We all know what babies do. Even people without kids know that they eat, sleep, and poop. But what happens when what they are eating is making them miserable? Infant formula can be rough on a baby’s tummy and cause a variety of problems. Fortunately, Enfamil has different formulas for those babies that are sensitive to the ordinary infant formula. What is even better? They both actually work AND they are affordable.
But how do you know which one is right for your little one: Enfamil AR or Enfamil Gentlease? Well, to be honest, it depends on what type of problems they are having. Enfamil AR is made for babies with reflux issues that spit up more than they should, while Enfamil Gentlease is for those with sensitive tummies that regular formula makes gassy and irritable. As a mom that has both breastfed and formula fed, I know that a full, healthy, and comfortable baby makes a happy parent.
Enfamil AR is for babies with reflux issues. (AR means anti-reflux). Spitting up is normal for babies. However, spitting up large amounts more than five times a day may be a cause for concern. Enfamil AR has a thicker consistency than other formulas, which lessens the number of times and amount a baby spits up by more than 50%. To thicken up regular formula, many parents add rice cereal to formula to thicken it up, which adds empty calories to your baby’s diet and can deprive them of the nutrients that they need.
Just like regular Enfamil infant formula, AR is adequate for the whole first year of life. It meets the reflux reduction guidelines that are set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and also contains 2 prebiotics for digestive health. AR is available in both power and liquid forms, and the price is very close to the regular infant formula, which makes it worth a try if your baby is struggling with reflux or spitting up.
Enfamil Gentlease is a milk-based formula that is made for those little ones with tummy troubles such as gassiness, fussiness, and crying. The secret is that it is made with easy to digest proteins. Gentlease is the #1 recommended formula for gassy and fussy babies. The claim is that after just 24 hours of using the formula, the issues decrease. If you have a fussy or gassy baby, you have probably tried lots of things, so 24 hours of a new formula may seem too good to be true.
Gentlease provides nutrition for the whole first 12 months of life, and it is also available in powder and liquid forms. You know the feeling after you have eaten something that makes you gassy (refried beans, deviled eggs, broccoli). That feeling makes me want to cry. It’s no wonder why babies cry about it. The price of Gentlease just like AR, is very close to regular Enfamil infant formula. (Thank you Enfamil!) So you can at least give the formula a try versus buying gas drops and continuing with regular formula.
So do they really work?
As a mom, I read reviews about everything before I buy it. Even gummy snacks. (I hate to admit that one but it is true.) Every dollar that I spend on something that doesn’t work or that lacks what I need is a dollar that I could have spent on something that does. The reviews on the Enfamil AR and Gentlease formulas are pretty incredible. Here is the breakdown of the overall ratings from four big sellers that I trust:
- 4.1/5 Stars with 475 reviews on the Enfamil website
- 4/5 Stars with 464 reviews from Target
- 4/5 Stars with 476 reviews from Wal-Mart
- 4/5 Stars with 331 reviews on Amazon
- 4.3/5 Stars with 944 reviews on the Enfamil website
- 4.1/5 Stars with 948 reviews from Target
- 4/5 Stars with 963 reviews from Wal-Mart
- 4/5 Stars with 874 reviews on Amazon
If you read through the hundreds (well, it’s actually thousands!) of reviews from various sites on both of the products, the majority of the feedback was positive. While there is no magic formula that is going to make your baby stop crying and spitting up, Enfamil AR and Gentlease can help with some of the problems. Here are some specific key points that are mentioned frequently in verified user reviews, as well as from my personal experience.
- On a negative note, when you mix up the AR powder formula, it is foamy and bubbly. This is due to the thicker consistency that helps with the reflux. The instructions say to let it sit for five minutes before feeding, but it may be better to let it sit even longer so that the bubbles die down. Also, the powder can clump up and get stuck in the nipple of the bottle if it is not mixed perfectly.
- Instead of the ready to mix powder, the liquid may be easier and more convenient to use because you don’t have to wait a few minutes for all of the bubbles to die down. (When you have a hungry baby, you know how long a few minutes can feel!)
- If you have shopped around for specialty formula, then you know what kind of crazy prices some types of formula have. This formula actually works, and it is comparable to the regular Enfamil infant formula, which is pretty awesome.
- Unfortunately, this formula is most likely not going to completely eliminate all spit up. Even healthy and happy babies spit up. However, you should see a decrease in the amount and frequency after switching to this formula.
- AR can be hard to find in stores, so online ordering from sites such as Amazon are usually more dependable. It may also be helpful to order in bulk in case you have a hard time finding it when you are running low!
- Enfamil AR helps babies gain weight because they are able to keep their formula down instead of spitting it all up. My son had a hard time gaining weight for a few months, and I remember feeling like it was my fault and that I was doing something wrong. That feeling = terrible.
- This specialty formula’s affordable price is appreciated by me as well as other parents. There are other brands of formula that have gentle and sensitive types that are super expensive. (If you haven’t priced formula yet, get ready for a huge shock.)
- Many parents, me included, have to try several different formulas to attempt to ease their babies tummy problems before they get to this one and find that it actually works. Other brands have their own “gentle” versions that don’t work as well with eliminating the gassiness and fussiness that the Enfamil Gentlease does.
- Gentlease actually does work within 24 hours to ease babies tummy issues just like Enfamil claims.
- Gentlease is great for supplementing when you are both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, or when you switch to formula all together. From 6 to 9 months old when my son had to supplement 1 bottle of formula a day because my supply was dwindling, he didn’t even notice a difference between the breastmilk and the Enfamil Gentlease. We had no stomach issues either, which was incredible.
- This formula seems to be easier to find than the Enfamil AR, so you don’t have to worry about stocking up when you find it. However, it is always a good idea to have extra handy in case of emergencies.
Enfamil vs Similac Formula Brands
If you love Enfamil, you may not care, but to see a product by product comparison of these two brands see Enfamil vs Similac Formulas.
General info on formula feeding a baby
If you are new to bottle feeding or formula, there are some common problems that formula causes. They include spitting up, gas, diarrhea, constipation, or fussiness. It may just take a few days for your baby’s tummy to get used to the new formula, or you may need to try another kind. It really just depends on the issue. If you go to the store or look up formula online, you will see that there are a TON of different kinds. Enfamil AR and Gentlease are both helpful for many parents going through the same struggles.
Some general tips for formula feeding:
- Use feeding as a bonding time. Make eye contact and hold your baby close to you.
- Pick a quiet, non-distracting area to feed your baby. Even I can’t eat when there is too much going on around me, and I never turn down food.
- Always measure your water and formula when you are mixing. You want a precise amount per the instructions on the package.
- Don’t microwave the formula. Many babies are okay with formula at room temperature, but a bottle warmer or submerging it into warm water will heat it up evenly. Be sure to check the temperature before giving it to your baby!
- Burp your baby every 2 to 3 ounces. This can help with spit-up and gas because it gets rid of air bubbles that babies swallow.
Like I mentioned earlier, there is no magic formula that is going to make your baby stop having gas, spitting up, or being fussy. Enfamil AR and Gentlease can help with these problems and make them more manageable to provide comfort and peace for both you and your baby. I know the struggles. My second child was colicky. My husband and I often look back at those days and wonder how our marriage and sanity survived it. Since these formulas are such an affordable price, give them a try to see if they do help. I would highly recommend both of them to parents that are looking for solutions.