Leading clinical nutrition therapist and specialist in infant nutrition Yvonne Bishop-Weston tells us what’s so great about goats’ milk.
When it comes to baby milk, mothers can be left feeling frustrated. From the age of one, there are now so many different milks available it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Milk is recommended as part of our children’s daily diets due to the calcium, vitamin D and fat content, but increasingly parents are looking for alternative options rather than automatically selecting cow’s milk. Goat’s milk has long been considered as easier to digest, and anecdotal evidence may show reduced occurrence of symptoms such as atopic eczema compared to cow’s milk consumption.
Improved digestibility and potentially fewer digestive symptoms such as constipation are thought to be due to differences in the fat and protein structure of goat’s milk compared to cows. Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules which are easier to break down and also has shorter chain fats, which are more likely to be used as an energy source rather than stored as fat. The protein ratios also support digestibility as they break down more easily and produce a softer curd.
We know that breast is best when it comes to the ideal milk for babies but when this is no longer possible goat’s milk formula may suit some babies better than traditional formula. The European Food Safety Authority has now approved goat’s milk follow-on formula, meaning it can be recommended in the UK. Some such as Kabrita have also been adjusted to further support the natural digestibility of goat’s milk, and have all the required added vitamins and minerals required of formula.
Plant milks such as soya, oat and nut are also options over the age of one, but check to ensure they have the added nutrients, especially calcium. Rice is not recommended for under-fives due to the potential arsenic content.