EDIT: 1/21/14. Thank you everyone for your kind responses and questions. I apologize for not responding sooner to many of your comments. I have recently posted Frequently Asked Questions. I will try and get all the comments up to date. In the mean time. Check out the FAQ page and see if your question is answered there. I will update that post as more questions come in. Thanks so much!
I have been a lifetime goat milk consumer due to a nasty allergy I had developed as a young child to cow milk. A careless licked ice cream spoon was all it took to send me over the edge and into an intense allergic reaction. It was safe to call my allergy severe but I can’t claim that it was unusual. Cow milk allergy is the number one allergy in kids and symptoms include irritability, vomiting, wheezing, swelling, hives, and even anaphylactic shock! Thankfully the solution to this problem became evident and I was immediately placed on goat milk and thrived.
Fast forward nearly 30 years and I am married with my own family. My wife Elizabeth and I have 3 children and another on the way.
Liesl is 9 months and it was with her that I saw firsthand, the genetic impact I had on my children. Because we have been blessed with children that are very close in age, it was necessary to supplement breast-feeding with some kind of formula. The standard recommendation in such a case is to put your baby on some kind of basic Enfamil/Similac formula. Since we wanted to do what was best for our little girl we went and bought a bottle of the powder. While it nearly costs us an arm and a leg, we were willing to do it because what parent doesn’t want to give their children only the best.
While it may seem obvious now that Liesl would be allergic to the formula, at the time, Elizabeth and I were both shocked at the severity of her allergy to the product. Right away we noticed, hives on her cheeks, legs, and arms. She then developed an awful diaper rash, as well as severe diarrhea. Needless to say we took her off of that formula immediately and started her on goat milk.
Now I believe goat milk is the perfect alternative to cow milk and I wasn’t satisfied with the homemade infant formulas I saw being discussed online primarily because they all relied on cow milk. Cow milk contains an extremely allergenic protein called alpha s1 casein which is the reason it is the number one allergy causing substance in kids. Anyway, I was convinced that a goat milk formula was what was needed and I decided to put my six and half years of nutrition study to work. While goat milk is the perfect alternative to cow milk in an infant formula, an infants needs are slightly different than those of an adult or even a young child. First, if goat milk is the sole food being provided to an infant than protein content needs to be taken into account. The milk should be diluted to lower the protein content. This will ensure that the formula doesn’t contain protein levels that would be stressful to the newly formed kidneys of the infant. However once you lower the protein levels by diluting the milk, you now have to increase the calories, carbohydrates, and fat, accordingly to make up for the dilution level.
The below chart on the left shows the nutrition levels of breast milk. While goat milk is one of the closest milks to human milk, there is are still few nutritional gaps that needs to be equalized. Therefore if you follow the recipe I outline below, the nutrition information of your goat milk infant formula should look like the chart on the right.
Pretty much nutritionally exact.
Note: breast feeding is always better and that no formula can match it.
Our goal is to come as close as nutritionally possible.
Now I want to make clear that this formula I have used for my daughter was introduced after she started eating solid food. This means that she was getting supplemental vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables we were currently feeding. These foods were only ancillarcy though and the milk (formula) is still the primary calorie source. Also I should note, that while I have multiple degrees in nutrition, it is up to each parent to discuss with their doctor how they want to introduce this goat milk formula.
Recipe for Homemade Goat Milk Infant Formula
(Note: The proportions listed are for making an 8 oz. bottle.)
Goat Milk Powder
1 tbsp. This is the most important part of the formula because it delivers much needed protein, fat, and carbohydrates in a form that is easily digestible and absorbable. If you can get your hands on safe, raw goat milk, do it, otherwise I recommend using CapraMilk.
1 tsp. This is one of nature’s greatest fat sources. Don’t let our high strung public health officials scare you into thinking saturated fat is all bad. Without saturated fat, we would all be dead. The saturated fat in coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides, and contains such important compounds as lauric acid which is found in high amount in breast milk.
1 tsp. Olive oil delivers more healthy fats, this time in the form of monounsaturated fats. Make sure you buy a high quality brand as many olive oils have been adulterated with lesser quality oils. The Kirkland Signature variety from Costco has been a good source for us but you may find others that work well too.
1 tbsp. There is a bit more room for flexibility in this arena because there are a lot of high quality carbohydrates that can be used. I recommend organic raw, turbinado sugar, lactose, organic maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. This is an important component because the main nutrient in breast milk is carbohydrates. I use the turbinado sugar that I found at Safeway.
⅛ tsp. This thick black syrup is high in vitamins and minerals and keeps baby from getting constipated so be careful not to give too much! Make sure you get the unsulphured variety as it is far better for your little one I bought my bottle at Safeway.
Infant probiotic strain
⅛ tsp. Probiotics are a naturally high in breast milk and there are several different strains that are perfectly designed for infants. Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, and Saccaromyces boulardii all have clinical research that shows safety in infants as well as many beneficial effects. I recommend the Garden of Life brand but there are many high quality infant probiotics available. Since most probably will only recommend them for kids 3 and up, I suggest only using half a dose.
Natural source of vitamins
1 tsp. I came across an all natural multivitamin drop that is readily absorbable called Country Life: Maxi Baby Care. This is not the only available multivitamin drop for infants but it is the best one I have found. Feel free to comment if you’ve found a better one.
A free download for you!
I have spent many hours researching and refining this goat milk infant formula recipe. I have formatted it into a convenient recipe card size that is easily printable and comes with step by step instructions. It also has a conversions table so that you can mix 1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 gallon of the formula without doing a single calculation in your head. How’s that for convenience!
I will send this free recipe to you instantly. All you have to do is join the Mt. Capra family ‘Inner Circle’ by putting your email in the form below and confirming your subscription.
Let me know what you think!
This has been a formula that has worked wonders for our daughter and I think it can work wonders for your kids. Once again, let me stress the importance of talking about this with your doctor before you get started.
I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section.
Here’s to your health!
Joe Stout, M.S.
Father of 5
Joe holds both a M.S. and B.Sc. degrees in Human Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Bridgeport and Washington State University. Joe has been married to his wonderful wife Elizabeth for seven years and has 5 beautiful children. He is the President of Mt. Capra and lives on and manages the family goat dairy.