Goat's Milk is for Kids — Just Not the Human Variety

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shutterstock_385915372 Goat via Shutterstock

All expert authorities agree that the best choice for infant feeding is human milk. If a mom can't, or prefers not to breastfeed, there are many well-tested and safe infant formulas available. Yet some folks just aren't satisfied with those choices, and decide to make their own.

For example, actress Kristin Cavallari has come up with a goat's milk formula that she says provides her kids (not the goat variety) with real, organic ingredients. Her formula, which she says she developed with the help of her pediatrician, contains maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, olive oil, cod liver oil, coconut oil and "probiotics." Hopefully her pediatrician advised her to also include or separately supply some vitamins and minerals, since goat's milk is definitely deficient in some of these — which must be added to commercial infant formulas.

For example, per eight-ounce cup, goat's milk contains more protein and minerals (e.g. sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium) than cow's milk — which could be problematic for young infants whose kidneys could be challenged by this excess load. As concerning is the lack of vitamin B12 and folate in goat's milk vs. cow's milk. These vitamins are essential for producing new cells — which a baby does as it grows. Even for a baby who is weaned off the breast at four months or so, these differences must be taken into account when making a formula. Whether or not Ms. Cavallari did so is anyone's guess.

This is just another example of a celebrity using her media savvy to promote her own weird take on nutrition and health (she is also an anti-vaccine activist). The real experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say that:

"Goat’s milk is not recommended for infants. Goat’s milk contains inadequate amounts of iron, folate, vitamins C and D, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid to meet an infant’s nutritional needs. Some brands of goat’s milk are fortified with vitamin D and folate, but other brands may not be fortified. This milk also has a higher renal solute load compared to cow’s milk and can place stress on an infant’s kidneys. This milk has been found to cause a dangerous condition called metabolic acidosis when fed to infants in the first month of life."

When you weigh this conflicting advice, we suggest you think about who has a stronger background in the science of infant feeding — experts at the USDA, or an actress out to promote her own unique take on the topic.