Some mothers are not able to breast-feed their infants or don’t want to. Therefore those infants are fed with substitutes, which have to be as close to breast-milk as possible.
Many studies have shown the differences between cow’s milk and mare’s milk in order to nourish infants. The purpose of those studies is to know which kind of milk would be the closest to brest-milk and cover the infant’s needs, and thus be better as a substitute.
Quantitative analyzes have been realised on samples of the three different milks (woman, mare and cow), in order to compare the most important nutrients and elements present in milk, such as lipids, proteins, calcium and lactose. The results of the study shows similarities between the three milks, in particular their water content (88% for breast-milk, 89% for cow’s milk and 89.5% for mare’s milk). However, considerable differences exist. Mare’s milk seems to be closer to breast-milk than cow’s milk. Indeed, the rates of unsaturated fatty acids, lactose and proteins are similar in mare and breast-milk. Differences between those two milks still exist, but seem to be beneficial for infants. For example, mare’s milk contains less lipids than breast-milk, which makes it more digestible for the immature digestive system of infants. Furthermore, mare’s milk has a high rate of vitamin C (7.5 times higher than breast-milk), and could avois the allergies to the proteins of milk.
Mare’s milk seems therefore a better substitute than cow’s milk. However, the production of mare’s milk is difficult and expensive, because it is rare and the conditions of production are not the same. For example, the period of lacattion is shorter than the cow’s one, and a mare only produces milk in presence of her foal.