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Nutrition for Infants and Children

Breastfeeding: Human Milk Versus Animal Milk

Milk from cows and goats is quite different in composition than human breast milk and, therefore, should not be fed to human infants. Human milk, which is designed specifically for promoting infant health, is much lower in protein, calcium, and sodium, and higher in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, carbohydrates, folate, and vitamin C.

Comparing Human and Animal Milks (per cup)

Nutrient Human Milk Cow's Milk Goat's Milk
Calories 172 146 168
Protein (g) 2.5 7.9 8.7
Fat (g) 10.8 7.9 10.1
Saturated fat (g) 4.9 4.6 6.5
Monounsaturated fat (g) 4.1 2.0 2.7
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1.2 0.5 0.4
Carbohydrate (g) 17.0 11.0 10.9
Folate (mcg) 12 12 2
Vitamin C (mg) 12.3 0 3.2
Sodium (mg) 42 98 122
Iron (mg) 0.07 0.07 0.12
Calcium (mg) 79 276 327

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2004. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.

 

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