Baby Feeding

Enfamil Gentlease vs Similac Sensitive – Which “Comfort” Formula is Best?

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If you’re in the market for sensitive formula, our Enfamil Gentlease vs Similac Sensitive comparison may be just what you need.

Every parent using formula has probably felt the same way – that sense of overwhelming confusion when facing a huge aisle full of different types of baby formula. If you have a baby suffering from a lot of gas and discomfort, picking the right formula can feel like the most important decision you’ve ever made.

Enfamil and Similac are both popular brands, and they both make formulas made for babies with sensitive stomachs.

But how can you tell which one is better? What are the differences between them?  And how are ‘comfort’ formulas different from regular formulas, anyway?

Keep reading. We’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Our Pick - Enfamil Gentlease Sensitive Baby Formula
$33.36 ($1.20 / Ounce)

We gave Enfamil Gentlease a slight edge over Similac Sensitive because it not only has thicker texture as opposed to Similac Sensitive, and it's suitable for most babies, but it's also the most affordable option of the two, which we're sure you will appreciate. 

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
08/12/2020 10:35 pm

Main Differences Between Enfamil Gentlease vs Similac Sensitive

The main differences between Enfamil Gentlease vs Similac Sensitive are:

  • Enfamil Gentlease is pretty affordable, whereas Similac Sensitive is more expensive.
  • Enfamil Gentlease uses gentle and broken-down lactose proteins to improve stomach sensitivity, whereas Similac Sensitive is lactose-free.
  • Enfamil Gentlease has a fairly ‘normal’ consistency for formula, whereas Similac Sensitive has a thicker texture.

That’s about it! The main thing to note is that Enfamil’s Gentlease uses broken-down lactose proteins to create a gentler formula, but Similac Sensitive removes lactose completely. If you suspect your baby may be sensitive to lactose, this could be the deciding factor for you.

Other than that, they are very similar. Let’s check out the things they have in common.

Enfamil Gentlease vs Similac Sensitive – the Similarities

There are a lot of similarities:

  • They both provide all the vitamins and minerals that young babies need
  • They’re both designed to ease gas and discomfort
  • Neither are specifically designed for acid reflux
  • They both come in a variety of can sizes as well as ready-to-use bottles
  • They both use corn syrup
  • Neither are organic

Before we look at each of them in more detail, let’s check out what a sensitive formula actually is.

What to Look for in a Sensitive Formula

baby formula

What is a ‘sensitive’ formula, and how does it differ from a regular formula? 

In terms of preparation, the sensitive formula isn’t that different from regular formula. You can usually buy it in powder or ready-to-use liquid form.

There are several options out there by different brands, so we’ll have a quick look at all the choices available to you.

Lactose-Free Formulas

Some babies have difficulty digesting lactose, which can cause gassiness, reflux, and discomfort (and a lot of crying along with it). Some formulas solve this by removing the lactose completely (like Similac Sensitive). If your baby really struggles, it may be worth trying a lactose-free formula to see if it makes a difference.

Reduced Lactose Formulas

Other companies use lactose but break down the proteins to make them easier to digest or reduce the amount of lactose without removing it completely (this is what Enfamil Gentlease does). This can be a good first step to try, as sometimes just a little less lactose is enough to help with discomfort and gas.

Probiotics

Some formulas (like the Good Start Gerber Soothe Infant Formula) include probiotics, which is great for improving gut health. This is a good option to try and may help to improve balance in gut bacteria.

Hypoallergenic

Some are hypoallergenic (like Enfamil Nutramigen). This means the proteins have been pre-digested to break down the proteins into tiny, manageable amounts. Hypoallergenic formulas can help to improve gassiness, reflux, constipation, and eczema.

Dairy-Free

Some formulas are completely dairy-free, aimed at babies with dairy intolerance or allergies. They tend to be made with goat or soy milk. You should speak to a pediatrician before swapping your child onto dairy-free milk.

Texture/Thickness

A thickened formula can make a big difference to acid reflux, which is why some babies really benefit from a formula specifically designed for reflux. (Like Enfamil AR).

Close to Breastmilk?

Some formulas are advertised as being ‘closer to breast milk’ than other formulas. Formula companies are discovering ways to introduce ingredients and compounds into a formula that are normally only found in breastmilk (for example, MFGM and DHA, a fat-protein blend found in breastmilk that is especially important for healthy brain development).

It’s always worth further research into ingredients to see if a company can back up their claims – the ingredients list will always give you the full picture, especially if you concentrate on reading through the vitamins and minerals section.

Brain Development

As we mentioned before, there are certain ingredients that are really important for the brain development of babies. Some companies have formulas that are specifically designed to boost brain development, but is it worth spending the extra money on them?

According to this article, the consensus is that these fatty acids are helpful – but they’re not guaranteed to make your child smarter in the long run, so don’t worry too much if you can’t afford to go for the more expensive brain-boosting options. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to brain development.

Minimum Requirements and Safety Concerns

The FDA does have minimum requirements for baby formula. You can find out more about this here – they also have tips on how to avoid counterfeit formula and more information about vitamins and minerals. It’s worth checking it out if you’re concerned. You can trust that the big, well-known formula brands will be strictly adhering to these guidelines.

Enfamil Gentlease

enfamil infant formula

Enfamil Gentlease is a formula designed for a baby’s first year. It is formulated to ease gas (and therefore crying and fussiness), and it claims to do that within 24 hours. It uses gentle proteins for sensitive tummies and provides complete nutrition for healthy growth. It’s sold at a decent price point, which is a definite plus for parents, and parents have reported it works well if you want to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding.

It has omega-3 DHA and choline, which are two nutrients found in breast milk to support the baby’s brain development. Enfamil also sells NeuroPro Gentlease, which includes a fat-protein blend MFGM and DHA which is ideal for an extra brain development boost, but this has different ingredients than the plain, standard Gentlease.

They also sell Enfamil AR, designed for babies struggling with acid reflux. If your baby’s stomach problems are reflux-related, you may want to check that one out instead. Enfamil Gentlease is readily available, and it comes in powder form or ready-to-use bottles.

Our Pick - Enfamil Gentlease Sensitive Baby Formula
$33.36 ($1.20 / Ounce)

We gave Enfamil Gentlease a slight edge over Similac Sensitive because it not only has thicker texture as opposed to Similac Sensitive, and it's suitable for most babies, but it's also the most affordable option of the two, which we're sure you will appreciate. 

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
08/12/2020 10:35 pm

Similac Sensitive

similac sensitive

Similac Sensitive is also a formula designed for a baby’s first year. It’s ideal for babies with a lot of gas and mild spit-up problems. It contains milk protein isolate, meaning the lactose has been removed. So, if your baby has lactose sensitivities, it’s a good choice.

Similac formulas have ‘OptiGRO’ in their formula – this is a mix of vitamins and nutrients as close to breast milk as possible. It includes DHA, lutein, and Vitamin E, all of which are essential for brain and eye development. 

Similac offers a bunch of other formulas for sensitive stomachs, including Pro-Total Comfort (supposedly the most gentle formula they make for very gassy and fussy babies), Similac for Spit-Up (for less-frequent spit up), and Similac Pro-Sensitive (similar to Sensitive, but includes lactose). You can read the difference between Similac Sensitive and Similac Pro-Sensitive in our comparison here.

Similac Sensitive is available in powder form or ready-to-use bottles.

Similac Sensitive Infant Formula
$12.24 ($0.25 / Fl Oz)
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
08/13/2020 07:34 am

Nutritional Facts

Enfamil Gentlease

  • Child Age Range: 0-12 months
  • Key Nutrients: Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin D, Cobalamin, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B-6, Magnesium, Omega 3 DHA, Choline
  • Other Ingredients: Corn syrup solids, whey protein concentrate solids, palm olein oil, soy oil, coconut oil, high oleic sunflower oil
  • Available Sizes: 12.4oz can, 19.9oz can, 32fl oz ready-to-use bottle
  • Does it Use GMO Ingredients? No
  • Artificial Flavors, Sweeteners, and Colors: None

Similac Sensitive

  • Child Age Range: 0-12 months
  • Key Nutrients: Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B-6, Magnesium, Omega 3 DHA, Choline, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin
  • Other Ingredients: Corn syrup, sugar, milk protein isolate, coconut oil, high oleic safflower oil, soy soil
  • Available Sizes: 22.5oz can, 29.8oz can, 34oz can, 32fl oz ready-to-use bottle
  • Does it Use GMO Ingredients? No
  • Artificial Flavors, Sweeteners and Colors: None

Parent Reviews

Enfamil Gentlease

enfamil gentlease formula

Parent reviews for Enfamil Gentlease are pretty good overall.

The main thing to consider is – does it work to make babies more comfortable? Well, some parents reported they did see a dramatic change in their babies within 24 hours as Enfamil’s marketing states, with a vast improvement in gassiness and discomfort.

Some parents found that their babies’ constipation improved once they switched to Gentlease from another formula. Plus, parents really enjoy the fact that Gentlease is fairly affordable – feeding babies can get expensive, so it’s good to have a more budget-friendly sensitive-tummy option.

However, there are less favorable reviews too. Some parents found that the formula tastes bitter and that their babies didn’t like it. Some parents also found that their baby’s fussiness didn’t improve that much on Gentlease, so they were going to move onto a different formula instead. It can be a case of trial and error when finding a suitable formula.

Also, something to be aware of – quite a few parents found when ordering online that the formula cans arrived without resealable lids, leaving them with no way to keep the formula fresh after they’d opened it.

Similac Sensitive

similac sensitive formula

Some parents got on really well with Similac Sensitive, reporting a big difference in their baby’s gassiness. Many parents switched to this formula from another type of formula and reported that their baby’s symptoms cleared up quickly, which is great – many babies had less wind and discomfort after switching to Similac.

They liked that there is a reasonably affordable lactose-free option out there, which is sometimes hard to come by.

However, there are downsides. Some parents say that their babies don’t like the bitter taste and that they found it a bit thick and bubbly when freshly prepared – some babies really don’t enjoy thicker formulas.

Also, a couple of parents found that it made their babies’ tummies a little bloated, which is obviously the opposite effect of what you want from a sensitive formula. Like we said before, it may be a case of trial and error.

Pros and Cons

Enfamil Gentlease

Pros

  • More affordable than some other formulas designed for sensitive tummies (for example – some organic formulas, like Plum Organics Infant Formula, is quite expensive comparatively)
  • Easy to get hold of
  • Makes a real difference to babies with a lot of gas or upset stomachs
  • Comes in ready-to-use bottles as well as in powder form

Cons

  • Not organic
  • Includes corn syrup, which some parents want to avoid
  • When ordering online, some parents found it didn’t come with a lid attached

Similac Sensitive

Pros

  • Good for babies with lactose sensitivity
  • Makes a big difference to babies with upset tummies
  • Comes in cans and ready-to-use bottles

Cons

  • Not organic
  • Pricier than Gentlease
  • Also includes corn syrup

FAQs

Is formula preparation the same using sensitive formula?

Yes, it’s a similar process – it involves adding scoops of formula to the correct amount of water. The amount of scoops varies between formulas, so it’s best to read the instructions carefully.

Does it matter if my formulas aren’t organic?

It depends on what is important to you. Organic formulas use milk products without pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, or growth hormones.
Some doctors believe that using organic formulas is a healthier choice. Others disagree, saying that the benefits are very minor and don’t justify the higher cost (organic formula does tend to be quite a lot more expensive in the long run). It’s worth bearing in mind that organic doesn’t necessarily mean healthier in terms of ingredients – if you want to avoid certain ingredients it’s always worth checking the ingredients list.

Is corn syrup harmful?

You may be alarmed to discover that some formulas contain corn syrup. Corn syrup is used to replace the natural sugar lactose found in breast milk.
It’s important to note that corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is made of long chains of glucose linked together, made from corn. They provide energy for babies and are easily digested, which is why so many formulas use it. 
High-fructose corn syrup is processed differently so that some of the glucose is converted to fructose (this is what makes cookies, soft drinks, and ketchup so sweet). So, don’t worry – you won’t be pouring tons of sugar into your baby, as the two are different things. Some parents still prefer to avoid corn syrup. In that case, formulas like Earth’s Best Organic are the way to go.

Should I feed a gassy baby differently?

You can do a few things to help gassy babies. Feeding position is super important – make sure to hold your baby’s head higher than their stomach. Burping is obviously key, with regular ‘burp breaks’ during feedings to prevent a build-up of gas. You can also choose different bottles for gassy babies. For example, Dr. Brown’s bottles work well for babies suffering from colic.

What age do babies grow out of fussiness and gassiness?

This really depends on the individual baby. However, most babies will grow out of gassiness at around 4-6 months – so hang in there!

Have either formulas been recalled?

There was one recall for Enfamil Gentlease in 2007, as one batch was found to contain small metal particles. There was a recall for Similac formulas, including Similac Sensitive, in 2010. You can see a list of formula recalls here.

Are Enfamil and Similac trusted brands?

Yes, they are. Enfamil is the number one recommended brand by pediatricians in the US, and 8 out of 10 birthing hospitals use Enfamil. Meanwhile, Similac is a popular brand with 90 years of experience, and they use dairy products from cows that haven’t been treated with artificial growth hormones, which is a real plus point.

Alternatives to Try

There are a few alternatives you can try instead if neither Enfamil Gentlease or Similac Sensitive are right for your baby:

  • If you want to stick with Similac, Total Comfort has great reviews from parents of fussy babies. It’s not lactose-free, but it does have gentle proteins for upset stomachs.
  • Gerber Good Start Soothe has probiotics to improve your baby’s gut health – so that may be worth a try if your baby is still experiencing a lot of gas
  • If you want to try a hypoallergenic formula instead, try Nutramigen or Similac Alimentum (check out our comparison here) – either would be a good choice for babies with lactose intolerance

The Final Verdict – Enfamil Gentlease or Similac Sensitive?

As always, it’s really tough to pick a winner when it comes to baby formulas. Every baby is different, and what works for your baby may not work for another. It may take a little time to find the right solution for your family, and it may be a combination of the right formula with the right bottles to help your baby feel more comfortable.

In this case, both formulas are so similar that it’s really hard to differentiate between them. The only real thing that separates them is the fact that Similac Sensitive is lactose-free. If you do want to cut out the lactose completely, give it a try – Similac is a good brand and you can find their products in a lot of stores and online.

But if we had to pick, we’d go for Enfamil Gentlease. It’s a little more affordable, it works really well for a lot of babies, and it’s not as thick as Similac according to user reviews, which gives it the edge. 

However, both options are worth a try for unsettled babies – so go for whichever one you feel more comfortable with!

Our Pick - Enfamil Gentlease Sensitive Baby Formula
$33.36 ($1.20 / Ounce)

We gave Enfamil Gentlease a slight edge over Similac Sensitive because it not only has thicker texture as opposed to Similac Sensitive, and it's suitable for most babies, but it's also the most affordable option of the two, which we're sure you will appreciate. 

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
08/12/2020 10:35 pm

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