Similac V. Enfamil: How Do The Infant Formulas Compare?

Does the Similac recall have you weighing whether to switch brands?

We’re guessing that the Similac recall will have a lot of parents who may be, you know, a little turned off at the idea of beetle parts in baby formula, considering making a switch to another brand. So what’s the difference between the major infant formula brands anyway?

“The vitamins and minerals in all formulas are similar, since these are governed by strict regulations. However, the nutritional fine points of the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins differ from one brand to another, as the marketing departments of each company are very willing to point out, especially to pediatricians,” according to, which offers a lengthy comparison of the three major baby formula brands, Similac , Enfamil and Carnation. The site warns that, whichever formula you choose, it should be enriched with DHA, which has brain-building benefits.

For those of you weighing a switch, Robin O’Brien, a writer on, lays out the key differences between Similac and Enfamil,

noting, however that a straight comparison is complicated by the multitude of formulas each brand makes.

“However,” she writes, “most parents, who bottle feed using Enfamil or Similac, will use Enfamil LIPIL or Similac Advance.”

Here, according to O’Brien, is why someone might choose Enfamil over Similac:

Enfamil does contain more levels of DHA and AHA than does Similac; about 17mg compared to around 11mg. Many parents have noted that Enfamil doesn’t pack like Similac, which takes the guesswork out of whether you’ve sifted the powder correctly before scooping. Finally, Enfamil is cheaper than Similac.

And here’s O’Brien’s case for Similac:

Enfamil formula is made using palm olein oil; Similac does not. One study suggests that formulas with a fat blend including palm olein oil (e.g., Enfamil, Prosobee) cause less frequent and firmer stools. Similac claim that their infant formula provides 50% more calcium absorption than Enfamil. They also claim that their new, improved formula has fewer bubbles and therefore makes babies less gassy.

Finally, Similac claim that switching to Similac Isomil Advance will reduce fussiness, gas and spit-up in most babies in about 3 days. Many parents complain that the brand of infant formula they’re using causes constipation, gassiness, spit-up and colic in their baby. Often times switching brands eases the condition; often times it doesn’t. Usually, it is choosing a different type of milk formula which is specifically made for the condition that eases the baby’s discomfort.

Unfortunately, the debate as to whether Similac or Enfamil causes adverse reactions for babies is contradictory and often quite heated. One camp will give a big thumbs up for Enfamil, whereas the other camp will rave about the benefits of Similac. Sadly, doctors and hospitals can fail to give guidance, as many are under contract to supply one brand or the other — hardly independent advice.

Good to know. Similac users, what’s your take? Are you going to wait out the recall and stay brand loyal, or are you totally turned off and looking to make a switch?

Photo: The Consumerist

Article Posted 6 years Ago
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