Goat Milk for Babies: Benefits & Recipes
- Is Goat Milk Safe for Your Baby?
- Nutritional Value of Goat Milk
- When Can You Start Giving Goat Milk to Your Baby?
- Benefits of Goat Milk for Infants
- Disadvantages of Goat Milk for Babies
- Recipes of Goat Milk for a Baby
- Should You Give Goat Milk-Based Infant Formula or Goat Milk Yogurt to Your Child?
- Why Goat Milk May Not Be a Proper Substitute for Cow Milk -Based Dairy Products
- Tips to Keep in Mind While Choosing Goat Milk for Your Infant
As a new parent, it is essential that you do everything possible to take care of your baby’s health. A large part of that is understanding baby nutrition. Understanding and knowing the nutritional needs of your baby will not just help you plan out his diet better, it can help you plan it out smarter as well. One tasty must-have for any baby’s diet is milk. In a world where there are numerous types of milk like soy milk, almond milk, buffalo milk, and the traditional favourite, cow milk, a lot of experts have begun recommending goat milk for babies. But is goat milk for your baby safe, or does it come with any caution? Let’s learn everything about it!
Is Goat Milk Safe for Your Baby?
Milk contains a sugar called lactose. This is generally considered one of the hardest elements of any food group to break down in our digestive system. Traditionally used cow milk, while rich in calcium, has a lot of lactose in it, which can make it hard for a baby to digest. While goat milk for a newborn baby is not completely lactose-free, it is known to have a lot less of it. So, can babies drink goat milk?
So, why is goat’s milk healthy or healthier than options like soy milk, rice milk or almond milk? It has a much higher calcium content and is nutritionally much better for babies. Milk is an essential part of a baby’s diet because its body develops from the nutrients available in milk. Most non-dairy milk products like soy milk are healthy for adults, but for a developing newborn, it is essential to have dairy, such as goat milk, which can be more beneficial for your child than cow milk or non-dairy milk.
Nutritional Value of Goat Milk
Let’s have a look at what’s inside the goat milk.
When Can You Start Giving Goat Milk to Your Baby?
It is important to understand that goat milk is not an alternative to breastfeeding. This means your baby still requires breast milk. It is not recommended that you use goat milk for formulas. Goat milk should only be given to babies after 18 months of age. Yes, this means goat milk should not be given to babies under the age of 1. In fact, pure goat milk is unsafe, even life-threatening, for babies under the age of 1. The same holds true for pure cow milk as well.
This is because it has a high load of sodium and potassium, which can burden the kidneys. Thus, serving goat milk at an earlier age could cause problems with the child’s nutritional balance.
Benefits of Goat Milk for Infants
Switching your child over to goat’s milk can have numerous benefits, some of which are:
1. Lower Risk of Allergies
Cow milk has certain substances and proteins that make it up that can be highly allergenic, such as lactose. Those allergic to this have a condition called lactose intolerance. This condition can cause severe discomfort to your baby. Goat’s milk has considerably less lactose. This means the risk of severe allergies is lower. Goat’s milk is not as allergenic as cow and buffalo milk, but children who are allergic to cow’s milk can be allergic to goat milk as well, as the protein content is the same.
2. Good Fat
Compared to cow milk, goat’s milk is easier to digest and has a higher content of good fats like polyunsaturated fat. This means that your baby can digest goat’s milk better, and the good fats are better absorbed by the body. Good fat is essential for the proper growth of your child.
3. Better for the Intestines
Lactose is hard to break down, and it is slow to digest. Another issue with lactose is it can harm the intestines. The lower quantity of lactose in goat’s milk can help preserve your baby’s intestine health.
Most milk types have healthy bacteria known as prebiotics and probiotics. When compared to other dairy-based milk, goat’s milk has higher prebiotics. This helps your baby stay healthy and maintain a good amount of healthy gut and digestion-based bacteria.
5. Lower Cholesterol
Goat’s milk has smaller quantities of bad cholesterol and lower amounts of all types of cholesterol in general. This is considered very healthy for both adults and babies, as cholesterol imbalances later in life could lead to issues like hypertension or blood pressure problems.
Disadvantages of Goat Milk for Babies
Goat milk consumption can lead to a number of health concerns in babies. Here are some to look at:
Similar to cow’s milk, goat milk can lead to allergic reactions in babies. Therefore, before introducing goat milk to your baby, consult your little one’s paediatrician.
Infants are highly vulnerable to external factors. Feeding pure goat milk that isn’t pasteurised could lead to infections or sepsis. This is the reason goat milk is not recommended for babies under the age of 1.
Babies can experience hyponatremia due to the consumption of goat milk, which happens when their blood lacks sufficient sodium levels.
4. Megaloblastic Anaemia
Goat milk’s inadequate protein content can potentially result in megaloblastic anemia by causing a deficiency in folate (vitamin B9) required for their growth.
Recipes of Goat Milk for a Baby
The great part about goat’s milk is it can be used identically to cow milk. Thus, you must ensure that you boil the goat milk, or buy pasteurised goat milk, so your baby doesn’t fall sick. You can feed your baby goat milk from a bottle, and if he is old enough, you can mix it in drinking chocolate or use it in cereal.
Should You Give Goat Milk-Based Infant Formula or Goat Milk Yogurt to Your Child?
If you think goat milk and goat milk formula for babies are the same, then it is a discussion of another time. For now, let us tell you that goat milk formula can be a good alternative as well as being safe to regular baby formula. When sourced from a reliable provider, it can also serve as a secure substitute for conventional cow’s milk formula, offering a viable alternative choice.
Depending on the situation, you may be considering giving your child goat milk yoghurt due to the added healthy bacteria available in yoghurt in general. Before you do that, it is highly recommended you talk to a nutritionist or doctor. There are some nutrients that milk has, and yoghurt does not, so it is essential to replace these nutrients when feeding your child.
Therefore, before choosing goat milk infant formula or yoghurt, it is best to consult a doctor in this matter and get their professional go-ahead.
Why Goat Milk May Not Be a Proper Substitute for Cow Milk -Based Dairy Products
There is a lot of debate in the pediatric industry about goat milk vs cow milk for babies – which is better. Although lower in lactose than cow’s milk, goat milk still has a certain amount of lactose, and as such, your child could develop lactose intolerance. Another thing to consider is that goat’s milk doesn’t have folic acid, which is a crucial part of your baby’s nutrition. It is present in cow’s milk. It is recommended that you talk to a doctor in detail first and understand the risks of using goat milk instead of cow milk.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Choosing Goat Milk for Your Infant
As with any ingredient, there are a few things to keep in mind while feeding your child goat’s milk, such as:
- Goat’s milk is low in folic acid. This is important for a baby’s nutrition. Always buy goat’s milk with added folic acid.
- Vitamin B-12 is an important component of your baby’s diet. Cow milk has higher quantities, so if your baby is on goat milk, ensure you give him some form of vitamin supplement.
- There is a risk your baby could become dehydrated with goat milk or any other milk, so ensure your baby is hydrated regularly.
1. Is goat milk good for colicky babies and premature babies?
No. Since colicky babies already have stomach troubles and premature babies have underdeveloped digestive systems, it is best not to give them goat milk. They should not be fed with anything other than breast milk.
2. How much goat milk should my baby drink per day?
For babies aged over 12 months, a daily intake of 500 ml (equivalent to 2 cups) of goat milk is suitable. This quantity can be divided and incorporated into multiple meals throughout the day.
3. Can babies with acid reflux drink goat milk?
To date, there is very limited to no research available on the efficacy of goat milk for infants with acid reflux. Instead, breast milk is the best choice when it comes to lowering the chances of reflux in babies.
It is recommended that you seek medical advice before changing or adding to your baby’s diet. Always listen to your doctor, and understand the benefits and risks of making dietary changes. Never make drastic changes to your baby’s diet. Gradually build it up, and if your baby reacts badly to the change, see a doctor immediately.
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3. Milk, goat, fluid, with added vitamin D; USDA; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171278/nutrients; April 2019
4. Nutritional Guideline Healthy Infants and Young Children – Milk; Alberta Health Services; https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/nutrition/if-nfs-ng-healthy-infants-other-milks-fluids-milk.pdf; December 2016
5. Chapter: 3 Comparing Infant Formulas with Human Milk; Infant Formula: Evaluating the Safety of New Ingredients; The National Academies Press; https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/10935/chapter/5#54; 2004