By Haley Potter
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Parents across the nation continuing to experience baby formula shortages. And now, one unlikely group is trying to help: goat dairy farmers.
“I really recommend it.” Richard and Nancy Bernhardt raised their child on goat milk from their family farm, starting him when he was a sick infant.
“We happened to say we have to go home and milk our goats and he (our pediatrician) said ‘you have goat milk? Give that boy goat milk,’ and he was fine,” Richard said.
They can’t legally sell it at their farm because they have the license but ever since, they’ve given that goat milk to family and friends, and recommend getting any type of goat milk, whether it be from a farmer or a grocery store, as a replacement for formula during this shortage.
“When formula is not available you have to find something else and this is really good,” Nancy said.
They said you can add some vital vitamins the baby needs in other ways and they say having goats and milking goats is quite an easy process, which includes milking it by hand and straining the milk.
After cooling, the milk is clean and ready for consumption.
Some parents may still be skeptical what they’re giving their infants, so Erie News Now asked a local pediatrician for their thoughts.
“I would not agree that goat milk is a good alternative to formula,” Dr. Robert Burns of Children’s Community Pediatrics said.
He doesn’t recommend goat or cow’s milk or homemade formula for infants because its diluting the much needed nutrients.
“It is not fortified or easily digestible for kids less than one year of age,” Dr. Burns said.
He knows firsthand how much of a problem this shortage is and says breast feeding is his number one suggestion and if it’s not possible he says to look online or at foodbanks for formula.