The Science Behind Goat Milk Baby Formulas: Nutritional Value and Allergy Considerations
In the American and European markets, cow milk baby formula is more common, but goat milk formula is rapidly gaining popularity these days. And that’s understandable, as goat milk baby foods are digested easier, contain the same protein as breast milk, and are lower in allergens. Sometimes even babies who can’t drink cow milk formula digest goat milk baby formula just fine.
In the post below, you’ll find out why. Also, you’ll learn when goat milk infant formula is prohibited and when recommended for babies.
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The main differences between cow and goat milk formula
Cow and goat milk indeed differ in composition somewhat. The milk protein, fat structure, and levels of micro and macronutrients vary in these two types of milk. So, baby formula based on cow milk and goat milk also differ slightly, but not as much as you would think. Any baby formula has everything a child needs – baby food manufacturers and regulatory authorities make sure infant formula contains optimally blended ingredients for the growing little body to develop properly.
Among the most favored baby foods on the market are Jovie – organic goat’s milk formula from Europe (the Netherlands), HiPP goat formula (Germany), Holle goat milk formula (the Netherlands), and Premibio organic infant goat formula (France).
So, what are the differences between cow and goat milk baby formula?
- While cow milk contains more folic acid and vitamin B12, goat milk has more vitamin A, calcium, and potassium.
- Cow milk has A1 beta-casein as protein and goat milk has A2 beta-casein, which makes goat milk more similar to breast milk. Also, A2 beta-casein is better suited to sensitive baby tummies.
- Goat milk infant formulas are lower in allergens because of the A2 beta-casein protein.
- Goat milk proteins are digested easier by baby stomachs than cow milk proteins.
- The fats in goat milk contain medium-chain fatty acids that are broken down faster, while cow milk fatty acids are long-chain. Thus, goat milk baby foods are easier to digest and suited for sensitive stomachs.
- Goat milk contains more omega-6 fatty acids, although, for infant formulas, it doesn’t matter much because this ingredient is added to all of the baby food products by manufacturers to ensure the normal development of a baby.
The differences between cow milk formula and goat milk formula are comparatively minor. Parents of a healthy baby with a strong stomach are free to choose any of these two options. But if your little one has stomach issues, it’s highly recommended to consult a pediatrician who will help you choose the right baby food. For instance, a doctor might advise you to try goat milk baby formula that is digested easier.
Ingredients of goat milk baby formula
When you’re buying a new brand of baby formula for the first time, always check the ingredients. Avoid infant foods that contain corn syrup, refined sugar, or preservatives and colorings. Consider choosing organic formula instead of a non-organic one. When you’re giving the best organic baby formulas to your precious one, you can be certain that your baby receives safe and healthy nutrition.
Goat milk formulas contain these main ingredients:
- A2 goat milk protein;
- essential fatty acids (DHA and ARA);
- vitamins A, E, and D;
- minerals (calcium, potassium, and others).
At the same time, organic goat milk infant formulas don’t contain GMOs, artificial sweeteners, and harmful additives.
When is goat milk formula prohibited for babies?
Generally, goat milk baby formula is safe for children and provides them with a variety of useful and much-needed nutrients that help a baby grow and develop according to his/her age. However, there are medically diagnosed situations when parents should refrain from giving their child goat milk baby food. The two main diagnoses are animal milk allergy and severe lactose intolerance. If your baby is allergic to cow milk, goat milk formulas can also be unsafe for him/her.
Goat milk is lower in allergens, so there is a chance your infant will tolerate this type of baby food, even when cow milk formulas cause an allergic reaction. But only a pediatrician should take the responsibility of prescribing goat formula to a baby with health issues. Don’t experiment with infant food without consulting a doctor.
Another thing parents should know about goat milk is that it is not recommended to feed an infant up to 12 months of age with goat milk in its original plain form. Babies’ sensitive stomachs can’t digest such milk properly – baby formulas are based on natural plain milk, but the composition is altered. Essential nutrients that are lacking in plain milk are added to the baby formula so that a baby gets everything he/she needs to develop properly and easily digest the baby food. After 1 year of age, babies can drink natural plain goat and cow milk as part of their ration.
When is goat milk formula recommended?
While you shouldn’t feed your baby with goat milk baby products if your little one has an animal milk allergy or severe lactose intolerance, goat milk formulas are still gentler and more easily digested than cow milk baby formulas.
Cases when goat infant formula can be more optimal for your baby:
- sensitive stomach;
- gassy baby;
- family history of allergies (it’s better to consult a doctor before feeding a baby with formula in case you suspect any potential allergic reaction);
- allergic reaction suspected (if there’s any suspicion of allergy, consult with a pediatrician immediately).
Important! If your child has any stomach issues or health issues in general, consult with a pediatrician and possibly a nutrition specialist to choose the right option of baby food for your little champ.