This post is sponsored by Kabrita.
When trying to determine what to feed your baby, most parents encounter an overwhelming amount of information and opinions. One topic that caught our eye recently was goat milk. We put together a list of questions and went straight to an expert, Dr. Salsberg, a Naturopathic Doctor, in order to get the answers we were looking for.
Good morning, Dr. Salsberg. Could you please give us a little background about yourself?
Of course! I’m a mom to two busy boys and I have a passion for natural health and education. I’m a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and I work full time with KABRITA USA, where I support our education and medical engagement efforts.
There are so many types of milk to select from for our children – cow’s milk, almond milk,
coconut milk, etc. – what exactly is the difference between them all?
That’s a really important question and one that, I think, many parents consider. It’s important to first distinguish between dairy and plant-based milks. Dairy milk, such as cow and goat, contains lactose (a milk sugar), as well as whey and casein proteins; plant-based milks contain neither.
There are also big differences in terms of nutrients. Plant-based milks, a delicious option for older children and adults, may not be nutritionally suitable for little ones. They often lack adequate protein, as well as certain vitamins and minerals critical for growth and development. I always encourage parents to speak with their healthcare provider to review their child’s nutritional needs and find a suitable milk option.
How does a parent decide which type of milk is best for their baby after transitioning
from breast milk or infant formula?
Milk options will vary, depending on culture, personal preference, and what’s readily available. Since every child is unique, I prefer to encourage parents to consider three principles when it comes to choosing milk for their little one: 1) seek out the best quality milk, 2) ensure that your milk of choice is nutritionally suitable for your little one, and last but not least, 3) observe how your little one tolerates the milk – is it easy to digest?
Do all milk options carry the same amount of nutrients for our babies?
No, they do not. There can be really big differences between dairy milk, plant-based milks, and toddler formulas. It’s critical for parents to be familiar with their little one’s daily nutrient needs and what their milk of choice offers. KABRITA USA has a useful nutritional comparison chart that reviews some of these key differences: http://www.kabritausa.com/resources/nutrition-information/
Tell us a little more about goat’s milk as an alternative to milk and non-dairy milks.
Goat’s milk is naturally easy to digest. Why? Because of its protein. Even though it has whey and casein just like cow’s milk, the casein in goat’s milk behaves differently in the body: it forms a smaller and gentler curd in the gut and is broken down faster than cow’s milk protein curds. This makes it gentle on tiny tummies!
What types of labels should we, as parents, look out for?
We all want our children to thrive; and our diet is a cornerstone of great health. The best foods – those that meet our children’s nutritional needs and are well tolerated – will drive healthy growth and development. And these healthy habits will serve them over their lifetime!
When it comes to labels, we favour European non-GMO and non-GMO project verified foods.