What About Goat's Milk?

Updated on June 17, 2008
G.W. asks from Portage, WI
6 answers

My daughter is 8 months old. She now is breastfed and also eats babyfood and baby cereal, which I make with formula. Occasionally I give her a bottle if we're going out somewhere. When she was younger she was cow-milk-protein sensitive, but I've heard that Goat's milk protein is much closer to human milk protein. I know doctors don't recommend cow milk for infants younger than 1 year because their digestive systems can't quite handle the cow-milk proteins. So here's my question: Is there any reason not to give my daughter goat's milk instead of formula? It's cheaper. And it's probably closer to human milk than formula. She would only have it occasionally, like when added to her cereal. But I thought, why not? Any info would be appreciated. thanks.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't know much about goat's milk but I wouldn't try it with an 8 month old.

I know formula can be expensive but have you tried Parent's Choice brand at Walmart. I used it a few times when my children were younger. It would be good to have on hand since she is mostly breastfed.

Also, if you qualify for WIC you could get formula vouchers.



answers from Dallas on

All my kids have for the first 2 years of there life is breast milk and goats milk. I can't make enough milk for them so they get it from birth and they have never had a problem and they are very health.



answers from Dallas on

My younger daughter drank goat's milk from the time she was 5 months old and first began to show signs of allergy to her milk based formula and soy (she'd vomit formula and soy right back up after drinking them and developed a horrible diaper rash).

I bought the goat milk canned/condensed and mixed it exactly the way I mixed the canned formula. She thrived on it. She drank it until she seemed to outgrow her sensitivity to milk products....ate it on her breakfast cereals and such. Never had a problem with it.

****from http://www.askdrsears.com *****

What does goat's milk give you that cow's milk doesn't? In many parts of the world, goat's milk is preferred to cow's milk. Even in the United States, the goat is gaining popularity. Goats eat less and occupy less grazing space than cows, and in some families the backyard goat supplies milk for family needs. Goat's milk is believed to be more easily digestible and less allergenic than cow's milk. Does it deserve this reputation? Let's disassemble goat's milk, nutrient-by-nutrient, to see how it compares with cow's milk.

Different fat. Goat's milk contains around ten grams of fat per eight ounces compared to 8 to 9 grams in whole cow's milk, and it's much easier to find lowfat and non-fat varieties of cow's milk than it is to purchase lowfat goat's milk. Unlike cow's milk, goat's milk does not contain agglutinin. As a result, the fat globules in goat's milk do not cluster together, making them easier to digest. Like cow's milk, goat's milk is low in essential fatty acids, because goats also have EFA-destroying bacteria in their ruminant stomachs. Yet, goat milk is reported to contain more of the essential fatty acids linoleic and arachnodonic acids, in addition to a higher proportion of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids. These are easier for intestinal enzymes to digest.

Different protein. Goat milk protein forms a softer curd (the term given to the protein clumps that are formed by the action of your stomach acid on the protein), which makes the protein more easily and rapidly digestible. Theoretically, this more rapid transit through the stomach could be an advantage to infants and children who regurgitate cow's milk easily. Goat's milk may also have advantages when it comes to allergies. Goat's milk contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, alpha-S1, found in cow's milk. Goat's milk casein is more similar to human milk, yet cow's milk and goat's milk contain similar levels of the other allergenic protein, beta lactoglobulin. Scientific studies have not found a decreased incidence of allergy with goat's milk, but here is another situation where mothers' observations and scientific studies are at odds with one another. Some mothers are certain that their child tolerates goat's milk better than cow's milk, and mothers are more sensitive to children's reactions than scientific studies.

Less lactose. Goat's milk contains slightly lower levels of lactose (4.1 percent versus 4.7 percent in cow's milk), which may be a small advantage in lactose-intolerant persons.

Different minerals. Although the mineral content of goat's milk and cow's milk is generally similar, goat's milk contains 13 percent more calcium, 25 percent more vitamin B-6, 47 percent more vitamin A, 134 percent more potassium, and three times more niacin. It is also four times higher in copper. Goat's milk also contains 27 percent more of the antioxidant selenium than cow's milk. Cow's milk contains five times as much vitamin B-12 as goat's milk and ten times as much folic acid (12 mcg. in cow's milk versus 1 mcg. for goat's milk per eight ounces with an RDA of 75-100 mcg. for children). The fact that goat's milk contains less than ten percent of the amount of folic acid contained in cow's milk means that it must be supplemented with folic acid in order to be adequate as a formula or milk substitute for infants and toddlers, and popular brands of goat's milk may advertise "supplemented with folic acid" on the carton.

Parents of babies allergic to cow's milk and other commercial formulas often ask if it's safe to use goat's milk as an alternative. In theory, goat's milk is less allergenic and more easily digestible than cow's milk, but it should not be used as a substitute for infant formula. Like cow's milk, it can cause intestinal irritation and anemia. If your baby under one year of age is allergic to cow's milk-based formulas, try either a soy-based formula or a hypoallergenic formula. If your baby can't tolerate either soy or hypoallergenic formulas, in consultation with your doctor and/or a pediatric nutritionist click here for the recipe for goat's milk formula.

This formula has stood the test of time. One batch contains 715 calories and nineteen calories per ounce, which is essentially the same as cow's milk formulas. This is sufficient for an infant six to twelve months. A baby on goat's milk formula should also receive a multi-vitamin with iron supplement prescribed by her doctor. In infants over one year of age, goat's milk can be readily used instead of cow's milk. (Be sure to buy goat's milk that is certified free of antiobiotics and bovine growth hormone (BGH). (For more information about goat's milk call 1-800-891-GOAT)



answers from Charlotte on

Dr. Sears has some good advice on goats milk. Try askdrsears.com



answers from Dallas on

It is healthiest to mix the cereal with breastmilk. I don't think babies that age can handle the animal proteins, but you can call your pediatrician if you really want to know for sure. I wasn't able to breastfeed so I mixed my daughter's cereal with water or formula. Formula is cheaper if you buy it from Sam's club (and their store brand is excellent- doesn't bubble up so baby doesn't get gas as much). I personally would not try the goats milk, after all water will work fine and it is both safer and cheaper!


answers from Dallas on

You are right, goat's milk is closer to mom's milk. I used it with both of my children. My doctor said it was fine and other that I know that are conscience about their childrens health use it as well. My son drank it for 6 mths and my little girl drank it for a year. They were 3mths and 6mths at the time. Hope that helps! I am a stay at home mom too and homeschool my children.

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