Babies are amazing aren’t they!
They also cray. And their little intestines are seriously the topic of 90% of new parents’ conversations. Did you ever thing the first question upon seeing your partner at the end of the day would be “How were our toots and poops today?” You know you’ve been there!
As a side note spoiler for you – it doesn’t actually ever end. You just switch from asking your partner to asking the toddler himself endless questions about his excretions…
“Do you have to go potty?”
“Why is there a crayon in your poop?”
“Why did you poop in that hat?”
“Are you going potty RIGHT NOW?!”
(Yes, all phrases I have sadly said…. multiple times)
To get back on track – when your baby has been having intestinal issue, it is often recommended that you try a partially hydrolyzed formula. I am actually a huge fan of these formulas for babies experiencing digestive distress, and for newborns who aren’t getting breast milk.
Partially hydrolyzed formulas have had their proteins pre-processed a bit so the size of the proteins is smaller than the original (intact) cow’s milk proteins, and are closer in size to human breast milk proteins. I’ve got a whole article on these proteins, so this article is a bit more practical and aims to help you choose between the individual formulas that fit into this category.
The good news is – you have lots of options if you decide your baby needs a partially hydrolyzed formula. Gerber has 3 options, Enfamil has 2 options, and Similac has one. The European company, HiPP also has it’s own partially hydrolyzed formula that comes in two varieties (one made in the UK, one made in Germany).
There’s not one BEST choice. It depends on what your little one’s needs are. Are you looking for a lot, or a little lactose? Are you looking for a probiotic or a prebiotic? These answers will all lead you to different choices.
The biggest choice to me is: what starting protein do you want?
The term “partially hydrolyzed” simply refers to the size of the proteins. So you can have a whey and casein blend that is partially hydrolyzed (like Enfmail’s options) and you can have 100% whey that is partially hydrolyzed (like Similac and Gerber’s options). Here there is no right choice either. I just encourage you to think about the decision strategically. If your baby has a sensitivity to a casein protein or a whey protein, then avoiding large doses of those proteins may help.
The only way to know if this is the case, is to know what you are feeding her and observe how she reacts. And that’s why it’s great that we have so many options.
So here’s the master chart that compares the differences in partially hydrolyzed options for you. This should help you make an informed choice.
|Brand||Protein||Carb||Fat||Pre & Probiotics||Non-required Extras||$ per oz|
|Enfamil Gentlease||Partially Hydrolyzed Nonfat Milk + Whey
(60:40 whey:casein ratio)
|80% Corn Syrup Solids , 20% lactose||Palm oil (45%), Coconut oil (20%), Soy oil (20%), High Oleic Sunflower oil (15%)||No||Carnitine, Taurine||$1.25|
|Enfamil Reguline||Partially Hydrolyzed Nonfat Milk + Whey
(60:40 whey:casein ratio)
|50% Corn Syrup Solids , 50% lactose||Palm oil (45%), Coconut oil (20%), Soy oil (20%), High Oleic Sunflower oil (15%)||Polydextrose, Galacto-oligosaccharides
|Similac Total Comfort||Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||80% Corn Syrup Solids, 20% Sugar||High Oleic Safflower oil (40%), Soy oil (30%), Coconut oil (30%)||Galacto-oligosaccharides (a prebiotic)||Carnitine, Taurine, Nucleotides, Lutein & Lycopene||$1.73|
|Gerber GentlePro||Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||70% lactose, 30% maltodextrin||Palm olein oil (47%), Soy oil (27%), 20% Coconut oil (20%), High Oleic safflower or sunflower oil (6%)||Galacto-oligosaccharides (a prebiotic)
Bifidobacterium Lactis (a probiotic)
|Carnitine, Taurine, Nucleotides||$1.05|
|Gerber SoothePro||Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||70% maltodextrin, 30% lactose||Palm olein oil (47%), Soy oil (27%), 20% Coconut oil (20%), High Oleic safflower or sunflower oil (6%)||Lactobacillus Reuteri
|Carnitine, Taurine, Nucleotides||$1.09|
|HiPP Comfort – UK||Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||maltodextrin, lactose, starch||Vegetable oils with beta palmitate (palm kernel oil, palm oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil)||Galacto-oligosaccharides (a prebiotic)||L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, taurine, L-tryptophan, L-Carnitine||$1.66|
|HiPP Comfort – German||Partially Hydrolyzed Whey Protein||maltodextrin, lactose, starch||Vegetable oils with beta palmitate (palm kernel oil, palm oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil)||Galacto-oligosaccharides (a prebiotic)
Lactobacillus fermentum hereditum
|L-tyrosine, Carnitine, Taurine||$2.21|
I want to mention a few things before closing.
- All these formulas have DHA and ARA The HiPP formulas have a combo of fish oil and hexane extracted oils. So all the formulas use hexane extracted sources of DHA and ARA. HiPP comfort just uses a bit less.
- HiPP Comfort uses a special type of palm oil that avoids all the potential issues related to palm oil. (Awesome!). Check out this article and video to get all the biochemical details about what makes “beta” palm oil special.
- Remember that all US formulas HAVE to meet the needs of babies between 0 – 12 months of age. So …. even if a formula is marketed as “for supplementing” or for babies with constipation, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it if you want. That is JUST marketing! In fact, I have had great success with clients using Reguline and Gerber for Supplementing when the baby was not suffering from constipation or being breastfed at all. It’s all about the ingredients, and only the ingredients!
- Lastly, HiPP Comfort is a great formula and obviously has some desirable characteristics for a partially hydrolyzed formula (hello no palm oil calcium soaps and biodynamic farms). BUT, please read my article about US vs European formulas first if you are thinking of using an EU formula. I’m not trying to scare you at all, I just want you to be totally aware for the differences and pros and cons – like with any other important choice you make, that’s all.
I hope that’s helpful!
Remember, all babies grow out of their little tummy issues. All babies eventually learn to toot on their own (I promise!). All babies stop spitting up eventually.
You’ll get through this! And now you can feel really confident that you are making your formula choice from a place of empowerment and not desperation.
You got this!
xo, Dr Young