My toddler has allergies - should I switch to goat's milk?

Every week mums bring their children into my clinic to talk about a huge number of different conditions.  Although each child is different and treated individually, it’s very common to have the same few problematic foods come up time and time again – one of them is cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk and products made from it are some of the most allergenic foods we can put into our children’s body.  The large, difficult to digest proteins and fat molecules make it a very complex food for a little digestive system to break down. 

Why is my toddler reacting to foods?

Each little person is an individual, from their genes, to the strength of their immune system, their nutrient status, and the integrity of their gut wall.  All these factors and more, play a part in determining how their body will react to certain foods, chemicals and toxins. 

Allergy or intolerance – what’s the difference?

An allergy is a hypersensitive immune reaction to a normally harmless substance and can result in severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.

Intolerance, on the other hand, is not a response by your immune system and is more likely to be caused because your body is having difficulty breaking down or digesting certain foods, food ingredients or food additives. 

While cow’s milk “allergy” only affects about 2% of Australian children, “intolerance” to cow’s milk products is extremely common and causes multiple problems.

How do I know if my child has a cow’s milk intolerance?

Problems with the large, difficult to digest proteins, fats and sugars in cow’s milk regularly result in conditions such as ear infections (often leading to needing grommets), a runny nose, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, tummy pains, eczema, asthma, and cognitive, focus and behavioural difficulties.

Does goat’s milk cause less symptoms?

In 80% of my young patients, their symptoms improve once they’re no longer exposed to cow’s milk protein – either by the breastfeeding mum avoiding cow’s milk in her diet or changing the formula fed baby to a non-cow’s milk based formula.

While it’s not always the answer, children who have reactions to cow’s milk will often tolerate goat’s milk; it’s always a good place to start.

What’s so good about goat’s milk?

The chemical make-up of goat’s milk is similar to human milk and digests in about 20 minutes, as opposed to cow’s milk, which takes 2-3 hours. 

Less digesting, due to smaller, less allergenic protein and fat molecules, provides a little body with quick access to abundant nutrients without additional stress on their system.  More efficient digestion means there’s far less likelihood of an allergic reaction from large undigested proteins moving through the gut wall into the blood stream. 

Goat milk is also higher in vitamins and minerals than cow milk, supporting immunity, growth, healing and overall well-being in your toddler.


about the author - Karena Tonkin

arena is a clinical nutritionist, presenter, educator and health coach working in private practice and within the corporate sector.

Karena's private Nutritional and Environmental Medicine practice in Brighton is dedicated to the integrative and holistic care and treatment of children and adults with chronic physical, mental and behavioural conditions.




featured in this article:

Goat Milk Toddler Formula

from $34.95

Bubs Goat Milk Drink is exclusively formulated for tiny Australian tummies, providing the building blocks to promote healthy growth & development.

Goat milk naturally supports gentle digestion & may be a good alternative for babies with sensitive tummies. Goat milk is also naturally rich in probiotics and nucleotides.


  • From a Nutritionistgoats milkhealthynutrition

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