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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!

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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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