February 26, 2021 5 min read
Among many responsibilities and tough decisions that new parents face is the choice of baby formula. Not only are there countless brands, but also several different types of formula - such as milk based like cow and goat, or plant-based, such as soy. Cow milk formulas seem to be the standard. It's usually the go-to formula, probably because it is the most known, easiest to find in stores and most popular among other parents and therefore assumed to be the safest and most nutritional.
But is it really? Cow formulas may be the most popular choice in the United States, Europe and rest of the western world. But in other parts of the globe, goat milk is the preferred choice (65% of the world are said to prefer goat over cow milk!).
So, let's examine - is goat milk infant formula safe for babies? Is it a good choice? Is it potentially even better than cow formula? Can it cause any problems? Keep reading to find out all about it.
Let's look at composition. Goat milk and cow milk do differ a bit in micro- and macronutrient composition. They have different milk protein and fat structures and contain different levels of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
As for the latter, in baby formula this does not make a difference. Even though cow milk contains more vitamin B12 and folic acid, and goat milk has more calcium, potassium and vitamin A, all baby formulas are adjusted in composition to mimic breast milk as closely as possible. They are fortified with all important micro-nutrients, and all formulas contain more or less the same optimized blend. Therefore, the different levels of minerals and vitamins in the original milk do not affect formulas.
The same is true for casein to whey protein ratio, which differs in cow and goat milk. The different stages of formulas are always adjusted to match the protein ratio of breast milk at the respective age of the baby.
Something about the proteins that does actually make a difference is the composition. Cow milk contains more protein with allergenic properties, whereas goat milk is almost free of allergens. The so-called alpha-S1 casein is the main cause for cow's milk allergy. Goat milk contains substantially less of this particular protein. Therefore, babies that are at risk of being allergic to cow milk proteins can often handle goat milk better and will not be allergic to goat milk. Additionally, goat milk proteins form a softer and more easily digestible curd in the stomach. Cow milk, on the other hand, forms a harder curd that lays heavier in the stomach. This is another factor that can make goat milk easier to digest.
Moreover, the fat structure in goat milk differs from cow milk. The fats can be broken down by the body more easily because the molecules are smaller, and it contains more medium-chain fatty acids (as opposed to more long-chain fatty acids in cow milk). This more rapid and simpler digestive process makes the fats in goat milk easier on the tummy.
In a nutshell, goat milk formula is just as nutritious and wholesome as cow milk formula but can be better for your baby's digestion and cause less irritations.
Goat milk baby formula is a nutritional choice that contains everything your baby needs, from proteins, fats and carbohydrates to vitamins and minerals.
Take a look at the ingredient list before choosing any formula. All goat milk formulas are adjusted in composition to mimic breast milk and therefore do not vary much in the main ingredients, but you should always avoid formulas with unnecessary or potentially harmful ingredients such as refined sugar, corn syrup or preservatives.
To ensure your baby receives only the best and highest quality, we recommend choosing organic. This way you can be sure that the ingredients are produced under appropriate standards and are free of pesticides and GMOs.
Goat milk formula will supply your baby with all the nutritious ingredient it needs for healthy development. However, there are still cases where goat milk is notappropriate.
Since goat milk does contain the same proteins as cow milk (just in different ratios), goat milk formulas are not safe for babies with a diagnosed cow's milk allergy, as goat milk may cause the same reactions.
When it comes to lactose intolerance, goat milk may or may not be an alternative for your baby. Goat milk does contain less lactose; however, the difference is not significant enough to rule out the appearance of symptoms of lactose intolerance. This mostly depends on the severity of the intolerance. You should always check with your pediatrician before choosing any type of formula.
Generally, goat milk in its original form is not appropriate for infants younger than 1 year. You should always avoid feeding milk directly to infants, because it is lacking essential vitamins and minerals and contains levels of macro-nutrients that cannot be digested properly at a young age and cause illness. Therefore, feeding goat milk to infants before they are ready is unsafe.
Infant formulas are a great choice because they are adjusted in composition to make sure they're healthy, nutritious and safe. After the 1st birthday, babies may start to drink goat milk, as part of a balanced mixed diet with solid foods and in moderation.
In conclusion: Yes, goat milk infant formula is perfectly safe for your baby - if there is no present diagnosis of a cow milk allergy or severe lactose intolerance. It can be a great alternative for cow milk baby formulas because it is extra gentle on the tummy, while being just as nutritious and yummy as cow milk. Especially infants can benefit from more gentle formulas because they have much more sensitive tummies.
Goat milk formulas contain all the yummy nutrients that your baby needs to grow up healthy. Before deciding on a formula, you should check the ingredients list to make sure you are avoiding unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients such as refined sugar and preservatives.
It is always recommended to speak to your pediatrician first before choosing any type of formula.
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