Is Goat Milk Easier to Digest?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Although the thoughts and sentiments contained in the post are my own, I received complementary product and financial compensation from the sponsor of the post, Kabrita USA. This post also contains affiliate links. To learn more about Kabrita USA click here.
I get many inquiries from parents asking about alternatives to cow’s milk for their toddlers.
Fluid cow’s milk is not appropriate for babies under age 1, but for infants who have had GI or skin issues during breastfeeding, these symptoms sometimes improve when the breastfeeding mom removes dairy from her diet.
But once their baby turns one, these same moms are left wondering, “Should I introduce cow’s milk or try an alternative that might be easier to digest, like goat’s milk?”
Before we dive in - let’s talk for a second about how intolerance is different than allergy …
Allergy vs. Intolerance: What’s the Diff?
It’s important to differentiate between allergy and intolerance:
Food allergies are potentially life threatening medical conditions that involve the immune system and elicit an immune response
Food intolerances are inconvenient and uncomfortable…but not life threatening and sensitivity encompasses reactions that do not involve immune system
When it comes to foods most likely to cause allergy:
There are 8 major food allergens that account for more than 90% of food allergy
Milk, egg and peanut represent about 80% of common childhood food allergy
The most common childhood food allergy is milk, affecting about 2.5% of those under 3
Cow’s Milk Intolerance
Many moms are first introduced to cow’s milk intolerance when they are breastfeeding and baby has a skin or GI reaction.
Symptoms that might indicate dairy or cow’s milk intolerance in young children include:
Now of course these symptoms could be caused by a myriad of food or environment-related issues, but it doesn’t hurt to experiment with eliminating cow’s milk on a trial basis.
Your pediatrician or a pediatric dietitian can give you more information about how to conduct a trial elimination if it is medically indicated for your young child or baby.
If your pediatrician suggests that you as a breastfeeding mom go off of dairy , that means eliminating fluid cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt from your diet.
This can help alleviate symptoms in your breastfed baby…but if after your baby turns 1 you are weaning off of breastmilk, you might be wondering what fluid milk or milk alternative to offer your child?
What about goat milk?
Should I go with Goat Milk?
Goat milk is a good alternative to transition to for babies who have struggled with gut or skin issues possibly related to cow’s milk.
The proteins in goat milk form a gentler curd in the stomach and are broken down more quickly than cow milk protein.
So goat milk formula may be a good solution for children who have had issues digesting or tolerating cow milk consumption.
It should be pointed out though that lactose is still the primary milk sugar in goat milk, so this is not appropriate for lactose intolerance. And goat milk also is not ok if there’s diagnosed cow’s milk allergy as both animals have similar proteins in their milk.
One of the products I like and have personally used is Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula. I love that it is gentle on tiny tummies and the added iron in this formula is especially helpful during the critical weaning period.
Goat Milk Case Study
I recently consulted with a mom who had been through the rigamarole of trying to eliminate cow’s milk protein in her diet as it had led to gut and skin issues in her breastfed baby.
The mom Courtney is a member of my virtual baby-led weaning membership group THE BABY-LED WEAN TEAM. But we live close by each other in San Diego, so I had the opportunity to meet and consult with Courtney and her daughter Julia in person.
Julia just turned 1 and Courtney had been trialing a number of allergen-free formulas after she stopped breastfeeding. She was very knowledgeable about infant nutrition and had researched the product Kabrita, a toddler goat formula on her own.
As she was approaching age one, Julia was ramping up her solid food intake with baby-led weaning…but her mom Courtney was using the Kabrita goat milk formula in addition to the solid foods Julia was eating.
The Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula has helped their family provide Julia with additional nutrition, iron and an alternative to cow’s milk which was gentler on the child’s stomach and gut.
Taking Goat Milk Toddler Formula for a Test Drive
If your young child has had GI or skin related side effects that you suspect are caused by cow’s milk, it doesn’t hurt to give goat milk toddler formula a trial run.
I think a product like Kabrita is a good alternative for families not on cow’s milk because - in addition to its ease of digestibility:
It is iron fortified - as baby is weaning off of breastmilk or iron-fortified formula, the additional iron from foods and a product like Kabrita can help meet iron needs
The fatty acid profile is ideal - Kabrita carefully selects their fats to mimic the long and short chain fatty acids in breast milk
Carbohydrate is key - Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula features lactose, a natural carbohydrate that is also the same primary carbohydrate source in breastmilk
If you are interested trying out Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula, you can get a free 14 oz goat milk toddler formula tin from Kabrita (a $25 value) for just the cost of shipping and handling by clicking here.
To learn more about Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula - check their great resources on their website here.
Almaas H, eta l. In vitro digestion of bovine and caprine milk by human gastric and duodenal enzymes. Int Dairy J. 2006;16:961–68.
Ceballos LS, et al. Utilization of nitrogen and energy from diets containing protein and fat derived from either goat milk or cow milk. J Dairy Res. 2009;4:497-504.
Maathius A, et al. Protein digestion and quality of goat and cow milk infant formula and human milk under simulated infant conditions. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017;65(6):661-666.
Pintado ME, et al. Hydrolysis of ovine, caprine and bovine whey proteins by trypsin and pepsin .Bioprocess Engineering 2000;23:275-282.