Goat Milk vs Cow Milk: What's the Difference?

In fact, goat milk and cow milk are nearly equivalent in terms of macronutrients. Goat milk has the highest protein and cholesterol content, whereas cow milk has lower fat content.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, both milks have plenty to offer, albeit in different quantities. Cow milk has more vitamin B12, selenium, and folic acid than goat milk, while goat milk has more calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. This article will help you have a better understanding about these two formulas so that you can decide which one is the best milk formula for your baby.



1. Goat Milk Formula vs Cow Milk Formula
a. Whey to casein ratio
b. A1 beta-casein protein to A2 beta-casein protein ratio
c. Lactose content
d. Protein content
e. Fat content

2. Is goat milk formula good for babies with cow milk allergy?

3. Best Cow’s Milk Formula
a. Standard protein formula 
b. Hydrolyzed protein formula 
c. A2 Milk Formula

4. Best Goat’s Milk Formula

5. FAQ

1. Goat Milk Formula vs Cow Milk Formula

a. Whey to casein ratio

Both casein and whey protein come from milk. They differ in digestion times — whey digests quickly, while casein digests slowly.

In human breastmilk, the ratio of these two proteins changes as the baby ages.

Human Milk Whey Casein Ratio
The concentration of whey proteins decreases from early lactation and continues to fall. These changes result in a whey protein/casein ratio of about 90:10 in early lactation, 60:40 in mature milk and 50:50 in late lactation. (Source)

Cows’ Milk Formula Whey Casein Ratio
First cows’ milk based infant formula generally has an altered whey:casein ratio (60:40) to bring it closer to that found in breastmilk which is whey-dominant, however some products use whey:casein ratios of 50:50 or 70:30.

Infant milk marketed for ‘hungrier babies’ has a whey:casein ratio of 20:80. (Source)

Goats’ Milk Formula Whey Casein Ratio
Goat’s milk infant formula has a whey:casein ratio of 20:80.

b. A1 beta-casein protein to A2 beta-casein protein ratio

Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein.

First, you might wonder “Does casein cause constipation?”

A1 casein that releases an opiate-stimulating compound called casomorphin, found to cause gastrointestinal inflammation as well as delayed transit time (i.e. constipation) in some people. By contrast, milk that is exclusively A2 casein has been shown not to produce similar inflammatory and transit time reactions (Source)

Goat Milk Formula vs Cow Milk Formula
A2 beta casein is the most common casein found in goat milk. Goat milk naturally has 89% less A1 beta-casein protein content than cow milk.

However, now A2 cow’s milk formulas are available on the market, this formula contains only A2 beta-casein. Read more: Best A2 Baby Formula in USA 2022

c. Lactose content

Lactose is the natural sugar in milk and other dairy foods made from milk. Both cow and goat have lactose. Lactose content in goat milk is around 4.20 percent, whereas lactose content in cow milk is nearly 5 percent.

Despite its lactose level, anecdotal data suggests that goat’s milk can be tolerated by persons with mild lactose intolerance. However, there’s no scientific research to support this.

d. Protein content

Goat milk contains more protein per serving than standard cow milk.Furthermore, goat milk protein looks to be more easily digested.

Both cow’s milk infant formula and goat’s milk infant formula typically have higher protein contents than human breastmilk.

This may sound like a good thing, but keep in mind that human breastmilk is perfectly designed for human babies and more of something, even a good thing, is not always better. (Source)

e. Fat content

A cup of goat milk has 10 grams of fat whereas cow milk has eight grams of fat. This causes the goat milk to be higher in calories.

Fat molecules
When compared to cow’s milk, fat molecules in goat’s milk are smaller. Because of the size difference, the fat in goat’s milk infant formula may be easier for your baby to digest.

2. Is goat milk formula good for babies with cow milk allergy?

picture from webmd.com

No. Goat milk formula is not a good option for babies with cow milk allergy because it contains the same proteins as cow milk.

However, babies that show some symptoms of discomfort or negative reactions to cow’s milk (that do not have an allergy diagnosed), goat milk formula may be a good option. Due to several factors (different protein composition, more easily digestible fats) goat milk formula may be less allergic and easier on your baby’s tummy. (Source)

Cow’s milk allergy symptoms in babies
– Skin reactions, such as a red itchy rash or swelling of the lips, face and around the eyes
– Digestive problems, such as stomach ache, vomiting, colic, diarrhoea or constipation
– Hay fever-like symptoms, such as a runny or blocked nose
– Eczema that does not improve with treatment

Occasionally CMA can cause severe allergic symptoms that come on suddenly, such as swelling in the mouth or throat, wheezing, cough, shortness of breath, and difficult, noisy breathing.

severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is a medical emergency – call 999 or go immediately to your local hospital A&E department. (Source)

Cow’s milk allergy vs Cow’s milk protein intolerance
A cow’s milk allergy is not the same as cow’s milk protein intolerance, which impacts up to 5 percent of infants within the first 1 to 3 months of life. Unlike an allergy to milk, an intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system. Signs of cow’s milk protein intolerance include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. (Source)

3. Best Cow’s Milk Formula

a. Standard protein formula

Protein is not processed in standard formulations. Full-size proteins are listed as “nonfat milk,” “milk protein isolate,” or “whey protein” (a component of cow’s milk protein) on the ingredient list. These are the normal formulations, which include full-size proteins.

• Enfamil NeuroPro for Infant | Enfamil NeuroPro Baby Formula with DHA – Buy on Amazon

 Similac Advance for Infant Similac® Advance®* Infant Formula with Iron – Buy on Amazon

• Enfagrow Premium for Toddler Enfagrow Premium Toddler Nutritional Drink – Buy on Amazon

• Baby’s Only Organic Premium for Toddler | Baby’s Only Organic Premium Toddler Formula – Buy on Amazon

b. Hydrolyzed protein formula

This formula is made by breaking down the proteins in cow’s milk formula into small pieces. Hydrolyzed proteins formula require less processing to absorb, it is good option for some newborns or infants who have difficulty digesting full-size proteins or have a history of digestive problems.

• Enfamil Gentlease for Infant Enspire Gentlease Infant Formula – Buy on Amazon

• Enfamil Gentlease for Toddler Enfamil Gentlease Toddler Formula – Buy on Amazon

• Gerber Extensive HA for Infant Gerber Good Start Extensive HA, Hypoallergenic – Buy on Amazon

c. A2 Milk Formula

Researchers believe that A2 is the more natural variant of beta casein. Some studies found that people who only drank milk from cows that produce A2 milk had less bloating and indigestion, leading some to believe that A2 milk is a healthier alternative to regular milk.

• Enfamil A2 Formula for Infant Enfamil Premium A2 Infant Formula – Buy on Enfamil.com

• Gerber A2 Formula for Infant Gerber® Good Start® Gentle Supreme Formula – Buy on Gerber.com

• Serenity A2 Formula for Toddler | A2 Whole Milk Toddler Formula – Buy on MySerenityKids.com

4. Best Goat’s Milk Formula

• Holle Organic Goat Milk Formula for Infant | Holle Goat Organic Milk Formula Stage 1 – Buy on Organic Baby Shop

• Kabrita Goat Milk Formula for Toddler Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula  – Buy on Amazon

• Nannycare Goat Milk Formula for Toddler | Nannycare Goats Milk Stage 3 – Buy on Amazon

5. FAQs

a. How Do I Know If My Baby Has A Milk Allergy?

If your baby shows the following symptoms, do see your pediatrician to check if your baby has a milk allergy.

– Frequent spitting up
– Vomiting
– Signs of abdominal pain, or colic-like symptoms, such as excessive crying and irritability (especially after feedings)
– Diarrhea
– Blood in stool
– Hives
– A scaly skin rash
– Coughing or wheezing
– Watery eyes and stuffy nose
– Trouble breathing or a bluish skin color
– Swelling (especially of the mouth and throat)

b. Milk Allergy vs Lactose Intolerance

For milk allergies, the baby’s immune system reacts negatively to the proteins in cow’s milk. Breastfed babies are reacting to the dairy his mother has eaten (the milk proteins pass through breast milk), while formula-fed babies are reacting to the cow’s milk proteins in the formula. In either case, a baby’s immune system sees the cow’s milk proteins as foreign substances.

Milk intolerance, on the other hand, has nothing to do with cow’s milk proteins or the immune system, and instead has to do with the digestive system. Your child might have loose stools or blood in stool hours or days later.



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