Can My Baby Drink Goat's Milk?
If your infant has a dairy allergy, he might be able to drink goat's milk instead—as long as she’s over 1 year old.
If your baby is allergic to cow's milk, you might wonder about introducing goat’s milk into her diet. Indeed, goat's milk can be a good option for children over 1 year old with allergies to cow's milk and soy, since it more closely resembles human breast milk and can be easier to digest. Here’s what you need to know about feeding goat’s milk to your baby.
Cow Milk Allergies in Babies
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recommend that babies drink breast milk during the first six months of life, says Molly Petersen, certified lactation counselor (CLC) at Lansinoh. Formula is a safe alternative for women who can't breastfeed, or who simply don't want to nurse. You can introduce solids around six months in conjunction with breastfeeding or formula-feeding, then give Baby cow’s milk around her first birthday. The dairy product provides nutrients needed for growth and brain development.
One caveat is that some babies have negative reactions to cow's milk. The protein molecules in dairy might cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, sore bottom, abdominal pain, and colic-like irritability. If this is the case, you might have another option for babies over 1 year old: goat's milk. (Before their first birthday, babies with milk allergies usually need a hypoallergenic formula, like Enfamil Nutramigen or Similac Alimentum. Talk to your doctor for more information.)
Can My Baby Drink Goat Milk?
Goat's milk isn’t recommended for infants under 1 year old, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), since it doesn’t have adequate nutrition for growth and development. It lacks folate, vitamins C and D, vitamin B6, iron, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. The USDA adds that goat’s milk might cause kidneys stress for infants, and it can lead to metabolic acidosis (too much acid in the body) during the first months of life.
However, once your baby turns one, goat milk might be a safe alternative to cow's milk, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician before making the switch. Since goat milk has less folic acid and vitamin B12 than regular milk, your doctor might prescribe a liquid multivitamin supplement. He’ll also track your child more closely for signs of anemia, which can happen if children become deficient in these nutrients.