A Formula for Success: The List

(a comparison of commercial infant formulas)

This is an extensive list of commercial infant formulas, along with a brief description of each. This list is meant to be used in conjunction with A Formula for Success: The Ultimate Guide to Infant Formulas. If you haven’t read it yet, please do; this list will be confusing if you don’t.

Unless otherwise noted, all formulas are compared to each brand’s standard formula. I’m specifically excluding toddler formulas (because there’s no reason to buy them). I’ll try to keep this list up-to-date, but if you notice that something is missing or incorrect, please let me know. I’ve included links to each formula on Amazon.com so that you can easily compare current prices, read reviews, and purchase these products if you desire. When comparing prices, be sure to look at how much formula the can actually makes, not just the ounces of powder.

(None of these companies paid me anything, and I am not specifically recommending any specific formula. Please note that I do get a small percentage of any purchase you make using these links–but it won’t cost you a cent.)

Brand Name Formulas

Enfamil

  • Infant– Enfamil’s standard formula. 20 Calories per ounce; 60/40 whey/casein ratio; contains DHA/ARA; prebiotics.
  • Newborn– For birth to 3 months. Slightly more vitamin D and linoleic acid. Otherwise, appears to be the same as Infant.
  • For Supplementing– Slightly higher protein/carbohydrate ratio; lower linoleic acid; slightly more sodium, calcium, and phosphorus; higher vitamin D (same as Newborn); reduced lactose.
  • Gentlease– Marketed for fussiness and gas. Partially hydrolyzed protein; reduced lactose.
  • Reguline– Marketed to promote soft stools. Partially hydrolyzed protein; prebiotics (emphasized, but appear to be the same as in standard formula).
  • AR– Marketed for reflux. Contains rice starch that thickens formula to reduce spitting up–which usually isn’t a problem.
  • ProSobee– Marketed for fussiness and gas. Enfamil’s soy-based formula; lactose-free.
  • Nutramigen– Extensively-hydrolyzed; hypoallergenic; lactose-free. Used for milk protein allergy, among other conditions.
  • Pregestamil– Extensively-hydrolyzed; hypoallergenic; lactose-free; 55% of fats from MCT oil. Used for fat absorption problems, among other conditions.
  • EnfaCare– Premature infant formula. 22 Calories per ounce (compared to 20 for standard formula) to promote catch-up growth. Higher protein content; 20% of lipids from MCT oil; more calcium and phosphorus for bone growth.

Similac

  • Advance Stage 1– Similac’s standard formula, for birth-12 months; 19 Calories per ounce; 80/20 whey/protein ratio; contains DHA; prebiotics.
  • Advance Stage 2– For 6-12 months. Slightly higher protein, calcium, and phosphorus.
  • Advance Non-GMO– Same ingredients as standard formula, but from non-GMO sources.
  • Advance Organic– Same ingredients as standard formula, but from organic sources.
  • Sensitive Stage 1– For birth-12 months. Reduced lactose formula.
  • Sensitive Stage 2– For 6-12 months. Reduced lactose; slightly more vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus than Stage 1.
  • Sensitive Non-GMO– Reduced lactose formula; same as Sensitive Stage 1, but from non-GMO sources.
  • For Supplementation– Appears to be exactly the same as Advance Stage 1, only relabeled.
  • Total Comfort– Marketed for discomfort. Partially-hydrolyzed protein; reduced lactose.
  • Soy Isomil– Marketed for fussiness and gas. Similac’s soy-based formula; lactose-free.
  • For Spit-up– Contains rice starch that thickens formula to reduce spitting up. Reduced lactose.
  • Alimentum– Extensively-hydrolyzed formula; lactose-free; 33% of lipids from MCT oil. Contains DHA/ARA. 20 Calories/ounce (similar to other brands, slightly higher than most Similac formulas).
  • NeoSure– Premature infant formula. 22 Calories per ounce to promote catch-up growth; higher protein, calcium, and phosphorus. 25% of lipids from MCT oil.

Gerber Good Start

  • Gentle– Gerber’s standard infant formula. 20 calories per ounce; 100% whey protein, partially hydrolyzed (called “comfort proteins,” but that’s marketing, not magic). Contains DHA/ARA; prebiotics.
  • Soothe– Marketed for crying, colic, and fussiness. Contains probiotics; reduced lactose.
  • For Supplementing– Contains probiotics; higher vitamin D.
  • Soy– Gerber’s soy formula. Unlike others, soy protein is partially hydrolyzed. Lactose-free.
  • Extensive HA– Extensively hydrolyzed 100% whey protein; hypoallergenic; 49% of lipids from MCT oil; probiotics.

Elemental formulas

  • Elecare– Elemental formula; 33% of lipids from MCT oil; contains DHA/ARA; lactose-free.
  • Enfamil PurAmino– Elemental formula; 33% of lipids from MCT oil; contains DHA/ARA; lactose-free.
  • Neocate– Elemental formula; 30% of lipids from MCT oil; contains DHA/ARA; lactose-free; contains nucleotides (unlike other elemental formulas).

Store Brand Formulas

Most store brand formulas are made by the same company, Perrigo Nutritionals. The following is a description of the different types of formulas that they make and the brand-name formulas they are modeled after:

  • Infant– Compare to Enfamil Infant. 20 Calories per ounce; 60/40 whey/casein ratio; contains DHA/ARA; prebiotics.
  • Advantage– Compare to Similac Advance Stage 1. 19 Calories per ounce; 80/20 whey/protein ratio; contains DHA; prebiotics.
  • Gentle– Compare to Enfamil Gentlease. 20 Calories per ounce; 60/40 whey/casein ratio, partially-hydrolyzed; contains DHA/ARA; prebiotics.
  • Sensitivity– Compare to Similac Sensitive. 19 Calories per ounce; 80/20 whey/protein ratio; reduced lactose; contains DHA; prebiotics.
  • Added Rice– Compare to Enfamil AR. 20 Calories per ounce; 60/40 whey/casein ratio; added rice starch that thickens formula to reduce spitting up; contains DHA/ARA; prebiotics.
  • Soy– Compare to Enfamil ProSobee or Similac Soy Isomil. Soy-based formula; lactose-free; contains DHA/ARA.

Organic Formulas

Baby’s Only

This was a tricky one. I didn’t include any other toddler formulas, because toddlers don’t need formula. But while the manufacturer’s legal team tries to cover it up with the “toddler formula” label, everyone knows that people use this as an infant formula. They have charts that compare it to other infant formulas. They show pictures of how to mix a 2-ounce bottle. The FDA figured it out, too, and sent them a stern warning in 2012. If you look around online, you’ll read that their reason for calling it a “toddler formula” is because they encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first year. But that’s not what their website says:

After formula feeding or breast feeding the first year, Baby’s Only Organic Toddler Formula is a good nutritional choice to assure continuation of strong growth and development.

And in that case, it’s entirely unnecessary. The whole thing seems shady to me, and I’m more concerned about what’s actually in the formula than whether it’s certified organic. Nevertheless, I’m a realist and I know that people use it. So while I don’t recommend it, here’s what they offer:

  • Dairy– 18/82 whey/casein ratio (more suitable for baby cows than humans); does not contain DHA/ARA, nucleotides, or prebiotics; higher calcium and phosphorus levels than infant formulas (which may not be a good thing).
  • Dairy with DHA and ARA– Same as Dairy, but with added DHA/ARA.
  • Dairy with Whey– 60/40 whey/casein ratio (tied with Enfamil; lower than Similac or Gerber Good Start). Calcium and phosphorous content is more consistent with infant formulas. Does not contain DHA/ARA, nucleotides, or prebiotics. If I had to pick a Baby’s Only product, it would be this one–with a DHA supplement.
  • LactoRelief– Same as Dairy, but lactose-free and with calcium and phosphorous levels similar to infant formulas.
  • Soy– Soy-based formula; lactose-free. Does not contain DHA/ARA, nucleotides, or prebiotics. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium significantly higher than soy-based infant formulas.
  • Cholov Yisroel– Same as Dairy, but “made from the milk of kosher cows and was manufactured under strict rabbinical supervision.” Not certified organic.
  • Parve Soy– Same as Soy, but “made with non-GMO ingredients and was manufactured under strict rabbinical supervision.”

Earth’s Best

  • Infant formula– Organic, no genetically engineered ingredients. 60/40 whey/casein ratio. Contains DHA/ARA.
  • Sensitivity infant formula– Same as standard formula, but with lower lactose (replaced by glucose syrup).
  • Soy infant formula– Same as standard formula, but soy-based and lactose-free.

Honest

  • Organic infant formula– Organic, non-GMO. 30/70 whey/casein ratio (more similar to cow’s milk than breast milk). Does not contain DHA or ARA: “The Honest Company has chosen not to include DHA in our Organic Premium Infant Formula because the only DHA approved for use by the FDA in infant formula does not meet our rigorous Honest standards.” I admire their commitment to quality  (and their honesty)–but personally, I value neurodevelopment more. To be fair, they do offer DHA as a very expensive supplement.

Vermont Organics

  • Organic milk-based formula– Organic, non-GMO. Contains DHA/ARA. I have been unable to find a whey/casein ratio or lactose percentage for this product. There’s more information about what isn’t in their formula than what is, and that’s concerning to me.
  • Organic soy-based formula– Organic, non-GMO. Soy-based formula; lactose-free; contains DHA/ARA.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this information helpful. If you did, please share with other current or expecting parents. And if you haven’t already, be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates about new posts. I love interacting with my readers and would be happy to answer any questions you have.

-Chad

As always, your comments are welcomed (even if you happen to disagree). I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Please try to keep it civil--I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “A Formula for Success: The List

  1. This is a really helpful article. Thank you! There is one detail I’d suggest adding: Similac’s standard formula contains lactose to sweeten whereas their organic formula uses actual sugar. I’m not sure why as other organic formulas use lactose.

Comments are closed.