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Similac Advance vs Similac Sensitive

If you are looking for the best formula for your little one, Similac is one of the brands that you can count on. Similac is a company with over a century of history in the baby formula industry.

They are famous for the high-quality of their formula recipes. And because they put so much interest into their product, nowadays we can find many types of Similac formulas. 

What is the difference between Similac Advance & Similac Sensitive? The main difference between these two formulas is that Similac Sensitive is ideal for babies with a sensitivity to lactose while Similac Advance is a great choice for babies without this sensitivity. 

The most popular products from this brand are Similac Advance and Similac Sensitive (link to amazon). And even if both of these formulas are very nutritious for babies, there are differences that will make you choose one or the other. 

Is Similac Sensitive better than Similac Advance?

One can’t really decide which formula between Simlac Sensitive and Similac Advance is of a better quality as they address to different baby needs.

Both of these formula contain important nutrients for your baby’s development and you can count on them at all times. But there are differences as well as similarities between these formulas that you should be aware of before deciding between one or another. 

Why is Similac Sensitive a good choice

If your baby has a sensitive to lactose, then Similac Sensitive is what they need. Keep in mind that sensitivity to lactose is not the same with allergic to lactose.

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This formula is milk based so it will not work against lactose allergies. But it will reduce gas and fusiness which are common symptoms of lactose sensitivity. 

If your baby is allergic to lactose you want to give them a plant-based formula that is free of any dairy ingredients. Your doctor will give you a short list of recommendations so it is important not to take this decision alone. 

With Similac Sensitive you know that your baby gets everything they need in terms of nutrients without having to face lactose sensitivity symptoms. You will not have to add any other supplements to their diet unless your doctor tells you otherwise.this formula contains Iron as well, without being Iron fortified.  

Why is Similac Advance a good choice

On the other hand Similac Advance is a formula that will give a lot of nutrients to babies who tolerate lactose just fine. Compared to the Sensitive version of this formula, the Advance one is richer in Iron. So, if your baby has an Iron deficiency, this is one of the best formulas you can give them on a daily basis. 

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Besides Iron, this formula contains all the other nutrients that Similac Sensitive has as well, but it is slightly more concentrated.

If your baby is having any health challenges, a fortified formula like Similac Advance might help them gain their strength faster and improve their immune system better than other formulas on the market. 

Even if this is not a hypoallergenic formula, your baby will not be exposed to any risks by having it daily. You can count on the impeccable quality of the ingredients in Similac Advance and you might find it useful to stick to this formula for the entire first year of your baby’s life! 

Common aspects of both types of Similac formulas

As we mentioned, both of these formulas are very rich in nutrients and perfect for offering your baby the support they need to develop harmoniously. Regardless to which type of formula you choose, you can’t go wrong.

But you should know all the common aspects these products have so you can understand the importance of their differences better. 

Both of them address to babies in the first year of life. This means that if you start your baby’s nutrition with one of these formulas you will not have to switch to a different one once they turn six months old. Consequenctly, once your baby turns six months old, you can use this formula to mix it with cereal or grains.

It will go great in a multitude of combinations so your baby gets a lot of food diversity once they are ready for it. 

Similac adds a special combination of nutrients in these formulas, under the name OptiGRO. Among these nutrients, the most important ones are DHA, ARA Lutein and Vitamin E. These nutrients are present in mothers’ breastmilk as well.

The fact that both types of Similac formula contain these valuable ingredients, makes them a great alternative to breastmilk. However, if you are able to breastfeed your baby, know that this remains the best type of nutrition they can get. 

You can rely on both Similac Sensitive and Similac Advance to offer your baby the support they need for their brain and eyes development. On top of that, these formulas will support their immune system and help them grow healthy.

Babies need a lot of vitamins and minerals in the first year of life. This is the time when they develop their bones, tissues, organs as well as their cognitive functions. And you have to supply all these nutrients by choosing the most efficient formula for them. 

These formulas are milk-based, which means that they have cow milk protein in their ingredients. If your baby is allergic to cow milk you shouldn’t give them any formula that is milk-based. However, for babies that are not allergic, the milk protein is essential for their growth and a key ingredient in their development.

The taste of both these formulas is very sweet and well accepted by the majority of babies. They are made of ingredients that are not GMOs so you can rely on the fact that your baby will not get any harmful chemicals during their feedings.

This is crucial as if you feed them any type of chemicals, you might expose them to health risks that are difficult to manage at such a young age.  

What’s the difference between pro sensitive Similac and sensitive Similac?

Besides the Similac Sensitive formula, you can also choose the Similac Pro Sensitive. The Pro sensitive version is enriched with probiotics as well as 2′-FL HMO.

Thanks to these two ingredients, the Pro Sensitive formula is closer to human breastmilk. But keep in mind that the 2′-FL HMO doesn’t come directly from human breastmilk. 

The importance of probiotics

Why are probiotics important you might ask? They are essential live bacteria that your baby already has in their digestive system. Babies that are breastfed tend to have more probiotics from their mother’s milk compared to babies that are formula fed. So, it is only a good advantage to invest in a formula that also contains probiotics in order to support your baby’s digestive tract. 

Not only that Pro Sensitive Similar formula is more nutritious but it is also easier to assimilate into the body. Your baby will not have gas or be fussy and you can expect them to sleep much better as well. 

Pro Sensitive Similac is not for babies with Galactosemia

It is important to know that the Pro Sensitive version is not recommended for infants that suffer of Galactosemia. Galactosemia is a disease that doesn’t allow your baby’s body to process galactose.

This galactose is common form of sugar in many foods and it can be found in dairy products as well. Galactosemia is of three types. From these types the type I is the most serious and left untreated it can even be life threatening. Talk to your doctor if your baby has any of the Galactosemia forms and find the best nutrition solution for them. 

How do you know when to switch to sensitive formula?

New mothers might wonder if the sensitive type of formula is the best for their little ones. This is a common question that deserves all the important investigations before raising a conclusion. You should know right from the beginning that your doctor has an important role in the final decision. 

If your baby is lactose sensitive, you will know that before you leave the hospital. In this case you will have to start with a sensitive formula right away, unless you are breastfeeding. If you want to breastfeed, your doctor will advise you according to the level of lactose tolerance your baby has.

Consequently, if your baby is allergic to lactose you will have to orientate towards a plant-based formula as just a sensitive one will not be enough. So, if you get one of these diagnosis, you will not be left wondering too much. 

But what if you don’t know if your baby is lactose sensitive? In this case, there are several symptoms that you might notice in your baby, that indicate you to switch to a sensitive formula. 

Excessive fussiness

If your baby gets fussy often or wakes up crying in the middle of the night, it might be because the current formula is not working so well for them anymore. Babies might also cry after or during feedings and they might refuse the bottle.

All these go under the fussiness category of signs and you might want to consider switching to a sensitive formula. While all babies get fussy in the first months of life and some even beyond this time frame, a mother will know when too much fusiness needs to be addressed. 

More gas than usual

All babies have gas. There is no way to go around gassy episodes as they are part of your baby’s development. Eventually they will outgrow them but this will happen way after their first six months of life.

However, if your baby has excessive gas, paying attention to their diet is a wise idea. Formulas that are more difficult to digest might cause gas along with other symptoms.

So, if you notice that your little one is more gassy and therefore, more uncomfortable than usual, it could be the time to try a sensitive formula. You can go for Similac Sensitive as well as Similac Pro Sensitive in this case. 

Loose or watery stool

Depending on the age of your baby, watery stools or diarrhea is a serious condition and you should pay attention to it. For young infants of only a few months old this condition could cause extreme dehydration in only a few hours.

Even if your baby is not in this situation but you noticed they have more loose stools, it is worth to check their formula. Some formulas are difficult to digest and the baby’s body will react by trying to eliminate them faster and unprocessed. They will not assimilate much of the nutrients either but they will lose important minerals.  

Your baby might present one, two or all these three symptoms. In this case, you should consider switching to a sensitive formula. If you are concerned about these symptoms or you notice that they are more severe, you should ask a doctor’s opinion just to stay on the safe side.

The market offers a wide range of baby formulas so chances are that you will be able to find just what your little one needs! 


Similac Sensitive as well as Similac Advance (link to amazon) are great options for your baby’s daily nutrition needs. But you need to get the right one in order to enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

Keep in mind that for lactose sensitive babies, Similac Sensitive and Similac Pro sensitive are two very useful options to invest in. They offer all the nutrients your child needs without any risks. 

If your baby doesn’t have a sensitivity to lactose, Similac Advance might be the ideal formula for them. The same goes for babies who need more Iron and nutrients than others in order to overcome certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have any extra concerns when choosing your baby’s formula. 

Monica Lawrence

I’m Monica, a single mother who’s raising two beautiful angels. Here, I share helpful and creative articles and how-to’s for all the busy, multitasking moms.