Formula Vs Fresh Milk Vs Goat's Milk: Benefits And Price Comparison
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First things first – whether it’s giving your child breastmilk, formula, or a mix of both, what’s most important for your child is that they’re well fed; mums and dads will have their own reasons for the choices that they make, and they’ll definitely be in the best interests of their child.
Formula can be given to your children from the moment they’re born (either exclusively or to supplement your breastmilk), but fresh/UHT (ultra-heat treatment) cow’s and goat’s milk should only be given to them after they’ve turned a year old.
The reason being they won’t be as easily digested, and the high amounts of protein and additional minerals could strain baby’s still developing kidneys.
Let’s take a look at the three different types of milk that we can use to supplement our breastfeeding.
1. Formula Milk
Even though we believe in the power of breastmilk, we also understand that sometimes our bodies aren’t able to keep up with the needs of our little ones – keeping them well-fed and healthy is more important than keeping to a strict ‘breastmilk only’ diet.
Try to establish your breastmilk supply as best as you can before starting to supplement baby with formula.
Doing an exclusive formula feed is still a healthy way to feed baby, as formula has all the nutrients that baby needs and is specifically made for them to consume.
Women who choose to formula feed could be doing so due to these reasons:
Worried that baby isn’t getting enough milk
They’re on medication that’s bad for their nursing baby
Baby isn’t able to nurse properly (poor sucking reflex)
Nursing is especially painful for them
The need to return to work, and the company isn’t welcoming of pumping
Their supply of breastmilk is falling, or they’re unable to produce enough breastmilk
An article published by The Straits Times in March 24, 2017 stated that the average price of milk formula is around $56 (for a 900g tin), and babies could go through 3-4 tins of them per month.
How much will you spend on cow's milk formula?
The average cost of 3-4 tins in Singapore is around $196/month, which amounts to around $2,352/year. Now that’s definitely not a small amount, especially if you factor in other costs such as diapers and wet wipes.
Continue reading on page 2 for the benefits of goat's milk...
2. Goat’s Milk
After baby is a year old, you can start introducing them to goat’s milk. Feeding goat’s milk to toddlers is on the rise in Singapore recently, while other countries have already experienced its benefits for quite some time!
The benefits that goat’s milk has over cow’s milk are rather straightforward:
Less Lactose: for bubs who are lactose intolerant, goat’s milk contains slightly less lactose than cow’s milk.
Protein Content: both cow’s and goat’s milk contain around the same levels of protein, but a protein called aS1-CN (alpha-S1 casein) is noticeably lower in goat’s milk. This is important as that protein is known to cause digestive distress in people who consume cow’s milk, and could also make it easier for your child to digest.
More Nutrient Rich: goat’s milk contains a bit more calcium, copper, niacin, potassium, selenium, and vitamins B6 and A when compared to cow’s milk.
Properly refrigerated fresh milk can be kept around 7 days (regardless of whether it’s opened or not), and UHT milk can be kept around 30-60 days unopened and refrigerated, and for 7 days refrigerated after its been opened.
How much will you spend on goat's milk?
A quick search online shows that 1 litre of fresh goat’s milk is around $12, and its UHT version is around $7-8. A year’s supply of fresh goat’s milk should be around $600, and UHT goat’s milk should be around $336. This is assuming we drink 1 litre of it per week for a year straight.
That said, there is goat’s milk formula available in the market as well, and this is definitely not a cheaper option (it costs even more than cow’s milk formula!). However, mothers who are feeding this to their baby comment that it’s the most similar in taste to breastmilk, making baby more acceptable to it. Most also comment that goat’s milk formula does not cause their baby to have phlegmy cough as compared to cow’s milk formula.
Continue reading on page 3 for the benefits of cow's milk...
3. Cow’s Milk (Fresh / UHT)
The ever-present cow’s milk is something of a staple that kids drink when they’re growing up, and should only be given to our children when they’re more than a year old. Cow’s milk may be less nutritious than goat’s milk on the whole, but it does have its benefits:
It contains much more folic acid and vitamin B12 than goat’s milk.
It’s smell and taste are a lot easier to take in than goat’s milk.
It’s easier to obtain than goat’s milk (so far); nearly all supermarkets and convenience stores sell fresh, full-cream cow’s milk.
It's as natural as it can get - with no added artificial ingredients
The shelf life of cow’s milk is the same as goat’s milk. Properly refrigerated fresh milk can be kept around 7 days (regardless of whether it’s opened or not), and UHT milk can be kept around 30-60 days unopened and refrigerated, and for 7 days refrigerated after its been opened. If you're big on food wastage, you might consider the UHT option as it has a longer shelf-life.
How much will you spend on cow's milk?
One obvious benefit that cow’s milk has over formula and goat’s milk is that it’s a LOT cheaper – 1 litre of fresh and UHT milk is around $2.50 to $5.
A year’s worth of cow’s milk (fresh and UHT) should be around $120 to $180, assuming we drink 1 litre of it per week for a whole year.
So… Which Would You Choose?
Out of the three choices, only formula should be given to our children before the age of one. Formula is your go-to option if you wish to supplement your breastmilk or do exclusive formula feeds. However, once they’ve hit the one year milestone, then your options open up greatly as you can start to round out their nutritional needs through solid foods too.
As long as our kids eat a normal, balanced diet, they’ll get all the nutrients that they need. A 2017 Channel News Asia article titled “Children over one do not need formula milk, experts say” states that “formula milk offers no nutritional benefit over a balanced diet”.
They also state that “an infant who weans well and is having excessive formula milk intake can become obese. This carries a negative impact on long-term health with the child having a higher risk of developing metabolic conditions such as adult obesity, diabetes and heart disease”.
For parents who are a bit more kiasu and money conscious (who isn’t, in Singapore?!) they can see if their kids are open to drinking goat’s milk. Otherwise, sticking to cow’s milk is a good choice – just ensure that your kids are eating enough fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat.
Remember that formula is by far the most expensive choice out of these three, at around $2,352/ year, followed by goat’s milk at around $600/year (fresh) and $332/year (UHT), and finally cow’s milk at $120 to $180 (fresh and UHT).