Question #1: Should I give my baby goat’s milk?
Answer: No. For all its hype, goat’s milk is actually an unsafe choice for infants under 1 year of age.
This is why: It’s not nutritionally appropriate for your baby.
Goat’s milk is extremely high in protein when compared to human milk or a similar infant formula. The body must make lots of additional urine to get rid of the extra nutrition. Urinating too much can cause your baby to become dehydrated, which could result in harm and hospitalization.
Other minerals are also excessive in goat’s milk including: sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorous. These nutrients can cause the body to become too acidic, which causes muscle spasms.
Goat’s milk also has very little folate and other essential vitamins like vitamin D when compared to what your baby needs. These nutrients are responsible to help your infant create healthy red blood cells. Without them, your child can become fatigued, experience heart and breathing abnormalities, seizure like episodes, or even have internal bleeding. Even if they do not have these extreme symptoms, these nutrients help cells and tissues to grow. Without them, a baby’s brain develop may be impacted.
Question #2: Isn’t most infant formula made from cow’s milk, and cow’s milk isn’t good for my baby until she is 1 year old?
Answer: It is true that most formulas are made from cow’s milk and babies should not have cow’s milk until they are 1 year old; however, formulas are adjusted dramatically. The formula companies are required by law to adjust the protein and other nutrients to match what we know babies need to grow optimally.
Question #3: What if I want a more natural option to feed my child?”
Answer: The desire to provide your infant with natural nutrients and foods from infancy can be a great choice for some families. If you are unable to or do not want to provide breast milk for your infant, there are organic and non-GMO formula options that may be better suited to your personal and family values for food choices, while still making sure your baby gets essential nutrition for health and growth.
Question #4: What about goat’s milk formula or even making my own goat’s milk formula?
Answer: It is very difficult to give your baby enough calories, protein, and essential nutrients by trying to add water and/or other components to create a home goat’s milk formula. For example, if you dilute the goat’s milk with water to give less protein, as is commonly done, the calorie level in the milk is very low. If you find a commercial goat’s milk formula or recipe, please chat with your doctor or a registered dietitian about it before offering to your child.
Question #5: What if my child has a milk allergy?
Answer: Allergies are a very real and serious thing and should be handled carefully. Goat’s milk protein is actually quite similar to cow’s milk protein. So, if your child has a bad reaction to cow’s milk formulas, goat’s milk may cause the same reaction.
If your child has an allergy or intolerance, please consult with your pediatrician and a registered dietitian to help find an appropriate formula alternative.
As with all choices, we know that what you feed your baby is a very personal one. We also know that parents do so much to try and make best decisions for their families’ health and well-being. Our goal as healthcare professionals is to respect your values and desires while doing our best to ensure the safety and health of your baby and family. If you have questions regarding this or any other nutrient choices for your baby, we encourage you to reach out to reputable healthcare professionals to give you safe and helpful advice.
Happy feeding and growing!