Whey Protein in Baby Formula

April 05, 2019 Updated on May 27, 2020 2 min read

Protein is a critical macronutrient for babies and is required for the proper growth and development of muscles, bones, teeth, hair, and the immune system. Read on to learn about whey protein, why it may be in baby formula, and how it may help to ease tummy troubles in little ones.

Smiling African American Toddler Boy 

What is whey protein?

There are two main groups of proteins found in cow, goat, and breast milk: whey and casein. Whey dissolves readily during digestion and remains liquid in the gut. Casein must form small spheres (called micelles) to be digested and coagulates to form a curd in the gut. Liquid whey is emptied from the stomach into the intestines more quickly than the casein curds, making it easier to digest.

Why do some baby formulas add whey protein?

Breast milk is the gold standard for infant nutrition. Unlike breast milk (with more whey than casein proteins), cow and goat’s milk both have considerably less whey than casein. In order to more closely simulate the whey to casein ratio found in breast milk, baby formula manufacturers often add whey protein, resulting in an adapted whey to casein ratio.

Whey is easier to digest than casein; baby formulas with high casein may be more difficult to digest. Adding whey protein to baby formula may help to reduce tummy troubles in little ones. Interestingly, not all whey is broken down equally: research has shown that goat’s whey is degraded even faster than cow’s whey.

How do I know if a baby formula adds whey protein?

Baby formula ingredients are listed in order of amount by volume. Baby formula with added whey will list whey protein on the ingredient list. This results in an adapted whey to casein ratio.

In North America, it is common to add cow whey protein in cow milk formula; the amount of whey used varies, so formulas will have different whey to casein ratios. Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula* is the only goat milk formula to adapt it’s whey to casein ratio with the addition of goat whey protein concentrate.


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Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula may be an option for little ones during feeding transitions, such as weaning and supplementing, or those with minor issues associated with cow milk sensitivity*.

*Not suitable for children with confirmed cow milk protein allergy

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