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Mom’s Review of Similac’s Sensitive Infant Formula


With so many formulas on the market, it is difficult to settle on one that works best for your baby. Similac’s Sensitive Infant Formula, which comes in the orange package, is used to treat fussiness caused by gas and is for babies from birth until 12 months of age. Some parents swear by its effectiveness while others question its ingredients. 

Similac Sensitive Infant Formula with Iron, Powder, One Month Supply, 34.9 Ounces (Pack of 3)

How is sensitive formula different from regular formula?

Similac’s Sensitive Formula is designed to reduce fussiness caused by gas and excessive spitting up. Some babies are more sensitive to milk proteins than others, so this formula works around that sensitivity while still providing essential nutrition.

Key Features

Similar to Breast Milk

Similac prides itself on having formula that is as close to breast milk as possible. This is why they have “OptiGRO” in their formula, which is basically their own blend of essential vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs. OptiGRO contains DHA, lutein, and Vitamin E, all of which are also found in breast milk and are important for brain and eye development.

Image of Similac Sensitive Infant Formula with Iron, Powder, One Month Supply, 34.9 ounces (Pack of 3)

Gentle on Sensitive Stomachs

Similac Sensitive contains milk protein isolate instead of milk, meaning the lactose has been removed. Because of this, Similac Sensitive is gentler for babies who have lactose sensitivities, leaving them without discomfort from gas.

Variety

Similac offers their Sensitive Infant Formula in both powder form and a ready to feed liquid. The powder form of this formula needs to be mixed with water before eating, whereas the ready to feed liquid can be poured straight into a baby bottle and eaten right away. The ready to feed formula is much more convenient but also much more expensive, so I usually stick to the powder form since it is really simple to make.

Similac Sensitive is also offered in different sizes, so if you are only supplementing, you can get a smaller size (as any powdered formula should be used within a month of opening the container), or if you are strictly formula feeding and will go through a lot, you can save money per ounce by getting the larger container.

Easy

Whether you have a newborn or are switching to formula from breastfeeding, it can seem daunting at first to figure out how to prepare formula for your little one. Luckily, Similac provides detailed directions and a scoop with their formula so that you can be sure you are giving your baby the correctly proportioned nutrition.

Concerns

Ingredients

When comparing the ingredient lists side by side you’ll find that Similac’s standard formula’s first listed ingredients are nonfat milk and lactose. On the other hand, the sensitive formula’s first listed ingredients are corn syrup and milk protein isolate.

Similac Sensitive Infant Formula with Iron, Powder, One Month Supply, 34.9 Ounces (Pack of 3)

What are these ingredients? 

Lactose: the naturally occurring sugar found in milk

Milk protein isolate: milk with the lactose taken out of it (to reduce lactose sensitivity reactions)

Corn syrup: added to replace the lactose that was removed

It is important to note that corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is 100% glucose, which is your body’s preferred source of energy. High fructose corn syrup contains about 50% fructose, a sugar that is not as easy for your body to metabolize. In short, don’t be alarmed if your baby’s formula contains corn syrup! It is there to help the formula to be more similar to breast milk, which naturally contains sugar.

May not work for all babies

All babies are different, therefore their stomachs are different too. Similac Sensitive is for mild tolerance issues. If your newborn is experiencing worse symptoms than mild fussiness and gas, this may not be enough to tame their intolerance. Always talk to your child’s pediatrician for advice if symptoms are concerning.

This Similac formula didn’t make our Best Formula list because it’s track record just wasn’t strong enough. Click to see which one we named Best Infant Formula.

Constipation

While Similac Sensitive seems to help with the majority of babies who are experiencing mild lactose sensitivities, it does lead to constipation for some. Obviously this can be a frustrating outcome as you might solve the problem of their gassiness only to end up with a constipated baby. However, you can’t possibly know beforehand how your baby’s belly will react and luckily it does work for most!

Taste

Some people find that this formula has a stronger odor or taste than other types and brands of formula. This is really up to you and your baby to decide. Some babies may not like the flavor while it doesn’t bother others at all!

Expensive

Most formula-feeding parents will agree that formula gets to be very expensive! Similac Sensitive is no different. Luckily there are store brand options available on the market which can often lessen the burden of cost of the formula. So if you are looking to cut costs, you can check Walmart, Target, or other stores for their generic brand. Typically the store brand also has the orange lid that Similac has; if not it will be labeled as “Sensitive” or something similar.

You can also sign up for Similac’s StrongMoms program so that you can receive free samples and coupons for their formula.

How to make a baby bottle of Similac formula.

Ready to Feed Formula Must be Used Quickly

The ready to feed version of Similac Sensitive can be very convenient when out and about with your baby since it does not need to be prepared with water. It is important to keep in mind, however, that once you open the container, you should use the entire contents of the container within three days. They do sell ready to feed in smaller bottles as well, so if you are only going to use ready to feed formula here and there, smaller bottles might work better for you. That way you don’t have to worry about using the entire quart-sized container within three days.

Price

Luckily, Similac Sensitive Formula is the same price as their standard “Similac Advance” formula, so it is not overly expensive compared to other formulas on the market.

I think it’s important to note that unlike some other formulas, Target and Walmart do in fact have a store brand of this formula, which is considerably cheaper than the Similac brand. Some people prefer getting the name brand of formula though, which I can understand.

Reviews

4.5 stars, 967 reviews Target

4.6 stars, 399 reviews Babies R Us

4.5 stars, 998 reviews Walmart

Pros

  • Effective in treating fussiness in most babies
  • Comes in variety of sizes and forms
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • May cause constipation
  • Some babies do not like taste

FAQ’s

What kind of water should I use for formula for a newborn?

Any clean water is acceptable. Boil tap water for one minute to kill any bacteria that may be present, and cool quickly to room temperature, says Mayo Clinic. Fluoride (present in most public water systems) is important for your baby’s developing teeth, but you don’t want to expose him/her to too much fluoride. So, if your tap water has higher levels of fluoride, you might alternate between tap water and low-fluoride bottled water.

Does my baby need sensitive formula?

Diarrhea, excessive gas, or excessive fussiness (especially after feeding) may be a sign that your formula-fed baby needs a change. Because it is a little hard to determine whether these symptoms have reached an abnormal level in your baby (since all babies have soft, possibly frequent stools and some gas and fussiness) if you are concerned, you should see your pediatrician.

Which formulas are best for colic and gas?

Experienced Mommy recommends Plum Organics Sensitive. (For more information, see: experiencedmommy.com/best-baby-formulas/

What if my formula-fed baby is allergic to both milk and soy?

Most likely in such a case your doctor will recommend Similac Alimentum or Enfamil Nutramigen

Do I have to warm the formula?

No, not unless you are boiling water to kill bacteria (not necessary, certainly, with premixed formula or bottled water). Some like it warm, some like it cold. None like it in the pot, nine days old! (:

When should my child go off formula completely?

While every child is different, sources agree that by 12 months the process of weaning from formula (and the bottle) should begin, and by 2 years it should probably be complete. Formula does not have enough calcium for a toddler, so, unless he/she is allergic, he/she should be moved to milk.

My Recommendation

If your baby is spitting up a lot or is experiencing fussiness and gas, I would recommend trying this formula. Remember to not get deterred because of its main ingredients. When I first saw corn syrup listed as a main ingredient, it made me think twice about this formula, but with more research, I found there is a big difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup which we often hear of as an ingredient which we should limit in our diets. Keep in mind that there are generic brands of this formula so if you don’t mind using generic, you could save some money by buying Target or Walmart’s sensitive formula instead.

Pamela Halstead
Pamela Halstead
I am a stay at home mother to one son. With a background in safety and health, I am very safety-conscious, especially when it comes to products for my child!

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