goat milk: latest trend and weaning from breastfeeding tip

Ok so I didn’t actually know how obsessed everyone is with goat milk until I Googled it recently. I’ll let you know why I was googling it, but what I found was interesting!

A few weeks ago, Gwyneth Paltrow consumed nothing but goat milk for eight days in a bid to rid her body of “parasites”. While this seems extreme, goat milk does have some great benefits.

Then I read about this amazing soap by former farm girl Shanna McCann from Wisconsin who never saw business in her future. She simply had a massive influx of goat milk and was making cheese, yogurt and kefir, but still had too much on her farm. So after a friend showed her how to make soap, she thought, ‘I can totally use and add goat milk.’ And she was off and running on a booming business! (I love female entrepreneur stories)

There are a lot of health benefits to goat milk also, that I list below.

This reservoir of goat milk info fell into my lap when I decided to try to start weaning my 15 month old son off breastfeeding (he’s eating full meals now, but still gets a few feedings a day)…and let’s just say it’s not really happening but that’s a whole other story…stay tuned for an article on that 😉

Recently, I tried replacing one of his feedings (as I did with my daughter at the same age) with 1/4 cow milk and 3/4 breast milk in volume. (I had used goat milk with my daughter too, however she refused it, and at the time I thought it was the taste but in hindsight it was probably just her wanting only breast milk.) After some loose stools the first week, she eventually got used to cow milk and was able to digest it upon weaning her. The whole process only took a month or so.

My son- not so much. He’s not into the weaning thing. Plus, when he was not tolerating the cow milk the first few times, I didn’t want to keep trying. He had diarrhea and was visibly uncomfortable. (as well as emotional about weaning- heck, I am too!)

So, I remembered that goat milk might be better for babies tummies who can’t handle the cow milk- hence my late night Googling. Ever since we switched to goat milk instead of cow milk…he’s been doing much better! While I am still mainly nursing him, at least I know he is able to tolerate the goat milk (we are up to 50% goat milk and 50% breast milk on that one replacement feeding a few times a week when I have childcare during work hours) so that when we eventually do stop breastfeeding-one of these days-  I know have a good alternative.

Here are the benefits of weaning your child from extended breastfeeding (over 1 year old) to goat milk instead of cow milk that I found from Dr. Sears:

  • less allergenic proteins

The protein clumps that are formed by the action of the stomach acids on the protein are called curds. The softer the curd, the quicker it passes through the stomach. Goat milk protein forms a softer curd, which makes it easier to digest. This could be an advantage for babies who spit up a lot or who have gastroesophageal reflux (GER). Goat milk contains only trace amounts of the allergenic protein found in cow milk—alpha-S1 casein. However, goat milk and cow milk both contain another type of allergenic protein, beta-lactoglobulin, which is why some babies who are allergic to cow milk may also be allergic to goat milk.

  • a more digestible fat

The fat globules in goat milk are easier to digest because they contain a higher proportion of short and medium-chain fatty acids. It’s a biochemical quirk that allows the intestinal enzymes to digest the fat easier. Cow milk contains more of the longer-chain fatty acids that require more work for the intestines to digest.

  • slightly less lactose

While both cow milk and goat milk contain the sugar lactose, goat milk contains slightly less (4.1 percent versus 4.7 percent in cow milk). It’s possible that this is a slight advantage for babies who are lactose intolerant.

  • cautions about goat milk

The vitamin and mineral content of goat milk and cow milk are fairly similar, though goat milk contains a bit more calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, niacin, copper and the antioxidant selenium. On the other hand, cow milk contains more vitamin B12 and much more folic acid. Since goat milk contains less than ten percent of the amount of folic acid contained in cow milk, it must be supplemented with folic acid. For this reason, be sure you get a goat milk that is supplemented with folic acid, (he mentions the Meyenberg brand).

Also, be sure to buy goat milk that’s certified “free of bovine growth hormone (BGH) and antibiotics.” (I do the same with my daughter who is 5 and only get organic dairy that is free of hormone and antibiotics).

Note: if your child is under 12 months, you should only feed him/her formula if you are not breastfeeding along with introducing solid foods…Generally, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of goat or cow milk products in infants under one year because they can cause intestinal irritation and anemia. Infants under one year of age who are allergic to cow milk-based formulas, soy formulas or hypoallergenic formulas are sometimes put on goat milk formula, but only with consultation from baby’s doctor or a pediatric nutritionist.

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