Mothers find it hard to make choices on right infant formula. The pros and cons of Similac Vs Enfamil are often discussed a lot in several health and parenting forums.
Today, you can find infant formula manufactured by different companies on sale in family stores and pharmacies. There are several verities of baby formula prepared for infants and children in different age groups. Some of them are even customized to suit different health conditions and special needs for the additional nutrition which the baby requires.
Two major brands of infant formulas sold in the U.S are Similac and Enfamil. You can choose Enfamil OR Similac for your baby. However, you must know the advantages and differences of between these two bands and the categories of infant formula products they have for making the best choice for your baby.
What Are Infant Formulas?
Undoubtedly, the breast milk is the best food for infants. Mother’s milk contains all essential nutrition required for the best nourishment of the baby.
Many studies in the past have reported that breastfed babies are known to have higher IQs and better health than non-breast fed babies. Researchers say that breastfeeding improves the health of both mother and her baby. It also improves the emotional and mental health of the child (1,2,3).
Unfortunately, many mothers are not able to nurse their babies, and they are forced to feed their babies with infant formula, an alternative to mother’s breast milk. Many a mother does not get time to nurse their babies as work commitments keep them away from home. There are others who can’t do it because of health or cultural reasons. In such cases, infant formula is the best replacement for mothers’ milk.
Infant formulas are made of cows’ milk or soybean proteins as base content. Different categories of baby formulas are available; even for babies with food related allergies, lactose intolerance or other health issues.
All the infant formula products are fortified with essential vitamins, minerals and all other nutrients. Brands like Similac and Enfamil produce several categories of milk replacements supplements to address the specific nutritional need of the baby.
It is safe to feed the babies with infant formula, especially the ones produced under the strict guidelines of FDA specifications and rules.
Best And Most Popular Infant Formulas In The US
In the US, 90% of the infant formula market is claimed by 3 products sold by 3 companies. The biggest brand is Enfamil from Mead Johnson which occupies about 50% of the market share in this product category. Enfamil also has the toddler formula sold as Enfagrow. About 30% of the market share for this product is held by Similac formula from Abbott Laboratories, and 10% by Good Start Formula from Nestle.
In this article, we shall be concentrating on benefits and advantages of Enfamil Vs Similac as these two brands together hold 80% market share in the US for infant formulas.
Both Similac and Enfamil are high-quality mother’s milk replacement supplements. These companies are engaged in continuous research and development since years to produce the best quality nutrition supplements for infants. Their products contain carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals required for the healthy growth and development of the baby. They are certified by the authorized government health agencies and comply with the guidelines of FDA.
Both brands have similar products as well as several categories of supplements to cater to the particular health needs of children in different age groups and health conditions.
Some of their products contain arachidonic (ARA) and docosahexaenoic(DHA) which are polyunsaturated fatty acids (with omega 3 and omega 6). These fatty acids are essential for the infants’ mental and visual development similar to that of breastfed babies. Infants who are not fed on breast milk should be fed with iron-fortified formulas that contain DHA and ARA during the first 9 to 12 months of their life.
Advantages Of Enfamil & Enfagrow Baby Formulas
Enfamil is the largest-selling breast milk replacement supplements for babies in the US. They have highly advanced R&D center with health experts who have successfully developed several categories of infant formula products.
Some of the most popular baby formulas by Enfamil are:
- Enfamil Infant for infants (0 to 12 months)
- Enfamil Newborn for newborn child(0 to 3 months)
- Enfagrow Toddler for toddlers ( from 10 to 36 months)
Enfamil products are scientifically developed with the exact amount of vitamins and nutrients required for babies in particular age group. It is meant to promote healthy growth of the child and also to develop a strong immune system in the baby.
Enfamil Newborn meant for babies below the age of 3 months contains 400 IU of Vitamins recommended to newborns by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is also fortified with DHA and ARA found naturally in mother’s breast milk.
Enfamil has few other categories of infant formulas specially developed for providing specific vitamins and nutrition for infants in different needs of health. They are:
- Enfamil Enfacare (for premature babies);
- Enfamil A.R. (for babies with frequent spit ups);
- Enfamil Pregestimil (for babies with poor absorption problem)
- Enfamil Nutramigen (for babies with protein assimilation issues)
- Enfamil ProSobee and Enfragrow Soy (soy based formula for infants and toddlers)
- Enfamil Gentlease and Enfragrow Gentlease (for babied with digestive issues)
Advantages Of Similac Infant Formulas
Just like the Enfamil, Similac also has different categories of infant formulas. Similac focuses on providing expert advice for a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies with ideal brain and eye development. Most of their products are specially fortified with Lutein, DHA, and Vitamin E besides all other regular nutrition and vitamins. Lutein plays a major role in developing a healthy vision and DHA is required for the development of the brain.
Most popular products from Similac are ‘Similac Advance” for infants up to 12 months and ‘Similac Go & Grow’ for toddlers.
Similac also has several varieties of products to cater the different needs of growing babies under different health conditions and age groups. Some of the unique supplement products from it are:
- Similac Expert Care for Diarrhea (for those frequently suffer from diarrhea);
- Similac Expert Care Alimentum (for babies experiencing protein sensitivity or food allergies);
- Similac Sensitive for Spit-Up (those suffering from frequent spit-ups);
- Similac Expert Care NeoSure (for prematurely born babies);
- Similac Sensitive ( for babies with lactose sensitivity issues);
- Similac Soy Isomil and Similac Go & Grow Soy (soy based formula for infants and toddlers)
Enfamil Vs Similac; Advantages And Differences
Now our discussion is turning on to Similac Vs. Enfamil.
After making an in-depth comparative analysis on both of these products, I have found only a few minor differences between both the brands.
The actual Enfamil Vs. Similac advantages and disadvantages come to the fore only when we talk about the customized supplement product types they have developed for babies with special nutritional need and health conditions. The primary products of both the brands are same as they contain similar ingredients and produce the same end results.
Now let us look at some of the significant difference between Enfamil and Similac according to the nutritional values of various products they have on sale.
Primary Nutrients: Carbs, Protein And Fat
The two core products from them are Similac Advance and Enfamil Infant. Let us have a look at the differences among the prime products of these two companies:
- Both contain 20 calories per ounce;
- Enfamil Infant has slightly lower amount of fat but higher amount of carbs than Similac;
- Similac Advance contains 6 grams of fat, 11.2 grams of carbs, and 2.1 grams of protein per every 100 calories serving
- Enfamil Infant contains 5.3 grams of fat, 11.2 grams of carbs and 2.1 grams of protein per every 100 calories serving;
- Bothe the products contains a standard amount of Calories set by FDA.
Mineral Composition In Similac Advance Vs. Enfamil Infant
Both the products have same mineral ingredients in them. However, they slightly vary when it comes to a number of minerals contained in them. Similac Advance has a higher amount of copper while Enfamil Infant has higher amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, zinc, and selenium. An equal amount of iron and calcium is present in both the supplements.
Vitamins In Similac Advance And Enfamil Infant
There is a considerable difference between Enfamil Infant and Similac Advance about the number of Vitamins in them. They contain all the essential vitamins, but they vary in quantity. Similac Advance has a higher amount of vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and biotin than its rival. Whereas, Enfamil Infant is a better source of pantothenic acid, choline, vitamins B12, C, E and K, folic acid, and inositol.
Vitamin A in both the formulas is equal; Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for the healthy growth of infants.
Additional Nutrition In Similac And Enfamil
Similac Advance and Enfamil Infant have added some special nutrients in them. These are special nutrients like DHA that usually the baby gets from mothers’ milk only. Both the brands have added DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid in their product. Enfamil was the first to add Prebiotics nutrients in baby formulas which help the growth of friendly gut bacteria. According to a review article published in 2013 in “The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews”, the nutrient Prebiotics is beneficial for preventing eczema (4).
Should You Choose Similac Or Enfamil?
It is really a tough question to answer whether you should be choosing Enfamil Or Similac. Both the brands are offering high-quality infant formulas that contain all essential nutrients and Vitamins required for the healthy growth of the baby.
These brands strictly adhere to the guidelines of the FDA and are approved by Government health agencies.
However, you can either choose Enfamil or Similac, depending upon the specific nutritional needs of your baby. Both the brands have particular categories of products for infants in rare health conditions or nutritional deficiency.
If you are interested in organic infant formula, the Similac Advance Organic formula is the best.
Enfamil has two excellent products for a normally healthy child, Enfamil Infant, and Enfamil Newborn. However, Similac does not have a special category of product for infants below 3 months, and its Similac Advance is meant for 0-12 months old baby.
Enfamil Newborn is specially formulated with prebiotics to help the babies’ natural digestive and immune system; also contain DHA and ARA required by the baby.
If your baby has a fat absorption problem, it is better to provide the baby with Pregestimil offered by Enfamil, but Similac does not have any specific product in this category.
Another doubt most mothers have is whether they should choose ‘powder or liquid’ formula for the baby. Honestly, there is no difference between them from the point of nutritional value.
Powder formula will not get contaminated easily, but liquid formula comes in ready to use form. You can also save a few bucks by opting to buy the powder formula as they are cheaper than liquid formula.
If you have decided to purchase the powder formula, then you have to make sure that you don’t add less or more than recommended quantity per serve. If the baby has the powder formula in excess, it might upset baby’s stomach. If the powder is not diluted well, it might also clog the bottle’s nipple.
Finally, what is preferred by the baby should be the deciding factor on choosing the powder or liquid formula.
Here is the comparative analysis of products by Enfamil And Similac (Source: www.diffen.com)
Types Of Products
|Mead Johnson||Abbott Laboratories|
|Products for pregnant women||Expecta R Lipil – support brain development of baby||Similac Prenatal|
|Formula for overall infant growth||Enfamil R Premium||Similac Advance, Similac SimplySmart|
|Formula For feeling fuller for long||Enfamil R Restfull||Nil|
|Formula to reduce Stomach Upsets||Enfamil R. Gentlease R||Similac Sensitive|
|Formula to reduce spit-up||Enfamil A. R.||Similac for Spit-Up|
|Formula to manage colic||Nutramigen R with Enflora LGG||Similar Expert Care Alimentum|
|Soy-based, milk-free formula||Enfamil R Prosobee||Similac Soy Isomil|
|Formula for prematurely born infants||Enfamil R EnfaCare and Enfamil R Premature||Similac Expert Care NeoSure|
|Formula to fortify breast milk||Enfamil R Human Milk Fortifier||Nil|
|Formula for infants with poor fat absorption||Pregestimil R||Nil|
|Formula for lactose sensitivity||Nutramigen R AA||Similac Expert Care Alimentum|
|Vitamin D supplement for breastfed infants||Enfamil R D-Vi-Sol Drops||Nil|
|Vitamin A, C and D for breastfed infants||Enfamil R Tri-Vi-Sol||Nil|
|Formula to replace electrolytes and water||Enfamil R Enfalyte||Nil|
|Formula to provide vitamins during growth spurts||Enfamil R Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron Drops||Similac Go & Grow|
|Formula iron and calcium||Enfamil R Fer-In-Sol Drops||Nil|
|Formula to treat diarrhea||Nil||Similac Expert Care for Diarrhea|
|Formula for toddlers||Yes||Yes|
The Bottom Line
Feeding the baby with infant formulas like Enfamil or Similac is the best option if the mother cannot breastfeed the child for some reason or other. When you have decided to go for the baby formula, it’s nice to do a comparative analysis of Enfamil Vs. Similac.
For a healthy and normal child, you can choose either Similac or Enfamil. However, if your child has special health issues like lactose sensitivity, protein absorption difficulties, diarrhea, etc.issues, then you have to choose the specific formulas that cater to such matters. For example, Similac has unique infant formula for babies with lactose sensitivity. Enfamil has a specific product for babies below 3 months old and toddlers. You will find much more such varieties of infant formulas developed by both the brands. So, you should choose Enfamil or Similac according to the specific need of your child.