The importance of breastfeeding as a determinant factor of infant and maternal health is an unquestionable fact; however, sometimes and for various factors, it is necessary to resort to artificial feeding.
Traditionally, infant formulas have been developed based on cow’s milk proteins, but recently different infant formulae based on goat’s milk have appeared in Europe and the United States. If you have questioned the possibility of feeding your baby with this type of formula, such as kabrita milk, here are some reasons that may help you decide.
The particularities provided by the goat protein-based formula, which mark some differences concerning traditional cow protein-based formulas, lie in the elaboration process and the peculiar characteristics of goat milk, resulting in an alternative with a more natural profile.
Cow’s milk-based formulas use a complex manufacturing process, breaking down the milk used. The milk fat is separated and replaced mainly through vegetable oils as a source of lipids.
In the so-called “whey extraction process,” all proteins are also wholly separated and then recomposed to achieve a profile similar to that of breast milk, with 40 % casein and 60 % whey. Lactose, vitamins, minerals, and other components are then added.
On the other hand, goat’s milk has a more straightforward and more natural manufacturing process, using 100% of the proteins without manipulation and 55% of the proteins in the milk.
Proteins without manipulation and 55% of its fat. To achieve the recommended concentrations of essential fatty acids, vegetable oils rich in canola oil, sunflower oil, and sunflower oil rich in oleic acid have been added, making 45% of the fats. In addition, minerals, vitamins, and lactose are added to adapt and comply with the levels of official recommendations.
Goat milk contains the same amount of calcium, more copper, less iron, and less selenium than cow milk. In addition, goat’s milk allows the digestive enzymes in the baby’s body to break it down better, which helps the little one digest it optimally and without problems. Goat’s milk is rich in natural fatty acids, facilitating better absorption and making the stool less complicated and therefore easier to pass.
The overall lipid content of goat’s milk is higher than cow’s milk, although goat’s milk contains more omega-6 fatty acids (heart-healthy). In addition, the amount of cholesterol is 30-40% lower than in cow’s milk.
The overall protein content is similar to that of cow’s milk, although, qualitatively speaking, it contains less alpha 1 casein and no beta 1 casein. In addition, goat’s milk contains more vitamin A and slightly more vitamin B2 and D. On the other hand, the B12 and folic acid content are significantly lower than cow’s milk. Even so, the consumption of goat’s milk is not recommended for children allergic to cow’s milk proteins, as up to 20% of them may have cross-reactions.
Goat’s milk has less lactose than cow’s milk. Therefore, it may be more suitable than cow’s milk for patients with a partial intolerance but not real discrimination.
Given the characteristics of goat formula, its positioning as one of the leading dietary alternatives in the feeding of infants with gastroesophageal reflux and functional constipation with moderate symptoms has been assessed. In any case, before changing your baby’s diet, it is always advisable to consult your pediatrician first.