An allergic reaction in a newborn to cow’s milk protein is widespread. That is because milk is the baby’s main source of nutrition in the first six months of life. Cow’s milk protein can be found in both breast milk and baby formula. However, when for some reason, the baby can not drink breast milk, the pediatrician recommends switching to formula feeding. Parents should know that babies with a cow protein allergy need a special diet.
Over several decades, the infant formula market has grown from one basic product, such as cow’s milk formula, to an entire industry that includes different types of formula: therapeutic, specialized, as well as foods based on cow’s, soy, and goat’s milk. In addition, almost every kind of infant formula is divided into starter formula and follow-up formula, which allows the composition to be varied to meet the age requirements of the child’s body.
There are several types of formula that are (not perfectly) suitable for infants with a cow protein allergy. These are:
- Goat’s milk formulas,
- Hypoallergenic formulas,
- Soy-based formulas.
Goat’s milk-based formula for cow protein allergies: why not?
The first option, which parents usually try, even without a pediatrician’s recommendation, is goat milk-based formula.
Yes, goat’s milk contains protein, slightly different in composition, and sometimes it turns out that a change of diet and goat’s milk is enough to make the symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy go away.
In most cases, the child’s body “accepts” the proteins of goat’s milk and does not perceive them as allergens. But after a while, it still comes down to the fact that goat’s milk protein also becomes a potential allergen for the child’s body. After all, it is 95% identical in composition to cow protein.
After some time, the baby’s immune system still recognizes the allergen (albeit not quite identical to the original allergen – cow’s milk protein), and the allergic reaction continues.
In general, the milk of any mammal cannot be 100% accepted by the body of a child allergic to cow protein. And that is why sometimes goat’s milk formula is not suitable for a child with allergies.
Is there an allergy to goat’s milk?
Milk proteins cause allergies. Most babies have no problem taking baby food with natural goat’s milk. However, parents must note that infants allergic to cow’s milk proteins may sometimes give cross-allergies since goat’s milk contains small amounts of similar proteins. However, you can only know the reaction of the body when the product appears in the diet. In such situations, the infant’s diet is always worth discussing with your doctor, who knows the peculiarities of the baby’s health.
How is goat’s milk good for the baby’s body?
Regarding animal milk, goat milk is the closest in composition and structure to breast milk. It is easier to ferment, digest, and absorb by the body and rarely causes intolerance.
Since goat milk’s protein and fat components are very similar to the proteins and fats in breast milk, it can serve as an easily digestible basis for baby food. Goat milk formula gently assists the digestive processes in the baby’s immature GI tract and facilitates the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The baby can easily meet nutritional needs by getting goat’s milk products, and the mom will have fewer worries about allergies. The baby’s stool becomes more similar to what it would be during breastfeeding. And, of course, when nutrition is suitable, the tummy does not bother the baby – he or she smiles, sleeps more peacefully, and nothing distracts him or her from exploring the world.
How to choose suitable formula milk for your little one?
It is important to remember that choosing the formula yourself is not an option. Only a pediatrician can determine what kind of food a child with a cow protein allergy needs. There are approved algorithms for diagnosis and prescribing a diet. The choice of diet depends on a number of factors, including the severity of allergic reactions, age, and the developmental characteristics of the particular child; which only a specialist can identify. The improperly chosen formula can aggravate the situation and lead to the development of chronic diseases. It is always worth visiting a doctor when the first symptoms of allergy appear.