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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Is Goat Milk Formula Healthier than Cow’s Milk Formula?

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goat milk formula healthier than cows milk

Finding the best organic baby formula has been a hot topic for many of you – and understandably so! If you’re using formula for any number of totally legitimate reasons (breastfeeding is too mentally & physically exhausting / painful, your baby is allergic to a protein in your breastmilk, you adopted or had a surrogate, or you need to supplement just because!) – you want to make sure what you’re feeding your babies and toddlers is the best.And, it’s so hard to sort through the millions of types of baby formula on the market!

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to the best organic baby formula, I’ve outlined them here. But this post is dedicated to the differences between cow & goat milk formula, and the pros & cons of each! Also, here is my best goat milk formula guide, which ranks all of the options in a handy chart.

goat milk formula healthier than cows milk

So what’s the bottom line on goat milk formula? Is it healthier than cow’s milk? The answer is: It depends. Goat milk can be better, but a variety of factors will determine whether it’s better for your baby.

#1: Nutritionally, goat milk & cow milk are similar. Goat milk is higher in some vitamins and minerals, cow’s milk has more folic acid and B12 than goat milk. This doesn’t matter much for formula though, because all formulas are fortified so they include the right balance of vitamins & minerals to mimic breast milk. Some studies suggest that the nutrients in goat’s milk are easier to absorb than cow’s milk, which might give goat’s milk a slight benefit over cow’s milk formulas.

#2: Organic standards. This is very important – but neither goat or cow milk wins here – it all depends on the farm and the producer (e.g. goat milk isn’t going to be organic “more often” than cow’s milk or anything like that).

#3: Tolerability. Goat milk is often said to be a ‘hypoallergenic’ alternative to cow’s milk because many families report that it’s less likely to be troublesome for their babies who are sensitive to cow’s milk proteins. Additionally:

  • Goat milk doesn’t contain the type of casein protein, alpha-S1, that can be problematic in cow milk – which gives it a leg up here.
  • Goat milk protein generally forms a smaller, softer, and looser curd in the gut than cow milk (which makes it
    gentler). And, goat milk protein curds are broken down (degraded) faster than those from cow milk protein.
  • This makes goat milk naturally easier to digest and, for some children, better tolerated!
  • Note: If your baby has a diagnosed dairy allergy (confirmed cow milk protein allergy – CMPA), goat milk may trigger an allergic reaction in the same way that cow’s milk would!

#4: Protein composition. Many of you have asked me whether goat milk formula is dangerous for babies because goat milk naturally contains a higher amount of protein than breast milk. Also, like cow milk, goat milk naturally contains much less
whey protein than breast milk. To account for this, goat milk baby formulas adapt their protein to be safe
and suitable for little ones and, they also will add whey to balance this out. And my top goat milk formula – Kabrita USA – mimics the whey-casein ratio of breastmilk!

Given all of these factors, goat milk formula can be a good option for babies who are having trouble digesting cow’s milk formula and don’t have a diagnosed CMPA. But before choosing any formula, it’s important you talk to your pediatrician first.

There is obviously no “perfect” formula out there, but I look at the following factors when choosing the best formula: 1) Organic standards, Non-GMO, no added sugars, types of oils/fats added, hexane-extracted DHA/ARA, and any problematic synthetic preservatives or nutrients. Against this criteria, Kabrita USA gets really close to having an ideal composition for their formula, and you can see details on the rest of the goat milk formula options here!

26 responses to “Is Goat Milk Formula Healthier than Cow’s Milk Formula?”

  1. I need help please ASAP!! I am a new mom and am scared about everything. My daughter is on Hipp stage 1 and she was doing fine now her stool is like clay form and for the last couple days she had pimples on her face I thought it was heat rash but they are still on there.

    • Hi Christine!! First of all, congratulations on the birth of your little one! I know becoming a new mom is overwhelming and scary at times but you’re doing great! As for your daughter — the pimples on her face could be baby acne and totally unrelated to the formula. But for her stool — how long was she on HiPP Stage 1 before her stool changed? And how did you transition her to HiPP? There could be a bunch of reasons for the stool changes + pimples — but without more information it’s hard for me to tell you what might be going on. What I’d suggest is taking her to your pediatrician and asking them the following questions:
      1) Are the pimples on her face baby acne and will resolve on their own, or are they indicative of an allergy or something else?
      2) Ask their advice about her stool changes, and get some information on milk protein allergies to see if that might be the cause
      Hope that helps! Let me know if there is anything else I can answer for you!

  2. My 5 month old is only breastfed but I’m trying to transition her into a formula before my freezer stash runs out, I started her on Similac Advance and she had a severe allergic reaction and was admitted in the ER, I followed up with her pediatrician and she suggested maybe she was allergic to the cows milk protein cause my 2 year had the same reaction but with enfamil and with my 2 year old I was able to keep on breastfeeding but my milk supply is really low now and she suggested I try “goat milk meyenberg whole powdered” cause she doesn’t know what else to suggest cause most formulas she said have cows milk proteins. What do you suggest I do? I don’t even know what to do anymore..

    • Hi Abigail! I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s reaction – that must have been so stressful! I’m actually surprised your pediatrician suggested “goat milk meyenberg whole powdered” — because that’s literally just powdered whole goat milk – it’s not goat milk formula or anything. And just like cow’s milk, whole goat milk should be avoided before the age of 1. I’d actually recommend trying HiPP Comfort which is a hydrolyzed formula and made for babies with milk protein allergies. If that doesn’t work you might have to try an amino acid based formula like Neocate. But I’d definitely try HiPP Comfort first! You can see more details about healthy hypoallergenic formula options here. Hope that helps!

      • Sorry I meant to put the goat milk formula. I don’t if that would have made a difference lol but she recommended trying the “whole powdered goats milk” formula meyenbergs brand. I’m not sure if that’s different..

      • I think your pediatrician is confused — Meyenbergs only makes whole powdered goat’s milk — they don’t make formula haha! 🙂 I’d go back and show your pediatrician their product label so that they can see that it’s not actually formula 🙂

  3. Hello,
    My daughter is 4 months old and we have been supplementing with Holle Goat. She’s been doing great on it but at her 4 month we’ll check our pediatrician told us that goat milk could cause anemia and kidney failure. It really scared us. Should I switch to cow formula?

    • Hi Krista! I would clarify whether your pediatrician meant straight goat’s milk, or goat’s milk formula. Because there is a big difference between the two! Regular goat’s milk is just like regular cow’s milk in that it’s not recommended to give to babies before the age of 1 year (for the reasons your pediatrician mentioned). But goat’s milk formula is made to be nutritionally complete and safe for infants. So I would go back to them and clarify that they didn’t mean goat’s milk formula — and if they did then I’d ask what they’re basing that assessment on to get more info!

  4. My son is on nanny care but I am thinking of switching over to hipp Dutch. When I am feeding him he is so hungry, his belly constants grumbles, even though I am feeding every 3 hrs about 6 oz. could the nanny care not be filling enough due to the protein ratio?

    • Hi Skylar! It’s possible your son may just need to eat more, because Nanny Care has the same calories and protein per 100ml as HiPP Dutch does! Both have 66 calories and 1.3g protein per 100ml! Although I like HiPP Dutch better than Nanny Care for a number of reasons (Nanny Care isn’t organic, they don’t have a whey-casein ratio as close to breastmilk as HiPP, they don’t have DHA or prebiotics added, and they have two synthetic ingredients added!)

  5. Hello, I love reading your articles & they have been very helpful! I just wanted to know what you thought about switching from Holle goat to Kabrita? I breastfeed her about 2-3 oz & have to supplement Another 1-2 at times. she does well on holle, she spits up sometimes, has a bit of Colic & sometimes her poo is pasty!

    • Hi! I would recommend switching! Babies tend to have more digestive issues on Holle Goat than Kabrita – I have heard of the constipation/pasty poop issues before with Holle Goat. Kabrita has a more gentle whey/casein ratio so you shouldn’t have that issue with Kabrita!

      • Hi again! So we did switch to kabrita & baby seems to be doing well! Only few concerns, she won’t eat more than 2oz of it (she sometimes has 2oz breast then 2oz formula, but even when just formula she only has 2)before she wants to push the bottle out, she spits up every other feed, not too much, is a bit gassy. She has been gaining weight & the dr says she looks healthy so we’re not too sure what to do. We thought about switching to a HIPP formula not sure which, or don’t know if to stay on kabrita

      • Hi Denay! Glad to hear Kabrita is going well! Is your doctor concerned about your baby spitting up after 2oz of formula? Spitting up is pretty normal as long as your baby isn’t throwing up large quantities of formula all the time, or is uncomfortable during eating/not gaining weight/etc. Gassiness is also common/normal in babies from time to time – as long as again, there aren’t signs of distress or an allergy. And 4oz total is pretty normal for a feed. So it could just be that she’s full! If she’s only drinking formula and doesn’t want more than 2oz at a time, that would be a bit surprising. What you could try to do is, since she doesn’t actually have a diagnosed allergy, is try 1 can of HiPP Dutch and alternate between that, Kabrita, and breastmilk if you have some to see how she does on each. I’d also recommend ordering HiPP Dutch from Huggable because if it doesn’t work, you can switch it for HiPP HA at that point and Huggable will switch it for you for free! Hope that helps!

  6. Hello! I recently switched my 3 month old from cows milk formula to goat (Holle) and he has been doing better (less painful gas, etc.) but i am concerned about different articles talking about the high protein and possible kidney damage. I see that some suggest diluting the formula. Should I be concerned or trust that Holle formula has balanced it out appropriately? Thank you!!

    • Hi Riley! I’m glad your son is doing better on Holle Goat! That’s great! Regarding the high protein content — did you find an article talking about goat milk formula having too much protein? Or goat milk itself having too much protein for babies? Because Holle Goat has about the same amount of protein per serving as a cow’s milk formula. Holle Goat has 1.5g protein per 100ml, and HiPP UK Stage 1 has 1.25g protein per 100ml. I would double check with your pediatrician to make sure that amount of protein is fine for your little one, and as long as they are comfortable I’d just keep using Holle Goat as is (not diluted!). Hope that helps!

    • Hi Amanda! I know lots of moms who have used Kabrita USA for their infants, because it is nutritionally complete for infants. Here’s what Kabrita says about the “toddler” designation: “In the US, the FDA has a number of important requirements that must be completed before a company may market their formula as an infant product. Although our toddler formula meets the FDA nutrient requirements for infant formula, we do not recommend it as the only source of nutrition for either infants or toddlers.” — so given that, I think if your pediatrician is ok with it, it should be fine to give your infant Kabrita!

  7. Would you recommend Kabrita Toddler Formula for a 6 month old (4 months adjusted)? Or should I look at one of the other options? I will also ask my pediatrician but would love to know your view.

    • Hi Jessica! Kabrita USA is nutritionally complete for infants, so if it were my baby I’d feel comfortable using Kabrita for them. For a goat milk formula, it is the cleanest option I have found. But yes, make sure your pediatrician is on board before you use it for your baby!

  8. I’m about to have my 4th baby-my other 3 all had issues with formula. The first 2 had to drink Similac Alimentum, and my 3rd (the easiest so far) drank the Similac for gas and fussiness. How ever, she struggled with constipation and passing gas. I would really like to skip all the issues and start out on a goats milk formula from the get-go. How do you feel about that? I don’t want to create an intolerance where there may not be one, but I also don’t want to go through the horrors I did with my other 3 children. In the past I’ve received WIC as well, and I know we’ll be paying out of pocket if we go the goat formula route-but I just want a happy, healthy baby.

    • Hi Heather! Congrats on your 4th little one (coming soon! 🙂 ). To your question, you can certainly start with a goat milk formula – or you can do goat milk some of the time and cow’s milk some of the time just to give your baby experience with both (and then you can compare their reactions between the formulas). Since all babies are different, there’s no real way to know what your newest will need — they may be totally fine with a cow’s milk formula. That said, even babies who don’t have cow’s milk intolerances can have issues on Similac and some of the standard, non-organic, US based formulas because of all of the synthetic ingredients included in those formulas. But I know lots of moms who start out with goat milk formula and just stick with that the whole time. So if your pediatrician is ok with that and you can afford it then there’s no reason not to do that! And if you need some of the WIC support, then you could do the half and half (half of the bottles your baby gets can be standard WIC-supported formula, and half can be goat milk to save money). Also, once you start solids you can give your baby cow’s milk products (via cheese, yogurt, etc.) – so your baby can still get exposed to cow’s milk early on. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. My baby had eczema from cow milk and started her on hypoallergic formula since sge was 2 months and now she is 6 months the issue she hates it she did not increase the amount and she is always hungry due to hydrolyzed protein do you think goat milk it will help

    • Hi Lyze! So sorry to hear your daughter has been struggling with eczema and doesn’t like the hypoallergenic formula options! I think it doesn’t hurt to try goat milk formula as long as your pediatrician is comfortable with it. You can also try some of these natural remedies for eczema that might help your daughter regardless of which formula you go with!

  10. Hello,

    Is it true that it is better to get formula from overseas (UK/Germany/etc.) due to their higher agricultural/GMO standards? For example, we are using the Holle brand Goat milk formula from Germany. It is more expensive and takes longer to arrive.. but if it’s a better option then we’re of course happy to do it. Thoughts/comments about this? Thanks for your input!

    • Hi Jon! It depends on the formula honestly! For all cow’s milk formulas, the UK/EU versions are far superior to the US versions. You can see more info on that here. But for goat milk formula, Kabrita USA is actually superior to Holle — and you can see more details on why that’s the case here. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

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