Fertility

Similac Advance Vs. Pro-Advance: What Are Their Similarities & Differences?

Updated on 7 November 2021 • 12 minute read
Views

 

Overview 

Are you looking for an infant formula that’s closest to breast milk and can support your baby’s brain development? 

Similac Advance and Similac Pro-Advance are two of the formula brand’s most popular options that can provide complete nutrition for your baby, with formulations as close to breast milk as possible.

Can these formulas also strengthen your little one’s immune system? Are they good options for supplementing breastfed babies? Which one is the best formula for your baby? Continue reading to find out more.

 

Main Similarities & Differences

Similarities

Similac Advance and Similac Pro-Advance have the following similarities:

  • Both formulas have nearly identical contents and the same nutritional values.
  • Neither formula contains palm olein oil, a compound that can decrease the absorption of calcium and other essential minerals in your baby’s tummy. (1)
  • They don’t have added sugars or corn syrup.
  • They both contain OptiGRO, Similac’s unique blend of omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), vitamin E, and lutein. This special blend is designed to support your baby’s brain and eye development.
  • They’re also fortified with iron, providing your child with 1.8 mg of this essential mineral. It’s higher than the FDA’s requirement of 1 mg per 100 calories.
  • Neither should be used for babies with galactosemia. This condition affects a person’s ability to digest galactose, a sugar found in breast milk and many formulas.
  • Neither formula contains artificial growth hormones because they’re sourced from non-rBST cows. rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) is a synthetic hormone given to cows for increased milk production, but some parents are concerned that these can have harmful effects on their children. (2)
  • Both products are also available in ready-to-feed liquid bottles.
  • The powder and liquid formulas are designed to provide complete nutrition for your child’s first year.

 

Differences

Similac Advance and Similac Pro-Advance are nearly identical infant formulas. The following are their slight differences:

 

Why Similac Advance Infant Formula Is Better

  • Similac Advance is slightly cheaper ($26.99 for a 20.6 oz tub or $1.31 per oz) than Similac Pro-Advance ($28.99 for a 20.6 oz tub or $1.41 per oz).

 

Why Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula Is Better

  • It has the 2’-FL HMO prebiotic (2’-FL human milk oligosaccharide). It’s a component that’s the third most abundant in breast milk.
  • They both have the same nutrient contents, except for inositol, which can help control blood sugar and improve your baby’s immune system. It’s also an important vitamin-like substance for your baby’s growth and development. The Pro-Advance formula has significantly more inositol (24 mg) than Advance (4.7 mg).

 

Similac Advance Infant Formula

Pricing

  • 20.6 oz tub, single pack: $26.99
  • 36 oz can, case of three: $115.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s an iron-fortified milk-based infant formula designed to provide complete nutrition for your baby’s first year.
  • It can offer great calcium absorption for stronger bones because it doesn’t have palm olein oil. (1)
  • It features key ingredients found in breast milk (DHA, lutein, and vitamin E) in a blend called OptiGRO. It supports eye health and brain development.

 

Ingredients 

  • Nonfat milk
  • Lactose
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (source DHA)
  • Mortierella Alpina oil (source of omega-6 fatty acid ARA, arachidonic acid)
  • Short-chain fructooligosaccharides
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Potassium citrate
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Soy lecithin
  • Potassium chloride
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Ferrous sulfate
  • Choline bitartrate
  • Choline chloride
  • Ascorbyl palmitate
  • Salt
  • Taurine
  • Inositol
  • Zinc sulfate
  • Mixed tocopherols
  • D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate
  • Niacinamide
  • Calcium pantothenate
  • L-carnitine
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Copper sulfate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride
  • Riboflavin
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride
  • Folic acid
  • Manganese sulfate
  • Phylloquinone
  • Biotin
  • Sodium selenate
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Potassium phosphate
  • Potassium iodide
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Nucleotides

 

This formula is free from:

  • Corn syrup
  • Artificial growth hormones
  • Added sugars

 

Nutritional Facts

Each 5 fl oz serving of this formula (prepared as directed) contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total Fats: 5.6 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 10.5 g
  • Proteins: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 60 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 60 IU
  • Vitamin E: 1.5 IU
  • Vitamin K: 8 mcg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 78 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 1,000 mg
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1): 100 mcg
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 150 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0.25 mcg
  • Niacin: 1,050 mcg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Pantothenic acid: 450 mcg
  • Biotin: 4.4 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Inositol: 4.7 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Phosphorus: 42 mg
  • Magnesium: 6 mg
  • Zinc: 0.75 mg
  • Manganese: 5 mcg
  • Copper: 90 mcg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg
  • Selenium: 2 mcg
  • Sodium: 24 mg
  • Potassium: 105 mg
  • Chloride: 65 mg

 

Product Recall

Massive Similac Formula Recall (2010)

  • A massive recall involved nearly 5 million containers of different Similac products manufactured at the Abbott Laboratories plant in Sturgis, Michigan, in 2010. It was due to possible contamination with the small common beetle. (3)
  • An internal quality review showed the remote possibility that the milk products might have been contaminated with the beetle (larvae and adults). The brand only recalled powder formulas; no ready-to-feed liquid formulas were included. (3)

 

Over 1,500 lots of Similac Advance products were included in this recall: (3)(4)

  • Similac Advance Powder DHA/AHA
  • Similac Advance Sensitive Powder DHA/AHA
  • Similac Advance LCP with Iron Powder
  • Similac Advance Early Shield Powder
  • Similac Isomil Advance Powder
  • Similac Isomil Advance Soy/Iron Powder

 

These products had been distributed across the US, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Caribbean countries. (3)

According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), ingesting the contaminated recalled products doesn’t pose an immediate health risk of food poisoning. But the larvae or beetle may cause intestinal discomfort. Your child might also refuse to eat due to irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. (3)

Abbott Laboratories Inc. later assured affected consumers that tests on the recalled Similac products showed only 0.16% were contaminated with the beetle. (5)

When we identified this, we did extensive testing of every product on the (factory) line, and more than 99.8 percent of the product was negative for beetle contamination,” Abbott spokeswoman Melissa Brotz announced. (5)

For return or refund processing, affected customers can call 800-986-8850 or visit similac.com/recall.

 

Similac Advance Liquid Ready-To-Drink Formula Recall (2006)

  • On September 18, 2006, Abbott Laboratories recalled Similac Advance liquid ready-to-drink formulas for a manufacturing defect that could cause a decrease in its vitamin C content. (6)
  • The ready-to-feed formula bottles lack a special layer that keeps air from reacting with its contents. A possible chemical reaction between the formula and air may decrease the vitamin C content. It may lead to a vitamin C deficiency if your baby continues to drink the formula for over a month. (6)
  • Affected products are from lot codes 40177RH and 40172RH, all with a “use by” date of Nov. 1, 2007. (6)
  • The plastic bottles (32-ounce) have been distributed in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam between May 18 and Sept. 5, 2006. (6)
  • Affected customers were advised to call Ross Products Division at 800-624-3412 for returns or refund processing. (6)

 

Similac Advance Hospital Discharge Kit Recall (2006)

  • Similac Advance hospital discharge kits from lot code 41699D5 were also included in the liquid formula recall involving the manufacturing defect on the bottles that may affect the vitamin C content. (6)

 

Similac Advance with Iron Powder Formula Recall (2005)

  • Abbott Laboratories recalled Similac Advance with iron powder formula in February 2005 for possible contamination with particles of black polyvinyl chloride plastic attributed to a manufacturing problem. (7)
  • The plastic contamination affected Similac Advance with Iron powder products (12.9-ounce cans) only. Liquid formulas weren’t included in the recall. (7)
  • The contaminated containers were distributed in 2004. (7)
  • No serious health problems or issues were reported concerning this recall. (7)

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Similac Advance is slightly cheaper ($26.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; at $1.31 per oz) than the Pro-Advance formula ($28.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; at $1.41 per oz).
  • This formulation has no added sugars or corn syrup.
  • It’s also Kosher and halal.

 

Cons

  • It contains potential allergens from its milk and soy ingredients.
  • It’s not lactose-free and should be avoided if your baby has lactose sensitivity or intolerance.
  • It’s not dairy-free and shouldn’t be given to babies with cow’s milk protein allergies.
  • There have been several recalls for Similac Advance. (3)(6)(7)
  • It contains vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

I just had my 10th child and have never been able to breastfeed for very long. As disappointed as that makes me I feel assured knowing Similac has had my back for the last 20 years. Its pricy and that is why I gave 4 out of 5 stars but I do recommend the Advance as well as Similac Sensitive. About half of my children have or have had a lactose sensitivity at birth. The sensitive formula helped them feel better quickly!” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

Similac advance is a great formula in my opinion. My baby has never had any trouble keeping it down. And I feel like it’s a good formula to try if you want to transition you’re baby. But all babies are different and might need a different formula.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

Great price. I gave this product to all 3 of my babies after I stopped breastfeeding around 8-9months old. All three babies did well with the change to Similac. Our youngest is 10 months old and drinks it down quickly with no problems. I highly recommend this product.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Reviews 

This product causes extreme constipation. My 2 month old has been on Advance, Sensitive and now Total Comfort – he has been constipated since birth, with the Similac products. Pediatrician gave samples of a different brand, which worked WONDERS; however we are on WIC and unfortunately they do not offer a different brand of formula.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

My baby violently threw up everytime I tried this formula- needed it to supplement my breast milk. A complete waste of my money and added stress to my baby and me.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

The hospital started us out with Similac advanced, but then we started to notice the stool count shorten. Similac Advanced caused my baby to have extremely bad constipation to where now I have been switched from Advanced to Sensitive to now Total-Comfort and my baby hasn’t had a stool in 4 days. If it wasn’t because of WIC only covering Similac, I would look for something else that fits my child and what he needs.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

 

Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula

Pricing/Packages

  • 20.6 oz tub, single pack: $28.99

 

Best Features & Safety

  • It’s closest to breast milk among all of Similac’s formulas.
  • It features OptiGRO, an exclusive blend of vitamin E, DHA, and lutein to promote brain and eye development.
  • It’s a non-GMO formula that can provide immune support for your child.

 

Age Range

  • This formula is for babies up to one year old.

 

Ingredients 

  • Nonfat milk
  • Lactose
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Soy oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Mortierella Alpina oil (ARA source)
  • Crypthecodinium cohnii oil (DHA source)
  • 2′-fucosyllactose
  • Short-chain fructooligosaccharides
  • Lutein
  • Nucleotides
  • Ferrous sulfate

 

This milk brand is free from:

  • Added sugars
  • Corn syrup
  • Artificial growth hormones
  • GMOs

 

Nutritional Facts

Each 5 fl oz preparation of this formula contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 100 calories
  • Total Fats: 5.6 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 10.5 g
  • Proteins: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B6: 60 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg
  • Vitamin D3: 60 IU
  • Vitamin E: 1.5 IU
  • Vitamin K: 8 mcg
  • Iron: 1.8 mg
  • Calcium: 78 mg
  • Linoleic acid: 1,000 mg
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1): 100 mcg
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 150 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0.25 mcg
  • Niacin: 1,050 mcg
  • Folic acid: 15 mcg
  • Pantothenic acid: 450 mcg
  • Biotin: 4.4 mcg
  • Choline: 24 mg
  • Inositol: 24 mg
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Phosphorus: 42 mg
  • Magnesium: 6 mg
  • Zinc: 0.75 mg
  • Manganese: 5 mcg
  • Copper: 90 mcg
  • Iodine: 15 mcg
  • Selenium: 2 mcg
  • Sodium: 24 mg
  • Potassium: 105 mg
  • Chloride: 65 mg

 

Product Recall

  • There has been no recall for the Similac Pro-Advance formula

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It doesn’t have added sugars.
  • It has 2’-FL HMO prebiotics.
  • It has more inositol (24 mg) than the Advance formula (4.7 mg).
  • There have been no recalls for this formula.

 

Cons

  • It’s not lactose-free.
  • It’s not dairy-free.
  • It contains vegetable oils.

 

What Customers Say

Positive Reviews 

Love this product! When my breast milk supply dried up I wanted something as close as possible to the good stuff! My baby loves this type of formula, he has never spit up or had tummy issues while eating it.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

My baby girl loves his formula, especially when it is warm right before bedtime. I’ve noticed that this formula has made her alert and her cognitive skills are far along at her age.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

I like that this is lactose-based instead of corn syrup based. Lactose-based makes it more similar to breast milk. This is the formula used at the hospital I delivered at too (they gave the ready to feed formula).” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Negative Reviews 

We have been feeding our son Similac Pro Advance since he was a month old when I stopped breastfeeding. We haven’t had any issues with it until last month, around 2.5 months old, when he started spitting up after every feed and continued to spit up for 45 minutes after. He arches his back and acts super painful and gassy as well. He has had infrequent stools, with some being kind of hard instead of soft. We decided to try another brand to see if it will make a difference. Sad to have to switch formula.” – Reviewer on Similac’s website.

I purchased this cause the larger one is sold out. But it doesn’t dissolve well in water and there are a lot of foamy little grains left.” – Reviewer on Target.

I continued to give my son this when we got out the hospital but this formula tore up his stomach so bad after every feeding he was screaming. After a month I finally decided to switch to nutramigen and saw such a huge difference just in the first night. This formula was just not it made him so gassy and just his poops were either runny or just he was constipated.” – Reviewer on Target.

 

Summary & Recommendation 

Similac Advance and Similac Pro-Advance can both provide your baby with complete nutrition needed during the first year

There’s no significant difference in most of their nutritional contents, but these might help you choose the right formula for your baby:

 

Choose Similac Advance Infant Formula if:

  • You want to pick a complete formula that’s easier on your wallet. Similac Advance is slightly less expensive ($26.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; at $1.31 per oz) than Similac Pro-Advance formula ($28.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; at $1.41 per oz).

 

Choose Similac Pro-Advance Infant Formula if:

  • You want to pick a formula that’s closest to breast milk.
  • You prefer providing your baby with a formula that has prebiotics, such as 2’-FL HMO found in breast milk.
  • You want a formula that may provide more nutrients (such as inositol) to strengthen your baby’s immune system and promote growth and development.

 

Other Infant Formulas To Try

Similac Advance Vs. Pro-Sensitive

What Makes Similac Advance Better:

  • It doesn’t have corn syrup or added sugars.
  • It’s slightly cheaper ($26.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; $1.31 per oz) than Similac Pro-Sensitive ($29.99 for the 20.1 oz tub; $1.49 per oz).

 

What Makes Similac Pro-Sensitive Better:

  • It’s lactose-free.
  • It’s formulated for gas and fussiness due to lactose intolerance.
  • It has 2’-FL HMO (a prebiotic).
  • It’s made of non-GMO ingredients.
  • It has more calcium, inositol, phosphorus, proteins, sodium, carbohydrates, and potassium than the Similac Advance formula.

 

Similac Advance Vs. Similac Sensitive

Why Similac Advance Formula Is Better

  • It doesn’t have corn syrup or added sugars.
  • It has more inositol and fat content compared with Similac Sensitive.
  • It’s slightly cheaper ($26.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; $1.31 per oz) than the Similac Sensitive formula ($26.99 for a 20.1 oz tub; $1.34 per oz).

 

Why Similac Sensitive Infant Formula Is Better

  • It’s lactose-free and may be suitable for babies with sensitive tummies.
  • It has a milk protein isolate from cow’s milk.
  • It has more proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus than Similac Advance.

 

Similac Pro-Advance Vs. Similac Sensitive

What Makes Similac Pro-Advance Better:

  • It features the prebiotic 2’-FL HMO.
  • It doesn’t have any added sugars or corn syrup.
  • It comes with more inositol (4.7 mg) than the Similac Sensitive formula (4.3 mg).

 

What Makes Similac Sensitive Better:

  • It’s a gentle formula that may be ideal for babies with sensitive tummies, including lactose intolerance.
  • It’s cheaper ($26.99 for a 20.1 oz tub; $1.34 per oz) than the Similac Pro-Advance formula ($28.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; $1.41 per oz).

 

Similac Pro-Advance Vs. Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease

These milk-based formulas are made from non-GMO ingredients and don’t have artificial growth hormones or added sugars.

They have the same amount of the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Choline
  • Inositol
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Iodine

 

Why Similac Pro-Advance Better:

  • It doesn’t have corn syrup.
  • It has prebiotics (2’-FL HMO).
  • It costs less ($28.99 for a 20.6 oz tub; $1.41 per oz) than Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease ($29.99 for a 19.5 oz tub; $1.54 per oz).

 

It contains more of these nutrients:

  • Fats
  • Linoleic acid
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin
  • Biotin
  • Copper
  • Chloride

 

Why Enfamil Neuropro Gentlease Better:

  • It has MFGM (milk fat globule membrane), an important nutrient that can help improve cognition, behavior, gut and oral health, and immunity. (8)
  • According to Enfamil’s website, this formula is clinically proven to reduce fussiness, crying, spit-up, and gas within 24 hours of use.

 

It contains more of the following nutrients:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic acid
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium

 

Other Formulas For Your Baby

You may also try the following formulas:

  • Similac Alimentum
  • Baby’s Only Organic Sensitive DHA/ARA Formula
  • Enfamil ProSobee Soy-Based Infant Formula
  • Similac Soy Isomil Infant Lactose Free Formula
  • Enfamil A.R.
  • HiPP Dutch Organic Combiotic Infant Milk Formula
  • Holle Goat Based Formula
  • Gerber Good Start Gentle (HMO) Non-GMO Powder
  • Earth’s Best Organic Sensitivity Infant Powder Formula with Iron (Reduced Lactose
  • Enfamil Enspire
  • Similac Pro-Total Comfort Non-GMO Infant Formula Powder

 

Choosing the Right Formula for Your Kid

The following are some factors to consider in choosing the right formula for your child:

 

Proteins

Most formulas come from dairy sources. Cow’s milk is the most popular source, but some goat formulas have also been approved for use with young children.

If your kid has a cow’s milk protein allergy or sensitivity to dairy products, you can also find formulas with the following protein sources:

  • Amino acids
  • Plant-based proteins (soy, grains, peas, etc.)

 

The following are standard or full-sized proteins:

  • Nonfat milk
  • Milk protein isolate
  • Whey protein (a component of cow’s milk protein)
  • Soy protein isolate (for soy formulas)

 

These are smaller, easy-to-digest proteins for babies with sensitive tummies:

  • Partially hydrolyzed protein 
  • Partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk
  • Fully hydrolyzed protein

 

Carbohydrates

Always check the formula’s label if your child has lactose intolerance or sensitivity:

  • With lactose
  • Lactose-reduced
  • Lactose-free

 

Formulas With Specific Considerations

Some formulas are also designed to meet your baby’s special needs:

  • For reflux
  • For fussiness and gas
  • For colic
  • For cow’s milk protein allergy
  • Hypoallergenic
  • For constipation
  • For diarrhea
  • For fat malabsorption
  • For feeding issues

 

Formulas With Special Ingredients

Some also contain special ingredients that you might consider as deciding the factor in choosing your baby’s formula:

  • DHA and ARA
  • MFGM
  • Lactoferrin
  • HMOs and prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Antioxidants

 

Formulas Without Specific Ingredients Or Components

Some parents also prefer formulas that don’t have the following:

  • Added sugars
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn maltodextrin
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial growth hormones
  • GMOs

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8780336/

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

(3) https://buffalonews.com/news/similac-recalls-powdered-formula/article_a7d6e134-56bc-56c7-b29d-11edd4093b1e.html

(4) https://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/SimilacLotList.pdf

(5) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-abbott-idUSTRE68L4ZI20100922

(6) https://www.aappublications.org/content/27/9/2006229

(7) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ParentingResourceCenter/similac-recall-bug-parts-baby-formula-worry-parents/story?id=11710959

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352329/

 

 

 

as seen on
We Got You, Mama.

Self-Care Rituals & Self-Love Practices To Support You & Your Family.

[gravityform id="6" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]