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Alimentum vs Nutramigen – Which is Better for Acid Reflux in Babies?

Choosing a baby formula for your newborn is a difficult decision at the best of times. But when you have other feeding issues to take into consideration, it can very quickly become overwhelming.

If your little one is having trouble with acid reflux, you may have to change the formula several times until you find one that suits them.

We’re going to look at Alimentum vs Nutramigen and see which works best for those babies suffering from acid reflux.

To be honest, one formula is not better than the other. Both have pros and cons and the trick is to find the formula that not only helps with your baby’s acid reflux but one that they actually like the taste of.

Each baby has its own unique preference the same as adults. Be prepared that you may need to try several different formulas before you find the right one.

Check out our reviews of both formulas. We hope it’ll help you to make an informed decision right from the start.

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The Main Differences Between Alimentum vs Nutramigen

The short answer is that both Alimentum vs Nutramigen are made by reputable brands. Both are effective in the treatment of babies suffering from acid reflux and allergies.

However, there are several differences that may sway your decision as to which is best for your baby.

Nutritional and Ingredient Differences

Alimentum is a nutritionally complete formula that includes breast milk nutrients DHA and ARA. Both of these help to support brain and eye development. It contains no palm olein oil.

Alimentum also contains predigested proteins that are broken down to help prevent any allergic reactions and help with digestion.

Nutramigen contains all the essentials needed as breastmilk. It doesn’t contain dairy or soy ingredients but does contain probiotic Enflora. Nutramigen has also been proven to help reduce the incidence of future allergy issues.

Effectiveness of Alimentum vs Nutramigen

To be honest, in order to determine the effectiveness of any kind of specialized formula regardless of the manufacturer can take up to two weeks.

Although, Alimentum does state that you will start seeing a difference in 24 hours. Nutramigen states that their formula can start to manage colic as early as the first feeding and that 90% of infants improving within 48 hours of starting their formula.

These promises of almost immediate effectiveness will depend very much on each individual baby.

Many babies will reject the formula due to its smell or taste. If you can not get your baby to take the formula, there’s no way for it to be effective in treating their symptoms.

baby formula and baby milk bottle

The Taste and Smell

Both Alimentum vs Nutramigen has an unusual and some would say unpleasant smell and taste. If your little one is used to breast milk or even the standard formula, they may not be so keen to try either of these hypoallergenic versions.

The best advice is to try and start them on these hypoallergenic versions as early as possible before they get used to the smell and taste of the original formula. However, understandably this isn’t always possible so you may have to persevere. 

The ready-to-feed version of these formulas does seem to be more palatable. This is an option that you may want to consider, to begin with.

The Price Difference

Again both formulas are more expensive than the original versions of the formula and this may put them out of reach of some families.

But there is good news in this day and age with the continuous growth of the internet. This does mean that you may be able to purchase these specialized formulas online at a discounted rate, making them more affordable.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Many babies will bring up a small amount of milk. This is known as reflux. It most cases it’s completely normal and simply means that your baby has had enough to eat.

However, if your baby shows signs of discomfort when feeding, they could be suffering from acid reflux. 

Babies are particularly susceptible to acid reflux for two reasons. Firstly, their esophagus is shorter and narrower. Secondly, the valve at the bottom of their food pipe is underdeveloped.

This means that stomach acid can easily enter the esophagus. Unlike the stomach lining, the lining of your esophagus is not designed to deal with acid.

If the liquid that gets into their esophagus contains a lot of stomach acid, it may cause them some pain.

baby drinking milk

What are the symptoms?

About half of all babies suffer from some form of reflux in their first three months. It usually doesn’t cause problems for most babies and by the time they are around 10 months old, it’s only seen in 5% of babies.

But a few little ones may have acid reflux and they may need some help to manage it. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • The baby brings up food frequently, either soon after feeding or it can be up to two hours later.
  • Your baby arches their back when feeding or even after a feed.
  • Refusing a feed
  • Crying frequently
  • Irritability
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty sleeping.

If your baby is experiencing these signs often, it would be advised to speak to your pediatrician.

How to help your baby avoid acid reflux?

There are two main areas that you need to consider when helping your little one avoid reflux: the food you give them and the way that you feed them.

Food choices for a baby with acid reflux

  • Breast milk is digested faster than formula and it also contains enzymes that help digestion. This means that the chances of acid reflux are reduced.
  • If you’re feeding formula, you could try feeding smaller meals more often. This is because small meals are digested quicker and if they’re having less volume of liquid, the chances of acid reflux are lower.

Tips for feeding a baby with reflux

  • Feed your baby slowly and hold them upright
  • Ensure that you burp your baby frequently when feeding
  • Try holding your baby upright for 30 minutes after each feed
  • Ensure that their nappy is not too tight.

Similac Alimentum

Similac Alimentum

This is a hypoallergenic formula for babies that are suffering from allergies or colic. It’s available in both a ready to feed option and a powder version of the formula. 

Similac Alimentum is proven to work quickly. A study has shown that it reduces excessive crying within 24 hours of first use.

No parent wants to hear their little one in pain. Being able to remove this discomfort quickly is a huge plus for any new formula you are looking at.

Similac is a well-known brand and tends to be the brand that is preferred in hospitals and recommended by many doctors.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be using this type of formula from birth as it will take time to discover if your baby is suffering from acid reflux, colic, or allergies. But Similac is a brand that you can trust and is very well known.

One of the advantages of this formula is that it’s basically pre-digested. This means that the protein in it is broken down. By doing this, the smaller proteins are more easily absorbed by your baby’s digestive system.

Easy absorption also means that your baby won’t have to work as hard. If they’re doing less work, it also means less reflux, gas, and fussiness. It is also unlikely that babies with allergies will react to this hypoallergenic formula.

Another advantage of this formula is that it’s available in both ready-to-feed options and powdered formula options. The ready to feed option is a good place to start as the taste of the ready-made formula is less unpleasant tasting.


  • The formula is available in both ready to feed and powdered forms.
  • It is a pre-digested formula making it easy to digest.
  • It is a popular brand and recommended by most pediatricians
  • It is quick to relieve the pain and discomfort of acid reflux or colic.


  • It is quite expensive that may put it out of reach of some families.
  • The formula is made using pre-digested proteins which give it a funny taste that many babies refuse.
  • Can be quite difficult for babies to adjust to the formula.
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Enfamil Nutramigen

Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic Colic Baby Formula, Lactose Free Milk Powder, 19.8 Ounces - Omega 3 DHA, LGG Probiotics, Iron, Immune Support, (Packaging May Vary)

This formula is hypoallergenic and is designed to be used for babies with allergies, colic, reflux, intolerances, and upset stomach due to cow milk protein allergy.

Like any formula that is not the standard formula, you can expect to pay a little more for it. Nutramigen comes in two options ready to feed which comes in bottles and the traditional powdered formula option.

Nutramigen contains many nutrients that are found in breastmilk. This will help your baby to develop properly and have a healthy immune system. Enfamil is a brand that makes some of the most popular formulas on the market today.

This hypoallergenic formula is also dairy-free. As dairy can cause gas and fussiness in many babies, soy is also a very common allergy in young babies.

This Enfamil formula contains no soy products. It’s safe to use for babies that have milk soy protein intolerance or MSPI.

For those babies with colic or gas, Nutramigen has been proven to show improvement of pain and discomfort within 48 hours of first use.

Nutramigen formula is very close to the structure of breastmilk. It contains both DHA and ARA which helps with brain and eye development. Babies can remain on this formula until they’re 12 months of age.

The protein in Nutramigen is broken down into smaller parts to help with digestion. It also means that they won’t irritate the gut and intestines as other formulas might.

It also contains an added probiotic to promote healthy intestines. All of these added features will help to reduce and manage colic, reflux, and gas.


  • The formula is from a well-known brand and is recommended by many mommies as well as pediatricians.
  • The formulation is dairy-free and babies that have a dairy intolerance suffer from fussiness and gas.
  • It is also soy-free as well. Some children suffer 
  • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
  • Helps brain development with DHA
  • Contains probiotics for better digestion.


  • Can be expensive as a long-term feeding option.
  • The hypoallergenic formula taste is unpleasant.
  • Babies may not transition well from breastmilk to this formula
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Is it possible for babies to be allergic to Alimentum or Nutramigen?

The short answer is yes. It’s possible but quite rare. Alimentum powder, Nutramigen powder, and Nutramigen ready to feed all contain corn, while Alimentum ready to feed does not.

mother bottlefeeding her baby

If your baby is allergic to corn, you might be best only using the Alimentum ready to feed option. If your baby has very bad milk allergies, then they may not be able to tolerate either Alimentum or Nutramigen as they contain a form of cow’s milk protein.

Even though this protein is hydrolyzed or broken down, some babies with cow milk protein allergies may not be able to tolerate it even in these small amounts.

Does Alimentum taste better than Nutramigen?

No, it doesn’t taste any better than Nutramigen. The general consensus amongst parents is that both smell very strong and it is advised that as a parent you do not taste them ever.

It is very possible that your baby may refuse this formula due to its taste but if you start them off very young they are less likely to refuse it.

Do babies gain weight as they should while on Alimentum or Nutramigen?

Breastfed babies and those on hypoallergenic formulas like Alimentum or Nutramigen tend to gain a little less weight than babies fed on standard formulas.

However, if your baby does have some digestive issues this may stop them from gaining weight as expected.

The Final Thought

If your baby is having trouble feeding due to colic, gas, reflux, or allergies then you’re no doubt searching for a formula that will help to control if not eliminate their symptoms.

If your baby needs a hypoallergenic formula then there are only a few options available to you. If you are deciding between Nutramigen and Alimentum, you will not go far wrong.

Both formulas are almost identical. Price-wise they are comparable, but a little bit more expensive than standard formulas. Both can easily be purchased online and this is a way in which you could save a few dollars too.

At the end of the day, it’ll come down to whichever formula suits your little one best and helps them to feed without any further issues.

As we have said before, if your little one does refuse to take either formula, it may be worth trying the ready to feed option as the taste and smell are not so unpleasant.