Breast milk is the most nutritious source of nutrients for children. It has a number of short and long-term advantages for developing babies. Any of its advantages include a healthy immune system and brain growth. While breast milk provides several benefits, exclusive breastfeeding of children is not always practicable and, in some instances, is insufficient. Infant formula is a commercially formulated supplement for breast milk that is used by the majority of parents for their children. The formula is designed to be as similar to breast milk as possible in order to successfully replace breast milk (Martin, Ling, & Blackburn, 2016). Formulas are however not the best substitutes to the breast as they can cause adverse effects on the growth and development of infants. Goat milk can be utilised as a more effective substitute for breast milk.
Breast milk is rich in fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins as well as bioactive agents. An effective substitute should be rich in these elements for the overall health benefits of the infants. Most formulas are cow milk based and result in allergic reactions in some infants. These reactions start to manifest immediately the breast milk is stopped, and the formula is introduced. The severity of the reactions varies from one infant to another. Nevertheless, a study conducted on infants who were suffering from formula intolerance indicated a rapid decrease in these symptoms after they were given goat milk (Salsberg, 2017). These results indicated that goat milk is a better substitute to the formula for all infants even the ones with formula intolerance.
Moreover, the secretion process of goat milk is similar to the breast milk compared to the industry prepared formula. During the natural secretion process, milk is made from droplets of vitamins, minerals, lactose and proteins. The secretion process in goat milk produces more amino acids and nucleotides that are essential in the development stage. The content of these elements is, therefore, higher in goat milk as compared to cow milk used to manufacture the formula. These elements are essential in the growth of the infants. Nucleotides are important for the rapid growth of a baby. It is attributed to weight gain as well as in head growth. Cow milk lacks enough nucleotides and therefore results to industry supplementation during the preparation of formula. With goat milk, this element occurs naturally and therefore no supplementation is required (Journal of Family Health, 2014).
Furthermore, goat milk is rich in proteins in similar amounts as breast milk. In infant formula, the protein level has been observed to be too high resulting in abnormal weight gain as well as high-stress levels on an infant’s kidneys. To prevent this, it is of important if the levels are set as close as possible to the human breast milk. A test on urea present on infant’s urine who were feeding on goat milk showed similar levels to those of an infant feeding on breast milk and 11% lower than on those feeding on cow milk formula. Affirmatively, goat milk has essential amino acids and in required levels for infant’s development (Journal of Family Health, 2014).
Moreover, cow milk based formula contain whey protein which added to supplement some essential proteins required for infant growth. The protein is responsible for most allergic reaction from cow based formula. Since goat milk has the required proteins, this protein is not present in goat based formula and milk making it more suitable. Importantly, breast milk is essential in promoting gut preventive barrier. Research proved that goat milk was as essential in the preventive erosion of this protective layer. As opposed to cow milk based formula which is associated with allergic reactions that promote erosion of this barrier, goat milk proved to contain health benefits associated with stronger gut lining (Journal of Family Health, 2014).
Additionally, fat globule sizes vary between a goat and cow milk, with the size being smaller in goat milk compared to cow milk. The small size allows it to easily and efficiently digestible, resulting in better bowel movements of infants. Moreover, the iron content is higher in goat milk compared to the level in cow milk. Consequently, iron provision to infants is higher on those fed on goat milk compared to those fed on cow based formula. Also, the iron use is better in goat milk reducing its interaction with other elements such as calcium in the body of growing infants. Goat milk has also been associated with the treatment of colic which is a gastrointestinal condition in infants. Though it has not been clinically proven to be a cure for this condition. It has been reported that giving infants with this condition goat milk reduced the symptoms and implications of the condition (Johansson, 2011).
In conclusion, human breast milk remains the best food for infants. Since sometimes it is not possible to feed an infant exclusively on breast milk, then goat milk is a better alternative as goat milk has proved to be rich in nutrients that essential for infants’ development. It also has less harmful effects on the overall health of infants.
Johansson, S. (2011). Goat Milk Nutrition and health aspects (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://dalsspira.se/wp-content/upLoads/goatmilk-nutrition-health-aspects.pdf
Journal of Family Health. (2014). How does goat milk measure up to other formulas? Journal of Family Health. Retrieved from https://www.jfhc.co.uk/goat-milk-measure-formulas/
Martin, C., Ling, P., & Blackburn, G. (2016). Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula. Nutrients, 8(5), 279. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu8050279
Salsberg, A. (2017). Goat Milk Toddler Formula Reduces Symptoms Associated with Cow Milk Consumption.