What's The Difference Between Goat’s Milk Baby Formula and Cow’s Milk Baby Formula?


There are a lot of infant formulas on the market to choose from, however, pediatricians agree that infant formula from animal milk offers the best range of nutrition available.

As a parent, it is your job to choose which formula to feed your child, cow’s milk formula, or goat milk formula. If you are not sure what the differences are, or which one will be good for your child, our blog post can help. We will go over the differences between organic European baby formula from goat milk and cow milk to help you decide which may be the best fit for your family.

What Nutrients are in Goat Milk & Cow Milk?

When you look at the base nutrition of each, cow milk infant formula and goat milk infant formula are nearly identical. That being said, there are some key differences. Cow’s milk is naturally higher in vitamins B12 and folic acid.

Cow milk infant formula provides a higher than average amount of this essential protein which is why it is recommended for infants aged 12 and under.

Cow milk has a higher concentration of carotene in the form of provitamin A which is essential for bone and eye health. Goat milk also has a naturally high concentration of other minerals and vitamins. Goat milk offers a higher concentration of amino acids and free peptides, which is evidenced in the whiteness of the milk. Goat milk also has a high amount of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy development.

Despite the differences in pure milk, the playing field is leveled when they are converted into infant formulas. All milk products used to make infant formula are processed and fortified to meet the needs of growing infants. Iron and other minerals are added in addition to other key nutrients. This fortification helps infant formulas to come as close to breast milk as possible.

Which Milk is Easier to Digest?

European infant formula is specially processed to make it easier for little tummies to digest. That being said, goat milk infant formula, like that from Nanny Care will be easier for many infants to digest over cow milk infant formula. Babies that have an allergy to cow milk are often able to consume goat milk as a hypoallergenic alternative. Keep in mind that infants that are allergic to lactose or who have a genetic condition that prevents from consuming lactose will not be able to tolerate either form.

The main difference that makes one easier to digest than the other is the fat content in the milk itself. Infant formula made from goat milk has higher concentrations of linoleic and arachidonic, which are essential fatty acids. Goat milk offers 30-35% MCT while cow mil only offers 15-20% MCT. The shorter the acid chains, the easier it is for infants to digest. In addition, the curds created by goat milk infant formula are smaller and much looser than those made by cow milk infant formula. The end result is that goat milk is easier to digest.

While you may be wondering why anyone would choose cow milk infant formula over goat milk infant formula, it is important to keep in mind that most infants have no issues digesting cow milk infant formula. Cow milk offers a high concentration of conjugated proteins, called casein, which is essential for proper development. Cow milk infant formula provides a higher than average amount of this essential protein which is why it is recommended for infants aged 12 and under.

What About The Lactose In Goat and Cow Milk Infant Formula?

Cow’s milk infant formula and goat milk infant formula both contain lactose. This is the main form of sugar found in milk products. Even human milk contains lactose, the only “milk” that is lactose-free is soy milk. European infant formula brands such as Nanny Care, Kabrita, and Holle seek to mimic breast by utilizing organic lactose in the form of goat or cow milk.

Goat milk offers a higher concentration of amino acids and free peptides

All goat milk infant formula and cow milk infant formula make use of lactose as their energy-building carbohydrate in infant formulas. Some brands will also use maltodextrin in addition to lactose. This allows for a thicker, more satisfying bottle of milk that will help your child grow and keep them satiated.

Which Infant Formula is Healthier – Goat Milk or Cow Milk?

The question is not which type of infant formula is healthier, but rather which one is best for your child. Goat milk is a great option for families who have a child who is allergic to cow milk proteins. If your infant is often fussy or has trouble keeping their cow milk formula down, goat milk may be more easily digested.

Cow milk infant formula is the most commonly used worldwide, and with good reason. It is a healthy source of milk fats and milk proteins that offer infants the nutrients they need to thrive. Unless your infant has a sensitivity to cow milk, there is no reason to avoid cow milk infant formula.

Both cow and goat milk infant formulas are healthy and contain added minerals and nutrients to ensure proper growth and development. Cow milk proteins are larger, and goat milk proteins are smaller which naturally makes them easier to digest.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an infant formula. Organic infant formula made from cow milk such as HiPP Dutch is a great option for families looking for a healthy feeding solution. For those who have fussy eaters or who need an alternative to cow-milk formula, there are other options. Goat milk formula such as those offered by European brands such as Nanny Care offers healthy alternatives that offer the same nutrition you will find in a cow milk infant formula.

It is a good idea to speak to your pediatrician if you think your child may have an allergy. In some cases, intolerance to lactose may mean neither form of infant formula will be suitable. Mommy Formula understands the desire to provide only the best for your child. We have a wide range of organic and sustainably produced infant formulas to suit any child’s needs. 

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