So our decision to feed Baby E Similac Gain IQ was based on the fact that it was the first formula that she was willing to take. We tried Karihome Goat’s Milk, Aptamil and Nan before that and they were all rejected. We did have some luck with Aptamil but she rejected it after a few feeds. However, she amazingly finished a tin of Mamil Gold Stage 3 sample recently and we started having ideas of switching.
As this crazy mummy here has got OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and insists on knowing exactly what she is switching into, I decided to do a comparison table comparing nutritional facts after seeing Competition Commission of Singapore’s market study and Mdm Josephine Teo’s famous “Milk is Milk” remarks. This post will compare Similac Gain IQ Stage 3, Enfagrow A+ Stage 3, Nan Kid 4, S26 Progress Gold, Friso Gold Stage 3, Aptamil Toddler Gold+ Stage 3, Mamil Gold Stage 3 and Dugro Step 3 because these are the brands we are considering.
The following is the methodology of this study:
- Conversion of units: As some brands indicate their nutritional facts in mg and some disclose it in g or IU (International Units), I had to convert some of the less common units to what other brands use so that numbers can be compared easily.
- Conversion of amounts: As different brands indicate their nutritional facts in different volume, I converted all numbers to be based on per 100ml of reconstituted milk.
- Source of nutritional information: For all the brands except for Mamil and Dugro, I obtained the numbers from their official websites. For Mamil and Dugro whose nutritional information is not available online, I went to NTUC Fairprice to take pictures of their milk powder tins/packages and used the numbers in my comparison table.
The implication of the above is that whatever numbers you see in the table below may not match exactly what you see on the tins because of the conversion to make the numbers an apple to apple comparison.
Next, without knowing what the daily needs are for our babies, it is difficult to make sense of the numbers, hence I went to Baby Center and extracted the following nutritional information:
Note that in the table above, Essential Fatty Acids consists of Omega-6 and Omega-3 and Omega-3 consists of ALA and DHA.
With nutritional needs in mind, we are better equipped to interpret the comparison table for Stage 3 milk as below:
Some points to note for the comparison table:
- Values are all for per 100ml of reconstituted milk
- Pink shaded boxes indicates the lowest value out of all while blue shaded boxes indicate the highest values out of all.
- While selecting, we should be careful about not just basing it on the formula with the most blue shaded cells. For example, I noticed that the Vitamin A values of certain brands are high, but for a baby who is a milk guzzler, you might end up taking in a lot of Vitamin A, which potentially can have health issues. That said, for Baby E who takes a maximum of 480ml a day, most nutritional values are still lower than the upper tolerance level.
Lastly, I compiled a list of prices for the various milk powder, prices obtained from Redmart.com and NTUC Fairprice website on 19 June 2017. I was unable to obtain prices for Nan 3 and Aptamil Stage 3 1.6kg so the table looks like this:
Please feel free to make your own conclusions, but these are mine:
- I was stunned by how expensive Similac is for the nutritional values it provides. Am I just paying for advertisements?
- For the same price paid for Similac, it seems that I am better off opting for Aptamil.
- Dugro is actually pretty decent for its price.
- So if Baby E actually has no preference, I would opt for Aptamil if budget is no constraint. If budget is a constraint, going by the nutrients that I care most about (Calcium and DHA), I’d opt for either Mamil or Dugro. Either way it seems like I’m better off than staying with Similac. Of course that’s the ideal scenario… given that Baby E seems hooked on Similac. After a 400g tin of Mamil, she insisted that she preferred ‘the bear milk’.
In my next post, I’ll share the comparison for Stage 4 formula milk of: Similac Gain Kid 4, Enfagrow A+ Stage 4, Nan Kid 4, S26 Promise Gold, Friso Gold Stage 4, Aptamil Junior Gold+ Stage 4, Mamil Gold Stage 4 and Dugro Step 4. Stay tuned!
- This is a non-sponsored personal study of mine. Every care has been taken when converting the numbers but if you should spot any discrepancy, please highlight to me and I’ll rectify that.
- This post is not to direct you towards whatever brand, but just a handy guide comparing the milk powder brands because I’ve been unable to find any such comparisons out there.
- Please credit me if you should decide to take my tables to use on your website. It took a lot of time to collate information and convert figures and I decided to publish this for the good of parents and babies out there. Some love is appreciated!
*Update 23 Jun 2017*
JTS: One mummy mentioned that we might need to look at whether the milk powder contains palm oil and that she once called Similac careline to enquire and Abbott told her that their milk powder has no palm oil. While googling on that, I came across an article that suggests that palm oil is no good… and within that article it says that DHA may not be so great either depending on how it is processed. Of course, we’ll never know how these companies process their milk powder. Tread at our own risks I guess… Thanks for sharing, Mummy!
*Update 6 Oct 2017*
Abbott sent out a mailer saying that their Similac milk powder is formulated without palm olein oil, and that it’s easier for babies to absorb the nutrients without palm olein oil. I’m not an expert so please make your own conclusion! For us, we have recently switched to Dugro on the grounds that our kid is old enough and takes 3 proper meals a day. Milk is like a supplement to her and for the nutrients that Dugro has a lower level of, she’s taking multivitamins that already cover that. After the switch, we are happier because her constipation issues are gone, and Dugro smells like milk, unlike certain formula that smells really synthetic. We’ll stay with Dugro for awhile, and observe further…