Experimenting with Goat's Milk Formula for Eczema
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 that help me offset the cost of operating this blog.
I was feeling pretty confident about our quadruplets' recent two-year checkup at the doctor. I mean, 2 years with these 4 preemies and no major medical incidents?! Not bad! Now...I may be jinxing myself, but besides an ear infection of two, so far we haven't had any emergency room visits, no broken bones and no allergic reactions to new foods.
But of course, as soon as I started taking stock of our good fortune, one of our quadruplets - Charlie - began showing signs of eczema. Now eczema isn't the end of the world, and Charlie's case was on the mild side, but I still wanted to find out what was causing his skin flareups.
Since we live in San Diego with the world's mildest climate, I couldn't blame it on winter weather. And Charlie wasn't on any sort of medication, so the eczema wasn't a reaction to that.
As a dietitian, I love introducing my kids to tons of new foods, but I'm well aware of the impact that certain foods can have on their various body systems. Charlie definitely has the most sensitive gut of our 5 kids, and now with his eczema on top of that, I decided to explore whether cow's milk protein might be to blame for some of what was going on.
Going for Goat's Milk
As background, no one in our family has any milk allergy or intolerance issues. Our quadruplets have been on cow's milk since their one-year adjusted age mark. Right now they drink about 1-2 cups (8-16 fluid ounces) of 2% milk each day, along with a few servings of yogurt and cheese each week.
After talking with Charlie's pediatrician and other nutrition colleagues who also specialize in infant and child feeding, we decided to do a 2-week swap for goat's milk instead of cow's milk protein with Charlie.
Now I wasn't super familiar with goat's milk formula, so a few things about the Kabrita toddler formula that I had to bring myself up to speed on before this trial:
- Kabrita is a naturally easy to digest goat's milk formula for toddlers age 12-24 months.
- It is a powder made with non-GMO, pasteurized, Dutch goat milk.
- Lactose is the primary carbohydrate in the formula (as it is in breast milk), so Kabrita would not be appropriate for children with diagnosed lactose intolerance.
- Kabrita is not suitable for children with diagnosed cow milk allergy because goat milk proteins can provoke a similar reaction.
Gentle on Tiny Tummies
For two weeks Charlie got Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula instead of his usual 2% cow's milk. He didn't really notice the difference, except for the few times I forgot to refrigerate the reconstituted formula and he looked at me like giving him lukewarm liquid was a little weird.
Not to get all TMI on you here too, but the first thing I immediately noticed after starting Kabrita was the (positive) change in Charlie's stool. His bowel movements were certainly less acrid and he was noticeably less aggravated every time I changed his dirty diaper.
This change in his stool is likely attributable to the fact that goat milk protein produces a smaller, softer and looser curd compared to cow milk protein. Essentially, goat milk protein is broken down faster than cow milk protein by digestive enzymes, so I think it was certainly a benefit for this little guy's gut (...and of course, same benefit transfers to the person tasked with changing his diapers :)
As mentioned, I'm a dietitian - and as such, I certainly value the nutrition profile of cow's milk; but I was also impressed by the nutrition in Kabrita's Goat Milk Toddler Formula. Their toddler formula is fortified with 22 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D and DHA.
We don't eat many enriched or fortified foods in our house, but I'm always grateful for a little extra iron, especially because it helps those still-growing toddler brains and since we don't eat a ton of meat. There are 2 mg iron in every 100 calories of Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula, which is a little bit more than you would get from 100 calories of ground beef. Toddlers age 1-3 years old need 7 mg iron per day, so 2 mg iron in 100 calories of Kabrita is pretty great.
Kabrita has been used for over 75 years in Europe, but it also meets the specific criteria for sale in the United States. As a European product, Kabrita is also subject to rigorous European standards, meaning the formula is sourced from humanely raised goats and there's no antibiotics, growth hormones or appreciable levels of pesticides in this product.
There is also a line of Kabrita goat's milk yogurt, which everyone - including Charlie - loved (and maybe a little bit moreso because they rarely get pouches, so when they do it's a pretty big treat!)
As for the skin situation, after two weeks on Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula in place of fluid cow's milk, I did see that Charlie's eczema was better. In fact, the really noticeable patches around his face were gone.
He still had some itchiness and light eczema patches around his belly, but fixing the flareups around his face combined with the diaper-based benefits were reasons enough to make me want to continue on Kabrita.
One thing I didn't love about our two week Kabrita trial was the simple task of having to make something separate for Charlie to drink while the rest of his siblings continued on cow's milk. I never want to make a habit of short-order cooking or special prepping ANYTHING for my kids, but Charlie's skin situation called for it, so I stuck with it.
In addition to the gut benefits and improved skin situation, the Kabrita goat's milk formula eventually became a favorite of everyone else in the house when I started using it as a protein powder in a recipe they all ended up loving for afternoon snack...my Green Goat's Milk Strawberry Smoothie.
I'll share this green smoothie recipe with you here, since it's a super easy way to get some easily digestible protein, iron and extra fruits and veggies in a fun kiddo snack that your kids can even (kind of :) help make.
Recipe: Green Goat's Milk Strawberry Smoothie
Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula packs a nutrition punch as the protein powder base in this super simple smoothie that your kids will love. And parents can feel good about serving a produce-packed smoothie that also contains an extra boost of iron from the fortified Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula powder.
Feel free to swap strawberries for any other frozen berry or the spinach for different kinds of greens that you might have on hand. Add more or less frozen berries and water to change the consistency. You can also toss in a few ice cubes if you want to thicken the smoothie up.
This recipe makes 5 servings, each about 3/4 cup serving size. You can also freeze leftover prepared smoothie into popsicle molds for later use.
- 16 unpacked level scoops Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula
- 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) water
- 4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and process or blend until smooth.
- Serve with a straw or a spoon, depending upon your kids' ability and preference.