Choosing the right formula for your baby can be a tough challenge – especially if your baby suffers from lactose intolerance or milk allergy.
Sometimes, all you can do is try, fail, and try again, until you finally find the right product for you. Nevertheless, we hope that this article will spare you from this ordeal and help you make the best choice right from the start: Our EleCare vs Alimentum comparison takes a look at two of the best hypoallergenic formulas on the market.
EleCare and Alimentum are both formulas designed for babies with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. If you’re confident that you can recognize the symptoms on your own, you can try these products independently to see if they resolve your problems. Another (more recommended) alternative is to get your baby properly diagnosed by a pediatrician and then get hypoallergenic formula on a prescription.
Which of these hypoallergenic formulas should you try first? Here are some of the most important differences between them:
- 1 Main Differences Between EleCare vs Alimentum
- 2 EleCare vs Alimentum – The Formulas Compared
- 3 EleCare – In Depth
- 4 Alimentum – In Depth
- 5 Are There Any Alternatives?
- 6 FAQs About EleCare vs Alimentum
- 7 The Verdict: EleCare vs Alimentum – Which one is better?
Main Differences Between EleCare vs Alimentum
The main differences between EleCare vs Alimentum are:
- EleCare is not using any ingredient derived from milk, whereas Alimentum is using Casein hydrolysate, which is a broken-down milk protein.
- EleCare is designed especially for severe milk intolerance, whereas Alimentum is more suitable for mild to moderate allergies.
- EleCare is slightly more expensive, whereas Alimentum is more affordable.
- EleCare reportedly smells and tastes milder, whereas Alimentum can taste or smell a bit too harsh to more sensitive people.
EleCare vs Alimentum – The Formulas Compared
Once you’re sure you should be looking for a formula for your little one in a hypoallergenic aisle, the overwhelming amount of options significantly shrinks. But there are still enough alternatives out there to make you feel unsure and confused. Given how important a well-chosen baby food is (good night’s sleep, resolving colic or excessive gasses, etc.), the situation can easily become frustrating.
Instead of running through the whole range of products, we suggest you should focus on the best ones. EleCare and Alimentum are two of the most commonly recommended formulas for babies with milk allergy or lactose intolerance. They have a lot in common, including their manufacturer (Abbott Laboratories), but they also have several key differences that should not be missed.
Let’s focus on each of them separately and explore their respective pros and cons in detail.
EleCare – In Depth
Both of the products are designed specifically for babies with sensitive tummies and digestive issues, which can include colics, reported irritation from lactose or milk protein, or other relatively common problems.
Many digestive issues babies experience are caused by their inability to tolerate or process protein (hydrolyzed or intact). EleCare is a formula that contains only proteins that were broken down into the smallest particles – amino acids (that’s why it’s also known as an amino acid-based infant formula). This makes protein much easier to digest and allows babies to stay calm and content.
EleCare doesn’t contain any milk-based or lactose-based ingredients, so this formula is suitable even for babies with severe intolerance or allergies. Besides resolving digestive problems, EleCare also provides infants and toddlers with many important nutrients to support their growth and overall well being.
EleCare formula is enriched with DHA and ARA to mimic some of the crucial benefits of breast milk which are mainly important for the healthy development of the eyes and brain.
Moreover, EleCare ingredients include corn syrup, high oleic safflower oil, medium-chain triglycerides (a very effective source of energy), reduced amount of soy oil, and L-glutamine.
Variety of options
As we’ve already mentioned above, EleCare is available in two age-adapted versions:
- EleCare Infant: comprehensive hypoallergenic nutrition from birth to 12 months of age
- EleCare Junior: for kids from 1 year onwards
While Infant formula, understandably, comes in a single neutral-flavored version, Junior formula can be bought also with Vanilla, Chocolate, and Banana flavor (great for picky babies, but it’s also highly appreciated by parents who can’t stand the typical smell of a non-flavored formula).
EleCare is often sought after by parents as their last resource of hope when their little ones suffer from tough allergic colitis, eczemas, refluxes, and other typical problems related to immature digestion. Although EleCare contains small doses of soy, parents with kids sensitive to soy often claim this formula worked well for them too. It’s not suitable for those who have issues with corn though.
Most of those who try EleCare claim they truly find this formula more efficient than most of the competition from the same class, but almost everyone also agrees that the price is very demanding. Applying for insurance coverage is highly recommended, if possible.
Some customers claim that EleCare smelled or tasted bad, synthetic and unnatural. Also, some report that it leaves stains on textiles when spitted out. But these are all quite common problems with many baby formulas, especially the hypoallergenic ones.
- Hypoallergenic formula created for babies suffering from lactose/milk intolerance
- Amino-acids based formula
- Comes in infant version and junior version
- Contains small amounts of soy protein and corn syrup
- The Junior version comes in four different flavors
- It’s more expensive than most of the formulas from the same class
- Contains DHA and ARA
- Suitable for babies with severe allergies or intolerance
- It comes in two age-adapted versions
- It works even for babies with severe problems
- It’s enriched with DHA and ARA
- It contains very little soy
- It’s more expensive than most of the competition
- Its taste and smell can be repelling to some customers
- It contains corn syrup
Alimentum – In Depth
Alimentum is another formula designed particularly for babies suffering from lactose intolerance-related problems such as painful gasses, colic, severe reflux, etc. Just like EleCare, Alimentum is also produced by Abbott Nutrition under its sub-division Similac. Although this formula comes in one version only (0-12 months), there are various types of packaging for different needs and lifestyles.
The main difference between EleCare and Alimentum is that while EleCare doesn’t contain any milk-related ingredients at all, Alimentum does contain casein hydrolysate derived from actual cows milk. While this heavily processed ingredient won’t cause problems to most babies with mild to moderate allergies, severely affected kids might be irritated.
If this particular factor isn’t an issue, Alimentum has a lot to offer. This formula contains various valuable nutrients essential for your baby’s growth including DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in maternal milk that is mainly linked with healthy development of the human brain). The formula also contains lutein (beneficial for the eyes development), Vitamin E, iron, and some other nutrients.
Parents who’d like to make sure that their kids are not getting any palm olein will appreciate the complete absence of this ingredient in Alimentum. You can also opt for a corn-free version.
Variety of options
Alimentum is an infant formula suitable for babies between 0 and 12 months of age. There is no other version for older kids, but you can choose between different packages/substance forms:
- Alimentum Infant 1.24-lb Powder
- Alimentum Infant 12.1-oz Powder
- Alimentum Ready-to-feedBottle*
* Corn-free alternative great for traveling or busy lifestyle
Alimentum swears it can relieve your little one from the digestive problems in just 24 hours. Many parents call this formula a life-saver and claim it really worked for them miracles from day 1. However, no formula works the same for everyone – some babies experienced only mild improvement with this product, or the results took significantly longer to show.
Again, parents (and reportedly their babies too) often complain about Alimentum’s funny smell and ‘cardboard-like’ taste. This can be especially tough for babies who were previously breastfed, as maternal milk is rather sweet and smells natural. Those who had the chance to compare Alimentum with EleCare often say that Alimentum smells and tastes slightly worse.
Some babies reportedly completely refuse to eat it, especially when mixed at home from the powder form. On the other hand, Alimentum’s ready-to-feed bottles are often praised for being much tastier, better accepted, and also very convenient.
If you want to read more opinions on Alimentum, check out our full review here.
- Hypoallergenic formula suitable for babies with lactose-related issues
- It contains iron, DHA, lutein, Vitamin E, and other nutrients
- It contains casein hydrolysate which can be problematic for children with severe milk allergies
- It’s free from palm oil and you can choose a corn-free version too
- It comes in Infant version only (0-12 months)
- There are two different volumes of powder to choose from and one version of ready-to-feed bottles
- It’s good for kids with mild to moderate intolerance and allergy
- It has a corn-free alternative
- It’s slightly cheaper than EleCare
- Ready to feed version is very convenient
- It contains casein hydrolysate, which can be problematic with some babies
- There’s no toddler version of this formula
- It reportedly smells and tastes worse than some competition
Are There Any Alternatives?
If you want to try some other formulas for sensitive tummies, we highly recommend these EleCare vs Alimentum alternatives:
Nutramigen is another popular hypoallergenic formula recommended for babies with lactose intolerance. It comes in three age-adapted versions, and besides the traditional powder version, it’s also available as a ready-to-feed. Nutramigen LGG contains good bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus that help to maintain a harmonious environment in the baby’s digestive system.
Some of the downsides – Nutramigen contains palm oil and corn in each of its versions. Its price is also quite high. Check out our Nutramigen vs Alimentum comparison for more details.
Bebe Mandorle is a milk-free, soy-free, palm-oil-free, and gluten-free formula designed for the pickiest tummies. This formula is produced in France, its ingredients are organic and completely plant-based, and it complies with the strictest EU regulations. It comes in three age-adapted versions.
Some negatives – It’s an expensive formula, and it’s also relatively hard to get, so we suggest ordering it in large doses to avoid shortage. Read our full Bebe Mandorle review here for more information. More recommendations for non-dairy baby formulas can be found here.
FAQs About EleCare vs Alimentum
Need more information before you pick your winner? Here are some of the commonly asked questions you might find interesting:
Alimentum formula is recommended for babies with mild to moderate milk/lactose intolerance. However, it does contain hydrolyzed (broken down) protein derived from cow milk. Clinical tests show that this usually doesn’t trigger any reactions, but if your baby suffers from serious allergies, you might want to consider some other alternative.
Alimentum is a so-called predigested formula – proteins in this product are broken down to the smallest possible particles, which makes digesting much easier. This should subsequently result in relief from excessive gassiness and numerous other symptoms.
The producer of this formula claims that it can help your little one with his digestive problems in just 24 hours, but note that this is highly individual. Some children show signs of relief almost immediately after eating their first dose, others will need some time to adapt.
In general, all hypoallergenic formulas are usually significantly more expensive than their regular counterparts. This is caused by several reasons. First of all, the ingredients that substitute traditional milk-based proteins are much more sophisticated and require demanding processing. Secondly, the development of these formulas includes meticulous studies and researches, which are very expensive too.
To cut your costs, try to apply for coverage from your medical insurance. Your pediatrician might help you with the procedure.
Parents often report almost immediate improvement, but clinical research shows that it usually takes about 1-2 weeks to fully recover from digestive issues after you switch to EleCare.
The Verdict: EleCare vs Alimentum – Which one is better?
If your baby suffers from colics, reflux, or excessive and painful gasses, the hypoallergenic formula will probably be your doctor’s first recommendation. EleCare and Alimentum are usually both high on the list of suggested products. While they surely have numerous similarities, on many occasions they are far from being interchangeable.
Alimentum has many advantages – especially their corn-free ready-to-eat version is definitely worth trying as a convenient and sophisticated alternative. But this brand also has some crucial limitations – it’s not recommended for babies with severe allergies, and it doesn’t have any toddler-friendly version.
That’s why we believe that EleCare is a slightly better alternative for most of the families. Firstly, assessing the severity of your little one’s problems is often not easy – and why would you want to prefer a product that might not be sensitive enough to a product that doesn’t contain any possibly irritating ingredients?
We also really like the idea that you can continue using the same formula as your baby grows up. Searching for another suitable product after your baby turns 1 year would bring only more stress and uncertainty, which is certainly not something you would enjoy. The wide variety of flavors is then just another nice benefit that can help your toddler adapt to his or her new eating habits as comfortably as possible.
The only real downside we see in regards to EleCare is its steep price. However, this is something that cannot be avoided without a quality hypoallergenic formula. Although EleCare is slightly more expensive than Alimentum, the difference is not big enough to be a dealbreaker.