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Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for infants. Our recommendations are based on the products we have personally used or researched; they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s diet, especially in cases where your baby has dietary restrictions or allergies.
If you’re curious about whether goat milk might be the right choice for your family, we’ve got you covered with our in-depth guide to the best goat milk formulas. We’ll walk you through why you should consider goat milk formula, how it can be used as an alternative to cow’s milk, what ingredients to avoid in goat formula, and where you can buy them.
Historically, goat milk formulas have not widely been available in the US but this has not been the case in places like Europe, Australia and New Zealand where they have been quite popular for many years. After speaking with a handful of formula companies that produce goat milk formula, we can confirm that many of them are already working with the FDA to get approved for sale in the US.
Let’s dive in and give you all the info you’ll need to make a decision on whether goat milk formula could be the right option for your family.
Our criteria for our best goat milk formulas
- Prioritize formulas that most closely mimic the protein, carbohydrate and fat content found in breast milk
- Focus only on powdered formula since it’s the most economical and widely available
- Provide a global view of the formula industry since there are many European and Australian brands now available in the US
- Analyze every formula based on the cost per ounce to make it easy to compare
- Consider each formula brand’s reputation, history and customer experience
As you can see, only the first bullet point above is looking at the actual formula recipe. That’s because choosing a baby formula is not just about the ingredients, it’s about what suits your budget, lifestyle and preferences as a parent as well.
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What is goat milk formula?
Well, the most simple definition is that it’s milk from a goat rather than a cow. But there is more to it than that of course.
The first thing to understand is that goat milk formulas satisfy the dietary requirements and nutritional standard for babies exclusively on formula or those who are combo feeding. There was even a recent (Aug 2022) double blind study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition that concluded “goat milk formula provides adequate growth, has a good tolerability, and is safe to use in infants.” Overall, more research is needed in this area, especially in the US.
They include all the vital nutrients essential for your baby’s growth, including protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals like iron. And because they are basically all produced overseas, most of them are organic which we love to see.
Remember: Before transitioning to goat milk formula we always recommend speaking with your pediatrician. We speak with a lot of parents who wonder if they should be switching and it’s important
Why use goat milk when we have cow milk?
Cow’s milk allergy vs. cow’s milk intolerance
Note that a cow’s milk allergy is not the same as cow’s milk intolerance. Cow’s milk allergy affects up to 3 percent of infants in the developed world whereas milk intolerance impacts up to 5 percent of infants within the first 1 to 3 months of life.
A 2022 study by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine found that over 30% of formula sold in the United States is using hydrolyzed proteins or is hypoallergenic, while 59% of all formula was lactose reduced. This is despite the numbers above referring to the small % of babies that actually medically need these types of formulas.
This is really disheartening to see because this essentially means we’re replacing a lot of the good, natural ingredients in cow’s milk, with less healthy substitutes (like sucrose, corn syrups, etc.) and marketing them to vulnerable parents.
The study by the University of Rochester concluded that “US infants are exposed to unnecessarily high levels of non-lactose carbohydrates and hypoallergenic formula, and this may represent a significant nutritional health risk.”
So we’re excited to see more goat milk formula alternatives hit the market soon and are happy to point you to the best international companies that are already offering these high quality formulas.
How is goat milk formula different from cow milk formula?
Goat milk formula and cow’s milk formulas are very similar in nutritional content. They both contain the right balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that are important for your baby’s growth and development.
There are a few differences between the two types of formulas that may make goat milk based formula a better choice for your baby:
- Goat milk naturally contains less lactose than cow milk, which many believe make it easier to digest, especially for babies with a lactose intolerance.
- The protein in goat milk is predominantly made up of the A2 casein protein vs. A1 casein protein in cow’s milk. Some studies (albeit funded by goat milk formula companies) are showing promising results that A2 proteins are easier to digest.
- Goat milk has smaller fat globules (which are medium chain fatty acids), compared to cow’s milk which has more long chain fatty acids. The longer the chain, the harder it can be for your baby’s digestive system to break them down.
- Goat milk is often considered more ethical and environmentally friendly because goats require less land, water, and feed than cows to produce the same amount of milk.
When goat’s milk gets to the stomach, it forms softer, smaller curds than the proteins in cow’s milk. They’re much more like the curds that breast milk produces. As these curds move through the intestines, they move through much more easily, making it more comfortable for your baby to digest.
Protein digestion and absorption timing is much closer to that of breast milk than cow’s milk is, so you can see now how goat’s milk may be better for some babies than cow’s milk, even if the baby doesn’t have an allergy or an intolerance.
If you’d like to go even deeper, head over to our goat milk vs cow milk guide where we go even deeper into the similarities and differences.
Best goat milk formulas
All of our recommendations for the best goat milk formulas are produced overseas, which means you need to ensure you are buying the right stage formula. Stages are generally broken down like this: Stage 1 = 0-6 months, Stage 2 = 6-12 months and Stage 3 = 12+ months.
- Jovie Organic Goat
- HiPP Organic Goat
- Kendamil Organic Goat
- Aussie Bubs Goat (most affordable)
- Holle Organic Goat
One last thing to note: all of the formulas below contain added Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids DHA and ARA which is why you won’t see us mentioning that below.
Best overall goat milk formula
Nannycare is the OG in the goat milk space. They have been bringing goat milk formulas to the world for 30 years and even helped push new formula legislation in the UK and EU due to their goat milk clinical trials. That’s how much they believe in their products. When you read their website you can feel the passion coming through.
Their goats are raised in New Zealand, and let me tell you, there is no better place to be a human or a goat than New Zealand. We almost want to rank them number one strictly because of this.
According to their website their “whole goat milk in our formula is specially suited to baby and toddler milk. Unlike farms selling milk also for cheese, where a firm curd is needed, our milk comes only from our own specialist farms producing goat milk exclusively for our making formula and follow on milk. All to ensure the soft curds that fall apart easily.” They also claim they don’t need to add prebiotics because their “goat milk contains 10 times more oligosaccharides, natural prebiotic, with greater diversity.”
You might see other formula reviews for Nannycare that downgrade it because it’s not labeled EU Organic or because they don’t add some of the sexy extras that other formulas have, but we actually love seeing how simple their ingredients list is. That means they have managed to create a naturally nutrient rich formula without the need for starches, maltodextrin, palm oil, soybean oil, sugars or corn syrup solids.
This is an amazing formula from a passionate team that you can be proud to give to your little one.
2nd best goat milk formula
Jovie formulas are made from whole organic goat milk which was one of the most important things we looked for when choosing our top goat formula recommendations.
Their full fat goat’s milk naturally has all the fats needed for your baby, so there is no need to add things like palm oil, coconut oil, or maltodextrin. And since all of their ingredients are organic, that means no pesticides, herbicides, steroids, chemicals or GMO ingredients.
Jovie is made in the Netherlands and they are transparent about their entire production process, which starts with ensuring animal welfare at their organic farms. The milk is tested for any unwanted residues, such as antibiotics or hormones before it is collected.
Talk about giving your baby a great head start.
Javie, produced in the Netherlands, and they focus strictly on goat milk formulas. They are working hard to officially launch in the US but are currently available via online retailers like our friends at The Milky Box who can ship it straight to your door. Use code 'babyswag' to get 5% off.
3rd best goat milk formula
HIPP Organic Goat Dutch
HiPP Organic Goat is made in the Netherlands as well. They are one of the most trustworthy, oldest brands of European formulas and have been trusted by millions of families around the world.
Many of our team have used HiPP formulas and we’ve been recommending them for many years. We are especially fond of European baby formulas, as all organic products contain a minimum of 95% organic materials.
HiPP’s organic goat milk contains galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which are short-chain galactoses that help develop healthy gut flora. You really can’t go wrong with this formula, the only thing we’ll point out is that this formula does contain palm oil which some parents do like to avoid.
4th best goat milk formula
Kendamil is one of our favorite formula brands here at The Baby Swag. They do everything right. They offer some of the cleanest formulas on the market today. Their cow and goat milk formulas come from family farms inside the UNESCO World Heritage Lake District in the UK. Hard to imagine much cleaner than that.
Their goat milk formula is not technically organic, but is red tractor certified and contains no hormones, GMOs, antibiotics, pesticides. It’s about as close to organic as possible without the official certification.
On top of being an amazing formula from a great brand, one of the other reasons we have added it to this list, is that Kendamil has officially started selling their formulas in the US, including their goat formula as of August 2023.
5th best goat milk formula (most affordable)
Aussie Bubs Goat Milk
Aussie Bubs sources their goat milk from Australian goat dairy farms and are Clean Label Purity Project Certified. Their formulas contain no corn syrup, maltodextrin, growth hormones, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, pesticides, colors or preservatives, and are non-GMO.
Their formulas include DHA, ARA and prebiotics (GOS) to support gentle digestion and can be a good alternative for formula fed babies with sensitive tummies. Their DHA and ARA is derived from plants instead of fish, which makes this vegetarian friendly as well.
This is the most affordable goat milk formula we ranked and is also now available directly in the US versus through an online retailer. Check their direct website for special deals before going to Amazon or Target.
6th best goat milk formula
Holle Organic Goat
Holle is one of Europe’s most trusted formula brands after nearly 90 years of producing world class organic formulas. They are proud to use the highest quality standards in raising their goats on biodynamic farms in Germany. The animals are free-range and fed with chemical- and pesticide-free grains.
Biodynamic farming focuses on the well-being of both the animals and the land which means their goat milk formulas contain no gluten, soy, GMOs, pesticides, or herbicides. It is also free from artificial flavors, coloring, and added sugar. This organic goat milk formula contains organic lactose as a sweetener — just like breast milk — creating a taste babies love.
The only reason Holle Organic Goat ranked #5 on our list is that they continue to use maltodextrin and it has no prebiotics or probiotics added. This is still an amazing formula worth considering though given the high quality organic ingredients that go into it.
What to look for in a goat milk formula
Just like cow’s milk formula, any goat milk formula marketed as infant food and produced in the United States will be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must meet the same nutritional and safety standards.
That means they must contain an appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats and the correct amounts of more than 30 vitamins and minerals to be considered adequate nutrition for a baby up to 12 months old.
Most goat milk formulas, especially for infants under 12 months are produced in Europe, Australia or New Zealand. The good news is that all of those countries have even stricter guidelines for infant formulas than we do so you know they are going to be good quality.
Other things we like to look out for:
- Whole goat’s milk rather than skimmed goat’s milk for added fats that are great for your baby
- Organic or at least non-GMO so you know the ingredients are sourced well
- A whey to casein protein ratio that closely resembles breast milk
- No highly processed ingredients like carrageenan, soy protein or synthetic DHA/ARA
- Lactose as the primary carbohydrate rather than syrup solids, sugars, maltodextrin
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (DHA/ARA) that help with brain development
- Prebiotics to help with gut health
It’s impossible to find a formula that ticks all of these boxes, but a few of our recommendations above come pretty close.
Goat milk is one of the most commonly consumed types of dairy in the world. In fact, nearly three quarters of the world’s population consumes goat milk, primarily because it’s easier and more sustainable to raise goats than cows in developing countries. But what we’ve learned over the last 30 years or so is that goat milk is an amazing source of calories, protein, and fats.
It is less popular in the US as an infant formula but we expect that to start changing soon. There are many companies running clinical trials at the moment, hoping to break into the US market which we love to see.
The formula industry needs to be constantly pushing to continue to find the absolute best for our babies and goat milk might be the end solution. There is much more testing and research that needs to go on but we would happily feed our families and of the goat milk formulas listed above.
Although many parents we’ve spoken with after reading our content on baby formula end up knowing more than their pediatrician, it’s still always best to chat with them to see if they have any thoughts before switching formulas.
Is goat milk formula suitable for babies with cow’s milk allergy?
Goat milk formula should not be given to infants with cow’s milk protein allergy unless under the direction of a suitably qualified healthcare professional. There is more research continuing to be done in this space because there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests some people with cow’s milk allergies can actually consume goat milk with no immune response. We’re excited to see what researchers continue to learn here.
Does goat milk formula have a different taste?
Many of our team have used goat milk formulas with our children and we can confirm they definitely have a different taste and smell. Not necessarily bad, just different than what we’re used to. Babies don’t seem to mind, especially if they don’t know the difference either.
The good thing about goat milk is that they are usually smoother and creamier, especially our preferred goat milks that use full cream milk vs skimmed milk.
Why are goat milk more expensive than cow milk formulas?
Put simply, goats are just smaller than cows and produce less milk. Globally they are also farmed on a smaller scale which means our manufacturing and production processes just make it more expensive to produce than cow’s milk.
Most of the top goat milk formulas use full cream milk as well which means the processing is less intensive, but most expensive. This more gentle processing helps protect and retain nutrients which gives you added benefits that you very rarely find in cow’s milk formulas.
What’s the benefit of full cream milk vs skimmed milk in formula?
The less milk is processed, the more the essential nutrients and elements can continue working together. This means less synthetic additives are needed to meet the required nutritional standard for infant formulas.
Many other formulas are made using skimmed milk which doesn’t have the necessary fats to meet the regulatory amount of fat required. Using full cream milk avoids adding more vegetable oils to bump up the fat content.
Using full cream milk also typically means there is naturally occuring Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) which has been confirmed as a really important component of the milk fat found naturally in breast milk.
- How to choose baby formula
- Best baby formulas
- Best gentle baby formulas
- Best hypoallergenic baby formulas
- Best amino acid-based formulas
- Best organic European baby formulas
- Best baby formula alternatives
- Where to buy baby formula & how to save
Things you should know
Any product prices are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.
We do not take any liability for the products or services we recommend. Please ensure you consult with your medical professional and look at your countries safety guidelines.
- Goat Milk Based Infant Formula in Newborns: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial on Growth and Safety | JPGN
- Review on Goat Milk Composition and its Nutritive Value | JNHS
- Study of Formula Purchases in United States Calls Labeling Practices into Question | URMC
- Goat milk versus cow milk: A comparison | MSU
- The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Goat Milk Components | Ankara University
- Comparison of milk oligosaccharides between goats with and without the genetic ability to synthesize αs1-casein | NIH
- Kendamil Launches First European Infant Goat Formula to Challenge “Medicalized” Formula Category | CISON
- Review on Medicinal and Nutritional Values of Goat Milk | Academic Journal of Nutrition