What’s Up with Goat’s Milk?

Got goat’s milk? For several years now goat’s milk has gotten a lot of press both as a substitute for cow’s milk in formula and as food for older babies and children. But is it really better? When is it safe?

For babies under one year of age, breastmilk or an FDA approved infant formula is the most important part of their diet.

Plain, straight milk – from cows or goats- doesn’t have many of the essential nutrients found in breastmilk and formula. Giving plain milk of any kind to young babies has been associated with anemia, intestinal distress, kidney problems and poor growth. So it’s important to continue breastfeeding and / or giving an approved formula until at least one year of age.

Goat’s milk formula has been altered to be more like breastmilk – just like with cow’s milk formula – but hasn’t been shown in studies to be any better for babies than cow’s milk formula. If your baby is having an issue with cow’s milk formula, discuss your options with your pediatrician. There are many choices out there and your pediatrician can help you figure out which is best for your individual baby.

But what about goat’s milk for babies after their first birthday and older children?

Goat’s milk does have a different mix of proteins, fats and sugars from cow’s milk. And while no study has shown consistent advantages to that, some parents do report symptom improvement in toddlers with digestion problems. While, compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk does have higher levels of some nutrients like Vitamin A, it has less of others like Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. So if your toddler is having issues digesting cow’s milk, it may be worth giving goat’s milk a try – just look for one that’s been fortified.

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