State Backs Down After Threatening to Take Baby Over Homemade Formula Dispute

alorah gellerson raw milk formula

Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a loving parent than the idea of having their children taken away.

Yet that’s just what the state of Maine threatened to do recently to young mother Alorah Gellerson when she told her doctor that she was feeding her baby a homemade formula made from raw goat’s milk.

Alorah began feeding her infant son, Carson, a homemade goat’s milk formula because he was not taking to breast feeding. Despite an improvement in Carson’s health, Alorah’s doctor reported her to DHHS, who quickly pounced on the family, claiming that the goat’s milk was somehow endangering the baby’s health. Citing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, DHHS threatened to take baby Carson away from Alorah if they did not comply with multiple examinations and a mandatory overnight hospital stay to force her son onto store-bought formula.

The Maine DHHS cited the USDA’s recommendations for what to feed babies as the driving force behind their investigation of Alorah.

The USDA’s report claims that raw goat’s milk provides inadequate nutrition for babies.

Apparently, DHHS originally missed the fact that the formula Alorha Gellerson was carefully making for her infant son Carson was not simply raw goat’s milk — but a nutrient-rich recipe specifically created by the Weston A Price Foundation from wholesome ingredients for mothers who wish to opt out of toxin-laden commercial infant formulas.

Gellerson said she was so scared that she was going to lose Carson, she started to feed him store bought formulas. After three different types that all made her son throw up or have constipation, she switched back to the goat milk-based formula.

She said her son’s health is testament enough that she made the right decision.

Public Outcry Protests Government Overreach

Thankfully, Alorah did not go quietly into that dark night. Her story gained national attention, causing many to come to her defense.

As the days turned into weeks of harassment from DHHS, Alorah’s defenders grew more outspoken.

One area doctor went on TV offering his support:

“I don’t know what’s really driving it other than perhaps some different cultural belief system. I’ve got plenty of kids in my practice that have been given goat’s milk for example and they’re growing and developing fine,” said Jack Forbush, DO, The Osteopathic Center for Family Medicine in Hampden.

Local supporters even staged a protest on the same day Alorah was to have an appointment at the Spurwink Child Abuse Clinic office in Bangor (an appointment which was ultimately cancelled, but the protest continued anyway). Blaine Richardson, retired Navy captain and Republican Congressional Candidate spoke at the event, saying:

“These agencies are alleged to be protecting and serving the public at our direction, but instead they are playing food police for big farming and putting an enormous hardship on Maine families. We aren’t funding these agencies with our tax dollars so that they can kidnap children and breakup families.”

“In this gross abuse of government power, Maine DHHS cited the federal government’s recommendations from the USDA about what to feed babies. The USDA has zero constitutional authority to be dictating to us what we feed our children. The right to choose what we eat is one of our most basic human rights.”

State of Maine’s DHHS Quietly Backs Down

Without issuing any kind of public statement, DHHS simply sent Alorah a letter stating that their investigation had found no neglect and was being closed.

While I am ultimately pleased with this result, I am dismayed that it even came to this.

Alorah’s son Carson began thriving as soon as he was placed on this homemade formula.

Why would a doctor choose to report a parent to DHHS when there are no signs of neglect at all and the child is gaining weight and developing normally?

Why would the DHHS not immediately dismiss the allegations of neglect when they saw the homemade formula and received documentation of its nutrient content?

Why would the DHHS dismiss the opinions of 4 professional doctors at Eastern Maine Medical Center when they cleared baby Carson for release, deeming him healthy & fit, and instead overrule their professional assessment and mandate an expensive overnight hospital stay?

Why would the state even have a say in what Alorah was feeding her son, particularly when that son shows no signs of neglect or poor health? Isn’t that a gross violation of parental rights?

Alorah thought so. In her final statement on her ordeal, she said, “Food, education and medical choices are a parent’s alone to make. Let us not become people who sit back and allow government to make choices for our families.” (source)

(photo credit: bangor daily news)


  1. Kathy says

    I encourage this mother to make the name of the pediatrician public. He or she should not get away from this whole thing without consequence — and parents should be able to avoid this doctor if they don’t approve of these actions.

    • says

      I agree with Kathy and make this pediatricians name public info and find another pedi immediately. Thank God everything worked out okay for her and thank you for all those who defended her and her baby.

    • Zoya R. says

      I agree completely! Does the USDA recommend that parents feed babies french fries and soda? I’ve seen babies munching on a fry and (argggghhh)I’ve seen babies get sips of parents’ soda. So are they gonna go after those parents for violating USDA guidelines?!?!

    • Mike88 says

      I am sorry to disagree with some people on here, but this is not a case of violating the patients confidentiality, or trust,unfortunately today all Dr.’s are mandated to report everything they see, hear, or suspect concerning what they believe is so-called “Child Abuse or Neglect to Government Agencies because of the past situations of child abuse or neglect became rampant in the alleged cases against the Day Care Centers years ago.

      So now-a days if you don’t want to be investigated by a so-called “Child Protective Service” or what ever they are called in your State, and I use that term quite loosely, don’t tell your child’s Dr. everything you are doing for your child if you believe it would differ from the Dr’s recommendation or point of view. By law, they must report.

      If you believe you are doing a great job feeding and raising your child, and your baby is gaining weight in the proper proportion happy and healthy, then say nothing to your baby Dr. about what you are feeding him/her. This is not the medical profession of 30-40 years ago when Dr.’s actually respected Patients Rights to Privacy, and you and your Dr. actually had a good friendly relationship. In today’s world if you disagree with your Dr. he/she can and sometimes does become vindictive and report you for Child Abuse for almost anything under the sun.
      Moral of the Story, don’t tell your Dr. everything if your beliefs and your Dr.’s beliefs in what you feed your child will differ.Listen to what your Dr. advises you to feed your child, but don’t interject with your beliefs if they differ from your Dr.’s advice. After all, What your Dr. doesn’t know about what your feeding your child won’t hurt your Dr.

      • Grandma E says

        Doctors may have to report signs of abuse or neglect (bruises, broken bones, failure to thrive, etc.), but feeding a child with a diet you disagree with, if the child is gaining weight and appears healthy, is not that. This doctor is culpable if that’s what happened. We shouldn’t be making excuses for him.

  2. Rachel says

    This makes me sick. Yet all the nasty processed food and drive thru fast food is perfectly acceptable to feed your children. Pathetic!

    • says

      Yes, you said it! No one bats an eye at taking kids to McD’s and such….unbelievable. Gets me all riled up until I remember this all happens for a reason – to shine light on the “dark” areas of our society and force some change to happen!

      • says

        I hope you’re not suggesting that parents don’t have a right to feed their children fast food, or that you wouldn’t raise the same fuss over state intrusion in *that* direction. It’s about liberty, not food.

  3. adreanne says

    The sickest part of this is the fact that they would run her through the wringer for making GOOD choices for her infant, Yet the Mothers out there that are doped up on pharmacuticals and street drugs can Nurse their children with no reprocussions, if they want to do their job Those are the kids they should worry about! any mother that takes the time to Make their own formula does it with Amazing attention to details, We want our children healthy, our containers are cleaner than those on the assembly lines, and we are concerned enough about their health and well being that each batch is made with nothing but safety, cleanliness and Love in mind, NOT Money!! This story appalled me as a homemade formula Mommy and I am so glad the pressure on the state helped end this time of terror for Mommy! God bless one more baby STAYING where he belongs!!

  4. Ellen says

    Never, ever tell the pediatric mafia what you do or not do. I would go so far as to say to NEVER EVER visit these baby/infant/child killers.

    • Ashley Rhoden says

      I agree! I vowed I would never take my children to the pediatrician unless it is definitely something I can not fix at home. My pediatrician practically lynch mobbed me for saying no to the flu shot for my kiddos. I mean literally lynch mobbed, he had four other doctors come in and tell me that I was making a horrible, possibly life threatening choice for my kids. I mean seriously?

    • says

      We stopped seeing the typical pediatrician because they were providing NO beneficial services. We refused the antibiotics and vaccines and were given death stares and angry lectures. Instead we take our son to a natural health practitioner that’s only $20 an appointment. 9 times out of 10 though I can cure him at home with herbal remedies.

    • Mike88 says

      Agreed, these Pediatric Mafia Control Freaks don’t need to know everything and actually should not know everything. If your child is eating good, strong and Healthy, I would recommend not telling them anything because you as the Mother must be doing something right.

  5. Diane Smith says

    Kristin, thank you for getting this out there so we can read about it. I also want to thank you for all your GREAT quotes with pictures you’ve posted on your facebook page. Is it ok if I use them for a power point presentation I’m putting together to share with my MN Governor – I have a petition I’m bringing him about changing legislation in MN so grass-fed dairy farmers can bring their product to their customers or farmers market. Here is the petition:
    I would be so grateful if you’d pass this on to your fans who are from Minnesota – we need all the signatures we can get, as you know. If you want to see my power point presentation, please send me an email:
    Thanks, Kristin for ALL you do!

  6. says

    When I first heard this story, I was so mad I was shaking. I was also so scared my stomach dropped to my toes. My children have severe food allergies. It’s a long story, but if we ever get a doctor that is not on our side and our children were removed from us via governmental overreach, they could, and may likely, die without my constant food vigilance.

    Do you think a foster family is going to spend days and weeks tracking down the source of every single component of every single thing my children touch and eat? That a foster family is going to spend the time and money to procure grass fed and finished beef for my severely corn sensitive son? I think my sons will be permanently hospitalized, if not worse, under someone else’s care.

    Nobody knows how to take care of my children like I do. So when I read a story like this, my blood runs cold. Medical practitioners and government bureaucrats should have zero, absolutely NO say in what I feed my children or how I care for them, as long as there is no sign of neglect or abuse. Which, of course, is not happening in my or Alorah’s case.

    I am so glad Alorah did not go down without a fight. In fact, I hope she countersue’s and makes this an even bigger embarrassment for the doctor and State!

  7. Brenda says

    Does anyone know the name of the pediatrician? Shame on them! Another example of the excellent results of “wellness baby visits” (yes it is sarcasm).

    • says

      I nanny for an 18 month old and he comes home sick after EVERY “wellness” visit from germ exposure. Unfortunately his parents feed him terribly so his immune system is practically nonexistent.

  8. paula says

    If doctors think it’s OK to report dietary abuse then why don’t they report so many ignorant parents who feed their babies sodas, candies,chips and processed foods, creating an obese generation.

  9. Catherine says

    I would like to thank all those people who protested and spoke out about this. It takes a village. The mother might not have won this battle alone.

  10. says

    As a new mother that was only able to breastfeed for a short time (thyroid problems that cut my milk supply to low levels), I had to consider alternatives. I have considered the WAP homemade formulas, and may try them if I don’t like how my son is fairing on the current selection (Earths Best). It is up to parents to make these decisions, not doctors or government. I could see if there was evidence of neglect, but there was clearly not. Sounds like the doctor had an uneducated bias and jumped the gun before actually learning about the nutritional value of the formula she was giving her child. Shame on USDA, child services and this doctor for causing fear and stress for this family and community.

  11. Wendy Waldron says

    Good for this mother and the community for standing with her! Now what about the Amish girl being forced to take more chemotherapy? Where is the community to stand with the family and not back down for their parental rights? Parents have the right to choose what is best for their children! Think of all the children who are fourced into sickness and early death due to claim that parents abuse their children by not using standard cancer treatments which honestly kill and would kill even a healthy person.

    • Jessica says

      I am with you 100%!!! I was a child who had cancer and my parents chose to try something other than standard chemo and radiation treatments. My doctor is still fighting the FDA for approval. I was lucky because 30 years ago things were different now anyone who wants to be treated by the doctor who treated me is required to have gone through standard radiation and chemo first and have it fail before they can even be accepted by him. Some of his patients have been cured of cancer only to die of poisoning related to the chemo and radiation. It scared me to no end. If one of my children had cancer I know where I would want to turn first!!!

  12. Ivonne says

    What I learned: Do not tell doctors or the government what you feed your children. It’s not their business anyway. So ridiculous!

  13. Penny O'Leary says

    Thanks for sharing this information. Did you know you’re advertising Chef Boy-ar-dee “raviolis? Ironic for your blog.

  14. says

    Let’s not overlook the doctor’s role in this. He was the one who started it all. Considering the baby was thriving on the goat’s milk formula, the doctor was betraying doctor-patient confidentiality.

  15. Diana says

    Excellent article. Great points. Why is the government sticking its mose in private citizen’s business. What prompted that doctor to notify the DHHS.
    What is his agenda. There had to be something in it for him. This stinks on so many levels but is awesome news on others, may that mother and chikd continue to live in freedom and thrive on their choices for health!

  16. susan says

    this is just crazy! im pretty sure we have the right to not feed our children chemicals if we choose not to. who is in charge here? the government or big business??

  17. PC says

    I am only amazed that she trusted her doctor with sensitive information like that … like it or not, doctors are part of the “system”, and are required to report anything not in the normal range of what is allowed by whatever government types are in your specific area. Some of them (docs and their staff) like to do this, others do it for insurance or fear reasons. A very few are happy with those of us who believe we actually are capable of managing our own bodies, families, etc. Hope at least this becomes a lesson for some.

    • Independent Organic Inspector says

      Educate yourself as to what Organic means. For Processed foods, it does not mean that Non Organic crap has not been added, it simply means that any plant or animal material is not GM and no pesticides have been used. In Processed organic food, if an item cannot be purchased as organic it can still be used and still be certified organic.

  18. Abbey says

    They’re just mad because she isn’t supporting the stupid infant formula/processed foods industry. They don’t want her spreading her un-capitalist ideas of making stuff for yourself.

  19. Shasta says

    I can’t tell you how angry this makes me, and grateful at the same time. My middle son, who is now almost 14 years old, was fed raw goats milk for 12 months as an infant. Thankfully, his pediatricians’ never turned us in. I do know he doubted me, and so would test my child’s blood almost every time we went. The other pediatrician would have other mothers who wanted to feed their child like this, call me to see what I was doing that allowed my child to thrive the way he did. To this day, he is the healthiest of the three children. No allergies!

  20. Angel Hansen says

    I have a son that we have had issues since he was born with digestive issues. I tried to breast feed and he was so sick. My doc was so understanding and we tried all kinds of things. Well over the years I have tried so many alternatives. Finally after some research and prompting from my sister-in-law, I looked into raw milk. For the first time in my 10 yr olds life he is doing well and really enjoys eating. I can use it in all kinds of things for him and it doesn’t bother him. It had gotten so bad that things were stunting his growth. I am VERY careful and make sure he does not tell our doc that he is drinking it. We are military and have to go to the base doctor and I don’t want any issues like this. I read this article awhile back and it really showed me I need to be careful who I let know we give this milk to our son. Thank you for sharing this so others can be informed. Also my oldest was raised on goats milk while I was stationed in Germany because he could not handle anything else and ended up in a German NICU. He was so sick and they started giving him goats milk and my son started to thrive and grow. It is amazing if people will open their eyes and hearts up and see there is so much out there for us to eat and drink that God gave us and not all the crap that has been put into our food system!

  21. says

    Here’s the lesson: NEVER tell a doctor, ESPECIALLY a pediatrician what you’re doing if it’s outside their “standard of care” box. NEVER! Even lie and take their samples then throw them away so there won’t be any conflicts.

    Exception: You’re an adult who used natural remedies on YOURSELF and succeeded with whatever they diagnosed you with. Not your kids though. They’ll insist on taking your child and starting up with their toxic stuff.

    • says

      The problem I have with these “don’t ever tell your doctor” recommendations is this:

      If we never tell our doctors what’s REALLY working, how will they ever learn? If you radically reduce your triglycerides by cutting out wheat and sugar, adding in lots of natural saturated fats, and NOT TAKING the meds your doctor prescribes, how else will he/she learn that diet changes are a viable alternative? They’ll never know that ancestral diets WORK and never be able to recommend them.

      It seems good to confound your doctor and make them look into it further.

      Likewise, wouldn’t it be best to let them know what’s ACTUALLY WORKING when it comes to nursing your infant or feeding your baby. If your baby is showing good weight gain and growth, why not brag about what’s getting them there?

      • Lin says

        If these doctors were open to the truth they would no longer be doctors.
        How wise is it to risk losing your child because of a desire to show off?

  22. Martina says

    Go Alhora!! I also, successfully used the homemade formula as a supplement when I exclusively pumped for my son. I was fearful of the reaction I would get if I told our doctor and ended uo not telling her.

  23. says

    I made my son’s formula from 7-12 months without ANY kind of milk at all, using the meat bsed formula recipe from Weston A Price. When he started that (and got off of Nutramigen) his whole body, demeanor, and development changed. It was a God send. Literally. How dare the state step on our rights as parents to keep our babies HEALTHY and protect them against things like commercial formulas, if we so choose.

  24. says

    Our country (The USDA) has allowed genetically modified foods to be introduced into our children’s food. I am a grandmother of three and over the years I have seen it all. Parents who choose a non conventional way of raising their children become targets which is very unfortunate. Our government often oversteps the boundaries of our families. I am very happy for this family who choose to do what was best for their child.

  25. Dbbbb says

    This makes me a little nervous for a couple of reasons. Goats milk can cause a megaloblastic anemia in children if that’s all they drink. The other concern is that homemade formula recipes can have abnormal electrolyte values which can cause significant electrolyte derangements in the child causing them to become very ill. We see this when parents mix powdered formula incorrectly by adding too much water to stretch the formula out. If a parent wanted to make a homemade formula, I feel like that formula should be tested to ensure normal electrolytes

      • dee says

        Where’s the LIKE button for this? Dbbbb – perhaps you should make sure you are informed about what she is using before you make off handed comments regarding it’s safety? She wasn’t using “just” goat’s milk or some random concoction that has not been tested.

        Like Kristen said, this formula has been used for 2 decades by thousands of mothers and was tested before being suggested to mothers in need of an alternative to breastfeeding or commercial “crap wanna be milk” products for babies.

  26. Becky says

    I’m just going to assume that the “problem” the government had with the milk was that it was raw. My question for them is — isn’t breast milk raw, too? Raw is the best stuff.

  27. Sandra says

    This is a common issue here in Canada also. We had the same attacks and threats by a Pediatrician in Ontario, for my first grandson. The judge in the case, said: what is *wrong* with goat milk? He was truly puzzled. The facts are, goat milk is not a danger, it is a healthy option, since it is designed to feed a small animal, and it has short chain soft fats. Much healthier than cow milk. My family has been using it for centuries now, as we have a special inability to digest cow milk *proteins* it is not the sugars, that they sell the pills for. Each of us, usually was raised on goat milk. Raw in the past, pasteurized now, as we do not have a goat. We take the charts of what is missing for a human’s correct growth and formation and add that into the milk. Done. Healthy kids. No chemicals. But if it is heard, the attacks come hard!

  28. Rachel says

    I would say that the Dr that reported her was getting kickbacks from the formula companies. It’s always about money. If the child was thriving and had gained weight and was healthy, there is no other reason for him to report her. Just another quack in my opinion.

  29. Jen Z says

    i think they ought to sue the living crap out of the pediatrician, the case worker, the State of Maine, and the USDA for this nonsense. it’s the only way the government will learn.

  30. Jude Giudice Tovatt via Facebook says

    CPS has become an out of hand unchecked power, it’s completely unacceptable. They especially hate it if you won’t sign off on injecting toxins into your kids.

  31. Jen N Shawn via Facebook says

    Wow! So making a nutrient dense meal for her baby, that improved his health is inferior to our mass produced, frequently recalled formula (man made food product)?

  32. Cheryl Ann via Facebook says

    if the child is properly nourished and cared for there is nothing for authorities to be concerned about. they should only be going after people who are endangering children.

  33. Charlene Nuckols via Facebook says

    that is scary. Parental rights are under attack, I’m glad the state backed down.

  34. Kelli Kennedy via Facebook says

    Boy does this hit close to home for me. I gave both my babies raw goats milk from our neighbors in West Virginia, and they are both extremely healthy, rarely sick. If the government really cared about making sure it’s citizens ate only healthy food, this might be relevant, but it is obvious from what the gov. allows to be labeled as food that health is not its main concern.

  35. Amy Grubb Foster via Facebook says

    Wow. Unreal and sad. How about we go after true child abuser, chronic neglect and drug users who aren’t fit to be parents. This makes my blood boil

  36. Wild Lantana via Facebook says

    Most doctors are just priests for the religion of statism… never confess your sins to them… the state wants your children one way or another – in mind or in body.

  37. Courtney Greenstein via Facebook says scary but a true food renegade :) more power to her!! And thank goodness they backed down.

  38. Ann Cole via Facebook says

    Its warranted if the child is grossly under weight, not thriving and constantly really sick. If the child is perfectly functioning and thriving then hell no you shouldn’t take away someones child.

  39. Melissa Leet via Facebook says

    I came “this close” to making formula, based on recipes from the Weston A Price Foundation. I felt any one of them would have been far superior to anything created in a lab, sold by a profit-motivated company.

  40. Crystal Moore via Facebook says

    I’m just curious but how far a leap is it from Homemade Formula is enough to prove neglect/abuse to Breastmilk, Homemade Applesauce, or just Home Cooked Meals (as opposed to school lunch, dining out, etc) are enough to prove…

  41. Guillaume Dougados via Facebook says

    One more example to shut your mouth and fly low when you do stuff against stupid official guidelines, same goes with vaccines.

  42. Guillaume Dougados via Facebook says

    What I don’t get is that we had two docs actually recommending goat milk over cow to us, something else must have ticked them.

  43. Jonathan Waits via Facebook says

    Anytime the government steps in for anything other than physical abuse, iir gross neglect, it is a huge violation.

  44. Jill Bush via Facebook says

    In our world, you need to keep that info to yourself and just say you’re using a name brand product. Tell them what they want to hear and then do what you think is best.

  45. Michele DiBenedetto La Capria via Facebook says

    Violation. I don’t give my son milk he drinks almond milk. So will I be threaten next. They just want to force us to consume poison.

  46. Trish Truitt via Facebook says

    Absolutely nutty. ‘stop giving that baby an organic formula – which makes them thrive. We’re going to take him/her away and give them this nice toxic, GMO laced, microbially dead shit that will cause him/her disease down the line.’

  47. Jennifer Jagger via Facebook says

    This makes me furious! My daughter has been fed homemade goats milk formula from 4 months old, when she developed a reaction to her canned formula. Her spitting up disappeared immediately, and the eczema faded away. Its fresh, local, and I know EXACTLY what is being put in her body. She is a picture of health!

    Anyone who is willing to go to the time, trouble, and expense of making their own formula at home, is doing it because they believe it is what is best for their child. And no one is going to know what is best for her/him better than her parents!

  48. Lillian says

    When I was in the Navy, we had a policy that stated information is only to be given to those with a NEED to know. It would seem a pediatrician does not REALLY have a NEED to know what a mother feeds her children, especially if she is feeding them raw milk.
    That’s what our ancestors drank and they were fine! They just didn’t have Big Ag around back then to harass them…

  49. Heather Muñoz via Facebook says

    The number 1 ingredient in store bought formula is corn syrup. Are you kidding me?? That’s superior to homemade formula??

  50. Kathryn Taylor via Facebook says

    Lesson learned : don’t volunteer information to your doctors that they don’t need to know.

  51. Ali Hammons via Facebook says

    What bothers me is the ignorance behind it. I am not saying that everyone should know about the route that real foodies take. What I mean is that they didn’t take the time to do the research to figure out the benefits. They didn’t look to see his health was improving. They just knew what they were told by companies, doctors, etc that what she was doing was bad. And they ran with that. It’s sad. Think how many families go through what she did because people refuse to research the situation.

  52. Kate Hudgens via Facebook says

    That is scary! I fed my son a homemade formula, the recipe also from Weston A Price foundation and he is one big, strong, healthy little boy!

  53. Ritchie says

    For all the readers of the buried comments –


    Do your research. For alleged crimes, a court order is required for police action. What makes DHHS/DFCS any different? Nothing. Don’t let them inside your house. They aren’t even law enforcement officers.

  54. says

    I agree with most of what’s been said about this situation. What I disagree on is the extremist feelings over governmental interference with child health. Children need advocates, period. They may not be perfect, but they are necessary. If not, who will intervene in severe cases? There is a fine balance between interference and assistance.

    The doctor had very little basis for their reaction. I am not aware of protocol’s, but in my opinion, a competent doctor would have investigated further first; worked with the mother to assess the formula, and do a through evaluation of the child’s health. If anything was found wanting, then state/federal involvement would be the next step.

    Here is an example of semi-correct governmental action :

    What this vegan mother is doing is possibly harming her child’s health, and the officials got involved. Perhaps it was over the top, again, but at least they were trying.

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