I have a 3-month-old foster child who's thriving on fresh goat's milk. When should I start feeding her solids and juice?
The latest recommendation is to introduce solid foods at 6 months. Juice isn't necessary but up to 4 ounces can be given by cup after 6 months. Citrus juices are best left until after 1 year of age. However, I am very concerned about your child's current diet. Goat's milk, like cow's milk, is very high in minerals and protein. It's designed to promote the rapid growth of baby goats, so I'm sure your child is gaining weight. The salt and mineral balance in this milk, however, may be causing a strain on your child's gut and kidneys. The protein component may be setting her up for later allergies. These are the same reasons that we advise parents to avoid cow's milk for the first year of life, to allow for the baby's digestive and immune systems to mature. Goat's milk is deficient in folic acid, iron and vitamins A, C and D. Although the last four can be provided as a supplement, folic acid cannot. The body doesn't store it well and uses it to produce rapidly dividing cells such as those that make blood cells. Folic acid deficiency can lead to anaemia and other difficulties. Commercial formulas are designed to closely imitate the composition of human milk. They are the next best thing to human milk for human infants. I strongly advise you to switch to one of these until she is a year old. In addition, unpasteurised milk can carry a real risk of infection, from gastroenteritis to tuberculosis. These infections are very serious in young infants. Commercial formulas are manufactured to the highest standards and, if prepared according to package directions, do not add risk of infection. Infants should avoid fresh milk products other than human breast milk. If commercial formula seems too expensive and you are on Income Support, contact your child health clinic to see if you are eligible for tokens for free milk (or baby milk if your baby is under a year old).