Goat's milk as a supplement to breastfeeding?

I fed all four of my children goat's milk as a supplement to breastfeeding. They all have become very healthy adults and were not deficient in anything because of it. They actually did better because they could not tolerate cow's milk. Breast milk is also low in Iron, and Vitamins C and D. Should we tell women not to breastfeed?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Thank you for your comments on successful accounts of using goat's milk in the diets of young children. I just want to discourage people from using it instead of formula. There is a real danger of dehydration if it is used exclusively for very young infants because of the solute load and the subsequent stress that it puts on the baby's kidneys. Particularly with babies there is no room for playing guinea pig.

Of course we shouldn't tell moms not to breastfeed, and I imagine you intended that question to be rhetorical. However, you brought up some good points. That is, nursing moms do need to be concerned about vitamin D, and therefore must be sure that baby gets plenty of sun exposure each day, or that a supplement is given.

The iron in breast milk is very low, however, it is well absorbed. Newborns and babies up to age four to six months rely on birth stores of iron and what they get from mom. After that age, it is recommended that supplementary iron be given to nursing babes. I have not read any studies that discuss the absorbability of iron from goats milk, and so do not want to suggest that parents feeding goats milk to babies, depend on it as an iron source.

Vitamin C is also a necessary supplement for nursing babies which is why pureed fruit is one of the first foods to be recommended to add to a baby's weaning diet, along with an iron-fortified cereal.

It is fine for you to share your stories of success with goat's milk. However, as a professional nutritionist, I must rely on proven, well supported, scientific information to make recommendations. That does not, in any way, mean the experience others have had are not valid, it just means that statistically, they do not yet safely apply to the population in general.

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