We learned many things this year from our colleague Allie Jones at Gawker about Kristin Cavallari and her brand-new book Balancing in Heels, but there’s always more to discover. Like Cavallari’s new recipe for goat’s milk baby formula, which, while delicious and wholesome-sounding, is not something you should probably ever feed your infant.
Cavallari, who, we will remind you, is anti-vaccination, was interviewed for People’s “Great Ideas” section, which in this case might be something of a misnomer. Cavallari shared her recipe for “homemade goat’s milk baby formula,” which People printed while at the same time politely, cautiously, elaborately pointing out that you probably shouldn’t actually make it. Like so:
Because her sons have “sensitivities to cow’s milk,” the former Laguna Beach star—who takes an anti-vaccination stance—uses goat’s milk powder for her homemade formula. Other ingredients include organic maple syrup and cod-liver oil (see below for the full recipe).
“While I wholeheartedly believe in this formula, it’s important to talk to your pediatrician first before feeding it to your little ones,” says Cavallari.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding infants breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula. Cow’s milk, raw goat’s milk and soy milk are not recommended during the first 12 months of life.
“Why would you want to use an alternative formula when there are well tested and tried formulas widely available?” Dr. Mark Corkins, a pediatric gastroenterologist and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells PEOPLE. “These cocktail formulas do not have the fortification of the vitamins and minerals that the standard formulas have. Commercial formulas are some of the most highly regulated foods with strict nutritional standards that the companies have to meet for the FDA.”
Not only is goat’s milk just “not recommended,” but a study published in 2010 in Pediatrics calls feeding infants goat’s milk “dangerous.” The study abstract notes that an exclusive, unmodified goat’s milk diet is associated with a wide variety of nasty things:
Many infants are exclusively fed unmodified goat’s milk as a result of cultural beliefs as well as exposure to false online information. Anecdotal reports have described a host of morbidities associated with that practice, including severe electrolyte abnormalities, metabolic acidosis, megaloblastic anemia, allergic reactions including life-threatening anaphylactic shock, hemolytic uremic syndrome, and infections. We describe here an infant who was fed raw goat’s milk and sustained intracranial infarctions in the setting of severe azotemia and hypernatremia, and we provide a comprehensive review of the consequences associated with this dangerous practice.
The study does conclude that goat’s milk formula “may be a suitable alternative” to cow’s milk, but probably not a homemade formula recommended to you by someone you see regularly on E!
Goat’s milk for babies started to gain in popularity around 2005, prompting Britain’s Department of Health to remind people that it is “not suitable for infants.”
In fact, the only place you will find recommendations to give your tiny infant goat’s milk—besides in the pages of Cavallari’s very exciting-sounding book—are on dubious “natural health” blogs. Dr. Bob Sears, who advocates a “delayed” vaccine schedule, is also a fan of goat’s milk for babies.
Although they reprinted her recipe for her questionable, do-not-do-this goat’s milk baby formula in full, People did certainly do a good job conveying that this is a bad idea. But, you know, if you’re aware something is bullshit, maybe you shouldn’t promote it in your publication, even if the person recommending it was on TV once?
Update, Tuesday, March 22:
People quietly deleted the Cavallari article by March 18, the day after it was posted, although the URL remains. Raw Story notes that, of course, it’s also still in Cavallari’s book, which people will presumably buy and possibly use when making choices about what to feed their infants.
Image via Getty.