Fertility

Enfamil Vs. Gerber: Which Formula Is Right For Your Little One?

Updated on 12 minute read

 

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Overview 

Which formula is the closest in formulation to breast milk? Can you mix two different formulas together? Does your baby need a special formula? Which formula brand is better: Enfamil vs Gerber?

These are just some questions that we face as parents when trying to choose the right formula for our little ones. 

Many choose to stick to popular formula brands like Gerber and Enfamil. And others try some store brands because they promise low prices with comparable nutritional values as the pricier name brands.

With so many baby formulas to choose from, how can you choose the best for your baby?

Researcher, author, and mother, Rebecca Fett, recommends checking the label for the following ingredients: (1) 

  • Whey milk proteins which may be easier to digest than casein (2)
  • Lactose (primary carbohydrate source)
  • Prebiotics
  • MFGM (milk fat globule membrane)

 

Prebiotics in your baby’s formula can support digestive and immune system health, while MFGM may assist in brain development and defense against infections. (3)(4)

You can find these ingredients in some formulas offered by Gerber and Enfamil.

 

Does Gerber Own Enfamil?

No. These are two different companies. 

Enfamil is owned by Mead Johnson, while Nestlé owns Gerber.

 

Enfamil Formula Products

Everyday Nutrition

  • Enfamil Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Enspire Infant Formula
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Simply Organic Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Premium A2 Infant Formula
  • Enfagrow Enspire Toddler Nutritional Drink
  • Enfagrow NeuroPro Toddler Nutritional Drink
  • Enfagrow Premium Toddler Nutritional Drink
  • Enfagrow Toddler Next Step Milk Drink
  • Enfagrow Premium Transitions Infant & Toddler Formula

 

Special Dietary Needs

For Premature Babies

  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula
  • Enfamil NeuroPro EnfaCare Infant Formula

 

Tummy Troubles (Gas, Fussiness, Colic, Crying, Or Spit-Up)

  • Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Enspire Gentlease Infant Formula
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Sensitive Infant Formula
  • Enfamil A.R. Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula
  • Enfamil ProSobee Infant Formula
  • Enfagrow Toddler Transitions Gentlease Infant & Toddler Formula
  • Enfagrow Premium Gentlease Toddler

 

Cow’s Milk Allergies & Other Food Allergies

  • PurAmino Hypoallergenic Infant Formula
  • Nutramigen with Enflora LGG Toddler Formula
  • Enfamil Nutramigen with Enflora LGG

 

Other Special Formulas

  • Pregestimil Infant Formula (trouble absorbing fats)
  • Enfamil Reguline (constipation)

 

Gerber Formula Products

Everyday Nutrition

  • Gerber Good Start Gentle Pro

 

Special Dietary Needs

Tummy Troubles (Gas, Fussiness, Colic, Crying, Or Spit-Up)

 

Cow’s Milk Allergies & Other Food Allergies

  • Gerber Good Start Extensive HA

 

Other Special Formulas

  • Gerber Grow Nutritious Toddler

 

Enfamil Vs Gerber: Main Similarities & Differences 

Similarities

Pros

  • Trusted name brands
  • Both brands offer different infant products, including non-dairy, soy-based, lactose-free, or hypoallergenic formulas.
  • Both brands meet the baby formula requirements of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and may be safe for babies. (5)

 

Both brands contain: 

  • Omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), lutein, and vitamin E, which can support your baby’s brain and eye development (6)(7)
  • ARA (arachidonic acid), a special nutrient found in breast milk that can promote a healthier immune system, and muscle repair and growth (6)
  • Choline, a nutrient that may help metabolize or digest fats (8)
  • Vitamin A, which may keep your baby’s skin, eyes, and immune system healthy (9) 
  • Vitamin E, which can protect your baby’s cells and tissues from damage (10)

 

Cons

  • Most of the products from both brands may contain soy oil. Though highly refined soy oil may be allergen-free, you might still want to watch out for this ingredient, especially if your little one has soy allergies. (11)
  • Processed vegetable oils, which may contain unhealthy trans fats and can lead to a higher risk of developing coronary heart diseases (12)
  • Palm olein oil, which may reduce calcium absorption (13)

 

Main Differences

Enfamil Highlights

  • Most Enfamil products may contain more iron, calcium, and folic acid than comparable Gerber formulas.

 

Gerber Highlights

  • Most Gerber formulas cost less than comparable Enfamil formulas
  • Though both have non-GMO formulas, all Gerber Good Start formulas are free from GMOs, but not all Enfamil products are guaranteed to be GMO-free
  • GMOs (genetically modified organisms) may cause autoimmunity, certain allergies, neurological disorders, autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), endocrine disruption, and growth failure. (14)

 

Learn more about each formula below.

 

Formulas That Mimic Breast Milk

  • Enfamil Enspire – 20.5 oz tub: $39.98 (or $1.95 per oz)
  • Gerber Gentle Pro – 20 oz canister: $30 (or $1.50 per oz)

 

Similarities

Pros

  • Non-GMO formulas
  • Can be ideal as a supplement for breastfeeding
  • Formulated to have similar components as breast milk
  • Whey milk proteins 
  • Lactose (the natural sugar in breast milk)
  • Prebiotics
  • DHA and ARA

 

Cons

  • Potential allergens: milk and soy
  • Palm olein oil (13)
  • Vegetable oils (12)
  • Soy oil (11)

 

Enfamil Enspire

Best Features

  • Lactoferrin, a component of breast milk that may help improve your baby’s gut health and immune development (15)
  • MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) (4)
  • Dual prebiotics: galactooligosaccharides and polydextrose (3)
  • Nucleotides which may promote immune response (16)
  • Free from maltodextrin, a sugar that can cause colic, gas, bloating, green stools, and possible intestinal injury (17)
  • It has more iron, calcium, and folic acid

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It costs more ($1.95 per oz) than Gerber ($1.50 per oz)

 

Reviews

I used this for my newest baby as a supplement while breastfeeding.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

My daughter had horrible constipation and pain from this formula when we needed to supplement at 6 weeks. It was horrible…we just switched to sensitive and it seems to be better so far.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

 

Gerber Good Start GentlePro

Best Features 

  • Probiotics (Bifidobacterium lactis) that may help support a healthy digestive system (18)
  • Comfort Proteins – smaller milk proteins that may have the same gentleness as breastmilk
  • 2’-FL HMO (human milk oligosaccharide), which is a prebiotic abundant in breastmilk (19)

 

Product Recall

  • In March 2012, Gerber recalled Good Start Gentle baby formula (23.2 oz) for having an odd odor. (20)
  • The recall only affected one lot, GXP1684, with an expiration date of March 5, 2013.
  • According to the FDA recall advisory, there weren’t any safety or health concerns over the odd odor. But there were some consumer reports of babies suffering gastrointestinal issues after drinking the formula. (20)

 

Cons

  • Maltodextrin (17)
  • It had a recall. (20)

 

Reviews

When we became pregnant with our second daughter I knew Gerber Good Start was what I would choose, if I didn’t breastfeed.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

Had to switch to this from similac advantage for WIC. My daughter started spitting up, having diarrhea, and screaming 24/7. This formula caused her stomach to be distended and so much gas.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

 

Gentle Formulas

  • Enfamil Gentlease – 19.9 oz can: $28.49 (or $1.43 per oz)
  • Gerber Good Start Soothe – 19.4 oz canister: $30 (or $1.55 per oz)

 

Similarities

Pros

  • Easy-to-digest milk proteins that may be ideal for sensitive tummies
  • Whey milk proteins
  • DHA and ARA

 

Cons

  • Palm olein oil (13)
  • Vegetable oils (12)
  • Soy oil (11)

 

Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula

Best Features & Safety

  • Thinner consistency that may make it easier to dissolve
  • Free from soy and maltodextrin (17)
  • It may be cheaper ($1.43 per oz) than Gerber Good Start Soothe ($1.55 per oz)
  • It may contain more proteins, total fats, iron, and calcium.

 

Recall

  • In February 2006, Enfamil recalled Gentlease powdered infant formula for possible contamination with metal particles of up to 2.7 mm in size. (21)
  • It affected one lot, BMJ19, with a best before date code of “1 Jul 07.”
  • According to the FDA recall advisory, the contaminated formula may cause serious risks to your child’s throat and respiratory system if it’s accidentally inhaled and the metal particles reach the lungs. (21)
  • Thankfully, there weren’t any illnesses or health incidents reported concerning this formula recall. (21)

 

Cons

  • Corn syrup solids
  • It had a recall (21)

 

Reviews 

This stuff has been life changing for my colicky daughter. Her gassiness and reflux dramatically improved within 24 hours of transitioning to Gentlease. Otherwise, it’s formula. It mixes easily in water, needs to be eaten shortly after being made, etc.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

My baby made face anytime it was time for a feed. I decided to try it and it was awful! The milk taste really bitter or as if it was contaminated.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

 

Gerber Good Start SoothePro

Best Features & Safety

  • Non-GMO formula
  • Marketed as a formula that may solve some common feeding issues: colic, fussiness, crying, gas, mild spit-up, and uncomfortable poops
  • 2’-FL HMO (3)
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) (18)
  • Comfort Proteins
  • Carbohydrate blend with only 30% lactose, which can help ease fussiness and gas (22)
  • It hasn’t had a recall.

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Maltodextrin and soy lecithin (17)
  • May be prone to clumping

 

Reviews

This formula has been amazing. It has helped my baby with colic and fuzziness.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Made my already very gassy baby constipated making her even more uncomfortable 👎🏼.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

A2 Milk Formulas

  • Enfamil Premium A2 Infant Formula – 19.5 oz tub: $34.99 (or $1.79 per oz)
  • Gerber Good Start A2 – 20 oz canister: $32.97 (or $1.65 per oz)

Similarities

Pros

  • Non-GMO formulas
  • A2 milk and whey content that may be similar to breastmilk (23)
  • A2 milk comes from a different cow breed of cow with a special milk protein that may be easier to digest than the typical A1 milk used in standard formulas (23)
  • A2 milk may help ease symptoms of lactose intolerance (23)
  • Lactose (the natural sugar in breast milk)
  • Free from added sugars
  • Whey milk proteins (2)
  • Free from artificial growth hormones that may cause certain cancers (24)
  • Evidence of increased cancer risk may be inconclusive, but you might still want to avoid formulas with artificial growth hormones. (24)
  • No recalls

 

Cons

  • Potential allergens: soy and milk
  • Soy oil (11)
  • Processed vegetable oils (12)
  • Palm oils (13)

 

Enfamil Premium A2 Infant Formula

Best Features & Safety

  • Dual prebiotics: galactooligosaccharides and polydextrose (3)
  • It may contain more iron, calcium, and folic acid

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Doesn’t have probiotic cultures

 

Reviews

This was the first formula that we tried and baby had no issues! I really like that there is a more gentle form of cow milk.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

We tried a2 from Gerber brand and it was very good formula for our baby, but we gave a shot to enfamil, and was the worst. She is vomiting since the first bottle, and it never happened this before! She is miserable!” – Reviewer on Amazon.

Gerber Good Start A2

Best Features & Safety

  • Prebiotics 2’-FL HMO and probiotics (L. reuteri) (3)(18)
  • Costs less ($1.65 per oz) than Enfamil Premium A2 ($1.79 per oz)

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Only has one type of prebiotics (Enfamil A2 has two)

 

Reviews

“I just want to start out with how easy it was to make the formula bottles up. I had no issue with the formula not mixing well whatsoever oh, it was very easy to add to bottles and just took a matter of seconds of shaking up the bottle to get the right consistency.” – Reviewer on Gerber’s website.

My baby spit up a lot with this formula, so much so that he wet my clothes and my bedspread.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Lactose-Free, Hypoallergenic Formulas

  • Enfamil Nutramigen – 27.8 oz can: $58.99 (or $2.12 per oz)
  • Gerber Good Start Extensive HA – 14.1 oz canister: $26.47 (or $1.88 per oz)

 

Similarities

Pros

  • Lactose-free formula
  • Hypoallergenic formulas with extensively hydrolyzed (broken-down) milk proteins that may be less likely to trigger an allergic response
  • DHA and ARA (6)
  • Probiotics (18)

 

Cons

  • Palm oil, soy oil, and processed vegetable oils
  • Starch; modified starches are declared safe by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), but there’s continued public pressure to remove these from baby food (25)

Enfamil Nutramigen With Enflora LGG

Best Features & Safety

  • Enfamil claims that Nutramigen with Enflora LGG is clinically proven to reduce colic due to cow’s milk allergy in 48 hours.
  • The brand also claims that this may help reduce the incidence of future allergies (asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, and hives).
  • According to Enfamil, this formula may also help your little one overcome a cow’s milk allergy and return to a traditional formula within six months of feeding (compared with Nutramigen formula without Enflora LGG).
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus) (18)
  • Free from added sugars and maltodextrin (17)
  • More calcium, folic acid, total fats, and carbohydrates

 

Product Recall

  • In 2001, Enfamil recalled Nutramigen due to incorrect preparation instructions printed on the packaging. Following these instructions can lead to serious health issues and possibly even death. (26)(27)

 

Cons

  • It had a recall. (26)(27)
  • Modified corn starch (25)

 

Reviews

Just started supplementing with formula due to cows milk protein allergy. Within 24 hours I have already noticed a big difference in my baby’s mood, stool and overall demeanor.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Been breast-feeding my lo with milk allergy till lost it. At 10 month we thought that his allergy improved so started formula with Enamel Organic. But within a few days developed while yogurt smelling poop. So allergy is still there. Was recommended Nutramigen…What a horrible taste..” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Gerber Good Start Extensive HA

Best Features & Safety

  • Non-GMO formula
  • Fat blend with MCT oil that has shorter chains which can make them easier to digest and absorb (28)
  • Probiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis) (18)
  • Free from corn syrup
  • More carbohydrates and vitamin A
  • Doesn’t have a recall
  • Costs less ($1.88 per oz) than Enfamil Nutramigen ($2.12 per oz)

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Maltodextrin (17)
  • Potato starch (25)

 

Reviews

The taste isn’t awful although it’s not his favorite he will drink it with one scoop of his old formula (happy baby organic). No more constipation, eczema cleared up, no spit up.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

This did not work for us. The formula was very slimy when she spit it up that she would constantly choke on the spit up because she couldn’t get it out properly. Every night was a scary experience for us and we had one very frightening experience with her not being able to breathe because of this formula.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Soy Formulas

  • Enfamil Prosobee – 20.9 oz can: $31.99 (or $1.53 per oz)
  • Gerber Good Start Soy Powder – 24 oz can: $20.24 (or $0.84 per oz)

 

Similarities

Pros

  • Non-dairy
  • Soy-based, lactose-free alternatives to milk-based formulas
  • Formulated for children with a cow’s milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance
  • May be ideal for vegetarian or Kosher diets
  • DHA and ARA fatty acids (6)

 

Cons

  • Potential allergen: soy protein
  • Soy oil, palm olein oil, and highly processed vegetable oils

 

Enfamil ProSobee

Best Features & Safety

  • May help ease fussiness or gas caused by sensitivity to dairy-based formulas
  • Free from maltodextrin (17)
  • For children 0 to 12 months old

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • Corn syrup

 

Reviews

We transitioned from breastfeeding and after trying a few types of formula that he could have with a suspected dairy intolerance, this one worked best for us!” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Made my baby vomit all night. Do not recommended at all.” – Reviewer on Enfamil’s website.

Gerber Good Start Soy (Stage 2)

Best Features & Safety

  • Non-GMO formula
  • Can provide complete nutrition from 9 to 24 months.
  • May help alleviate fussiness and gas due to milk allergy or lactose intolerance.
  • Free from artificial growth hormones (24)
  • Certified Kosher and Halal

 

Product Recall

  • None

 

Cons

  • It contains maltodextrin (17)

 

Reviews

When my youngest was diagnosed with lactose intolerance and GERD and failed to thrive at 2 months old, the doctor prescribed Gerber soy. Now my baby is a toddler and is starting to wean from formula, and switching to the toddler soy has helped add the necessary calories she still needs.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

My daughter refused the bottle after trying a couple of sips, so looks like I’ll have to dump it down the drain.” – Reviewer on Walmart.

 

Summary And Recommendations

Both trusted name brands, Enfamil and Gerber offer a wide range of formulas to meet your little one’s needs and provide complete nutrition.

Depending on your baby’s needs, you can choose non-dairy, soy-based, lactose-free, or hypoallergenic formulas. But always consult with your little one’s pediatrician before trying a new formula.

Both brands can offer the following for your child:

  • Infant formulas that meet the requirements of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) (5)
  • DHA, lutein, and vitamin E, nutrients that can support your baby’s brain and eye development (6)(7)
  • ARA, which is a special nutrient found in breast milk that can promote a healthier immune system, and muscle repair and growth (6)
  • Choline, an essential nutrient that can help metabolize or digest fats (8)
  • Vitamin A, which can keep your baby’s skin, eyes, and immune system healthy (9)
  • Vitamin E, which may protect your baby’s cells and tissues from damage (10)

 

But products from both brands may also have the following cons:

  • Soy oil, a highly refined soy oil that may be allergen-free but still something that many parents want to avoid, especially if the child has soy allergies (11)
  • Processed vegetable oils, which may contain unhealthy trans fats that can lead to a higher risk of developing coronary heart diseases (12)
  • Palm olein oil, which may reduce calcium absorption (13)

 

In choosing the right formula for your little one, you can consider the following:

 

Choose Enfamil if:

  • You prefer products that may contain more iron, calcium, and folic acid 

 

Choose Gerber if:

  • You prefer more budget-friendly options than comparable Enfamil formulas
  • You’re looking for more options for non-GMO formulas

 

Be sure to check with your pediatrician before switching to any new formula.

 

FAQs

What Are The Types Of Baby Formulas?

  • Powder
  • Liquid concentrates
  • Ready-to-use

 

What Are The Different Types Of Formula Based On Ingredients?

  • Milk-based
  • Soy-based
  • Plant-based (other sources aside from soy)

 

What Are The Special Formulas To Consider?

 

Are Baby Formulas Safe?

Though the FDA doesn’t need to approve infant formulas before they can be marketed in the US, all formulas should meet federal requirements, including minimum amounts of certain nutrients and minerals. (5)

The FDA may recall any formula that doesn’t meet these requirements.

What Are The Factors To Consider In Buying Baby Formula?

  • Whey proteins
  • Lactose
  • MFGM (4)
  • ARA/DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • Iron
  • Organic
  • Probiotics
  • Prebiotics

 

What Is The Cleanest Baby Formula

All baby formulas are, technically, clean. But if you want a formulation that’s certified to be free from toxic chemicals and pesticide residues, you may opt for organic formulas.

Some examples of organic formula brands include HiPP and Holle.

Which Is The Closest Formula To Breast Milk

Rebecca Fett recommends formulas that have the following ingredients, which are the main components of breast milk: (1)

  • Whey milk proteins which may be easier to digest than casein (2)
  • Lactose (primary carbohydrate source)
  • Prebiotics
  • MFGM (milk fat globule membrane) (4)

 

Is Gerber Soothe And Soothe Pro The Same? 

Yes. In 2019, Gerber changed the formula name from Gerber Soothe to Gerber Soothe Pro.

What Is The Healthiest Formula For Babies? 

Different babies have varied needs. So, one formula that works for one child might not work for others. Some babies also need special formulations.

But if your child doesn’t have milk allergies, reflux, or food sensitivities, Fett recommends Enfamil Enspire or Enfamil NeuroPro Infant. Both have prebiotics and MFGM (milk fat globule membrane), are based on whey, and contain lactose. (1)(4)

Can I Mix Gerber And Enfamil? 

It can be safe to mix two similar or comparable formulas, but it’s usually not recommended. Each formula has different ingredients that could require different preparation procedures. For example, Gerber formulas with probiotics shouldn’t be mixed with excessively hot water.

Also, if you mix the formulas, it might be difficult to tell which one works better or what formula causes issues like fussiness, constipation, or colic with your baby.

But make sure that you have your pediatrician’s approval before switching or mixing formulas.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://brainhealthfrombirth.com/formula/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/ 

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615227/

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27234413/

(5) https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/questions-answers-consumers-concerning-infant-formula

(6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29413359/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164534/

(8) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/

(9) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/weaning-and-feeding/vitamins-for-children/

(10) https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/vitamin.html

(11) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3894482/

(12) https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_85_01.html

(13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16582027/

(14) https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/downsides-gmo-infant-formula-we-asked-pediatrician

(15) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27234411/

(16) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12410863/

(17) https://blog.babycues.info/2021/april/maltodextrin-in-baby-formula-please-avoid/ 

(18) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Probiotics-in-Infant-Formula.aspx

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019891/

(20) https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/03/gerber-good-start-gentle-baby-formula-recalled-due-to-an-off-odor/index.htm

(21) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/2/2006195

(22) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10547247/

(23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818854/

(24) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/recombinant-bovine-growth-hormone.html

(25) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29762373/

(26) https://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/10/us/national-briefing-science-and-health-recall-of-baby-formula.html

(27) http://flca.info/HTMLobj-154/Recalls.pdf

(28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5209465/

 

 

 

 

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