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When I struggled to supplement my primarily breastfeeding baby’s diet with formula, I turned to my parent-friends for advice. That’s where I started to hear a buzz about Bobbie, one of the first formula brands to shake up the industry in decades. Excited to try something new, I put the brand’s Organic Infant Formula to the test against Similac, one of the industry’s longest-standing formula makers. In this edition of throwdown, discover how Bobbie stacks up.
Bobbie: Bobbie was launched in 2019 by moms looking for a new, organic formula. The brand prides itself in local sourcing, local production (Vermont and Ohio), and being a mom-founded, mom-led brand. While the brand is new, Bobbie works with Perrigo, a manufacturer that has been in the formula game for more than 30 years on production.
Similac: Similac, on the other hand, owned by Abbott Laboratories, was initially created over 90 years ago. The brand manufactures more than 75 labels of formula as well as other major brands like Pedialyte and PediaSure.
Bobbie: Bobbie currently offers one Organic Infant Formula suitable for full term, healthy infants between 1-12 months old. While Bobbie claims to be easy on tummies and support immunity and brain development, its formula is not suitable for premature infants or those with allergies to milk or soy. Bobbie is available exclusively as a powder.
Similac: Similac offers a much wider range of products, including its main “routine” formulas: Similac Advance, Similac Pro-Advance and Similac 360 Total Care, plus several others targeted for specific needs (like sensitive tummies and milk allergies): Similac Sensitive, Similac Total Comfort, Pro-Sensitive, and Pro-Total Comfort. Similac’s variety of products is available in ready-to-feed, liquid concentrate, and powder forms.
Because I didn’t have specific health concerns, Bobbie was an easy add to cart. Similac took a bit more research – after using its ‘Formula Finder’ tool, I purchased the recommended Similac 360 Total Care. Below, a comparison of each.
Ingredients, Quality, and Efficacy
Both Bobbie and Similac are lactose-based, iron-fortified and contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). Here’s where they’re different:
Bobbie: Bobbie is organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains no palm oil or maltodextrin. Its whey to casein ratio (60:40) is the closest to breast milk, and Bobbie’s water-extracted (versus hexane-extracted) DHA helps support brain development. Bobbie contains 20 mg of DHA per 100 calories, which meets European infant formula requirements. The brand is also one of the only U.S. formulas to meet both European and U.S. requirements for iron. Bobbie clearly has nothing to hide – the brand offers complete transparency into its bottle with an ingredient breakdown on the Bobbie website. It’s no wonder Bobbie has won a Clean Label Project Purity Award and Pesticide Free certification.
Similac: Similac boasts 5 HMO prebiotics that are structurally identical to those in breast milk. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains no palm oil; however, it is not organic and has a whey to casein ratio of 48:52. The brand’s 360 Total Care formula is also designed to have nutrition designed for immune support, brain development, and digestive health. While I searched for an ingredient list and breakdown as to how Similac accomplishes these things, I came up short.
Taste and Consistency
Of course I tasted both! While I don’t plan on incorporating either into my diet, I noticed differences – and I imagine my little one does, too:
Bobbie: After a decent shake, Bobbie’s white, creamy color looks a lot like breast milk. It’s smooth, and has a hint of sweetness from lactose that’s modeled after breast milk. The most surprising part is that Bobbie doesn’t have that typical metallic-y taste (one that comes from iron) – despite the fact that Bobbie meets both EU and FDA standards for iron. While my little one can’t yet offer an apt description of Bobbie’s taste, I’m inclined to think she likes it. Introducing supplemental formula into her diet has been a struggle for my husband and I – and Bobbie is making the process a lot easier.
Similac: Similac delivers about what you’d expect on formula taste. While I certainly notice an improvement over the shudder-worthy taste I recall from my first daughter, Similac is chalkier and more granular than Bobbie. We’ve found less success introducing it into our daughter’s diet.
Cost and Purchase Model
Bobbie: Bobbie is primarily available through subscription service as well as in select stores. Bobbie will deliver four, eight, or ten 14.1oz cans straight to your door, either as a one-time purchase for $116 ($26 per can plus shipping), $228, or $285, respectively. Alternatively, subscribe and save with free shipping ($104, $208, $260 a month). Bobbie is certainly a premium product, and its price reflects that.
Similac: Similac is also available in retail stores across the US and online. 360 Total Care is available for purchase online as a case of four 30.8oz cans for $179.52. The brand’s other offerings are available in cans ranging from 12.3oz to 36oz for $26-47 per can depending on formula. Similac is certainly a more affordable option.
Baby Knows Best
In an industry that had been largely untouched for decades, Bobbie certainly stands out. Luckily, its benefits are twofold: I feel phenomenal shopping it as a parent, and my little one seemingly feels pretty great about Bobbie, too. Whether your preference is primarily breastfeeding with a hint of supplemental formula or regularly feeding your little formula at meal times, I recommend keeping a supply of Bobbie on hand just in case. When you’re in a pinch (and, as a mother, you inevitably always are at some point), there’s no brand that delivers quite like Bobbie.