What's the best milk for toddlers? cow milk vs goat milk

As I've mentioned recently, my son will be turning one soon and will be switching over to milk in the next few weeks.  So I've been researching what kind of milk we'll choose....

Two of our options are cow and goat milk.  Cow's milk is the "popular" non-vegan choice and is readily available, but goat milk is gaining popularity and many claim it's the healthier alternative.  Here's a look at what I've discovered.

According to pediatrician  Dr. Sears, goats milk may be easier to digest and less alergenic as its fat and protein structure is closer to that of human breast milk.  Results from a study in  Science Daily showed that goat's milk had higher bioavialability of Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium (note this study was done in rats).  With iron deficiency often a concern in toddlers ages 1-3, goat's milk could have a decent advantage in this area...

I've also read claims that goat milk is alkaline producing, as is human breast milk, while cow's milk is acid producing.  More on this topic in a different post soon, but the goal is to avoid too many acid producing foods.  A few other positives for goats:
  • Goat's milk is consumed by more people worldwide than cow's milk. 
  • Goat's have a lighter carbon footprint as they're raised on less land and food. 
The vitamin and mineral content of the two is similar, with a few notable differences:
  • Calcium: Goat's milk has about 13% more than cow's milk
  • B-6: Goat's milk has 25% more
  • Vitamin A: Goat's milk has 47% more
  • Potassium: Goat's milk has 134% more
  • Niacin: goat's milk has 3x as much as cow's milk
  • Copper: Goat's milk has 4x as much
  • Selenium: Goat's milk has 27% more
  • Folate: Cow's milk has 10x as much as goat's milk (look for goat's milk that is fortified with folic acid)
  • Vitamin B-12: Cow's milk has 5x as much as goat's milk
A few notes if you decide to go with goat or cow's milk:
  • Look for milk that is free of added hormones and antibiotics (organic is your best bet).
  • Milk from grass-fed animals is best as the fat ratios are most favorable and ideal for the whole family.
  • Look for milk that is NOT ultra high temperature pasteurized (UP) meaning that all the healthy bacteria are destroyed and enzymes and proteins denatured.  For more on this topic check out The Sweet Beet.
Always ask your pediatrician before introducing your baby to any milk other than breast milk or infant formula. 

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