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We are switching to formula for our newborn and our pediatrician mentioned (and my initial online research agrees) that all formula brands are the same ultimately and to just buy what’s on sale. This is of course barring any specific dietary concerns like lactose intolerance.

While comparing brands/costs I noticed that Similac has a formula that doesn’t appear to have a generic. This formula includes 2’FL-HMO. I was able to find a couple of articles basically stating that there were some good initial trials that showed increases in immune system and similar results in overall nutrition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378003/

Going to talk to my pediatrician about this at our next appointment, but was curious what everyone’s thoughts were on this formula. Marketing buzz or actual benefits?

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TL;DR: Marketing buzz. No generic means the price stays north of average.


Please note there is a conflict of interest here; the research was supported by Nestlé Nutrition R&D, King of Prussia, PA, Nestlé Nutrition, Vevey, Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne, Nestlé Health Science, Epalinges, Switzerland, and the footnotes state:

Nestlé provided grants and nonfinancial support to AOUP “Paolo Giaccone,” Palermo, Italy, and to the Department of Paediatrics, Jessa Hospital, Hasselt, Belgium. G.P. and C.C. have also worked on other studies sponsored by Nestlé. N.S. and L.G. are current employees of Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd. S.W. is a former employee of Nestlé Nutrition. D.E. is a current employee of Nestlé Nutrition. P.S. is a current employee of Nestlé Health Sciences. The remaining authors report no conflicts of interest.

In addition, the article has only been cited 3 times (that I can see.)

Furthermore, the diagnosis of fever and bronchitis wasn't rigid (did not need to be diagnosed by an outside/unaffiliated caregiver, and the conclusion states

There were no statistically significant differences between groups in the cumulative incidence of reported AEs (adverse events) when analyzed by SOC categories. ...however, numerically lower in the test group, a difference that approached statistical significance...

These aren't good signs.

Basically, the study showed that kids gained weight on the formula, as did the control group. There was about 25% dropout in each group.

all formula brands are the same ultimately and to just buy what’s on sale.

I don't know that I'd go quite that far, but I'm not a pediatrician, and I haven't been keeping up with the literature on infant formulas. I would pick a decent iron-fortified cow's milk-based formula and stick with it. That way there's one less variable to consider if your baby has a problem (was it the new formula or a virus?)

But first I'd ask your pediatrician. :)

Nestlé has a terrible record of pushing its formula to third world countries, going so far as to market their formulas as better than breastfeeding. Personally, I would not support them.

  • Thank you for the detailed response. Her exact words were “but what’s on sale”. – andrewbkillen Jul 17 '18 at 23:54
  • @andrewbkillen - :) She knows better than I do! – anongoodnurse Jul 18 '18 at 5:04
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The benefits look pretty modest, except maybe the bronchitis one, and are extremely unlikely to be long-lasting...and Nestle was in the author list.

It probably doesn't make a huge difference. Depends how much the extra cost is worth for you for a chance at a modest short term benefit.

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