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Nutramigen vs Alimentum: Which is Better for a Baby with Reflux?


Nutramigen vs Alimentum go head to head in this debate over which formula tastes and works better for babies with reflux, colic, or allergies.

When it comes to Nutramigen vs Alimentum, one formula does not win out over the other. They both have several pros and cons, and finding the best choice will depend on your baby and their own unique tastes.

And in case you didn’t know, you can get them for much cheaper on Amazon when you “Subscribe and Save”!

Read on to check out our full review of both formulas, so you can make an informed decision about which to try first!

Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula Lactose Free Milk Powder, 19.8 Ounce - Omega 3 DHA, LGG Probiotics, Iron, Immune Support

Image of Similac Alimentum Expert Care Ready To Feed 8 oz.

Nutramigen

Enfamil Nutramigen is a hypoallergenic baby formula made with iron. It is meant to be used for babies with allergies, colic, reflux, intolerances, and upset stomach caused by cow’s milk formula. Like any hypoallergenic formula, you can expect to pay a bit more for this than a standard can of infant formula. There are two versions available, powdered or ready to feed (which comes in bottles).

Specialty Formula

Nutramigen is not your everyday formula. It is specially made to help babies with special needs like allergies, colic and gas. The unique formulation includes nutrients found in breastmilk to help your baby have a healthy immune system and growth.

Image of the Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG Infant Formula, Powder, 19.8 Ounce Can

Trustworthy

This formula is made by Enfamil, makers of some of the most popular formulas on the market. When you buy this product, you know you are getting a well-made formula by a known brand. You can feel safe knowing that your baby is in good hands with a formula that has been used and loved by other moms for many years.

Dairy Free

This formula is made without dairy. Dairy can cause gas and fussiness in many infants. Try not to worry if your baby does seem to react to dairy. They generally will outgrow that intolerance at about a year old. However, until that time, a dairy-free formula such as Nutramigen will definitely help ease their symptoms. Babies that have severe cow’s milk dairy allergy will also find relief with this formula.

Soy Free, Too

Soy is a very common allergen in young babies. This Enfamil formula completely avoids all soy products, making it safe for babies who have MSPI, or milk soy protein intolerance. By leaving soy out of their formula, even more infants can use Nutramigen.

Works Quickly

Nutramigen is proven to work pretty quickly for babies with colic and gas. Since no mama ever wants to see her baby in pain, it is a relief to know that most babies will show improvement within 48 hours of using this formula. When my baby had reflux all I wanted to do was to make the pain go away, as quickly as I could! Knowing that this formula is proven to help quickly is a major plus in my book.

Image of the Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG Infant Formula, Powder, 19.8 Ounce Can

Nutritionally Sound

The last thing you need to worry about when you have a baby that is fussy is whether or not they are getting the nutrients they need! Nutramigen offers a structure close to breastmilk. Both DHA and ARA are included in this formula to help with brain and eye development. Babies can stay on this formula all the way until 12 months old, and thrive. There is no need to supplement with any other formulas.

Image of Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula Lactose Free Milk Powder, 27.8 Ounce - Omega 3 DHA, LGG Probiotics, Iron, Immune Support, Pack of 4 (Package May Vary)

Power of Two

With this formula, proteins are broken down into smaller parts. That means they won’t irritate the gut and intestines like a traditional formula might. There is also an included probiotic, to promote healing and strength in the intestines.  All of these features help to reduce and manage colic, reflux, and gas.

Image of Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula Lactose Free Milk Powder, 27.8 Ounce - Omega 3 DHA, LGG Probiotics, Iron, Immune Support, Pack of 4 (Package May Vary)

Possible Drawbacks

Cost

Nutramigen is expensive. However, if we look at nutramigen vs alimentum, there isn’t much difference at all in cost. Although, compared to a traditional formula, you need to expect to pay more for each container of powder. There are often sales and coupons you can clip online, so make sure to look at that before you buy.

Editor’s Note: Buying formula in a grocery store is the most expensive way to do it. You can save a lot of money by purchasing your formula on Amazon and clicking the Subscribe and Save checkbox.

If your baby needs a special formula, you probably already know the cost is going to be high. By knowing this ahead of time you can try to figure out how to make it more affordable for your family. 

Taste

Like any other hypoallergenic formula, Nutramigen doesn’t have the best taste in the world. To you, it might smell a little funny or off. The good news is, your infant likely doesn’t know that this type of formula has a stronger taste. Most babies will take to this formula easily, but same may refuse due to taste and smell.

Nutramigen Features:

  • Hypoallergenic formula for birth to 12 months
  • Includes Iron
  • Manages colic, gas, upset stomach, and reflux
  • Complete nutrition for infants (no need to supplement with anything else)
  • Includes a probiotic

Alimentum

Similac Alimentum is another hypoallergenic formula for babies with allergies or colic. It is to be used in place of a traditional infant formula or breastmilk. Since babies with colic and allergies require different accommodations, this formula isn’t meant for all babies. Just like Nutramigen, there is both a powder and a ready to feed version of this formula.

Fast Acting

Like the Enfamil formula reviewed above, this Similac hypoallergenic formula is also proven to work quickly. In fact, one study showed it starts working within 24 hours of use. When your baby is crying in pain, you feel so helpless. I know this from experience! Being able to reduce their discomfort quickly is a major necessity when looking for a new formula.

Image of Similac Alimentum powder 2 pack

Popular Brand

Formulas by Similac are preferred in hospitals and by many doctors. You probably won’t be using this formula straight after birth. If your baby does have colic, reflux, or an allergy, it will take time to figure that out. However, Similac is an extremely well known and trusted brand. Having that kind of recommendation can go a long way when you need to choose a formula for your sensitive kiddo.

Image of Similac Alimentum powder 2 pack

Pre-Digested

While it may not be the most appetizing of words, but this formula is basically pre-digested. Just like the Nutramigen we reviewed earlier, it has broken-down proteins. These smaller proteins are better absorbed by your baby’s immature digestive system, so there is less work on their end. Less work means less fussiness, spitting up, and gas. Babies with allergies won’t react to this hypoallergenic specialty formula!

Image of Similac Alimentum powder 2 pack

Available in Two Forms

You can buy Alimentum as either a powdered formula in a can, or a ready to feed formula in a bottle. Most babies will be fine with either version once they are used to this formula. However, some babies may need to stick to one or the other version. It will depend on how sensitive your own child is, and it may take a few tries to figure it out!

Possible Drawbacks

Cost

Looks familiar, right? Similar to the Nutramigen, Similac’s Alimentum is expensive for a formula. If you compare it to the cost of a regular formula you may experience some sticker shock. The cost may even be out of reach for some families. The cost of this formula is a serious drawback, but some infants need a hypoallergenic food, so there isn’t much choice.

Editor’s Note: This specialty formula is expensive, but you can save a lot of money by clicking the “Subscribe and Save” checkbox on Amazon.

Taste

Since this is predigested, it doesn’t have the same sweet taste that a regular formula will have. If your baby is used to a traditional formula or breastmilk, they may reject the taste and smell. If that happens, you can always try the other hypoallergenic formula as well. Luckily, the majority of babies acclimate to the taste of this formula, even though parents might take longer to get used to it!

Alimentum Features

  • Pre-digested hypoallergenic infant formula
  • Includes Iron
  • Ready to feed or powder formulas available
  • Helps to manage allergies, colic, gas, reflux, fussiness, and upset stomach
  • Complete nutrition from birth to age 12 months

Image of Similac Alimentum powder 2 pack

Enfamil vs Similac Brands

Enfamil has several other products that may be good alternatives, and so does Similac. In Enfamil vs Similac, we compare a range of formulas offered by these two big brands. Unfortunately, formulas are trial-and-error until you find the right one for your baby.

FAQ’s

Which tastes better, Alimentum or Nutramigen?

Neither. General consensus is that both smell strong and that it is best if parents do not taste them at all. Your child may refuse the formula, but, especially if very young, he is less likely to find the taste intolerable.

Can babies be allergic to Alimentum or Nutramigen?

It’s very unusual, but yes. For example, Alimentum (powder), Nutramigen (powder), and Nutramigen ready-to-feed (RTF) contain corn. Alimentum ready-to-feed (RTF) does not. So, if your baby is allergic to corn, you might want to go only with Alimentum ready-to-feed. If your baby has severe milk allergies, she may not be able to handle Alimentum or Nutramigen. These formulas contain not cow’s milk as such, but hydrolyzed (broken down) cow’s milk proteins, which may be well tolerated by many babies with cow’s milk protein allergy. But some babies cannot take even Alimentum or Nutramigen and may have to go to an amino acid formula such as Neocate or Elecare.

Do babies gain weight on Alimentum or Nutramigen?

Yes, generally. But breastfed babies and babies on hypoallergenic formulas (e.g. Alimentum and Nutramigen) may tend to gain a little less than babies fed on standard formulas. Note that, if your baby has digestive difficulties even on the hypoallergenic formulas, that alone may prevent your child from gaining as much as she might otherwise.

When should I stop giving my baby Alimentum or Nutramigen?

These special formulas can be used until your baby is around 12 months old. Doctors generally recommend that, when babies begin taking solids, they be transitioned away from formula. If milk and/or soy allergies are confirmed or suspected, stay away from those ingredients. If they were once suspected but are now called into question, you may, with doctor’s approval, carefully reintroduce milk or soy, watching for any negative effects.

If you suspect that your under-12-months baby no longer needs Alimentum or Nutramigen and there is no confirmed milk allergy, your doctor may allow you to transition carefully to a gentle (but less expensive) milk-based formula for babies with lactose sensitivity, such as Similac Sensitive or Enfamil Gentlease. If milk allergy is confirmed, perhaps you can try Enfamil Prosobee soy formula. As always, check first with your doctor.

How long should it take my baby to adjust to the taste of Alimentum or Nutramigen?

Some babies don’t like it at first, but most will adjust within a few days. Hunger encourages transition. You might ask your doctor how to safely transition if your baby should refuse at first to take the new formula. Hopefully, if he will not take Alimentum he will take Nutramigen, or vice versa.

How do I transition away from Alimentum or Nuramigen to another source of nourishment?

As your doctor recommends. If your baby is around 12 months, your doctor may have you begin by mixing just a little soy or dairy milk with the formula and then, if all goes well, adding greater and greater proportion of soy or dairy milk to formula. If your baby isn’t yet 12 months, your doctor may recommend the same process, but with a more standard soy or dairy baby formula.

Bottom Line

If your baby has reflux, colic, gas, or allergies, you are probably desperately searching for a formula that will help control their symptoms. These ailments can be a source of pain and discomfort for infants, so of course you are doing everything you can to get it under control! There are several infant formulas on the market that have special versions for babies with reflux.

The real issue here is that if your baby needs a hypoallergenic formula, you don’t have a lot of choices. If you look at Nutramigen vs Alimentum, there is no right or wrong way to go. The prices are comparable. Both include iron and DHA. Both are easy to buy online, with no prescription needed.

If in doubt, start with Nutramigen, only because it includes a probiotic. A probiotic can promote gut health and healing, which your baby likely needs if they have an allergy, colic, or reflux. Since babies may reject these formulas due to taste, I would move on to Alimentum if Nutramigen didn’t work out for my child. Both brands are well known and trustworthy. Both formulas promise to work quickly and efficiently. Overall, you can’t go wrong with Enfamil Nutramigen or Similac Alimentum if you have a high needs baby that requires a specialty formula!

Megan Schipsi
Megan Schipsi
Megan is a parent, teacher, and writer from Phoenix, Arizona. When she isn't blogging, Megan can be found hiking the deserts with her child and two old chihuahuas, teaching at a co-op preschool, or working on her master's degree online.