Many of you have requested a detailed and thorough review regarding the difference between nutramigen and alimentum after having read this review here, so here we are, answering all your questions regarding these two giant players in the specialized formulas industry.
What & Why They Exist?
Many of you are here because you searched for solutions for your gassy or colicky baby.
You have tried all the recommended bottles (and probably a bunch of other stuffs) but your baby's condition is not improving.
Then you decided to try switching infant formulas, and came across the brands "Enfamil" and "Similac" during your search. In particular, you see the terms "Nutramigen" and "Alimentum" very often - what are they, you may wonder?
For those that do not know, they are basically two types of specialized hypoallergenic formulas that are yep, you've guessed right - respectively manufactured by Enfamil and Similac, the two giant infant formula brands that target reflux, gas, colic and allergy problems.
You see, the causes of issues like gas, reflux, colic and allergy do not deviate too far from the following 2 reasons:
1. Cow's Milk Allergy
If your baby is struggling to sleep, has excessive gas and cries for more than three hours a day, s/he may be experiencing colic due to cow’s milk allergy.
HOW TO SPOT
What this means is that your baby cannot tolerate a certain type of protein that exists in cow's milk. Such intolerance will trigger their immune system to overreact, causing symptoms like rashes, hives or even breathing difficulty.
Worse, loss of consciousness can occur.
This is not simply a case of mild intolerance but more of one on a serious scale. Babies with cow’s milk allergy also have a higher probability of developing other allergies such as asthma or eczema.
2. Milk/Lactose Intolerance
Milk/lactose intolerance is another common cause. What this means is that babies lack a certain kind of enzyme that is necessary to break down lactose in their little body.
Without such enzyme, lactose cannot be digested. As a result, it causes gassiness, bloating and cramps that make baby extremely fussy.
The good thing is, while this can be pretty uncomfortable for baby, it is not as life threatening as milk allergy.
Nonetheless, you would want to ease and relief your baby from such discomfort and it goes without saying that you will not want to put your baby at any kind of risk associated with cow's milk allergy.
One way to do that? Put them on a specialized formula, hence the existence of Nutramigen and Alimentum.
So, Alimentum or Nutramigen?
As both are rather similar products, the 'enfamil vs similac' question is often inevitable: which one is more superior?
There are certainly differences in terms of their formulation and ingredients but both Alimentum and Nutramigne are actually hydrolysate.
What this means is that they contain partially broken down milk protein chains while still remaining as milk-based powder.
This aims to tackle the above-mentioned problems because with milk protein chains that are already (partially) broken down, baby's tummy will have much less work to do in terms of their digestion.
Ultimately, when it comes to the nutramigen vs alimentum debate, we have to say it is not a matter of which wins out over the other. Rather, it very much depends on your baby and his/her unique taste.
What may be the ultimate solution for one baby's reflux or colic problem may not necessarily work on another baby, so it is a matter of trial and error before you find the one that works for you.
Our guided review below will nevertheless assist you in making an informed decision so that you may hopefully get it right the first time around because, well, who doesn't want to save their baby from these pain and discomfort as soon as possible, right?
The Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG is a hypoallergenic infant formula powder that is specially formulated for babies with cow's milk allergy.
It is available in three versions - powder, liquid concentrate and ready to use bottles:
Ready to Use
13 fl oz
32 fl oz
Great value for everyday use
Great value for everyday use
Great for on-the-go
1. Enfamil Nutramigen Ingredients
Out of all the ingredients listed on the left, we'd like to highlight the existence of the probiotic LGG.
The most extensively studied probiotic for allergy management and digestive health support, LGG provides baby's immune system the support it needs to build up a tolerance to milk proteins so that you can switch to a more traditional formula sooner.
Which brings us to our next point - age.
Enfamil Nutramigen is catered to babies 0-12 months old because they are most vulnerable at this stage, after which many would have outgrown their intolerance by the age of 1.
However, before that, the nutramigen works as a great relief to ease babies of gas and colic symptoms and discomfort.
Albeit being dairy and soy free, nutramigen is nutritionally packed with every essential needed by baby's body, resembling the formulation of breastmilk.
This includes the ever important DHA and ARA that is vital for brain and eye development.
Proteins are pre-broken down into smaller parts so they won't irritate the gut and intestines like how traditional formula might, and with the aforementioned probiotic that promotes healing and strengthening of the intestines, problems like colic, reflux, and gas can be managed and controlled thoroughly.
At least through the first 12 months of age, Nutramigen alone is enough to meet the complete nutritional needs of your infant without any other supplements.
While you should generally wait for at least two weeks after making the switch to specialised formula to conclude if it works for your little one, many parents have found rather instant improvement with Nutramigen as early as the first feeding.
In fact, 90% of infants reportedly found relief within 48 hours, so we'd say you have a rather high chance of getting it right with enfamil nutramigen.
If you do not already know, babies who are allergic to cow's milk are more prone to having other allergies such as asthma, eczema rhinoconjunctivitis and urticaria.
With Nutramigen, there is a 50% chance these challenges will not happen and this is clinically proven by medical experts.
Further, it has also proven to have helped babies return to consuming milk protein at a later stage without an allergic response.
We will be honest here, Nutramigen is not the tastiest milk around but so are many other specialised formulas (including alimentum).
This is unavoidable for hypoallergenic formulas - they will have a stronger smell and taste compare to traditional milk or soy formulas.
The good news is, your baby is likely not able to tell the difference especially if you start them young but do be prepared that your little one may reject it.
Being a specialized hypoallergenic infant formula, you have to be prepared that the Enfamil Nutramigen does not come cheap, at the very least, it is more expensive than traditional infant formulas.
However, you're probably aware already that cost is going to be high when your baby needs a special formula. Our advice? Subscribe to a plan or buy in bulk to help save some bucks on this amazing formula.
Store nutramigen only at room temperature - do not ever freeze the powder or expose it to excessive heat because it may separate in the refrigerator.
After opening the can, keep it tightly covered and store in dry area.
We don't recommend using a baby formula dispenser or bottle maker system because hypoallergenic powder tends to clump up, so just prepare and mix it manually. Remember, the contents must be finished within 1 month but that wouldn't be much of a problem, if any.
Moving on to Alimentum, a baby formula by Similac that is specially formulated for milk allergy and colic caused by protein sensitivity.
If you don't already know, Similac is the #1 infant formula brand that is used across hospitals in the U.S to feed newborn babies.
Like Nutramigen, it is available in both powder form and ready to feed version too.
1. Alimentum ready to feed vs powder
Unlike Nutramigen whereby there is no other difference aside from ready to feed being more convenient than powder (can be consumed immediately upon pouring), Alimentum ready to feed and powder version is actually quite different in their formulation.
Not by a lot though, but Alimentum ready to feed (rtf) actually does not contain any corn and it has much lesser soy content than its powder counterpart (1% vs 8%).
What this means is that it eliminates even the last bit of source that may cause an allergic reaction in babies (some are severely allergic to soy or corn) so one can say that the alimentum ready to feed is more foolproof.
Apart from that, alimentum rtf also eliminates the chance of any bubbles forming like what you get from shaking when you manually mix your infant powder so even more gas is reduced and further lowering the chance of reflux or colic.
Also, with the powder version, some parents have noticed that baby's stool turns funny (mucus-like) which otherwise is nonexistent when baby is fed rtf. Not everyone experienced this though, so keep note of that.
If you want a completely soy free hypoallergenic formula, then look no further, the Alimentum ready to feed (rtf) is the answer for you.
And while there will be a slight odor to any specialised formula, parents have claimed that this one here is easier to the nose compare to powder.
Similarly, alimentum caters for newborns up to 12 months of age after which, hopefully, you will be able to switch to traditional formulas after baby has outgrown his sensitivity stage.
In terms of nutrients, like Nutramigen, it has everything a baby's body needs including DHA and ARA, special nutrients that are found in breast milk vital for supporting brain and eye development.
Likewise, pre-digested protein that is fully broken down into tiny pieces is included as well to virtually eliminate any possible allergic reaction in most babies who are allergic to cow's milk protein.
And oh, Similac is the first leading infant formula brand that guarantees the no-use of artificial growth hormone.
Alimentum claims to start working within 24 hours, though there is no guarantee to this. This is because different babies have different preference - it could be very well that your little one may reject the alimentum due to its taste or smell, but for those that can accept it, it will be a relief to know that it provides almost instant relief in just 24 hours.
There is no exception in the taste department - alimentum shares the same fate as nutramigen in that it has a stronger taste and smell than traditional formulas.
To some, it can be pretty nasty but babies generally seem to be quite accepting of it since most have never been exposed to much other tastes, so that is a relief.
And as mentioned above, we do notice its ready to feed version has a more forgiving smell which makes things a little easier for the moms.
While it is certainly an expensive formula being hypoallergenic, it does come slightly (just slightly) cheaper than nutramigen.
However, when it comes to your baby with special dietary needs, we think choosing one that works best on him/her is the priority as opposed to choosing based on price. And it is only a few cents difference, anyway.
Powdered infant formulas like the alimentum are not sterile so they should not be fed to premature infants or infants who might have immune problems unless directed and supervised by your baby's doctor.
As with anything special related to your baby, we recommend to always consult baby's doctor first before switching formulas.
And oh, never use a microwave to warm the alimentum!
At A Glance ... (if you just want to know the difference between enfamil and similac)
To summarize the debate of nutramigen vs alimentum, here is a simple guide to see their differences at one glance:
Claims to work in 48 hours in reducing gas
Claims to work in 24 hours in reducing gas
Case varies depending on baby
Case varies depending on baby
Stronger taste and smell
Milder taste and smell (still has an odour)
$1.90 per ounce (powder version)
$1.83 per ounce (powder version)
At the end of the day, we have to say that there is no one product that is more superior over the other when it comes to the question of nutramigen vs alimentum.
Ultimately, it depends on the individual baby on a few factors - how serious is their sensitivity and intolerance, what is their own unique taste and what their preference is.
But one thing is for sure - either nutramigen or alimentum will provide some form of relief in one way or the other for babies with special dietary needs. Good luck!