Alimentum vs Nutramigen—Which Specialty Formula Is Best For Your Baby?

Alimentum vs Nutramigen

Whether you have low breast milk production, decide breastfeeding is not for you, or your baby has a condition that requires you to supplement, there are many reasons you may choose or need to feed your baby with formula.

There is a wide variety of infant formulas in the market, and thankfully, there is one for every need and special requirement. Nutramigen and Alimentum fall into the hypoallergenic formulas intended for babies with lactose intolerance, cow’s milk allergy, or a predisposition to suffer either of them.

Today we will compare Alimentum vs. Nutramigen, analyze both products, and give you an overview of them so if your baby is prescribed hypoallergenic baby formula, you can understand its benefits.

Lactose intolerance vs cow’s milk allergy

First, let us differentiate these two ailments.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a reaction to the lactose sugar present in cow’s milk. The digestive system of a lactose intolerant baby cannot digest milk sugar; instead, it releases gases and acid that hurt the baby’s stomach. Regular infant formula is based on cow’s milk; therefore, it is not dairy-free and contains lactose. A lactose intolerant baby may be gassy, colicky, and bloated, and their way of expressing their discomfort will be crying and fussing. They may also have reflux, and in time that could lead to other more serious health complications.

Alimentum vs Nutramigen

Meanwhile, cow’s milk allergy occurs when a baby’s immune system sees the milk’s protein as a threat and sets up a reaction by releasing histamines and other chemicals, triggering the symptoms of an allergic reaction. The allergic reactions could be as simple as itching and swelling, rashes and hives, but can be more complicated and even life-threatening if your baby goes into anaphylactic shock. Other less obvious cow’s milk allergy signs may include upset and a rumbly tummy.

Although you may know what is wrong with your baby from reading the symptoms, seek the advice of a pediatrician to evaluate your baby and develop an action plan.

Why do you need to use a hypoallergenic formula?

So, once a pediatrician has diagnosed your baby with lactose intolerance or cow’s milk allergy, you will likely need to use hypoallergenic formula. But what does it mean? Hypoallergenic formula is a substitute for breast milk that provides the baby with all the nutrients needed, but without milk protein that the baby can’t digest.

Milk protein is present in regular formula and breast milk, especially if the mother consumes dairy products while breastfeeding. Sometimes, babies with this condition will also react to breast milk, hence the need to use hypoallergenic formulas. There are a lot of special formulas on the market, but the top ones for pediatricians are Nutramigen and Alimentum.

Nutramigen vs Alimentum

Now that we have established the basics, it is time to get into the details of Nutramigen vs Alimentum, including their pros and cons.

About Nutramigen

Enfamil Nutramigen infant formula was the first hypoallergenic formula on the market and one of the first choices among pediatricians when dealing with babies with cow’s milk allergy and lactose intolerance. The milk proteins have been pre-digested so that the baby can process them more easily. Also, it is a soy-free and lactose-free formula, so babies who also have soy protein intolerance can take it.

This formula has many healthy and necessary nutrients, including iron, ARA, omega-3 oils, DHA, and choline. It also has LGG probiotics to boost the baby’s immune system and restore it so that the baby can tolerate milk proteins in the future. Enfamil Nutramigen promises fast relief, improving the baby’s digestive system and reducing symptoms within 48 hours. And if you have a baby who has been suffering from an upset stomach, reflux, and colic nonstop, this is a blessing.

Symptoms such as a gassy and rumbly tummy, spit-ups, and reflux should disappear, and the allergic reactions will start to fade away and slowly clear up by the first month. Also, Nutramigen helps minimize the risk of developing multiple food allergies.

If your child has a severe cow’s milk allergy and multiple food allergies, and Nutramigen is still not helping, Enfamil has another product called Puramino, where the proteins have been broken into even smaller particles and are based on amino acids. It is also suitable for halal and kosher diets.

However, there are two major cons with Enfamil Nutramigen: one is taste and smell, and the other one is price.

Alimentum vs Nutramigen

Since this is an extensively hydrolyzed formula and the protein has been pre-digested, it has a pungent smell and taste. We need to understand that traditional formula and breast milk have a sweet taste that makes it tasty for babies, so switching to Nutramigen will take some time to get used to, so be patient if your baby rejects it initially.

Usually, it is recommended to allow the baby at least a week to get used to the difference in flavor and smell. Once they get used to it, the benefits will be evident, and their quality of life will drastically improve. The second factor is price because hypoallergenic baby formulas are not cheap compared to traditional formulas. A 19.4 oz powder can cost around $44.49, and the ready-to-feed formula costs $15.99 for a 32 fl oz bottle or $18.99 for a six-pack of 6 fl oz bottles.

However, the pros far outweigh the cons because it will greatly help improve your baby’s overall quality of life. The good news is that eventually, the child will overcome this condition, so it will not last forever.

About Alimentum

Similac Alimentum is also a preferred hypoallergenic formula for pediatricians. This formula, besides being lactose-free, also has pre-digested proteins to help pass through the baby’s digestive tract to avoid triggering allergic reactions and upsetting their tummies. The formula contains DHA, ARA, and vitamin E to support brain and eye development.

Baby’s taking Similac Alimentum shows improvement within the first 24 hours, a whole day sooner than Nutramigen formula. It is intended to be used during the baby’s first 12 months. By that time, children are expected to naturally have overcome cow’s milk protein allergy or at least be ready to ingest other foods to complement their nutrition.

This type of formula helps achieve tolerance in your child’s digestive system, which will later allow you to switch to a new formula without risking the baby’s health. However, the recommendation to stop using hypoallergenic formula should be made by a pediatrician who will first assess the baby’s situation.

Of course, the Alimentum formula also has the same drawbacks as Nutramigen, such as the taste, smell, and price. Alimentum formula tastes and smells just as vile as its competitor because it is also made from broken-down proteins and has the lactose sugars removed. There is no way around this fact. Just give your baby time to get over the smell and taste and be patient.

It has been said that the ready-to-feed version of Alimentum does smell more pleasant, so maybe give it a try. As for the price, although Alimentum’s price is slightly lower comparing its ounces/price ratio, it may still be a steep price tag for parents on a budget. Alimentum ready-to-feed bottles come in two sizes, 32 fl oz for about $11.99 and an eight-pack of 2 fl oz bottles for $11.99 as well. It also comes in a powder can version, but the cost is currently unavailable.

Similac has a reward system called “Strong Mom,” which may be a plus because you may save money with this system. We need to understand that hypoallergenic formulas are a sort of medical treatment for a baby’s condition, and we as parents need to do whatever we can to help our child thrive. So yes, it is a great sacrifice, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Nutramigen vs alimentum: lets compare them

We have described both hypoallergenic formulas, so let us compare them to see which one is better.

Presentation: Both Alimentum and Nutramigen come in powder cans and ready-to-feed bottles. Nutramigen comes in different levels according to your child’s age group, while Alimentum only has one product for babies up to 12 months.

Nutrients: Nutramigen is packed with nutrients, including iron and the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus to prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the stomach and intestine. Alimentum has been fortified with DHA, iron, lutein, and vitamin E.

Ingredients: Nutramigen does not contain sugar or soy, but corn syrup and palm oil are present in its ingredients, while Alimentum is palm oil and corn-free.

Effectiveness: With Nutramigen, you will notice your baby’s symptoms decrease in the first 48 hours and completely disappear by the first month of regular use, but with Alimentum, symptoms may start to improve in the first 24 hours, which is a whole day sooner—with a baby in pain or discomfort, every minute counts.

So, which one is better?

There is not much difference between Nutramigen and Alimentum because both formulas have been designed with the same purpose in mind, which is caring for your baby’s life when they cannot take regular formula.

One plus point for Nutramigen formula is that it has probiotics that help heal your baby’s tummy. Alimentum formulas do not have probiotics. Both formulas have the same fat content and essential nutrients to ensure your baby’s diet is balanced and helps them thrive. Neither has artificial growth hormones, and both have been fortified with iron.

Nutramigen does have palm olein, and studies have shown that this content may impair calcium absorption, and corn syrup may trigger corn allergy. Similac Alimentum is free of both ingredients. Similac Alimentum also has faster results than Nutramigen.

nutramigen vs alimentum

So comparing Alimentum vs Nutramigen and choosing a winner will depend on personal preferences—what works best for your baby and yourself and which one will have the greatest impact on your child’s life.

So what we suggest is consulting with a pediatrician about both formulas. Depending on your baby’s real needs, make an educated decision about the best baby formula you can get. Also, set up a plan to prepare your child to switch to regular baby formula and slowly introduce dairy products and solid foods to their diets until they have completely overcome their condition.

At the end of the day, the best formula in the Nutramigen vs Alimentum battle will be the one that is more accessible to you, your pediatrician prescribes and makes your baby a happy one. There are always pros and cons in everything in life. Nothing is really perfect, so you need to test it out. If the one you choose is not working for you, ask your pediatrician if you can switch to the other one.

Facts about formula

80% of all formulas are cow’s milk-based, and lactose is added to make it more like breast milk. Also, the natural fats are replaced by vegetable oil to allow infants to digest them more easily. Amino acid-based formulas are the most hypoallergenic type of baby formula available because the amino acids are not sourced from dairy or soy, so even babies with milk soy protein intolerance can take it, and those with severe food allergies.

Soy-based formulas rely on soy protein, so they may help babies with cow’s milk allergies. However, 50% of babies allergic to milk protein are also sensitive to soy protein. It may also be an option if you choose a plant-based diet for your baby. Finally, specialized formulas target babies with certain diseases or disorders, like premature babies with special requirements to help them thrive. Specialized formulas are not to be used without the prescription of a pediatrician.


We have extensively talked about hypoallergenic baby formulas, but if you want to learn the alternatives you have about lactose-free formulas, here are some other options available.

Kabrita Goat Milk Formula

For years, babies who could not tolerate cow milk were given goat milk as a substitute. Goat’s milk has similar components to human breast milk, making it easier to digest with the many healthy nutrients that your baby needs. This formula has been fortified with whey proteins (which makes it unsuitable for milk protein allergies), DHA, ARA, and vitamins.

Enfamil ProSobee

This soy-based formula is free from dairy and lactose but full of nutrients, including DHA and choline promoting brain development. Enfamil ProSobee is completely plant-based, and soy has been praised for its health benefits for a long time. It comes in powder form and ready-to-feed bottles. However, many babies with moderate cow’s milk allergies also have soy protein sensitivity, so beware of symptoms of an allergic reaction and consult with your baby’s pediatrician before choosing it.

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