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Watching your baby struggle with reflux can be one of the most disheartening experiences of being a parent. Luckily, there are formulas designed specifically for use with infants who have reflux. They work to quell the frequent spit-up and pain that comes from reflux and will help you and your baby feel better. Similac Spit Up vs Enfamil AR are two of the most popular formulas for helping babies with reflux.
Bottom Line Up Front Summary: We slightly prefer the flexibility of liquid or powder version and more targeted reflux ingredients found with Enfamil AR here (our overall pick).
Main Differences Between Similac Spit Up vs Enfamil AR
The main differences between Similac Spit Up vs Enfamil AR are:
- Similac Spit Up has added nutrients like DHA, lutein, and vitamin E, whereas Enfamil AR has vegetable oils and probiotics.
- Similac Spit Up only comes in a powder, whereas Enfamil AR comes in both liquid and powder forms
- Similac Spit Up blend of ingredients is better for babies who have a wide range of health issues, whereas Enfamil AR is a great choice for babies who have reflux but are otherwise healthy
Reflux is a digestive condition where food re-enters the esophagus from the stomach. It happens in all ages but is especially common for babies because their esophageal diaphragm (the mechanism that holds food in the stomach after it’s already passed through the esophagus) is not yet fully developed.
Because babies spend the majority of their time lying flat on their back, gravity can’t help to keep food down like it might in an adult or a child who can already sit up on their own.
As food passes back up into the esophagus from the stomach, it brings with it stomach acid, which causes a burning sensation that can be very uncomfortable. This is what you may be experiencing when you feel heartburn. For babies, it’s agonizing.
As you might expect, when food comes back up the esophagus, it can cause excessive spit up or vomiting. It also means your baby isn’t absorbing the nutrients they need and can lead to poor weight gain as well as other health issues.
While spitting up in infants is common, acid reflux typically peaks at around four months of age and one of the most common signs that your baby has reflux is spit-up coming out both the mouth and the nose.
How the Right Formula Can Help With Reflux
Formulas designed to help with reflux are much thicker than breastmilk or other infant formulas. This thick consistency is much like a milkshake, and it makes it harder for the food to re-enter the esophagus because it’s too thick.
While it’s still possible, it does so in much smaller quantities. It also contains additional nutrients that your baby needs to maintain proper weight gain. Your baby will keep more of his food down and absorb more of the nutrients he needs to develop.
While there are also medications that can help infants who have reflux, these are often only used in extreme cases or when formula alone doesn’t help. Always consult your baby’s doctor if you feel like he or she needs more than a formula to alleviate the issue.
Similac Spit Up is specially designed to reduce spit-up and aid with reflux because it’s thicker than most other formulas. Similac offers a regular formula and a non-GMO Spit Up alternative, although the non-GMO version is not available in all countries.
Similac Reduce Spit Up is made with extra vitamin E, lutein, and DHA, giving your child an added dose of the nutrients they may need, especially if they’ve struggled to gain weight due to excessive spitting up.
While every child responds differently to every formula, the parent reviews of Similac Spit Up are overwhelmingly positive, which should give you confidence that it is likely to work, even for your fussy baby.
Answer: A lot of infant formulas cause gas because they form bubbles as you mix them. As your baby swallows air, it gets trapped in his stomach and causes uncomfortable gas. The same is true for Enfamil AR, especially because it’s so thick. While Enfamil AR can cause gas, typically these issues are few and far between, compared to the frequent spitting up that you have to deal with when your baby has reflux.
If gas is already a problem for your baby, Enfamil AR may not be the right solution. Instead, you can try Enfamil Gentlease, which is designed to be easier to digest and will help alleviate the problems your baby has with gas and excessive crying.
Answer: While these formulas are very similar and are used to treat similar issues, the ingredients vary slightly. Similac Spit Up contains corn syrup as a source of carbohydrates while Enfamil AR uses lactose. Similac Spit Up uses nonfat milk as the protein source while Enfamil AR uses milk protein isolate.
Answer: For the most part, Enfamil products are better for otherwise healthy babies. However, Similac shines when it comes to immune health concerns and other select health issues. When it comes to a baby with reflux, which one you choose is largely dependent on whether or not your baby has other health issues or which ingredient list your babies prefer.
Answer: Yes, your newborn can have Enfamil AR, because it’s designed for infants twelve months of age or younger. You can even start them on it immediately after they’re born if you anticipate problems with reflux, although it’s not common until around four months of age.
Answer: Yes, as long as you follow the proper dosing instructions, it shouldn’t hurt your baby to switch from one to the other, or back again. Many new moms like to clip coupons or buy what’s on sale this week, so if you want to switch the brand of formula your baby uses on a whim, you can.
Answer: Weight loss is common for babies with reflux because they spit up so much that they don’t absorb any of the nutrients in their food. The idea behind a formula designed for babies with reflux is that they’ll be able to keep it down easier and absorb what they need. Enfamil AR and Similac Spit Up both contain additional nutrients that are designed to not only help with reflux but help your baby maintain healthy weight gain.
Answer: Reflux is typically not caused by an upset stomach. Babies with upset stomachs have different issues like excessive gas or colic. However, reflux can be very painful and dangerous if it’s not treated. Signs that your baby has an upset stomach due to his current formula include:
• Excessive crying or fussiness
• Not eating or sleeping well
• Wiggling, squirming or arching his back
• Diarrhea Always consult your baby’s doctor if you think there’s a problem.
Switching to a gentle formula may help. If you notice vomit coming out of both the mouth and the nose, you’re likely dealing with reflux, and a change in formula can help with that, too.