Is goat milk a good substitute for a 9-month-old who can
no longer breastfeed?
My wife is unable to continue nursing our 9-month-old daughter.
we would like to begin feeding her goat milk.
I and my siblings were raised on goat milk while very young. It
seemed to provide benefits. In any event, I have read that the proteins
and fats in goat milk are structurally different from cow milk.
So much so that they are much more easily tolerated than cow milk.
Is this so?
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that before one
year of age, infants who cannot receive sufficient human milk to
meet their needs be given infant formula to make up the difference.
After the first birthday, goat milk and cow milk may be introduced.
And, there are sound nutritional facts to back up this AAP recommendation,
says to Dr. Judy Hopkinson, our CNRC lactation physiologist.
It is true that compared to cow milk, the protein composition (specifically,
the whey/casein ratio) of goat milk more closely resembles that
of human milk. However, the overall nutrient composition of both
goat milk and cow milk make either a far-from-ideal breast milk
substitutes for human infants.
Both goat milk and cow milk contain "species-specific"
proteins, which are more likely to cause allergic reactions in young
babies than in older children.
Also, keep in mind that protein composition is not the only important
difference between human milk and the milks of other species. The
amount and concentration of vitamins and minerals also differ. For
example, while the calcium concentration of human milk is just 26
milligrams per 100 milliliters (just over 3 ounces), the same volume
of goat milk contains 136 milligrams, and cow milk contains 121
milligrams. Human milk also contains much less phosphorus, another
important bone-building mineral. Compare the 14 mg of phoshorus
per 100 ml present in human milk to the 113 mg/100 ml in cow milk
and 95 mg/100 ml in goat milk. These high mineral levels, which
are needed to build the fast-growing skeletons of calves and kids,
can tax the developing kidneys human infants.
It is because of these, and other, important nutritional differences
that infant formulas were developed.
The proteins in infant formulas (whether cow's milk-based or soy-based)
is processed to make them less likely to cause allergic reactions
in infants than the proteins in unaltered animal milks. In addition,
the vitamin and mineral composition of infant formula is adjusted
to resemble that of human milk far more closely than any animal
milk. Infant formula is often also fortified with iron, a nutrient
that breastfed babies can run low on after the first six months
of life, as well as vitamin D, a vitamin needed for proper calcium
absorption. Animal milks, on the other hand, are poor sources of
iron and only cow milk is required by law to be vitamin-D fortified.
However, after 1 year of age, babies are developed enough to better
tolerate the milk from other animals. They should also be eating
more table foods, which reduces their reliance on milk to meet their
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