science-behind-goat-milk-formula-recipe

The Science

The goal is easy to understand: Create a homemade goat milk formula recipe that resemble mother’s milk as closely as possible.

Easy to state, hard to accomplish.

In order for a homemade recipe to resemble human breast milk, we first need to know what the nutritional components of human breast milk are. Here is the rub though, we don’t know. Mimicking breast milk is like trying to mimic the weather; it is constantly changing.

mimicking breast milk is like trying to mimic the weather; it is constantly changing.

There is no standardized nutritional profile for breast milk.

I know, I know, we want a nice little nutrition facts panel that clearly details exactly the amounts of fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, bio-active components like nucleotides, cytokines, and growth factors in mother’s milk.

However this is never going to happen.

There are literally huge changes in the composition of breast milk that make it impossible to give an exact nutritional profile.

The best we can do is analyze thousands of samples of breast milk for hundreds of different women at dozens of different times during their lactation taking into account such variables as time post-partum, minutes into feeding (foremilk vs hindmilk), ethnicity, region, age, diet, health status, etc. The list of variables needed to determine the nutritional profile of breast milk is mind boggling.

We can however use the power of statistics and make some assumptions.

You see we are not completely in the dark as to this nutritional composition. We do have some detailed analysis that shows in each 8 ounces of milk on average breast milk contains the following macro nutrient profile.

Per 8 ounces Goat Milk Formula Breast milk
Calories 163.3 165.6
Carbohydrates 17.5 17.5
Fat 9 9.3
Protein 4 3.3

So even though the nutritional composition of breast milk might vary (some estimate by as much as a factor of 3 during feeding) we can get a general ballpark for where an infant formula should be nutritionally speaking.

First the backstory.

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 (CMA) 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.

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!

My daughter Liesl was in desperate need of a formula that would not cause her to experience the tell tale signs of cow milk allergy. Her younger sister was coming and mama’s supply of breast milk gave out. However commercial formulas were a disaster. 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 the goat milk formula (GMF).

Note: I have never advocated giving infants goat milk as the sole source of nutrition. Goat milk by itself contains excessive protein and sodium and lacks folate and vitamin B12 (among other things). This is a Goat Milk Formula Recipe and not plain goat milk.

Now I believe using goat milk as the base to this formula is the perfect alternative to cow milk but I wasn’t satisfied with the homemade infant formulas I saw being discussed online. This was for several reasons the primary one being that they were all based on cow milk.

Cow milk contains an extremely allergenic protein called alpha s1 casein which is recognized by the body as a foreign antigen (invader). When the body “recognizes” this invader it “reacts” with an immune response that includes all the signs and symptoms listed above.

Cow milk allergy (CMA) is the reason it is the number one allergy causing substance in kids under three.

All of the homemade formulas listed at the time included raw cow milk. Often it would be presented as if raw cow milk wouldn’t cause a CMA reaction. However if a child has CMA it doesn’t matter if the milk is raw or pasteurized, an allergic reaction will still occur as the body is reacting to the protein not the presence or absence of of enzymes or probiotics as is found in raw milk.

Convinced that the world was in dire need of a scientifically sound goat milk formula, I decided to put my six and half years of nutrition study to work.

Goat milk is the perfect alternative to cow milk in an infant formula, however 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. Goat 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.

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