Trouble-Shooting Barley

Howdy again!

After many people calling and writing me wondering about different things they are running into with making barley, not expanding or the color not turning pink, I wanted to go over what you can do to make sure it goes the way you want it to.

Common Questions and Answers: 

It’s important that you get hulled barley. You can get this from most anywhere. You will note on the other post where to get this.  This is whole barley.

1. Barley not expanding:

If you tie the muslin cloth too tight, the barley will stay small, which means it was barely cooked and the nutrients are still in the barley.  So make sure it’s not too tight to allow for expansion but not too lose for it to spill out and have too much ventilation.

2. Barley not turning pink:

There seems to be several factors with this. The one major one being

A. The bag is tied too lose or too tight.

B. You’re not slow cooking the barley. I use a crock-pot, put it on the “low” setting and let it sit for 7.5 hours (takes an hour to get water hot enough).

C. You left it too long and it’s burnt. If you set it up on a timer (crock-pot), then you will be okay.

D. You are not using muslin cloth as called for.

3. Baby reacting to the goat milk or corn syrup:

Corn Syrup: There could be several reasons for this. Some babies just can’t have it (corn syrup) but some babies don’t need as much or need a bit more to process the goat milk.  I’ve played around with it and my daughter doesn’t like too much corn syrup in her barley. She’s happy with .5 ounces for every 15 ounces of barley water and she’s growing really well.  Remember that corn syrup acts as a laxative at times but it actually has a senor job of coating the stomach walls and also building the body of the baby.  Babies raised on barley are known to be “strong babies”.  I’ve also heard of some babies that just went without the corn syrup.

Goat milk: I’ve seen if it’s not raw and ultra-pasteurized the baby spits it up easier and are extremely gassy. The closest to raw milk the better for the baby; so try to get raw whenever possible.  Some babies even after experimenting with all this are still adverse to milk so maybe trying rice milk is a good substitute?

4. Other alternatives if baby is allergic to corn syrup:

I recommend Grade B Maple Syrup. The reason is that these are also loaded with nutrients and B vitamins (specifically Grade B Maple Syrup) and these are vitamins the babies does need.

5. How long can I keep the Barley water?

I make enough barley water that lasts about 2 days.  I have never had barley water longer than 4 days and it should be good to keep for up to 7 days if kept in the fridge. But no guarantees.

6. What vitamins do you use to supplement on a daily Basis for your baby?

These are what I’ve found to be effective and increase during times of teething, increased physical activity and growth spurts.

I make a vitamin bottle with these ingredients added (all of these can be purchased at

Peter Gillhams Kids CALM
Peter Gillhams CALM plus Calcium
TwinLab Liquid Vitamin C
Pantothenic Acid (B-5)
Separately: She gets Nordic Natural High Quality Fish oils (Vitamin E, Vitamin D, DHA and EPA)

I add a little bit of water and I feed it to her when she starts getting hungry

7. Particles in the water after boiling is done:

I have found that these are great additions nutrient-wise for the baby so I keep it in there. Some mamas strain it. That’s your choice. I’ve never seen any problem with these particles being in there. It’s part of the barley.

8. How is it that Barley is healthy and is nutrient filled?

Barley water has been used by the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Hispanics and Asians for many centuries. In fact, Barley Water is one of the highest medicinal remedies for a myriad of medical problems in the body.

History of Barley:

The gladiators of Rome, renowned for their physical strength and ferocity in battle, were called Hordearii, meaning “Eaters of Barley”. The Romans were not alone in their respect for this ancient grain. Babylonian, Greek, and Chinese cultures also believed that great strength and virility could be achieved by eating Barley.

This wonder food of the Old World is not only nutritious but very versatile. It is used in the production of beer and flour for baking. It can be boiled in soups, and steeped to make tea or Barley water (for medicinal use). It is also commonly used in breakfast porridge in its pearled, flaked, or grits form. Modern scientific research has found it to have more health benefits than our ancestors ever imagined.

Here are some interesting websites that go over how good it is for your or the baby:

Benefits of Barley Water

Wikipedia Facts on Barley Water

Nutritional facts of Barley and Barley Water

9. Why should I use goat milk as opposed to cows milk?

I found this article was really good in providing all the benefits and information on what’s good about goat milk as opposed to cows milk:

This article I find extremely invaluable and shows you why Goats milk ends up being far superior for a baby than Cows milk just based on the increase in vitamins available in good Goats milk.  While there are a couple of vitamins that it’s deficient in, if you are doing barley, then you know that you need to supplement vitamins and oils as well.

If you are concerned about lactose intolerance, most people who are do very well with goats milk.

9 Responses to Trouble-Shooting Barley

  1. anet says:

    What a great post, thank you!


  2. Lindsay says:

    This is the only formula my son will drink as an alternative to breast feeding! yay! But one important question for me: If I make more then I will use right away of the barley formula, can I freeze it for later use ? And if so how long can it be kept in refrigerator or freezer???
    Thank you!!!


  3. Joseph says:

    I think whether the resultant boiled barley water turns pinkish or not is water dependent. We have boiled barley in water for years and had always obtained a whitish coloured barley water. Just recently we used mineral water to boil the barley and was surprised to see pink barley water!


  4. Claire Johnson says:

    I’m interested in your “vitamin bottle”. How would you make one, as in the quantity of each item. Also do you put the fish oil mixed it with everything else? Or how do you administer that? I’m really worried about boosting her system after she gets her vaccinations.


    • Hi Claire, on a different page on my blog a Doctor actually has which vitamins to supplement following vaccination, check out Vaccination Information. I also recommend reading the book which is really middle ground called The Vaccine Friendly Plan which also covers what do and at what intervals. I hope this helps.


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