Baby's mother in trouble with state over homemade goat's milk formula

Published: Aug. 9, 2013 at 10:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM EDT
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When the baby didn't take to breastfeeding, the mother started feeding him homemade goat milk...
When the baby didn't take to breastfeeding, the mother started feeding him homemade goat milk formula. The doctor reported her to the health department. (Source: WABI/WWW/CNN)

BROOKLIN, ME (WABI/WWW/CNN) - Alorah Gellerson loves her three-month-old son.

"He's a really good baby. He's always happy. He likes to eat," she said.

But what baby Carson eats has caused a lot of trouble for this 17-year-old mother.

When the baby didn't take to breastfeeding, Gellerson started feeding him homemade goat milk formula.

"Oh, he loved it," Gellerson said. "We put celery juice in it, and he just loves that, and it worked really well with his body, and he grew like a weed."

But when her doctor reported this to the Department of Health and Human Services, things got messy.

"She came in and threatened to take him away and put him in foster care until I complied to go to the doctor and get him seen."

Gellerson, who receives state benefits, says she has complied with all of the mandates from DHHS, including numerous doctor visits, an overnight hospital stay, and even switched over to store-bought formula to please them. But she says the state is still not dropping it.

"It's so frustrating. My daughter is a great mother. The baby has a great dad, too, and they love this baby very much, and they would never do anything to hurt him. And if we thought the formula was harming him, we would not do that," said Tania Allen, Gellerson's mother.

DHHS said they had no one available to speak, instead directing reporters to websites for procedures they follow, like one from the USDA, which says goat milk is not recommended for infants because of inadequate quantities of certain vitamins.

"I am aware that there is some push back from a lot of community organizations toward parents who take that approach," Jack Forbush, The Osteopathic Center for Family Medicine in Hampden, said. "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."

"I hope this all goes away. It's been so terrible and hard on us. We're just trying to live our lives and they keep bothering us. I just want it to be all over," Gellerson said.

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