Does your baby show symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, colicky abdominal pain, or facial rashes? These are the symptoms often associated with intolerance to cow’s milk, which may be caused by the allergic reactions triggered by the proteins and lactose in cow’s milk. Some pediatricians recommend goat’s milk as a substitute since it is more easily digestible and less allergenic than cow’s milk for many babies.
Although goat milk is not lactose-free, it can still benefit babies who are lactose intolerant. To understand this, we need to know how our immune system works in response to foreign substances. The amount of any foreign substance is a crucial factor in determining whether or not the immune system would trigger a response. For people who are allergic to pollen, the level of pollen in the air and the sensitivity of their body dictate how their immune system respond to it and what kind of allergic reactions to be triggered subsequently, from mild symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes, to coughing and fever-like symptoms. In a similar fashion, the reason for some babies to suffer less from lactose intolerance when drinking goat’s milk is that the lactose level of goat’s milk is lower than that of cow’s milk, and it does not reach the threshold level of triggering a response from the immune system. So it does not mean that babies who are lactose intolerant cannot take in any lactose at all. It depends on the amount of lactose they can or cannot tolerate.
Another advantage of goat’s milk when compared to cow’s milk is that it contains less “allergenic” proteins since the fat and protein structure in goat milk are smaller, and thus the nutrients are easier to be digested and processed in our digestive system. The fat globules in goat milk actually contain a higher proportion of short and medium-chain fatty acids, which means that the intestinal enzymes do not need to work that hard to cut off the fatty acid chains in the digestion process. In the biochemical reactions during the digestion process, it takes great effort and energy to digest fat molecules by breaking them into usable forms. All in all, goat milk helps to make the digestion smooth and soothes the digestive tract.
However, goat milk is not perfect because it still lacks some important substances like vitamin B, folic acid, vitamin E, and iron, which are necessary for the development of babies and children. It does not mean we should not choose goat milk. Rather, we should consider supplementing goat milk with other foods that can remedy these shortcomings. Dr. Bernard Jensen, an expert of goat milk, suggests adding a little mixture of barley with water to the goat milk at first, and then in later days and weeks gradually adding unsulfured dried prunes or apricots diluted with water. You can boil dried fruit for a few minutes and then allow it to cool and then add to the milk.
The sodium level is higher in goat milk than in cow’s milk, and this is good for babies because they need natural sodium to maintain a normal secretion of hydrochloric acid in their stomach, which aids the process of digesting protein and the assimilation of calcium. It also helps the bowel wall to neutralize acid at the end of digestion process.
Goat milk is a wonderful food for all babies and children, especially for those who suffer from deficiencies or health problems. Most children who drink goat’s milk have healthier bowel movements and do not have constipation because goat’s milk contains lactic acid, sodium, potassium and calcium salts. If your baby has the problems discussed in this article, you may want to try goat milk, but we recommend you to consult with your pediatrician before you decide to switch since every baby is in different conditions and has different preferences.
About the Author
Arthur Wang, a book author in pharmacology, had extensive training in microbiology, western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. He received a degree in biochemistry from UCLA and had studied acupuncture and oriental medicine at graduate level while working in the laboratory in his early career. He is now an enthusiastic writer on various topics on the internet.
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