As a parent, it is important to understand the nutritional requirements of a baby. Infants’ diets mostly consist of milk, which is a rich source of essential nutrients like proteins that are necessary for the growth and good health of the baby.
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There is a wide variety of milk that you can feed your little one. From traditional cow’s milk to vegan alternatives like soy milk, parents can choose any kind of this super nutritious liquid that they find best for their child.
Among all the choices, goat milk is recently being raved about by some people. A significant number of doctors have also started to recommend goat’s milk. This article will discuss everything you need to know about introducing goat milk to your baby and its benefits.
Is Goat Milk Safe for Your Little One?
Lactose is natural sugar present in most animal-derived milk. This sugar is very important for babies as it is the main source of energy. However, the high content of this natural sugar can cause indigestion.
The breakdown process of lactose is a little complex, that is why some parents look for milk that has a low concentration of this sugar. Cow’s milk is favored by the majority as it tastes great and is very rich in proteins and minerals.
On the other hand, it has a high content of lactose that can upset the child’s digestive system. The large amounts of lactose can be difficult to digest and can cause diarrhea or general discomfort.
As an alternative, some individuals go for goat milk. Goat milk is not completely free of lactose. It has considerable amounts of lactose but is lower than cow’s milk. The lower lactose levels make goat milk easier to digest and is less likely to cause indigestion. Moreover, this milk also has other vital nutrients like calcium and essential amino acids.
If your infant is not fully lactose intolerant, goat milk can be considered better than plant-based milk. It has a higher content of proteins than non-dairy products. Proteins are crucial for the development of the baby’s immunity, strengthening of the bones, and overall growth.
When to Introduce Goat Milk to Your Baby?
Goat milk formula is safe from birth to 12 months. You can incorporate formulated goat milk with breastfeeding. However, fresh goat milk should never be fed to your newborn.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends entirely avoiding fresh goat milk or any other pure milk except the mother’s breast milk during the first 12 months of the baby. Combination feeding of breast milk and formula are often advocated.
Any foreign milk, regardless of whether it is sourced from animals or plants, does not provide sufficient nutrition for infants. The tiny one’s stomach is yet to develop for completely digesting the large quantity of sugar and protein molecules from animal-derived milk. The nutritional profile of plant-based milk is still not appropriate for the little one’s digestive system.
Ingestion of pure milk will lead to serious consequences of declining health and growth. The outcome will be more severe if pure milk is fed as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula. Pasteurized pure goat’s milk or any other milk will be safe to consume after the baby is one year old.
It is crucial to know and understand that goat milk or any kind of milk, can not be an alternative to breastfeeding. Babies need breast milk as the colostrum in it is absolutely necessary for their immunity.
Colostrum is a yellow secretion released with the mother’s breast milk and is rich in antibodies. Upon ingesting this, these antibody babies ward off various diseases and get protection against numerous ailments. Your little one gets passive immunity from breastfeeding and stays safe.
Reasons to Consider Goat Milk
Some people consider introducing goat milk for various reasons. One of the reasons is the nutritional profile which is more compatible than that of other types of milk. The following benefits of goat’s milk make some parents consider including it in their child’s diet.
Substituting Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is considered to be the Hail Mary in most children’s diets. Contrary to the popular belief, the high content of lactose and proteins often disrupts the normal digestion process. Most babies are also allergic to the proteins in cow milk.
Since cow milk is hypoallergenic for most babies, goat’s milk can be a great alternative. As mentioned earlier, goat’s milk has a lesser quantity of lactose, making it easier to digest. Besides, goat milk does not contain the same proteins as cow’s milk therefore, does not induce allergies.
Before introducing goat’s milk into your child’s diet, consult with the pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor will know what is best for the baby and can give advice accordingly. If the doctor gives the green signal, you can incorporate formulated goat milk with breastfeeding.
Higher Iron Content
Iron is one of the most important minerals required for strong bones, development, and robust health. Hemoglobin is a vital component of the red blood cells of our body and transports oxygen to all parts of our body.
Babies, grown-ups, people of all ages need iron to produce hemoglobin. It is essential for optimum breathing and the overall metabolism of the body that ensures a sufficient level of energy. Deficiency or low levels of iron causes severe cases of weakness, shortness of breath, low stamina, and stunted growth.
It is crucial for the iron to be absorbed, especially for babies. The iron in goat milk is more readily absorbed by a baby’s body than cow’s milk. Moreover, it also has higher iron content than cow’s milk.
Therefore, some mothers choose to feed their babies’ goat milk formula along with breast milk. The iron-fortified milk ensures optimum intake of the mineral.
Right Levels of Cholesterol
Everyone is well aware that cholesterol is bad for our bodies. Considerable amounts of cholesterol are vital for our well-being, but a high concentration increases the likelihood of obesity, heart diseases, and many other disorders.
Intake of high amounts of cholesterol earlier in life can lead to early obesity and various heart diseases. It can also adversely affect the digestive system of young children. Low intake of cholesterol can also have unforeseen consequences of a weakened immune system and low energy levels.
Cow’s milk has a high content of cholesterol and on the other hand, plant-based milk has very low levels of cholesterol. Both of these levels are not appropriate for your baby. You will be in a dilemma of feeding a limited amount of cow’s milk while your little baby may still be feeling hungry.
If you opt for plant-derived milk, then the cholesterol intake will be below the required levels, even after feeding copious amounts of milk. Goat’s milk can be ideal as it contains cholesterol in the right quantity.
The cholesterol in goat’s milk is just right for the baby as it neither exceeds nor falls below the required levels. Hence, goat’s milk is considered to be a healthy choice and reduces the likelihood of developing any disorders linked with cholesterol.
Goat Milk Formula
Some new mothers cannot produce enough breast milk or are unable to breastfeed. The next best alternative can be goat milk-based formula. A study suggested that the pH levels and other components of goat’s milk are similar to mother’s milk.
Goat’s milk is considered to mimic breast milk as it also contains prebiotics like the human counterpart. Prebiotics immensely help in protecting the body by boosting immunity. It also contributes to the improvement of gut health.
One thing you have to remember, that the nutritional profile of the goat milk formula varies among different brands. Hence, it is wise to research and review your choice of goat milk-based formula with your pediatrician.
It is best to go for fortified goat milk formula that has the necessary minerals and nutrients like vitamin D, iron, and calcium. Ensure that the milk powder is also enriched with folate (vitamin B9). Folate is not typically not found in goat’s milk. This nutrient is essential for a healthy spine and brain development.
Fortified formulas help your baby obtain her recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of all the essential nutrients. It is also the safest choice as it will not cause any adverse effects on the baby’s health.
When compared with other countries, goat’s milk is a less popular choice of baby formulas and animal-derived milk in America. This does not mean that it might not be the appropriate choice for your little one.
If your baby has health concerns indicating sensitiveness to cow’s milk and its products, goat milk can be the solution. Always consult with your pediatrician about the dietary needs of your baby and whether goat milk is right for your infant.
Avoid raw and pure goat milk at all costs. Goat milk-based formula is the safest choice for your baby. There are studies that show goat milk has some additional benefits that are not found in other milk and can be a great choice for your little one. After going through this article, don’t forget to add goat milk formula to the shopping list of baby essential items.