Picking a baby formula for your child can be a hard decision. This is your child’s food, and you want to make sure that you pick the right one for your baby. Without the right milk, your baby won’t receive the nutrients necessary to grow and reach milestones. You might be wondering about the differences between Similac vs. Enfamil, two of the most popular baby formulas on the market.

Before we get too far, it’s important to remember that there isn’t one formula or formula brand that works for every single baby. We wish that is possible, but it’s not. Everyone is different, and that includes your baby. What works for your friend’s baby may not work for your child.

Remember that all infant and toddler formulas sold in the United States must meet the minimum nutritional requirements set by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations. That doesn’t mean that all infant formula brands are the same; they aren’t. Rather, it means you can use Similac, Enfamil or a store brand such as Target or Kroger, and they all do have to meet the minimum nutritional needs for infants.

The Types of Baby Formula

Similac and Enfamil sell different types of baby formula, including:

  • Cow’s Milk-Based Formula
    If your child isn’t breastfed, then a cow’s milk-based formula is typically the first choice that you’ll make. It’s the formula that most babies handle well, and every brand sells some type of cow’s milk-based formula.
    • Enfamil Lipil
    • Similac Advance
  • Gentle Formulas
    A gentle formula uses less lactose than a typical cow’s milk-based formula. If your baby struggles with gassiness or fussiness on regular formula, your pediatrician might recommend that you try a gentle formula.
    • Enfamil Gentlease Lipil
  • Lactose-Free Formula
    Some babies struggle with lactose intolerance, so these babies need lactose-free formula. You might also want to try a hypoallergenic formula for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk. Cow’s milk protectins are often harder to digest than human breast milk.
    • Enfamil LactoFree Lipil
    • Similac Sensitive
  • Added Rice Starch Formula
    Babies who struggle with acid reflux may require a formula with added rice starch to help thicken the formula. A thickened formula doesn’t come back up as easy, reducing spit-up and helping your baby grow easier.
    • Enfamil A.R. Lipil
    • Similac Sensitive R.S.
  • Soy Formula
    Many babies require a soy formula due to galactosemia, lactose intolerance, or a milk protein allergy. If your baby falls in this category, there are many brands to try. Soy formula has increased in popularity over the years.
    • Enfamil Prosobee Lipil
    • Similac Isomil Advance
  • Premature Baby Formula
    Premature babies need more calories and additional nutrients when compared to babies who were born at full-term. Low birth-weight babies may also fall in this category if your pediatrician wants your baby to grow at a faster rate for health concerns.
    • Enfamil EnfaCare Lipil
    • Similac Neosure
  • Toddler Formula
    Some parents like to keep their baby on formula after they are 12 months old, typically for growth and health purposes.
    • Enfamil Next Step Lipil
    • Similac Go & Grow

Differences in Baby Formulas

You’ll notice some differences between brands and additions to baby formulas. For example, you might compare two formulas, but one contains probiotics while the others don’t. Some might use different sources of fats, such as using soy and coconut oil rather than palm olein oil.

A few differences and additions to baby formulas include:

  • DHA and ARA
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Antioxidants
  • Organic Ingredients

Comparing The Nutrients

To help you make a decision when it comes to Similac vs. Enfamil, let’s take a look at how the two brands compare when it comes to their major nutrients, as well as their vitamins and minerals.

The Big Stuff – Calories, Fats, Carbs, and Protein.

The four big players when it comes to your baby formula are the calories, fats, carbs, and protein. Let’s take a look at two choices – Similac Advance and Enfamil Infant, which are two popular picks.

  • Similac Advance
    • 20 calories per ounce
    • 10.7 grams of carbs per 100 calories
    • 2.1 grams of protein per 100 calories
    • 5.6 grams of fat per 100 calories
  • Enfamil Infant
    • 20 calories per ounce
    • 11.2 grams of carbs per 100 calories
    • 2.1 grams of protein per 100 calories
    • 5.3 grams of fat per 100 calories

Vitamins and Minerals

Next up, you want to compare the vitamins and minerals. There are a few differences and similarities. Both formulas contain the same amount of vitamin A, which is necessary for proper growth and development. Also, Enfamil and Similac use the same amount of iron and calcium. Iron is needed for cognitive and psychomotor development, and calcium is a necessity for growing bones.

The differences you should note include:

  • Similac
    • Has higher levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and biotin.
    • Better source of copper
  • Enfamil
    • Contains more vitamins B12, C, E, and K.
    • Has more pantothenic acid, folic acid, choline, and inositol.
    • Higher amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iodine, and selenium.

Similac vs. Enfamil: A Look at Their Formulas

Let’s take a look at the similar products that Similac and Enfamil offer and compare them to find similarities and differences.

Enfamil Infant vs. Similac Advance

These formulas are the basic, standard infant formulas that you will use if your child doesn’t have any allergies or complications that would require a different type. Enfamil Infant and Similac Advance are the two most popular choices, and they have all the necessary fats and nutrients to encourage your baby to grow.

Similarities
  • Both are milk-based and use a mixture of high oleic safflower oil, soy oil, and coconut oil.
  • Neither uses extra added sugars.
  • Similac and Enfamil use DHA, choline, and vitamin K along with a prebiotic.
Differences
  • Enfamil uses palm olein oil because it’s a fatty acid similar to breast milk, but it’s not gentle on tummies.
  • Similac has added lutein for vision health.

Enfamil Gentlease vs. Similac Sensitive

Both Gentlease and Sensitive is meant for babies who struggle with gassiness, fussiness, or spit-up frequently. Both formulas are meant for sensitive tummies, so which one do you want to pick?

Some parents believe that the Enfamil Gentlease is better for babies because it doesn’t contain added sugars and

Similarities
  • Offer the same amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and water.
  • Use corn syrup solids
  • Both offer a non-GMO version
Differences
  • Enfamil uses partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate solids from soy to make it easier for delicate tummies to digest.
  • Similac uses milk protein isolate as an easy-to-digest ingredient, but this is known to trigger allergies. Similac contains more linoleic acid and added sugars.

Enfamil Nutramigen vs. Similac Alimentum

If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk, then you might debate between Enfamil Nutrmamigen and Similac Alimentum. Both are designed for babies who present colicky symptoms when exposed to cow’s milk. Your baby might have a mild aversion to the milk, while some are totally incapable of digesting cow’s milk protein.

Enfamil claims that their formula helps to reduce colic caused by a cow’s milk allergy in two days. Nutramigen helps to reduce colic, and it also helps to reduce cow’s milk allergies while ensuring your child receives all the necessary vitamins. It’s a hypoallergenic formula that’s easy to digest.

Similac Alimentum reduces colic that is caused by a sensitivity to cow’s milk protein. They claim their formula helps to reduce those colic symptoms in one day while promoting overall health. It’s important to note that, while their formula is hypoallergenic, it’s not totally lactose-free because there are still products from milk in their formula. It does lack actual lactose, which is harder to break down.

Similarities
  • Both use casein hydrolysate which is smaller, easier-to-digest proteins made from cow’s milk proteins.
  • Both use sugars to help with digestion. Enfamil contains corn syrup, which Similac uses corn maltodextrin.
Differences
  • Enfamil uses modified corn starch to help thicken the formula, making it easier to digest. Some babies don’t tolerate it well.
  • Similac has a higher amount of linoleic acid and added sugars on top of corn maltodextrin.

Enfamil A.R. vs. Similac Sensitive R.S.

Enfamil A.R. and Similac for Spit-Up are for babies who have spit-up more regularly than an average baby might. Enfamil claims that their A.R. formula helps to reduce spit-up by over 50%, which many moms confirm is true. That might be because Enfamil adds two prebiotics to help with digestive health along with a thicker formula that still easily passes through an appropriately sized nipple.

Some parents notice that Similac helps to reduce spit-up because it doesn’t have as many milk products. If you think that’s the culprit of your baby’s spit-up, Similac S.R. may be a good choice. It does lean heavily on sugars, which might make it taste better.

Similarities
  • Contains sugars to help decrease fussiness.
  • Both use rice starch to thicken formulas.
  • Similar mixtures of vitamins and minerals.
Differences
  • Enfamil’s first ingredients are nonfat milk, vegetable oils, rice starch, lactose, and maltodextrin. Enfamil also uses two prebiotics.
  • Similac’s first ingredients are corn syrup, modified rice starch, milk protein isolate, vegetable oils, and one prebiotic.

Enfamil ProSoBee vs. Similac Soy Isomil

If you want soy, milk-free formula for your baby who can’t digest cow’s milk, the two popular choices are Enfamil ProSoBee and Similac Soy Isomil. These two choices are gentle for your baby’s tummy, which is already sensitive to milk.

Both of these formulas are great for colicky babies who struggle with digesting lactose. It’s also a choice that some vegan families prefer to avoid animal-based products.

Many parents prefer ProSoBee because it uses fewer sugars. Sugars can be harder to digest for some infants, but if your baby doesn’t like the taste of the ProSoBee, then consider Similac’s Soy Isomil.

Similarities
  • Corn syrup is the first ingredient.
  • Uses soy protein isolate to avoid all milk-based products
  • Both provide all of the nutrients needs for your baby to grow and thrive.
Differences
  • Enfamil uses soy protein as the third ingredient.
  • Similac has soy protein as the second ingredient, and they use added sugars along with a higher linoleic acid amount.

Picking the Right Infant Formula

Making a choice between Similac vs. Enfamil can be hard. They both are great choices for your baby! If you are feeling unsure about your choice, talk to your pediatrician! They can offer better advice about which formula they think is better formulated for the needs of your child.

1 Comment

  • Passerby
    Posted April 9, 2019 8:11 pm 0Likes

    Thank you, this was really easy to understand.

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