Parents choose formula feed their babies for a variety of reasons. As we know, not all babies can get breast milk or traditional formula.
Alimentum and Nutramigen are two types of specialty baby formulas. These formulas are often used in babies that are having reflux, colic, or a cow’s milk allergy.
If your pediatrician has recommended these formulas to you, it is likely to help your baby’s symptoms improve. Trying to make a decision to use Alimentum or Nurtramigen can be overwhelming and I want to make sure that you have all of the information needed to make a good decision for your baby.
Today, we are going to be comparing Alimentum vs Nutramigen and seeing if one is better than the other. Use this guide to choose the best specialty formula for your baby!
What makes a Formula Hypoallergenic?
Milk proteins are found in breastmilk and regular formulas. Unfortunately, some babies are not able to handle or digest this protein causing gastrointestinal distress, eczema, and much more.
Hypoallergenic formula is neat because the large milk proteins have been broken down into smaller proteins. This processing make it less likely that babies are going to have problems digesting the formula.
How do You Prepare Baby Formula?
If you aren’t sure how to prepare specialty formula, the good news is that it is super similar to preparing regular formula:
- Make sure to wash your hands before getting started to prevent bacteria contamination
- Next, boil purified or distilled water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius
- Let the water cool to room temperature before pouring into a clean bottle
- Measure out the recommended amount of formula, follow your pediatricians instructions or the label
- Close the lit and shake for approximately 1 minute or until the formula is fully dissolved
- Before serving to baby, make sure that the formula is not too hot/cold by putting a small amount on your wrist
See, not too different from regular formula!
How do You Bottle Feed?
Bottle feeding is a time of bonding with your baby. This time should be relaxing, comfy and safe.
Start by getting into a comfortable seated position. I like to use a boppy pillow to support baby during this time.
Turn baby on their side where your stomachs are touching. Make sure their neck is in a neutral position to prevent pain or trouble swallowing.
I like to pause frequently to allow baby to catch their breath and prevent air from being swallowed. Breaks are also a great time to burp your baby.
Meal times can vary depending on your baby, but they typically last from 10-20 minutes.
Why Might You Need a Specialty Formula?
Specialty formulas are designed for babies that have allergies, gastrointestinal distress, malabsorption or sensitivities.
Those types of issues and concerns leave the need for a formula that can give your baby the nutrients in a way that their body can not only absorb them, but break them down without distress.
How do you Switch Your Baby to A Specialty Formula?
It is important to know that Nurtamigen and Alimentum do not taste similar to other formulas or breastmilk. When first switching over to specialty formula you will want to mix the formulas so that your baby can get used to the taste.
Try something like this:
1st Day: 75% old formula, 25% new formula
2nd Day: 50% old formula, 50% new formula
3rd Day: 25% old formula, 75% new formula
4th Day: 100% new formula
If you can do some variation of the schedule above that is amazing! If not, you can do a bit more of an extended version.
Overview of Nutramigen & Alimentum
Nutramigen and Alimentum are specialized formulas designed for infants who experience digestive issues, such as colic, diarrhea, and constipation due to food allergies or sensitivities. These formulas are often recommended by pediatricians when a baby is unable to tolerate traditional milk-based or soy-based formulas.
Nutramigen is a hypoallergenic formula made by the brand Enfamil. It is made with extensively hydrolyzed proteins, which means that the milk proteins have been broken down into smaller pieces that are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in the baby’s immune system.
Nutramigen is also lactose-free, which means that it can be a good option for babies who have trouble digesting lactose. Additionally, Nutramigen is non-dairy, so it may be a good option for babies who have a milk allergy.
Alimentum is another hypoallergenic formula made by the brand Similac. Like Nutramigen, Alimentum contains extensively hydrolyzed proteins and is lactose-free. However, Alimentum is also soy-free, which may be beneficial for babies who have a soy allergy.
Parents may choose to use Nutramigen or Alimentum for a variety of reasons. For example, if their baby has been diagnosed with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, these formulas can provide a safe and nutritious alternative to traditional milk-based formulas.
Additionally, if a baby is experiencing symptoms such as colic or diarrhea, switching to a hypoallergenic formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum may help to alleviate those symptoms.
What are the Main Similarities of Alimentum Vs Nutramigen?
Comparing the similarities makes it easier to distinguish what is actually different. Companies like to use a lot of language that might seem confusing, so let’s break it down.
-Soy free, however, they contain soy oil (soy oil can potentially cause a reaction)
-Does not have artificial growth hormones
-Casein is extensively hydrolyzed
-Both formulas are pricey
-Both offer relief from discomfort from colic due to milk protein sensitivities, food allergies, and protein sensitivities
-Both formulas have what is called ARA which is an omega 6 fatty acid that helps to bolster the immune system
-Both formulas contain 1.8 mg of iron for every 100 calories
-Both formulas contain DHA which is an omega-3 fatty acid and promote healthy eye and brain development
-Both formulas contain some important ingredients like: Vitamin B2, copper, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin D3
-Nutramigen does not have added sugars or sucrose
-Nutramigen reduces colic within 48 hours according to Enfamil
-Alimentum reduces colic within 24 hours according to Similac
-Nutramigen has more good bacteria for your baby’s gut health
-Alimentum is less expensive than Nutramigen
-Alimentum contains more calcium coming in at 105g, whereas Nutramigen comes in at 94g of calcium
-The company that produces Nutramigen (Enfamil), claims that its formula may be helpful in reducing future allergies
-Alimentum contains something called MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which are fats that make the nutrients easier to absorb
Alimentum Vs Nutramigen – Which Has the Best Features and Safety?
Okay, so you may be wondering out of Alimentum and Nutramigen which has the best features and safety? I want to break that down for you side by side!
Alimentum is one of the most popular hypoallergenic formulas on the market due to its ability to relieve pain and discomfort in babies that experience mild to moderate milk allergies.
- Casein hydrolysate
- Corn maltodextrin
- High oleic safflower oil
- Soy oil
- Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)
- Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (for DHA)
- Mortierella alpina oil (for ARA)
A serving size is 5 oz, so each serving of Alimentium contains:
- 100 Calories
- 5.54 g Total Fats
- 10.2 g Total Carbohydrates
- 2.75 g Protein equivalent
- 1.8 mg Iron
- 105 mg Calcium
- 300 IU Vitamin A
- 60 mcg Vitamin B6
- 9 mg Vitamin C
- 60 IU Vitamin D3
- 3 IU Vitamin E
- 800 mg Linoleic acid
- 8 mcg Vitamin K
- 60 mcg Thiamin (vitamin B1)
- 90 mcg Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 0.45 mcg Vitamin B12
- 1,350 mcg Niacin
- 15 mcg Folic acid
- 750 mcg Pantothenic acid
- 4.5 mcg Biotin
- 12 mg Choline
- 5 mg Inositol
- 75 mg Phosphorus
- 7.5 mg Magnesium
- 0.75 mg Zinc
- 8 mcg Manganese
- 75 mcg Copper
- 2 mcg Selenium
- 15 mcg Iodine
- 44 mg Sodium
- 118 mg Potassium
- 80 mg Chloride
Yes, in 2006 there was a recall due to the fact that there was not enough vitamin C in the formula.
As of February 2022, there was a recall because the formula was contaminated with salmonella. As of right now, that recall has been resolved and there are no active recalls
-The proteins are broken down making it easier for the baby to absorb
-Made by a reputable brand preferred by professionals
-Has the potential to work in as little as 24 hours and combat colic and gas
-Not as appetizing because the proteins are pre-broken down, removing the sweet taste
-Several times more expensive compared to regular baby formula
What do Customers Have to Say About It?
- Our baby was lactose intolerant. We ended up using this formula because it was about all we could do early on and it was exactly what he needed. More importantly, having access to direct shipping with regular availability saved a lot of hassle. We’d have to search store after store to find this stuff in stock (it always went first) and we’d have to stockpile it to make sure we had enough. With the subscription service pretty much guaranteeing availability, it took a lot of stress off of us. The bottles haven’t showed up damaged and it saved money vs buying at the store. It’s a huge convenience to any parent in need of a little bit of stress relief (and a new baby will definitely make you appreciate that small win, with your exhausted state of living)- Andrew
- It is the formula my son needs and he actually likes this one. It is also cheaper to buy here and the subscription is great, since I don’t have to remember going out to buy more in a rush before we run out.-Marcelo
- Myself, my son and now my grandson were all born with an allergy to milk. Soy is not an option for true milk allergy. Words cannot explain the gratitude I have once this became an available option with my son. After sleepless nights and a baby not gaining weight, this formula provided a happy tummy for our healthy growing littles. Highly recommend.-Andrea
- My poor baby was in so much pain, screaming and throwing up i could hear her stomach gurgling. Her stomach was so disturbed by this product that she started rejecting the bottle and cried herself to sleep. I was up all night worried until i realized there is new ingredients in this product. This is why the powder was on recall. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t list a warning that says new ingredients.. because all i have to say is this is not okay for little tummies. -Samantha
- We were told by the baby’s doctor that this formula does not allow calcium to be absorbed. We had to change formula and give him calcium directly to get him to a safe calcium level. Not sure why this formula is even on the market. I would give no stars if available. -Charlene
- Changing the ingredients biggest mistake they could of made, everyone I talk to says it now hurts their baby’s tummy and it literally is the only thing I see on every shelf in the formula isle because nobody buys it for their baby when all other formulas are out of stock. Literally my baby cried 24/7 from gas/ tummy pains on this formula. -Nettie
Nutramigen is another big competitor in the world of hypoallergenic formulas. I will give you the breakdown of all things Nutramigen.
- Modified casein hydrolysate
- Corn syrup solids
- Vegetable oil (high oleic sunflower, palm olein, soy, or coconut oil)
- Modified corn starch
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Probiotic)
- Mortierella alpina oil (ARA)
- Schizochytrium sp. oil (DHA)
A serving size is 5 oz, so each serving of Nutramigen contains:
- 100 calories
- 5.3 g Total fats
- 10.3 g Total carbohydrates
- 0 g Added sugars
- 2.8 g Protein equivalent
- 1.8 mg Iron
- 94 mg Calcium
- 300 IU Vitamin A
- 60 mcg Vitamin B6
- 12 mg Vitamin C
- 60 IU Vitamin D3
- 2 IU Vitamin E
- 9 mcg Vitamin K
- 780 mg Linoleic acid
- 80 mcg Thiamin (vitamin B1)
- 90 mcg Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 0.3 mcg Vitamin B12
- 1,000 mcg Niacin
- 16 mcg Folic acid
- 500 mcg Pantothenic acid
- 3 mcg Biotin
- 24 mg Choline
- Inositol: 24 mg
- 52 mg Phosphorus
- 8 mg Magnesium
- 25 mcg Manganese
- 1 mg Zinc
- 75 mcg Copper
- 15 mcg Iodine
- 2.8 mcg Selenium
- 47 mg Sodium
- 110 mg Potassium
- 86 mg Chloride
Yes, in 2001 the formula was recalled due to preparation instructions being written incorrectly, potentially causing harm or death.
The instructions were written in Spanish.
-Contains DHA for healthy brain and eye development
-Reduces discomfort from colic in 48 hours
-This formula is hypoallergenic
-Has the potential to prevent food-derived allergies in the future
-Contains a probiotic
-Pricier than regular formulas
-Contains oils that can reduce the ability to absorb nutrients (vegetable and palm olein)
-Contains soy oil which is highly processed
What do Customers Have to Say About It?
- We use this for our kid and he has had 0. Issues at all. Ofc the pediatrician had suggested this for us. It doesn’t smell terribly so is great. Easy to wash off the bottle while others similar were oily and sticky. -Mark
- It’s the only formula that my baby can tolerate. If your baby has a milk and soy allergy this is what you want. -Savannah
- I love this ready to feed. He still doesn’t like it cold cold (straight from the fridge), but it can be left out for two hours before being tossed. I will take it out the fridge and fill a bottle for when he’s ready for it. He doesn’t need it to be room temp, but still doesn’t like it straight from the fridge. It’s easier than mixing messy powder, which is unavailable nowadays. The price is good too. He drinks one of these a day. -Ashley
- My younger one outrightly rejected it. We were very surprised as she is not very particular of the formula and have been already drinking similac 360 care (ready to feed) and kendamil (powder form) without any trouble. When checked we smelled a very distinct odor and it probably tastes like half baked powdered product. We paid fortune for it because of all this baby formula shortage and I can’t even return it since we already opened one of the bottles.. total waste of money and highly disappointed.. -Vicky
- Made my baby constipated and occasional hard poops -Ty
- My little one has a dairy allergy and I had to resort to desperate measures with the formula shortage and get this for her as this was not disgustingly overpriced like the powder version. She hates it and shoves the bottle away to the point of tossing it on the floor -Bre
Just Simply Mom’s Recommendation
The goal is to make the best and most educated decision for your baby. While Nutramigen and Alimentum are similar, they do have some key differences.
Choose Enfamil Nutramigen Formula If
- You want a formula proven to work within 48 hours
- You want a formula that can help prevent future food allergies
- The formula you want has a probitoic
- You are looking for a formula that doesn’t have added sugars
- You are wanting a formula that contains: carbohydrates, protein equivalent, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin (vitamin B1), folic acid, choline, inositol, zinc, manganese, selenium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride
Choose Similac Alimentum Infant Formula If:
- You want a formula without vegetable and palm oils
- You want a formula that has a higher calcium content
- The formula you want is proven to work within 24 hours
- You like the fact that it has MCT oil which makes nutrients easier to absorb
- You want a formula that has these ingredients: vitamin E, linoleic acid, niacin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, potassium, biotin, and phosphorus
Enfamil Alimentum vs Similac Nutramigen: Which is Best for Babies with Allergies?
If your baby is struggling with colic, gas, upset stomach, diarrhea, acid reflux, milk protein allergy, or various other food allergies your pediatrician might recommend Alimentum or Nurtamigen.
I think Enfamil Almentum is advantageous here because it is marketed to help babies that have milk allergies and can help prevent allergy-related issues in the future.
What is the Advantage of Casein Hydrolysate-Based Formulas?
Casein hydrolysate formulas are made of short-chain amino acids called peptides.
These smaller proteins are easier to digest because they are already pre-digested versus regular formulas. The proteins are however still larger than amino acids and therefore taste better to babies.
Casein Hydrolysate formulas can be a good place to start if your baby is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms or skin issues. I would advise always consulting your pediatrician before making the switch.
What are the Advantages of Amino Acid Based Formulas?
Amino acid-based formulas were created for babies that suffer from a severe allergy to milk, gastrointestinal issues, etc. This formula is made from individual amino acids which are easier to break down.
Alimentum Vs Nutramigen FAQ
Making the choice to switch to Alimentum or Nutramigen is a big one and you may have lots of questions. I have answered the most popular, but feel free to leave your questions in the comments!
Which Formula is Better for a Colic Baby?
Both Alimentum and Nutramigen are designed to ease the tummy of colicky babies. While they are both for colicky babies, I would choose Nutramigen in this instance because it does have a probiotic.
Where Can I Purchase Hypoallergenic Formula?
Hypoallergenic formula can be purchased at really any store near you, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc. You might consider looking on Amazon though! I’ve seen it cheaper than regular retail stores.
How Long Does it Take Hypoallergenic Formula to Work?
I know you are eager for your little one to have some sort of relief. Alimentum and Nutramigen are both shown to work within 48 hours, however, Alimentum has been shown to work within only 24 hours of feeding.
What if My Baby Refuses Hypoallergenic Formula?
Keep in mind that your baby is probably hurting, so eating may be hard because they know it will make their tummy hurt. When feeding, make sure that they are showing hunger cues.
If they flat out reject one formula then you can try the other. Try not to get discouraged during this time because they can feel your emotions and that might make the situation worse.
Consult your pediatrician if neither formula is being taken by your baby.
Does Alimentum or Nutramigen Taste Better?
Neither formula tastes amazing, however, Alimentum has sucrose in it, which is sugar. Majority of babies prefer Alimentum over Nutramigen due to the fact that it is sweeter.
Can You Switch Between Alimentum and Nutramigen?
Pediatricians do not recommend switching back and forth between Alimentum and Nutramigen. Definitely feel free to try the other formula if your current is not working or your baby doesn’t like it.
Making sure that your baby is fed is the most important thing. The next most important thing is making sure that they are getting the nutrients they need in order to grow.
Being in pain or having discomfort constantly is miserable for your baby and you! I hope that you found the information needed to make the most educated decision for your baby.
Did you use Alimentum or Nutramigen? Which worked better? Let me know in the comments below!