Be sure to check with your pediatrician that each alternative is right for your baby.


Evaporated Milk Baby Formula Substitute

This recipe is for traditional emergency formula (just like Grandma used to make).

As Dr. Andrew J. Schuman writes in his article, "A Concise History of Infant Formula," this is the exact recipe that was widely used in the 1950s and 1960s for infants who were not breastfed. Please remember, though, that this homemade formula is not a long-term solution since it lacks the necessary vitamins. Parents in the 50s and 60s gave their infants supplemental vitamins and iron along with this formula, as noted by Dr. Schuman.

Supplies Needed

Clean quart container

13 oz. can of evaporated whole milk (reduced fat, skim, and sweetened condensed milk will not provide enough calories or nutrition)

18–19 oz. of water

2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar or 1 tablespoon of light Karo syrup


Combine the above ingredients into the quart container.

Stir until the sugar or light syrup is fully dissolved. The added sugar will help your child break down the proteins in the evaporated milk.

After serving your child, any remaining emergency formula should be refrigerated.

Any unused formula should be discarded after three days.

Congratulations! You have saved the day (or night) and have something safe to feed your baby until you can go to the store and pick up commercial-grade formula.

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