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
- 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:
- Has higher levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and biotin.
- Better source of copper
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.