula for over 2 years. But assuming no glucose/lactose intolerance, the barley formula is domonstrably far superior to commercial infant formulas in terms of producing a well rested and healty baby. The Barley Formula has a quality protein balance.

    Another caveat is any needed vitamin and mineral supplements for young babies who are exclusively on barley formula and/or have had only very minimal introduction to solids.

    Yours sincerely

    Linda Vij

  17. I know some adults who take barley water for alertness during study. I have found an electric crock pot (electric slow clay cooker)is a very easy way to make the barley water component of the barley formula

  18. I have a barley recipe that i am using with powdered goats milk instead of cows milk. It also suggest 1teaspoon of pure maple syrup. Is this enough for my 5month old or should i still give him regular formula sometimes too? I give him oatmeal 1-2 times a day with gerber formula. Concerned that adding it to the barley formula may be too many ingredients for his little tummy…

  19. I am a qualified Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and breastfed my own daughter for 11mths. Although this a very interesting piece of info, I’d just like to point out that supplementing a baby’s breast feeds with any other formula/milk especially during periods of growth is really not a good idea. Breastmilk is produced on a supply and demand basis so as soon as the baby is getting nourishment from another source he is no longer telling the mothers body to make the actual amount of milk he requires. This usually results in a decrease in the mothers milk supply and an inefficiency to satisfy your child’s needs. It’s a viscous circle. The more the supplement, the less you make, the more supplement your baby will require. This is when women think they no longer have enough milk for their baby. Official advice is to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6months at least and as long as you feed baby on demand your body will normally always catch up with the demand required within a day or two.

  20. I am not involved with Scientology, but I hope you don’t mind if I comment, and ask a question. First of all, I am an adoptive mother of six grown children (and grandmother of three little ones, including one breastfed baby boy). I did my best to breastfeed my kids. I started nurturing at feeding at the breast whenever they came home. Within a few days, my body responded by producing drops of milk. The amount of milk continued to increase, gradually, peaking at around 12-16 ounces of milk per day, with my third-sixth children. I also used donated breast milk from friends who were nursing babies, when I could get it. I saw great improvement in their health, especially a reduction of things like ear infections, and bowel problems, even when they were getting only a couple of ounces of breast milk per day. I try to encourage mothers who do not feel that they can breastfeed exclusively to consider combining breast milk and some kind of formula.

    The primary tool that allowed me to produce breast milk, despite the fact that I had not been pregnant, was the Lact-Aid. With the device, I was able to feed them supplement, through a fine tube, at my breast, rather than with bottles, and induce lactation at the same time. Anyone interested in seeing it may go to It can be used by any mother who has any kind of problem with milk supply, or mothers whose babies have some kind of suckling defect.

    Of course, my children also needed a significant amount of some kind of formula. I used several commercial formulas, and also raw certified goat milk. My fifth child could not tolerate milk or soy formulas and refused to take Nutramigen (a special, hypoallergenic formula) even at two weeks old, because of the taste. I made the formula by adding water, powdered lactose, a high quality formulation of powdered probiotics and folic acid. He did very well on a combination of that and human milk.

    I agree that raw milk (from a cow, goat, or human) is superior to milk that has been heat treated or had chemicals added to it. I am intrigued by your recommendation of barley water in home-made formula. Do you know what specific nutrients the barley water adds? Most of the adoptive moms I am in contact with have no interest in anything but commercial formula, but there are a few who are. I wonder how it would be to add barley water to goat milk for an infant.

    There are very few mothers who actually cannot breastfeed, if they get the accurate information they need. Often, physicians will tell any mother who is taking medication, often medication they have taken throughout their pregnancy, not to breastfeed. However, there are very few medications that would render human milk as inferior to formula. With the few that do, there is often another, safer, medication that can be substituted. An American physician, Dr. Thomas Hale, has done extensive research on medications and lactation. For more information, go to

    Here is another resource for mothers, where they can get information about anything to do with breastfeeding

    Thank you for allowing me to comment!

    1. Hi Darillyn, I think that is a great reply, thanks for sharing!
      Both myself and my brother were raised with the barley formula and were always heathy. when I had my two girls, the doctors would be skeptic about the formula but after seeing how strong and healthy my kids were growing, I was told to just continue – it works, so why stop it? I had good doctor who could think past “the way things are done”. I don’t scientifically know why the barley formula except that there are some nutrients that it gives that the milk doesn’t provide. I always used goats milk instead of cows because it was easier to digest. there you have it!

  21. While I appreciate the complexities of breast feeding, I feel the statement regarding the milk supply not being able to keep up is simply false and certainly negative.

    The female body was made to nourish babies, its design is perfect – baring physiological and structural issues. If a mother is nourishing herself properly, breastfeeding on a regular schedule (or on demand), the milk should continue to flow. Its manufactured on a supply and demand basis, so there is no reason why the milk supply not be able to “keep up” (should the mother make this choice). Again, without judgement, there are many reasons mother CHOOSE to to modify this occurrence (work, health, schedules, etc); physiology, however remains quite basic.

    Should the mother CHOOSE to supplement with formula, and this is a choice, it is most likely the beginning weening (which is a choice made between mother and baby). Milk supplies only continue to diminish the more supplementing that is provided.

    I think we should be careful of negative attitudes generated surrounding milk supply and consider if the medical care provider is creating a mental state which is not conducive to Scientology.

    Please note the study below regarding mental state and “supply”.

  22. Your site is phenomonal. Your points about raw milk are well taken. I would however like to mention this “hulless barley” stuff. Hulled barley is one thing…. hulless barley is another. The standard barley for barley water is HULLED barley. Hulled barley can be compared to brown rice, they are each a whole grain with only the hull removed. So isn’t hulless barley the same has hulled? NO. Hulless barley is a breed apart. It has been engineered to grow without a hull and has a higher carbohydrate content than HULLED barley. Shoppping for barley is tricky. Pearled barley is usually recommended but this is like white rice…. it is what is left after the good part has been removed. Looking for barley? Get the HULLED barley and cook it longer than pearled barley. Personally the hulless barley is out there to fatten the cattle. You will also get people who think pearled barley is the same as hulled barley. I even called a farm who grew barley and asked for the differences and they did not know. I am writing this in the name of “good barley” which I love. So, pass the word about HULLED barley being really the one-and-only barley to get. Hopefully we will continue to be able to get it as the hulless barley seems to be easier to grow, what with no hulls to get in the way.
    Best to all,

  23. Thanks for the information about the whole barley. It’s a bit too late for us, since it was 24 years ago that we fed our son the Barley Formula. We used pearled barley, and luckily he grew up quite healthy. I chose not to breast feed because I was being given triple antibiotics after a c-section and didn’t want to infuse the little guy with toxins right off the bat.

  24. Hi, I had some questions about the formula and your article, as well as the questions and answers are pretty clarifying.
    Anyway, I still have one question about milk: I am afraid about the data that cow milk helps allergies to arise. I read that milk can be goat milk instead of cow milk. Any other substitute for it? Maybe soy milk?
    Thank you!

  25. When my son was still a baby he’d cry without apparent reason till a friend pointed out he was hungry. I was breastfeeding him at the time and she said I should put him on the Barley Formula, which I did. I never looked back and he became a contented baby who slept through the night. It really is a life saver. I have a friend who comes to stay with me in the USA twice a year and she too makes herself the barley water. It’s a good source of protein. Great stuff and is a far better solution than the commercial products.

  26. I bet you won’t eve publish this…
    A couple things I’d like to point out: corn wasn’t used until Columbus “discovered” the Americas…so it’s impossible that corn syrup or anything like it would have existed in Roman times. If you look at the historical record/evidence, women in Roman times breastfed or used wet nurses.
    Some more food for thought:

    Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is necessary for the formation of collagen, reducing free radicals, and aiding in iron absorption. Scurvy, a disease of dietary ascorbic acid deficiency, is uncommon today. Indeed, implementation of dietary recommendations largely eradicated infantile scurvy in the US in the early 1900s. We present a case of an otherwise healthy 2-year-old Caucasian girl who presented with refusal to walk secondary to pain in her lower extremities, generalized irritability, sleep disturbance, and malaise. The girl’s parents described feeding the patient an organic diet recommended by the Church of Scientology that included a boiled mixture of organic whole milk, barley, and corn syrup devoid of fruits and vegetables. Physical examination revealed pale, bloated skin with edematous, violaceous gums and loosening of a few of her teeth. Dermatologic findings included xerosis, multiple scattered ecchymoses of the extremities, and perifollicular hemorrhage. Laboratory and radiographic evaluation confirmed the diagnosis of scurvy. The patient showed dramatic improvement after only 3 days of treatment with oral ascorbic acid and significant dietary modification. In this case report, we revisit the old diagnosis of scurvy with a modern dietary twist secondary to religious practices. This case highlights the importance of taking a detailed dietary history when evaluating diseases involving the skin.

    1. Lisa – thanks for your comment. The ‘study’ you pointed out was an individual who had been feeding their TWO YEAR OLD nothing but a barley formula. We’re talking about supplementing diet with this, and clearly – when a kid has teeth, that’s a good sign one can start them on solids. By the time my son had bottom teeth, the boy could put away a whole hot dog at one sitting. I’m no dietitian, but I’d be willing to wager the dietary needs of a 3-month old differ slightly from that of a two-year-old.

  27. My son is now 27 but I made the barley water formula for him when he was a baby. I actually used fresh goats milk. I have to say he was never a cranky baby and he had good BM’s! Ha. And, he was pink and round and healthy! He’s pretty darn smart today so I can’t say the barley water hurt him at all and I would highly recommend the recipe to all new mothers.

    1. Hey Seth – thanks for commenting. Both the original article and the excerpt here do read, “It is slowly boiled in a covered, vented pot not made of aluminum for 6½ hours in about 4 pints of water.” Is there another place where you saw it some other way?

  28. Hi Tad,

    Thanks for this blog, good data. This quote that you mention below, where did it come from? What reference?

    “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



  29. We’ve been having a hard time breastfeeding our 4 weeks old baby Timmy. My doctor suggested some formula milk or bought some breastfeed milk from other moms. But I’m doubting about that. I’ve told my husband maybe we could try something else better. I found your blog after this. It’s my first time hearing about Barley formula and I think further research on this will help us. I hope this will become the solution to our baby’s feeding problem.
    Mitchell recently posted…5 Ways to Prevent Breast CancerMy Profile

  30. I just wanted to add that whole grain organic barley can be ordered on Amazon here from Great River Organic Milling:

    I also wanted to add that goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, and is great for barley formula use over using the chemically homogenized cows milk from the stores. If you can get your hands on some raw goats milk, this is even better, especially when using barley formula for a newborn as goats milk is very gentle on the stomach and easy for the babies digestive systems. A great brand of RAW goats milk is Claravale. Otherwise, some other great goats milks that can be found at places like Trader Joes and Sprouts are Summerhill and Meyersberg goats milk.

  31. My wife and I are considering feeding my 1.5 month old daughter the barley formula. Does anyone have information on the nutritional components of home made barley water? We want to make sure we don’t cause any nutritional deficiencies and whether we should supplement with things like cod liver oil or something. All I can find is something from 1900 on the NIH website ( It gives an analysis of barley water. It says it consists of 1.56% starch, 0.05% fat, 0.25% protein, 0.03% inorganic salts and 98.11% water. That’s a start, but I’d like to see the amount of vitamins and minerals it has. I’ve found a table of nutrient values for hulled barley ( but obviously this isn’t sufficient as slowing boiling in water for 6 1/2 hours cause changes to the barley and what nutrients end up in the water.

    1. I had the same question but never got a response and it looks like my post in this article is gone. For what its worth, I’m a 15 year scientologist.
      I did a bunch of research on it including paying for the American Pediatrics Association study on it (bleh). If you read the whole thing its full of outpoints, both in the part of the people doing the study and the parents whose kids made up the study. Per the report the parents were apparently idiots and the sample set was only of 5 babies and toddlers that had other issues to begin with, so its far from a valid study in my opinion. For example, a couple of them were only being fed barley when they should have been on solids, per the report.
      But this is the study the doctors find when you tell them about the barley formula and what causes them to freak out on you. Unfortunately you can only get the summary for free and have to pay for the whole study which I couldnt get our doctor to do.
      Here are my conclusions (btw, not a doctor):
      As far as nutritional requirements for infants are concerned, we dont really know the minimum nutritional requirements for infants. No one in thier right mind is going to do that study. Most of the data we have are from starving kids in 3rd world countries, sick kids in hospitals, and experiments performed on full grown inmates. The nutrtional daily requirements figures are heavily padded to be safe, and these figures are the stable datum for the medical community and formula manufacturers. And this is all fine but what it means is that we cant really use this to determine if the barely formula actually meets nutritional requirements or not, because per this and what studies have been done (as above), it does not. The nutritinal content of breastmilk is a better datum which brings up its own outpoints as the iron content of breastmilk is far lower than the “requirement” and barley water is higher than that. (per that study). Add to that that the content of breastmilk depends on the nutrition if the mother. Theres some interesting articles on the differences between the breastmilk content and the requirement figures. I think the accepted explanation is that breastmilk is more easily assimilated and that might be true.

      Now as far as my own experience: i have plenty of friends whos kids were raised on the stuff and they are fine.
      However many (if not most) infants cant handle cows milk really well. This turned out to be true for my son. It made him gassy and fussy.
      The common recommendation is to substitute it with almond milk or the like, but comparing that with cows milk nutritionally, i wasnt comfortable with that.
      I ended up using Similac Advance since its major ingredient was protein and its primary sugar was lactose (what it should be). After switching, his fussiness ended and he was happier. So we stuck with that until a year old when he could take cows milk and solids.
      If you read the history of baby formula, you can see they came a long way with it and that L Ron Hubbard was ahead of his time on it. However its possible that current formula (at least some of it) is actually better. Its at least a far cry from the condensed milk and sugar they had in the 50s.

      Overall, i dont think we will get a straight answer to this question until a thorough, unbiased study is done. Dont hold your breath.

  32. Thanks James. I looked into the history of formula myself as well. Yes, Ron was ahead of his time back in the 1950s. The addition of barley water was an advance over what they had back then. Here’s an example I found from 1945. Doctor prescribed just water, Karo syrup and evaporated milk ( Also, around that time Dr. Benjamin Spock’s book Baby and Child Care (apparently one of the best-sellers of all time) recommended a formula which was milk, water and sugar ( The sugar used could have been one of these: “granulated sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, and mixtures of dextrins and maltose.” Modern infant formulas seem a lot safer and more nutritious.

  33. Hi! Great article. You wrote:
    ‘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’
    What is the title of that lecture? I would love to listen to it.

    1. The lecture can be found in the 2nd American Advanced Clinical Course. It is lecture number 52 – “Additional Remarks: Energy Problems” (15 Dec 1953), on page 58.

    1. I’ve seen plenty of people who sub out goat milk or other alternatives and their babies do great with it. Mine vehemently disliked goat milk, so we didn’t go there. Again, the recipe is a suggestion, but the real test is how your baby does with it. Some babies thrive on it, others don’t, definitely be your own judge on how it’s working for you.

  34. Don’t know how true this is because there is a lot of talk if favour of goat’s milk formula on the web. I found this on pubmed. It says: “Cow’s milk (CM) allergy is the most frequent cause of food allergy in infants. Most children who are allergic to CM are also sensitized to whey proteins and/or to the casein fraction and many of them cannot tolerate goat’s or sheep’s milk (GSM) either.” In another article it says “Goat’s milk has no clear nutritional advantage over cow’s milk and is not less allergenic.”

  35. Do you use Raw Milk in Barley Formula when LRH says to use Homogenized Milk? The data I’ve read is that all raw milk is non-homogenized. Correct me if I’m wrong please,

    Also, how early can/should you start babies on Barley formula?

  36. I really find valuable information from your blog. Barley is a nutritious and versatile grain to offer to babies. Barley can be made into cereal, cooked into soups and stews. Barley is the best baby food as it is easily blended into a soupy and cereal like consistency and is full of nutrients that baby needs. Here you’ve shared some valuable information for it. Keep updating new information in the future.

  37. Thanks For sharing such nice information. This Blog will really help people to be conscious of their health and start using Cow Milk in their daily routine to keep themselves fit and healthy. We also deal in Farm Fresh Cow Milk In Gurgaon.
    To know more about us, you can visit us at

  38. Some people substitute homogenized cows milk with raw cows milk or goats milk. Can I just substitute it with 10 oz. of breast milk to 15 oz. of barley water, to help out with the babies increasing demand for more milk?

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