Mother’s milk is an amazing source of nutrition which presently can’t be duplicated. It is the perfect food for the baby, with a vast array of advantages over baby formula, particularly in the first six months.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life, with a gradual introduction of appropriate complementary foods and continued breastfeeding until the child is 2 years or beyond.
Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) states that more than 66 percent of American infants rely on formula supplements for some or all of their nutrition by three months of age.
According to the Surgeon General report, 64% of American women breastfeed during their infants’ first three weeks of life. However, after six months, that figure reaches 29% for different reasons.
In situations in which breastfeeding an infant is not viable, a mother may choose to use a commercially prepared infant formula. These formulas are suitable for most healthy full-term infants and, according to doctors, should be the feeding of choice when breastfeeding is not possible.
Similac vs Enfamil – which is better?
According to a 2013 Nielsen study, it is the #1 infant formula supplement brand on the market in the United States. It offers a wide range of products, like:
- Similac Prenatal – it provides 22 essential minerals and vitamins, and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid which is an important structural component of the human cerebral cortex, brain, retina, and skin).
- Similac Advance – it is a complete milk-based iron-fortified infant formula, featuring OptiGRO™, an exclusive blend of eye and brain essential nutrients for a healthy development of the baby.
- Similac Sensitive – it is designed for babies 0-12 months old.
- Similac Expert Care NeoSure – it promotes a faster growth during the premature baby’s first year of life.
- Similac Alimentum – it is recommended for babies with food allergies or who are crying due to protein sensitivity.
- Similac Pure Bliss – it is based on dairy from grass-fed cows and has no artificial growth hormones and antibiotics. Also, it is gluten-free.
It is one of the leading brands of baby formula on the market. Products include:
- Enfamil Enspire Powdered Baby Formula – it is advertised as the closest formula ever to breast milk.
- Enfamil Gentlease – it is designed to ease gas, fussiness, and crying in 24 hours while providing essential minerals and vitamins for a healthy development. More importantly, this baby formula supplement has been pediatrician approved because of its capacity to promote healthy communication, cognitive, motor, and social skills due to its composition which promotes a healthy brain development.
- Enfamil Reguline – it is an infant formula supplement that is produced with the aim to promote comfortable stools. Moreover, it has a clinically-proven blend of two prebiotics.
- Enfamil Premium Newborn – this formula is particularly manufactured for newborns, ages birth to 3 months.
- Enfamil Nutramigen – it is a baby formula tested to reduce colic due to cow’s milk allergy within 48 hours.
Both formulas contain the same amount of vitamin A, which plays an essential role in bone growth and vision and also protects the body from infections. Both brands contain 20 calories per ounce.
All infant formula supplements presently sold in the United States are required to meet the same minimum nutritional and safety standards set by the Food and Drug Administration. Hence, they are almost equal when it comes to the important nutrients needed by a baby: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Similac contains close to 50 percent more calcium than Enfamil, which is crucial for building strong teeth and bones and activating the enzymes that transform food into energy.
Similac doesn’t contain palm olein oil. The use of this oil by Enfamil leads to lower bone mineralization for the baby. By using a different type of oil, the Similac formula increases calcium absorption.
Enfamil does contain more levels of AHA and DHA than Similac. Actually, according to studies, Enfamil has twice the recommended levels of DHA, omega 3 fatty acids.
Enfamil is cheaper than Similac.
- throw away the leftover formula after feeding the baby. Do not keep it and use again.
- always test the temperature of the formula on yourself before feeding your baby. Do not boil the water and do not use a microwave. Always warm the baby formula slowly by placing it in hot water.
- After six months of age, the infant should receive age-appropriate foods.
Side effects of infant formula supplements
Many studies provide strong evidence that breastfeeding decreases the incidence and severity of numerous infectious diseases, such as – bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, respiratory tract infection, gastrointestinal illnesses, otitis media, necrotizing enterocolitis, and urinary tract infection.
Because some mothers choose to not breastfeed their babies due to various reasons, here are some possible adverse effects:
- an increased incidence of elevated risks of childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and leukemia as well as of infectious morbidity.
- according to a 2001 study of 2184 children done by the Department of Public Health Sciences, the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, the chance of wheeze and asthma was approximately fifty percent bigger when infants were fed with instant formula compared to infants who were breastfed for 9 months or longer.
- the breast milk is very easily digested compared to commercial infant formula that contains synthetic nutrients (for instance acid folic, the synthetic version of folate or vitamin B9, which is associated with a higher risk of cancer). Furthermore, this may cause your baby to have conditions such as constipation and gas or an upset stomach.
- though the baby formula is fortified with many minerals and vitamins required by a growing baby, nevertheless, it lacks the vital antibodies that breast milk provides to the baby in order to fight infections.