Is Goat's Milk Good For Your Infant?
Created by Chayanika Sen Updated on May 30, 2021
In most countries and cultures, infants shift to cow milk once they are done with breastmilk or formula. Different countries have different preferences on the type of milk to choose for babies.
Parents have often wondered, is to safe give goat milk to baby? Ideally, goat milk for babies is suitable only after 1 year of age. Between 0 to 12 months, breastmilk or formula is the best thing for them. You can also choose goat milk formulas during this time period. After 6 months, you can also give your baby products that contain goat’s milk, such as custard, cheese, yogurt or omelette. It is important to ensure that the pasteurized goat’s milk is used in these products or formula. The goat milk formula for babies must be supplemented with a multi-vitamin and iron to avoid any kind of deficiencies. The goat milk is particularly low on Vitamin B12 and folic acid, in comparison to cow’s milk.
The difference between cow’s milk and goat milk is in their nutrient composition, and both have its own advantages and disadvantages. However, goat milk is often considered to be less allergenic, leading to less problems such as bloating or gas.
Benefits Of Goat' Milk
Goat milk for infants is considered to be a good option for multiple reasons; some of the goat milk benefits are mentioned below.
Less Allergenic proteins: After consumption of the milk, the proteins concentrate in the belly to form curds. The softer and smaller the curds, the easier it is to digest them. That’s what makes goat milk more stomach friendly. The proteins that trigger allergies from cow milk are close to negligible in goat milk.
Digestible Fat: Goat’s milk is made up of short or medium fatty-acid chains (unlike cow milk), which makes it extremely easy to digest.
Relatively less Lactose Intolerance: Goat milk has much less sugar lactose than cow milk (4.1% vs 4.7%). Hence, babies who are lactose intolerant cannot handle cow milk, while they can have goat milk relatively easily.
Side Effects of goat milk on babies
There are a few reasons why goat milk for toddler may not be a great idea. As stated, the nutrient component of goat milk and cow milk is very different. There’s a possibility that your child may face nutrient deficiency when fed with goat milk, as goat milk is quite low on Vitamin B12 and folic acid. However, remember that goat milk contains more of several other nutrients such as potassium, calcium, niacin, copper, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and the antioxidant selenium.
There is a possibility of your child developing allergy or lactose intolerance to goat milk as well, as goat milk has only relatively less amount of lactose sugar. The allergy can be manifested in various forms, such as sneezing, eczema, wheezing, runny nose, mild hives, swelling, vomiting. and skin irritation.
Make sure your goat milk is certified “free of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) and antibiotics”. Use of goat or cow milk products is not recommended in infants below one year of age as they can lead to anaemia and intestinal irritation. Some infants are put on goat milk formula only after consultation with a doctor; these are infants who are allergic to soy formulas or cow milk or hypoallergenic formulas.