Similac vs Enfamil : Which Formula is Better?

The number of options for infant formulas have increased drastically in recent years, thus making it complicated when it comes to choosing the right one.

Two leading brands of baby formula are Similac and Enfamil, and you might find yourself comparing Similac vs. Enfamil at Walmart. Is one better than the other?

Enfamil vs Similac

Similac and Enfamil are both infant formulas made by leading infant formula manufacturers. They both provide essential nutrition for infants, with Similac offering a number of specialized formulas for different nutritional needs. 

In terms of nutrition, Similac and Enfamil offer similar levels of protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals. Both products also contain prebiotics to support digestive health. The main difference between Similac and Enfamil is in their flavor and texture. Similac is generally considered to be sweeter and lighter in texture, while Enfamil is said to have a thicker, more robust flavor. Both brands also offer organic versions of their formulas.

Overall, both Similac and Enfamil provide adequate nutrition for infants and can be used safely. The choice of which to use ultimately comes down to personal preference.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the pros and cons of Enfamil and Similac.

Safety of Enfamil and Similac

It's always helpful to ask your child's pediatrician for specific recommendations, but generally speaking, all baby and infant formula brands sold in the United States—generic or brand-name—are safe to use. Every formula is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must meet the minimum nutritional requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the "Infant Formula Act").

This means that every major brand, such as Enfamil, Similac, Gerber Good Start, or Earth's Best, plus all store brands from Walmart, Target, or Kroger, etc., are safe to use and will meet your baby's basic nutritional needs.

That said, Enfamil and Similac aren’t exactly the same.

Your pediatrician’s opinion

Formula will play a crucial role for the first year of your baby’s life.

In fact, in the first 6 months, breast milk or formula will be your baby’s exclusive source of nutrition. For the second 6 months, formula will be a primary source of nutrition, along with the gradual introduction of solid food.

Your pediatrician is the best resource in helping make sure your baby is healthy. So ask your pediatrician for their recommendation.

They may also recommend:
  • Enfamil or Similac
  • another brand or even a generic product
  • a specific type of formula
Their office may even have sample products for you to try.

Types of formula made by Enfamil and Similac

Your pediatrician may recommend a type of formula based on your baby’s current condition, such as if they’re premature. You also might find yourself experimenting with different types of formula based on what your baby is willing to accept.

It’s hard to predict a baby’s tastes and reactions. Though your friend’s baby or maybe one of your other children may have thrived with a particular type or brand, it doesn’t mean your new baby will accept it, too.

Basic formula types and their corresponding Enfamil and Similac products include:



Enfamil vs Similac: Main Similarities & Differences

Enfamil and Similac are both among the most popular milk brands in the US. Many of their products have similar content or are formulated to meet the specific needs of your baby. 

Similarities 

  • Both Enfamil and Similac offer a wide range of baby formula milk products. 
  • Both have a non-GMO version of their sensitive formulas. 
  • Both brands are declared by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as safe to be used by babies. 
  • Both brands offer loyalty programs: Similac StrongMoms Rewards and Enfamil Family. Beginnings Program. 

Differences 

  • Enfamil costs more than Similac when comparing similar products. 
  • Enfamil has more natural ingredients compared to Similac. 
  • Enfamil uses less sugar compared to Similac. 
  • Enfamil has higher amounts of iodine, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Enfamil contains more vitamins C, B12, E, and K. 
  • Enfamil has more choline, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and inositol. 
  • Similac is a better source of copper. Similac has higher levels of thiamin, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, and biotin.
  • Enfamil currently has 15 baby formula products, whereas Similac has 20

General Nutritional Comparison of Enfamil vs Similac

Both brands have cow milk-based, lactose-containing formulas enriched with iron, vitamins, and other minerals. For lactose intolerant babies, there are soy-based formulas as well.

Milk Proteins
Similac - Whey and casein proteins
Enfalac - Whey and casein proteins

DHA & ARA
Both brands contain DHA and ARA (Except Nestle Nourish Plus)

Prebiotics
Similac - Contains Prebiotics
Enfalac - Contains Prebiotics

Probiotics
Similac - No Probiotics
Enfalac - No Probiotics

Antioxidants
Similac - Contains Antioxidants
Enfalac - No Antioxidants

Fat Source
Similac - Soy and Coconut Oil
Enfalac - Palm Olein Oil

Price and convenience considerations

One characteristic of formula that affects price is preparation. Formula comes in three formats, each with different price and convenience factors:
  • lowest price: powder (you mix it with water and must use within 1–2 hours of baby starting bottle, depending on brand and type)
  • mid-range price: liquid concentrate (you mix it with water; once mixed, it’s typically refrigerator safe for up to 48 hours)
  • highest price: ready-to-feed (you have no mixing and, once opened, it’s typically refrigerator safe for up to 48 hours)
Both Enfamil and Similac offer many of their products in all three formats. As well as the format, the price of Enfamil and Similac will depend on the type of formula, but like types are comparable in price — such as Enfamil A.R. versus Similac for Spit-Up.


Comparison of Enfamil vs Similac

1. Best Milk Formulas for Overall Nutrition


- Both have added ingredients usually only found in breastmilk. 
- Babies with cow’s milk aversion or are extra colicky should get a different option. 

Differences
- Enfamil contains 50% more DHA and AHA for neural, brain, and eye development
- Enfamil has partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk to make digestion easy

- Similac has added Lutein for eye health
- Similac avoids GMOs
- Similac may use allergenic milk protein isolate and more sugars for a tastier formula


2. Infant Formulas


- Both have about the same calories, fats, carbohydrate and protein contents.
- Both are milk-based and use a mixture of high oleic safflower oil, soy oil, and coconut oil.
- Neither uses extra added sugars.
- Both use DHA, choline, and vitamin K along with a prebiotic.

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.
- Uses palm olein oil because it’s a fatty acid similar to breast milk, but it’s not gentle on tummies.

Similac
- Has higher levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and biotin.
- Better source of copper
- Has added lutein for better vision health


3. Milk Formulas for Babies who Spit Up Often


- Both use rice starch to thicken their formulas
- Both have a lot of sugars to help settle fussy stomachs
- Both have similar vitamin and mineral contents

Differences
- Enfamil A.R main ingredients are nonfat milk, vegetable oils, rice starch, lactose, and maltodextrin.
- Similac’s main ingredients are corn syrup, modified rice starch, milk protein isolate, vegetable oils and one prebiotic.

- Enfamil A.R. has two prebiotics, and overall has more prebiotic content than Similac.

- Similac for Spit-up has two different sugar sources to only one in Enfamil
- Similac for Spit-up has more sugars compared to Enfamil

- Similac for Spit-up has less milk products compared to Enfamil, which could help many babies with their spit-up
- Similac for Spit-up's formula does not contain GMOs.


4. Hypoallergenic Milk Formulas

Enfamil Nutramigen (with Enflora LGG Hypoallergenic Formula for Cow’s Milk Allergy)

- For babies who are allergic or show colicky symptoms to cow's milk, which have proteins that are more difficult to digest than human breastmilk. 
- Both use casein hydrolysate (milk), which are smaller, more digestible proteins derived from larger cow’s milk proteins.
- Both use sugars to aid in digestion

Differences
- Enfamil Nutramigen has been clinically proven to reduce colic caused by an allergy to cow’s milk in about two days.
- Enfamil Nuramigen claims to reduce future incidences of cow’s milk allergies.

- Similac Alimentum claims that their easy to digest formula can reduce colic symptoms in at least one day. 
- Has no lactose, but still contains other milk products.

- Enfamil Nutramigen uses corn syrup
- Similac Alimentum uses corn maltodextrin sugar on top of other sugars, thus Similac has more sugars than Enfamil.

- Similac Alimentum has a higher level of Linoleic Acid than Enfamil Nutramigen


5. Lactose Free Formulas


- Both are for babies who cannot digest cow’s milk proteins. 
- Suggested to try Enfamil’s Nutramigen or Similac’s Alimentum before switching to soy.
- Both formulas use corn syrup as the first ingredient.
- Both use soy protein isolate, completely avoiding milk-based products.

Differences
- Enfamil has soy protein as the third ingredient, after corn syrup and vegetable oils
- Similac uses soy protein as the second ingredient followed by oils
- Similac adds more sugar to their soy formula than Enfamil
- Similac has a higher Linoleic Acid levels

Alert: Similac Formula Recall 2022


FAQs

Can I use Similac and Enfamil at the same time?

Switching between formula brands is not a problem, even though many parents wonder if doing so may cause fussiness or stool changes in their baby. In fact, you can even mix Enfamil and Similac of the same type of formula together if you feel that your baby responds better to a mixture of one brand with another.

You just need to be aware of the basic ingredients found in the same type of formula. As long as you are following standard mixing instructions, it is safe to mix Enfamil and Similac.

Can I mix Enfamil and Similac?

Yes! We know it can be nerve-wracking to switch or mix formula brands, but it’s totally safe to mix them as long as you’re following standard mixing instructions. There’s no reason you can’t mix two different brands or switch between brands.


Key takeaway

Enfamil and Similac both make products that will provide the nutrition your baby needs. Choosing which brand will depend on various factors, including:
  • pediatrician recommendation
  • type (cow’s milk based, lactose-free, premature, etc.)
  • format (powdered, liquid concentrate, ready-to-feed)
  • what your baby will accept
  • cost
But rest assured, both of these brands have high quality and safety standards.



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