In my quest to find the best breast milk alternative, I found LOADS of information about different brands of “the best baby formula” readily available on the market today. I suppose the term “best baby formula” is relative, depending on the individual needs of the child and the parents. I read about different hypo-allergenic baby formula for sensitive babies who needed a gentler formula. I read about different organic formulas that claimed to be made from only the most natural, organic ingredients. I read about special formulas recommended for breast fed babies, either to supplement with or wean baby off of breastfeeding. After an excruciating two months of breastfeeding, I was looking for all of the above… the best breast milk alternative baby formula available. Sounds impossible, right? Stay tuned.
(FIRST a disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and you should talk with your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby’s diet. This article is based on my personal experience and research!)
Rewind several years to a time when my stomach was in shambles, before I got my gut together. I was in the middle of one of my many short-lived workout kicks when I started experimenting with different protein powders to supplement my high protein diet. The most popular protein powders available at the time were soy and whey (this is before the plant-based vegan protein craze began, otherwise I probably would’ve tried one of those). I tried several protein powders and found that my stomach wasn’t responding well to anything. Almost everything soy based was genetically modified, and cow’s milk was just too hard to digest without discomfort and bloating. My mom, who was a Garden of Life fanatic, bought me a product called Goatein which is protein powder made from goat’s milk. I was surprised to find that I had no trouble digesting the goat’s milk protein like I did all of the other protein powders. Amazing!
After some heavy research, I found that the reason for my success with the Goatein is that goat’s milk is ACTUALLY easier to digest than cow’s milk! Goat’s milk is lower in lactose, contains less allergenic proteins, and more beneficial fatty acids than cow’s milk. Due to the unique molecular structure of goat’s milk, it’s fats and proteins are easier to digest than cow’s milk. While cow’s milk contains A1 casein, a potentially inflammatory and difficult to digest protein, goat’s milk contains only A2 casein. A2 casein is much easier to digest for most people, making goat’s milk less inflammatory and the closest thing (from a digestive and protein standpoint) available to breastmilk. BINGO!
Fast forward again to my first months as a mommy. After giving breastfeeding a valiant effort for several months and realizing we’d need to start experimenting with formula, I began to try some different organic store-bought formulas. The first formulas we tried were cow’s milk based, which resulted in a horrifying bout of reflux and gas (and the dreaded colic). Then we tried sensitive low lactose varieties, and none of them seemed to help. After exhausting the natural store-bought options, our pediatrician suggested trying some samples of non-organic GMO-laden formulas, and I caved out of desperation. I actually wasn’t surprised when none of them helped at all. In fact, they made the problems worse.
In my quest to find something tolerable for baby’s little tummy, I took to Google yet again, and this time I landed on something promising: goat’s milk baby formula. Based on my personal experience with goat’s milk protein back in the day, I had hope that this could be the solution. I read hundreds of incredible reviews from parents who were so grateful to have found goat milk formula. I read one review from a mom who claimed that it saved her baby’s life after multiple trips to the NICU for severe reflux that resulted in undernourishment. Yes.
The first site I found talked about homemade goat milk formula. I wasn’t daring enough to try the homemade formula at first, so I started searching to find a goat milk baby formula that I could purchase in a powder. I ended up finding several:
Kabrita: A European company (now branched into the US) that produces a range of goat milk products. This is probably the easiest product to find in the US.
Nanny Care: They market themselves as “the UK’s first goat milk infant formula.”
Holle: They are a European baby product company that’s focus is on organic and sustainable farming.
More options than I thought! The only problem I found is that most of these can’t be found in stores, you need to order them online, but that wasn’t a huge deterrent for me. All of these seemed like viable breast milk alternatives. They all appeared to be pretty good and much cleaner than conventional formula, but I ended up settling on Holle. I liked that it was organic, it’s a smaller company than the others and the ingredients were the most straightforward (basically just organic goat milk powder, organic goat milk lactose, organic vegetable oils and vitamins/minerals). My little dolly absolutely loved it. Within about a day, we noticed a difference and within 3 days a HUGE difference. No more reflux, no more outrageous colic spells, no more horrendous bouts of gas. All of the nightmares we’d endured for the first couple months were almost totally resolved. She was even better on the goat milk formula than she was on my breast milk (part of me wonders if she had a mild cow’s milk protein sensitivity early on). Now, my little princess is happy and healthy as can be!
Once my baby got older, I worked up the courage to try the homemade formula under the supervision and approval of her pediatrician, which proved to be an equally wonderful breast milk alternative. We had great success with the homemade formula, and at the end of the day it’s a bit cheaper and easier to obtain. The makeup of the homemade formula is very similar to that of the Holle, and comes out to have almost the same nutritional values (again, very close to that of breast milk). There are a few nutrients that need to be supplemented, like folic acid and iron, so I use a goat milk that is fortified with folic acid and a once-a-day iron-fortified multi-vitamin. This is one of the reasons I waited until baby was on solids so I could give her other foods that contain these nutrients, but I’ve heard of plenty of people who use this breast milk alternative as baby formula for their newborns without a problem. I found the original recipe here, but I have tweaked it slightly with the OK from our pediatrician. Here is the recipe I use (again, check with your pediatrician before changing your baby’s diet!):
Per 8oz of Formula:
2 tbs Meyenberg Whole Goat Milk Powder
1 tbs Capra Goat Milk Lactose (or organic maple syrup)
½ tsp sunflower oil
½ tsp coconut oil
¼ tsp blackstrap molasses
To make, I add all ingredients to 4 oz of heated filtered water in a bottle and shake until dissolved. Once ingredients are dissolved, I add more water until the formula reaches 8oz. I add these supplements to one bottle every day, with both the homemade and powder formula:
Upspring Multivitamin +Iron
Nordic Naturals Baby DHA
Garden Of Life Primal Defense Kids Probiotic
Also, I make sure to use glass baby bottles to avoid any of the BPA and other harmful chemicals found in plastic bottles. You can find this one here.
Not being able to continue breastfeeding was devastating, but I feel better knowing that I am giving my baby the best breast milk alternative I can find. I hope this post can encourage some mommys out there who faced some of the same challenges I did. Like the parents in the reviews, I am SO grateful to have discovered goat milk formula! This breast milk alternative has truly been a godsend for baby and our family. BONUS: While my method of sleep training works for both breastfed and bottle fed babies, I found that opting for a breast milk alternative in place of breastfeeding made my sleep training experience much easier. Check out this no-cry, proven sleep training method here.
Thank you so much for reading, and please subscribe for more updates from ML! <3 Lexi
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