If your infant has a hard time digesting regular baby milk formula or breastmilk then you may find a hypoallergenic baby formula to be just the solution you have been looking for.
Many children fed regular formula or breastmilk can react negatively and experience such things as colic, acid reflux, eczema and a wide range of other physical symptoms.
These type of reactions can be caused by a variety of different reasons. A common example includes a cow’s milk allergy, usually caused by either a protein intolerance or lactose intolerance.
Both Nutramigen and Alimentum are two very popular hypoallergenic baby milk formulas that are great alternatives to regular baby formula and breastmilk.
Not only are they used to aid infants with allergies and acid reflux, but sometimes used to help premature babies who may face difficulties in absorbing regular nutrients.
With that said, which out of these two leading brands is the best? Or are they equal? In this article, we will compare each in terms of their ingredients, claims, formulation, and taste.
Reasons People Use These Formulas
If your baby suffers from excessive gas, colic, acid reflux, diarrhea, bloating in response to being fed formula containing cows milk, then they may have an intolerance to dairy.
An allergy or intolerance to cows milk is usually related to the two main components within the milk: proteins or lactose.
Cows Milk Allergy:
Cows milk protein allergy is the most common milk protein allergy. It occurs as a result of the immune system responding to the presence of these proteins in the body, which results in an allergic reaction.
The severity of this reaction can vary between individuals but can include gastrointestinal symptoms such as gastrointestinal reflux, constipation and bloating. Other common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, skin rashes and hives (1).
A type of sugar called lactose that is present in dairy milk and breastmilk can also be the cause of many symptoms in infants who have a lactose intolerance. Lactose sugar is broken down in the body by an enzyme named lactase, however, some infants have an insufficiency meaning they can’t break down the sugar.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhea.
Nutramigen vs Alimentum
Both Nutramigen and Alimentum are to leading brands in the world of hypoallergenic baby milk formula. They are both hydrolyzed milk formulas, essentially this means that the proteins contained within them have been broken down into smaller strings of amino acids.
This makes them easier for your infant to absorb and digest and less likely to cause an immune response in infants who suffer from a cow milk allergy. In addition, many of these brands formulations are free from lactose and so are also a good option for infants who suffer from a lactose intolerance.
In reality, both Nutramigen and Alimentum are very similar baby milk formulas. While there are slight differences between the ingredients and formulations, both contain hydrolyzed proteins in order to help infants who suffer from cows milk allergies.
In the end, choosing between Nutramigen or Alimentum is often simply a question of how your infant responds to them. Maybe your baby prefers the taste of a particular brand? Or perhaps you find that they seem to digest one better than the other. All infants are different, so it’s very difficult to say how they will respond.
Still, there are some important variations between the two brands, so in the next section, we will draw a comparison between the two. From this information, you can then draw your own conclusions and help your baby find comfort.
1. Enfamil Nutramigen Review
Nutramigen is a hypoallergenic baby milk formula offered by the global brand Enfamil. It is specially formulated for infants who suffer from cow milk allergy and lactose intolerance. It can be purchased as a standard canister of powdered formula or as a ready to ready-to-use drink.
Enfamil Nutramigen Ingredients
Enfamil Nutramigen contains the milk protein Casein that has been hydrolyzed so that infants suffering from milk allergy can better tolerate it.
It also contains the probiotic LGG to help support healthy digestion.
Other noteworthy ingredients include Mortierella Alpina Oil, which is a source Arachidonic Acid (ARA). As well as Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil that is a source Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).
Nutramigen Age Range
Nutramigen is nutritionally formulated for infants aged between 0 to 12 months of age. This is the period when babies intolerances tend to be the most severe and they can in some cases improve from 1 year onwards. Interestingly, the formula is also clinically proven to help reduce future allergy issues at 3 years of age.
Key Benefits of Nutramigen
Clinical studies have demonstrated that Enfamil Nutramigen is able to relieve milk-protein allergy and indigestion symptoms in about 48 hours. Although, it’s certainly worth remembering that infants with a cow milk allergy are advised to restrict dairy consumption in other forms too.
Infants that do suffer from cow milk allergy are at an increased risk of developing other allergies. This includes eczema, rhino-conjunctivitis, and urticaria. However, hypoallergenic formulas may reduce the risk of the infant developing such allergies.
For example, partially hydrolyzed formulas such as Nestle Good Start may reduce the risk by an estimated 30%. Whereas hydrolyzed formulas such as Nutramigen are thought to reduce the risk even more substantially.
The formula can also help infants with an allergic response return to drinking normal milk proteins sooner than they would, without invoking an allergic response.
Although taste is quite a personal thing, many people report that Nutramigen (like many other hypoallergenic formulas) doesn’t taste great. The truth is that hydrolyzed formulations are different to normal un-hydrolyzed powders and so you will probably recognize a difference in taste.
This is especially true for infants who have been used to breastmilk or regular formula. Ultimately, all you can do is give it a try and see how they respond.
2. Similac Alimentum Review
Similac is another popular brand of hypoallergenic baby milk formulas. Just like Nutramigen, it is a hydrolyzed formula designed especially for infants with a dairy milk allergy. And like Nutramigen, this brand offers their specialized milk in both powder form and as a ready-to-use drink.
Importantly, Alimentum is not lactose-free and so if your main concern is lactose intolerance, Nutramigen is preferred.
Similac Alimentum Ingredients
The ingredients of Alimentum are very similar to Nutramengin in many ways. For instance, the milk protein used in this formulation is hydrolyzed casein. It also contains free added amino acids to support infants who are sensitive to intact proteins.
These partially digested proteins and free amino acids are much easier for sensitive infants to digest, particularly those with protein sensitivity, sensitivity to intact protein and protein maldigestion.
The ingredients also include a good source of both Arachidonic Acid (ARA), as well as a source of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Both, which are important for eye and brain development.
The Similac brand is one of the only ones to promise that their formula is completely free from artificial growth hormones.
Alimentum Age Range
Just like Alimentum, Similac hypoallergenic formula is intended to be used for infants from age 0 through to 12 months of age. This is the age when cow milk protein intolerance tends to be most severe and it can improve as babies continue to grow and develop.
Key Benefits of Alimentum
If your baby is suffering from colic symptoms caused by a protein sensitivity triggered by their current formula, then Alimentum can usually help. Clinical studies have demonstrated a reduction in these symptoms in most babies that transition to Alimentum within 24 hours.
Unfortunately, Alimentum, like Enfamil’s Nutramigen isn’t the best-tasting baby milk formula and has a reputation for being less palatable than regular formula and breastmilk.
Still, some parents say that their infant quickly adapts to the taste, even those that have been used to a better tasting regular formula. Like any type of baby milk formula, it’s usually a case of trial and error.
Ultimately, whether you choose Alimentum or Nutramigen depends on your particular circumstances and of course how well you baby tolerates the taste.
Importantly, Alimentum can supposedly help to improve colic symptoms within 24 hours, while Nutramigen claims to help relieve milk-protein allergy and indigestion symptoms in about 48 hours.
The bottom line is that both Alimentum and Nutramigen are each able to provide relief to infants suffering from the colic-like symptoms associated with cow milk allergy.
Since individuals vary, there is no way to guarantee how well your baby will respond to any type of formula. Therefore, you may wish to try both to see how your baby responds to the taste and how well they digest it.