Is Goat Milk Formula Healthier than Cow’s Milk Formula?This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
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’s milk formula & 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.
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!