I would like to start off this article by saying that this is not medical advice. I, in no way, resemble anything close to a doctor, nor do I know everything there is to know about your baby.
I can only speak from my own experience. Your baby’s needs may differ and you should always consult your doctor before switching formula types or brands.
However, if your baby is struggling with the food you’re giving, goat’s milk infant formula may be an option.
Bottom Line Up Front Summary: These are the best goat milk formula options we’ve tried…
- Holle Goat Formula: Certified EU organic, simple ingredients, gentle on the stomach. Order via Huggable here (use code TBS5OFF to save 5% off your order).
- Nanny Care Goat’s Milk Formula: Crafted in New Zealand with all natural ingredients, from birth to 3 years. Order via OrganicBabyShop here (use code BABYSWAG5 to take 5% off your entire order).
- Kabrita Goat Formula: Made in holland with non-GMO ingredients (recently made available in the US via the Kabrita site here).
- 1 About Goat’s Milk Infant Formula
- 2 Other Infant Formula Alternatives
- 3 Dangers of Goat Milk Infant Formula
- 4 Which Babies Will Benefit
- 5 The Best Goat Milk Formula Options
- 6 Making Your Own Goat Milk Formula
- 7 FAQ’s
- 8 The Verdict
About Goat’s Milk Infant Formula
Some babies struggle to breastfeed and some moms even have trouble producing the food (breastmilk) that their baby needs. Whether your baby is allergic to or can’t digest something in your diet, he struggles with lactose intolerance, or you’re stressed out about breastfeeding (and breastmilk) in general, goat’s milk infant formula could be the answer to your prayers.
Goat’s infant milk formula can be helpful in several situations, so it’s important that you know what those situations are and what type of baby may benefit from a switch.
Goat’s milk is a bit different than cow’s milk. While most of the proteins in each type of milk are similar, there are some proteins contained in cow’s milk that you won’t find in goat’s milk. If your baby has been diagnosed with an allergy or a sensitivity to cow’s milk protein (present in cow milk formula), there’s a chance they could still react to a goat’s milk protein, but not always.
In some cases, the protein is not present in goat’s milk, or if it is, it appears in smaller amounts, giving your baby some relief from the digestion of the irritant.
Goat’s milk tends to be easier to digest because it has smaller fat molecules. This generally pertains to the milk in its, well, milk form rather than in formula, but it’s something to consider because the breakdown into formula is different between goat’s milk formula and cow’s milk formula.
Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized. This has a lot to do with the fat molecules we talked about earlier. Cow’s milk will naturally separate if left to sit on a shelf, so man has intervened with a homogenization process that makes cow’s milk uniform in consistency.
Goat’s milk is already smooth and uniform in consistency, so there’s no man-made processing to make that happen.
Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk. If your baby has a sensitivity to lactose, goat’s milk may be a bit easier for your baby to digest without feeling uncomfortable.
All of these things together make up an easier digestion experience for your baby, and here’s why. 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. A baby’s digestive system can digest the protein in goat’s milk more quickly, too.
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.
While these factors certainly would seem to make it easier, it will always depend on the baby and the particular digestive issues your baby struggles with. However, giving goat milk infant formula a try could result in better digestion and absorption, as well as less gas, constipation, and cramping.
Other Infant Formula Alternatives
There are plenty of infant formulas on the market, which can make it difficult when trying to decide which is right for your baby. From cow milk and goat’s milk to soy (soy is increasingly seen as problematic) and hydrolyzed protein formula, there’s a lot to take in.
There’s no “right” type of infant formula, so erase that thought from your head right away and start from a place of what’s right for your infant. Go back to the drawing board and consider everything before making a decision. Always ensure your decision is based on your baby, not your preconceived notions of any one type of formula. And remember to talk to your doctor as you think about switching to get some medical advice on the matter.
Formula for Sensitive Tummies
If your baby has a sensitive stomach, it can sometimes look like an allergy because of irritability, vomiting, fussiness, or clear discomfort. If you suspect it may be a sensitive stomach rather than an allergy, you can try formulas for sensitive tummies.
These formulas contain fewer ingredients that can cause discomfort or trouble digesting. Most brands offer alternatives for sensitive tummies that are formulated especially for general digestive issues and other eating troubles.
Because a baby’s digestive tract isn’t fully developed yet, a lot of different things can cause pain and discomfort, so the idea behind these types of formulas is that they have fewer substances in them that can cause this problem.
It’s not very common that babies are lactose intolerant, but it does happen. If your baby has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, the good news is that infants generally grow out of it eventually.
In the meantime, you can try soy formula. Often, babies will transition to cow’s milk just fine after one year, even if you’ve been using soy formula. Once a child’s digestive system is fully developed, you can try switching back, and if it doesn’t work, try again in a few months.
Almost half of the babies who are allergic to milk are also allergic to soy. If that’s the case, elemental formulas are designed to help infants who have a significant list of food allergies. They’re much more expensive and are generally the last resort for a very small percentage of infants.
You should always check the added ingredients in any formula you try. Whether you’re looking at a goat milk infant formula option to avoid a specific allergy, or you simply want to do some research and be more health conscious for your baby, know what is in the formula you choose.
While some formulas are doing what they think is right by infants and adding vitamins and minerals, others may have hormones and other ingredients that are unhealthy or could be causing problems.
Sometimes it’s not the ingredient itself causing the issue, but a combination of balance of ingredients. Much like goat milk formula has less of certain proteins than cow’s milk formula does, some formulas have less of certain ingredients than others.
That includes pursuing a store brand over a brand name. The ingredients are identical, but the fillers may be different. Here’s another tip. Most store-brand formulas are manufactured at the name brand plant and then packaged with a store brand label. They really are identical, so do your research.
Dangers of Goat Milk Infant Formula
There is some conflicting information out there about whether or not goat milk formula is healthy or not. Many doctors argue that it’s not necessarily unhealthy, but that there are other organic formulas out there that you should choose over goat’s milk formula.
In fact, if it’s a cow’s milk allergy you’re dealing with, some doctors recommend trying a formula that is specially formulated to tackle that allergy, like soy or elemental formulas. They recommend these over goat milk.
Other sources say that goat milk makes a poor substitute for infant formula. It has an improper balance of nutrients that may make it safe for older children and adults, but not for infants four months old or younger. However, in some places, this argument stems from the idea that any kind of animal milk is a poor substitute for human milk and should never be introduced in any form before one year. That includes formula.
These are all things that warrant speaking to a pediatrician for advice. Not all doctors agree, and you certainly can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Which Babies Will Benefit
First and foremost, if your baby has a cow’s milk allergy, goat’s milk formula most likely will not help you. While the protein ratios are different, most of the same proteins are present and you should try another solution first.
If you’re finding that your baby has some general discomfort associated with digestion rather than a true allergy, you may want to give goat milk infant formula a try to see if it’s easier to digest and makes your baby feel better immediately following a meal.
The Best Goat Milk Formula Options
Much like any other formula you buy, there are plenty of brands and options from which to choose. I can’t just tell you one is the best, because they all suit their own purpose and will have a different effect on each baby.
Here’s the bad news though. There are no infant goat milk formulas on the US market. That should tell you a couple of things. One is that the FDA hasn’t approved any because they don’t think it’s needed. There are other options you should choose before resorting to goat milk formula.
Two is that the FDA hasn’t approved one because they don’t think it’s healthy. Again, talk to your pediatrician. You may have reasons that are very personal to you, and if you feel strongly enough about it and your pediatrician feels comfortable with it, you can get the go-ahead anyway.
So if there aren’t any available, what are the options? You can use a goat milk toddler formula or you can purchase European goat milk infant formula and have it shipped to you. There are several options, but I would recommend Kabrita, Nanny Care, or Holle Goat Milk Formula. HiPP is another common brand among Americans gone European, so you can look into that, too.
Toddler formulas are very different than infant formulas, so talk with your doctor. Have I told you already that you need to talk to your doctor? Please talk to your doctor. It’s important that you understand the implications of using a toddler formula on an infant younger than one year.
If you choose to go the European route, you must (must, must, MUST) get it from a reputable source. You need to ensure the formula has been stored and shipped appropriately. OrganicBabyShop, MyOrganicCompany and Huggable are great options. There are plenty of regulatory differences between formula sold in the US and formula sold in Europe, so you can read up on those if you like.
When it comes down to deciding, look at the ingredients. Each brand has different characteristics. A quick summary of each brand may help you decide at a glance which might be best for you.
These are the best goat-based baby formulas:
This is an organic formula from the EU with incredibly high standards for animal care. That should make you feel good. It has reduced lactose and uses 50% maltodextrin as an added sugar. This could be a good choice if you think your baby might struggle with 100% lactose.
It also includes goat milk cream, which adds to the fat blend. This type of cream has healthy fatty acid and natural cholesterol, much like breast milk. Check its price here!
Nanny Care as a company has invested a lot of time and money in research that paved the way for establishing goat milk formula safety in the EU. They are dedicated to ensuring that babies get the best nutrition possible.
They use 100% lactose, just like Kabrita, and they’re also not organic. However, they advertise that they love to take care of their goats and make them happy. That really melts my heart.
They also use goat milk cream, and because their goats are very well fed, the cream should have the health benefits it needs. Nanny Care avoids palm oil of any kind, so it could also be excellent for a constipated baby. Check out its price here!
This brand isn’t organic, but it meets the non-GMO EU standards. You can also find more information on the site about how they treat their goats, which is nice. The really nice thing about Kabrita is that they use 100% lactose rather than a blend of lactose and artificial sugars.
They add extra whey (from goats) so the ratio of whey to the casein protein is closer to breast milk (casein mimicks breastmilk qualities). They also use a type of palm oil that doesn’t form calcium soaps in the intestines, which helps give your baby easier digestion and softer stools.
If your baby is suffering from constipation, this particular formula blend may help you a lot. Kabrita is also the only one of our three formulas on the list that has DHA, which is a vitamin added to most US formulas (and to your prenatal vitamins). Check its price here!
Making Your Own Goat Milk Formula
Because it’s hard to find goat’s milk infant formula in the US, you could potentially make your own. However, it’s not always safe and it won’t contain all of the added vitamins and nutrients that these do.
If you do decide to make your own, you can venture down that path with your doctor to find the right ingredients in the right ratios. Making your own involves buying ingredients like goat milk powder, goat milk lactose, goat milk ghee, high oleic sunflower oil, pressed grapeseed oil, blackstrap molasses, DHA, vitamins and minerals, goat milk colostrum, and an infant probiotic strain (or prebiotic: prebiotic oligosaccharides). As you can tell, it’s not easy, but it’s possible.
There are always questions that moms are dying to know the answer to. Here are a few of them.
We’ve already talked a little bit about the nutritional benefits of goat’s milk infant formula. It tends to be easier to digest than cow’s milk infant formula because of the smaller fat molecules, the way the curds form in the stomach, lactose, and the natural homogenization. You shouldn’t choose goat milk infant formula just because your child has an allergy to cow’s milk (cow’s milk protein allergy) or lactose.
It’s likely that goat milk formula won’t fix the problem, but in some rare cases, it can. You can switch to goat milk infant formula if your child seems to have discomfort associated with digestion or you are keen on the organic health benefits. Always talk to your doctor before switching.
By today’s standards and with all of the healthy options on the market, no. You don’t need to be overly concerned with whether your baby’s formula is organic, no matter what type of formula you choose. If this is a personal choice for you and your family, then by all means, search for organic options.
However, if you’re wondering whether they are significantly nutritionally better, they really aren’t. Keep in mind that there are other nutritional concerns that are much more important than whether or not your baby’s formula is organic.
In fact, just because the label says it’s organic doesn’t mean every ingredient is healthy. Many organic formulas still use corn syrup.
Absolutely. There is nothing wrong with the store brand formula. The only thing that matters is a list of ingredients that you feel comfortable feeding your baby. There’s no reason to fret over a cheaper store brand because many of them are identical to the name brand option and even manufactured in the same facilities.
No! Please don’t fall into this trap. Yes, we all want what’s best for our babies, and no, commercial formulas are not perfect. But there are many reasons why you should try commercial formulas first.
There are no homemade recipes that have been certified and there are literally thousands (if not more) of homemade formula recipes out there, none of which you can guarantee will meet your baby’s needs. In addition, if you do have the right recipe, none of the supplements are regulated.
So when you try to add the right vitamins to your baby’s homemade formula, you can’t guarantee what’s in them or that they’re safe for babies. Homemade formulas also haven’t undergone the same safety testing as commercial formulas, so it’s a bit of an experiment.
If you feel safe and comfortable feeding your baby a homemade formula after getting the go-ahead from your doctor, that is a decision you need to make only after being educated on all the facts.
There you have it. Everything I know (and some things I had to research) about goat’s milk infant formula. No formula is perfect, but there’s still a great solution out there for you. You need to do your own research and find what’s best for you and your baby.
There are plenty of reasons to consult your doctor about a goat’s milk infant formula option, but you should also know that there are other great options available in the US that are formulated for infants and don’t require all the legwork of overseas ordering.
If you’re on this journey right now, you’re not the only one. You may feel like you’re on an island, but plenty of other mothers have asked these questions in search of something that works for their baby.
As long as you’ve talked to your doctor and done all your research, you can feel comfortable making any decision you feel is right for your family. Be patient, try new things, and remember that you’re a great mom! Happy eating!
We know how important it is to know more about your baby’s formula (whether cow’s milk or goat’s milk), so here we suggest reading our detailed reviews on the above-mentioned formulas that will help you make the decision easier.
- Kabrita vs Nanny Care Formula – Which is Best?
- Holle vs Kabrita Baby Formula: Which One Will You Love?
- Nanny Care vs Holle Compared
- Goat’s Milk vs Cow’s Milk Formula Compared