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I’m putting my research cap back on for another round of throwdown, this time between Bobbie – my tried-and-true, European-style, organic formula – and Enfamil, a storied brand often offered in many doctors’ offices. This one’s a story of old school versus new school, as Enfamil has been producing formula since 1959, while Bobbie was founded four years ago with the intention of offering an refreshed, for-modern-moms products. Discover their differences – and ultimately my preference – below.
Bobbie: Founded in 2018 by two moms who struggled to breastfeed and were frustrated with the formula options on the market, Bobbie is the only European-style infant formula that’s both made and sold in the US. Bobbie is made by Perrigo, a manufacturer that has been making infant formulas for over 35 years. The brand meets FDA requirements for infant formula and was inspired by European nutritional requirements. It is USDA-certified organic and is the first US baby formula to have received both the Clean Label Project Purity Award and the Clean Label Pesticide-Free Certification. Notably, Bobbie’s team of scientists, innovators, and regulatory experts are also moms, so your concerns are their concerns, too.
Enfamil: Enfamil baby formulas are manufactured by Mead Johnson and Company (which was acquired in 2017 by Reckitt Benckiser). Most of the brand’s infant formulas are not certified organic, though Enfamil does offer a variety that is made with USDA-certified organic milk. Enfamil formulas meet or exceed all infant formula requirements set out by the FDA.
Test 1: Variety
Bobbie: Bobbie exclusively offers one formula: its Organic Infant Formula, which is available in powder form and suitable for infants from birth to 12 months.
Enfamil: Enfamil offers a variety of infant formulas in powder and liquid form as well as specialized formulas, electrolytes, and toddler nutrition products. Enfamil’s standard formulas include Enfamil Enspire, Enfamil NeuroPro, and Enfamil routine. Enfamil also offers Simply Organic, a powder made with USDA-certified organic milk. All of Enfamil’s formulas are suitable for infants from birth to 12 months.
Test #2: Ingredients and Quality
Bobbie: Bobbie uses lactose as its carbohydrate source and contains no added corn syrup, added sugars, or palm oil. Its protein is milk-based – in fact, it’s made with Organic Valley grass-fed milk from pasture-raised cows from across 45 small, family-owned American co-op farms in Vermont and Ohio. It meets US standards for organic dairy, which means no antibiotic medicines are given to the cows who make Bobbie’s milk. Bobbie is also made with added safflower, sunflower, soy, and coconut oils, and it also includes whey protein concentrate to give it a 60 to 40 whey-to-casein ratio (which matches the ratio in mature breast milk). It contains 20 mg of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid important for brain and eye development, per 100kcal of formula (which meets the EU standard).
Enfamil Routine: The routine Enfamil products are non-GMO (but not all organic) and available in a variety of forms (liquid, powder, and concentrate). Like Bobbie, Enfamil uses lactose as its carbohydrate source, in addition to soy, coconut, and sunflower oils. Unlike Bobbie, Enfamil also contains palm oil. Enfamil Enspire and Enfamil Neuropro are made with added milk fat globule membrane and lactoferrin, which is found in human breast milk. Enfamil NeuroPro is fortified with DHA, though it only contains 17mg of DHA per 100 kcal of formula (which doesn’t meet the current EU standard).
Enfamil Simply Organic: In terms of the organic option, Enfamil Simply Organic uses both lactose and maltodextrin as carbohydrate sources. It does not use whey protein concentrate and therefore has a whey-to-casein ratio of 20:80, which is closer to cow’s milk than mature human breast milk. Simply Organic also contains palm oil, which has been identified as a major contributor to deforestation and negative environmental effects.
Test #3: Taste & Digestion
Bobbie: Bobbie is known for mixing well and easily without much bubbling or foaming after being shook. As far as taste and feel, Bobbie is smooth and doesn’t have that typical metallic-y taste that most formulas do (it’s a taste that comes from iron – Bobbie has managed to avoid the metallic-y taste while still meeting both EU and FDA iron requirements). It also offers a subtle hint of sweetness modeled after breastmilk with an otherwise mild flavor. In terms of digestion, Bobbie’s 60:40 whey to casein ratio was designed with your baby’s comfort in mind. With that being said, Bobbie does not offer a specifically gentle formula.
Enfamil: Enfamil also mixes well with both warm and cold water. However, I’ve heard many moms complain not only about the metallic-y taste of Enfamil’s formulas, but also of a metallic smell due to this formula’s iron content. As far as digestion goes, Enfamil Organic may be a good choice for babies who have difficulty digesting lactose and need another carbohydrate source.
Test #4: Cost & Convenience
Bobbie: We’re big fans of Bobbie’s subscription service, although the brand currently has a waitlist due to the formula shortage. Once you’re able to subscribe, Bobbie will deliver right to your door each month. The formula runs $1.84/oz, and one can makes about 26 4 oz. bottles. Additionally, Bobbie is also carried at more than 1,700 Target stores nationwide. On Target shelves, Bobbie is available in two sizes— the original 14.1 oz can and a new, larger 23.9 oz can (which costs $1.74/oz or $41.99 per can).
Enfamil: While you can typically order refills online, Enfamil is currently sold out due to the formula shortage and does not seem to have plans for a subscription service in the near future. Enfamil’s price varies depending on the product: Enfamil routine costs $1.42/oz, Enfamil Enspire costs $2.15/oz, Enfamil NeuroPro is $1.64/oz, and Enfamil Organic costs $1.79/oz. It can be found at most retail locations and is available for sample at some pediatrician offices and hospitals.
Test #5: Brand Values
Bobbie: We write a lot about brand ethos at TQE, and I’m thrilled for an opportunity to share more about Bobbie’s. It’s a female-founded and mom-founded brand, which means the business is personal for Bobbie’s team. The company prioritizes important issues related to feeding, parental leave, and other family-focused topics and is extremely outspoken about mom-focused issues on social media. And, quality is everything to Bobbie: the brand invests in rigorous testing, product security, and tracing in order to prioritize your baby’s digestion, immunity, and development. It’s a brand that offers an outstanding product and also peace of mind – Bobbie has completely earned my trust, something few brands in the parenting space have accomplished.
Enfamil: Enfamil’s main focus is on quality assurance – each of its infant products undergoes extensive quality and safety checks throughout the manufacturing process, and a representative number of samples from every batch are tested to ensure quality standards are met. It’s the brand’s main selling point in terms of ethics which is, of course, crucial and valuable to any parent. Beyond that, the brand doesn’t offer much information on its values.
Final Verdict: Bobbie
It’s important to note two things: first, that a fed baby is always most important. Second, that choosing a formula is a personal decision and can vary based on personal needs. With that being said, I prefer my tried-and-true Bobbie over Enfamil for a few key reasons: it’s important to me to choose an organic formula that’s modeled after breast milk, I love how transparent Bobbie is in terms of both ingredients and sourcing, and, I love the mission and ethos of the brand.
While Bobbie doesn’t offer as many options as Enfamil, I personally see that as an upside – I feel confident that the brand’s one formula was created with such intention and integrity that I don’t need a huge array to decide between. However, if your little one struggles with digestion, a gentle Enfamil formula may be a preferred option. Both are great options, and I hope at least one leads to happy feeding for your baby!