In many countries, cow milk is the first milk that a baby drinks after they are done with breastfeeding or formula. But in some countries, goat milk is the preferred choice for babies, and the idea is catching on in America, too. Why is goat milk for babies considered better? The milk of the goat is often easier digested and less allergenic than cow’s milk, and keeping a goat is much easier, as it eat less, occupy less space, and can be kept in a backyard. But is it really better? Here’s more information to help you decide on whether to give goat milk to babies.

When Can You Give Goat Milk to Your Baby?

Remember that it is best not to give your baby goat milk or any kind of milk until they are at least one year old. Until then, breastmilk or formula is the best thing for your baby, and ensure they get the right balance of nutrients at every meal.

However, you can choose formulas that are created with goat’s milk as a main ingredient. These formulas meet the same nutritional standards as those based on cow’s milk, and they are often thought to be less allergenic with fewer problems, such as gas and bloating.

Once your baby is six months old, you can give them products that contain goat’s milk as an ingredient. These include sauces, custards, or even omelettes that have goat’s milk mixed in. Whether you give your baby the milk in a bottle or use it in cooking for your child, make sure the goat’s milk is pasteurized to destroy harmful bacteria that could make your baby sick.

Advantages of Goat Milk for Babies

There are numerous reasons why many parents turn to goat milk for babies. Here are just a few of the common reasons why it might be the best choice:

1. Less Allergenic Proteins

When the baby drinks milk of any kind, the proteins concentrate in the belly to form curds. The softer and smaller the curds, the more digestible they are. Goat milk forms small and very soft curds, thus leading to fewer digestion problems. The protein that triggers allergies in cow milk is almost non-existent in goat milk, which means that a child who can’t tolerate milk from a cow could happily drink milk from a goat with no problems.

2. More Digestible Fat

When it comes to digesting fat, it all boils down to the fatty-acid chains in the milk. Those with short or medium chains, like goat’s milk, are easier to digest. Those with longer chains, like those in cow’s milk, take longer to get through the digestive system.

3. Relatively Less Lactose

Babies who are lactose intolerant may not be able to handle more than a little cow milk, while the lower lactose levels in goat milk means that a baby could enjoy more of goat milk. However, keep in mind that both goat milk and cow milk contain lactose, so babies with severe intolerance may not be capable to handle either type.

Recipes of Goat Milk for Babies

Dr. Sears, the child-health guru who has given good advice for decades, recommends Meyenberg Goat Milk Formula for those babies who are fed goat milk exclusively. It is formulated for babies who are at least six months old. This formula contains nineteen calories per ounce, just like most cow milk formulas do. When you give your baby a goat milk formula, always supplement it with a multi-vitamin with iron.

When your child is at least a year old, you can supplement goat milk for cow milk in their bottles or anything they eat. But remember that it is important to provide vitamin supplements if you choose goat’s milk, including folic acid and vitamin B-12.

If you want to make your own goat milk recipes at home that are suitable for your baby, the video below can help you get started:

Tips and Cautions

Choose Goat Milk Fortified with Folic Acid

Keep in mind that the nutrient composition of cow’s milk and goat’s milk is different. Goat’s milk contains less than 10 percent of the folic acid found in cow’s milk, which means your baby will definitely need a supplement of folic acid to stay healthy. Fortunately, the formulas that are made with goat’s milk usually have folic acid added, as well as other necessary vitamins.

Watch Out for Allergies

Look for formulas that are hypoallergenic if possible, to cut down on the risk of allergies. You should also look for formulas or regular goat milk whichis certified to be free of antibiotics, growth hormones and other potential problems. If you’re not sure, look specifically for those products that are certified organic and say on the label that they do not use GMO foods, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.

Symptoms of Allergies

What if your child develops an allergy to goat milk? The allergy will usually show up immediately, but it might take many different forms. Mild hives might be a sign, and the most common symptoms may include wheezing, runny nose, sneezing, swelling and vomiting. Your child might also develop eczema and a skin irritation.

More serious issues that signal an allergy include asthma, diarrhea, coughing, nasal congestion, itchy rashes, watery eyes, cramps, and colic in small babies. If your child develops any of these problems, stop the goat milk to see if the symptoms go away. If your child has a life-threatening reaction, including trouble breathing, seizures or other signs of anaphylaxis, stop the goat milk immediately and take the child to the emergency room. Whenever any reaction to goat’s milk is detected in your child, it is time to find something else to feed your baby.