Frequent spit ups and stomach reflux are a common occurrence with babies, and both are problems Enfamil AR attempts to solve.
The formula is not without its own problems, though, as some of the Enfamil AR side effects can cause bigger problems than the actual reflux itself.
While Enfamil AR side effects aren’t anything your child will have massive problems with, some of the issues, like constipation or a nasty rash, can be pretty unpleasant for a baby.
Even though this infant formula has these side effects, the benefits do outweigh them, but it’s important to be aware of all the facts.
The formula itself is a bit pricier than the average powder formula, presumably as it contains ingredients designed to minimize the effects of spit up and reflux.
It’s also quite healthy and filling, providing babies with a healthy amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, calcium, iron, and folic acid all mixed with rice cereal.
Together they help coagulate the mixture, allowing it to sit in the belly a bit longer.
But the question on everyone’s minds today is, “Is it safe and what are its side effects?”
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Enfamil AR side effects, as well as all of its beneficial uses and many other frequently asked questions about Enfamil AR.
What Is Enfamil AR?
The Enfamil brand of baby formulas is arguably one of the most popular and easily recognizable available on the market.
When it comes to this particular formula, the AR abbreviation stands for “anti-reflux” while the word Enfamil translates to “instant meal”.
In simpler terms, it’s a baby formula designed to combat acid reflux and frequent spit ups in babies to help make their and their parents’ lives easier.
As mentioned before, it’s chock full of various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, providing everything growing baby boys and girls need.
At the same time, it also helps fix the digestive issues mentioned above, all nicely mixed into rice starch which helps this thickened formula provide a superior feeling of satiety.
The other benefits of the Enfamil A.R. formula are: increased eye and brain development in children as well as support for their immune system and intestinal flora in the form of a probiotic.
The mixture contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is responsible for helping stimulate and improve cognitive function in children while also providing full nutrition and enough fat to act as a solid replacement for breast milk.
In addition to the DHA, you can also find ARA (arachidonic acid) on the list of ingredients, which helps reduce inflammation and aids in reducing the frequency of reflux and spit-up.
The formula is also made from non-GMO ingredients, so you can give it to your little one with peace of mind.
It also meets and exceeds all of the reflux reduction guidelines laid out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and as a result of this, it’s also the #1 recommended brand for dealing with reflux and spit-up by pediatricians worldwide.
Finally, on Amazon, you can subscribe for a monthly shipment of this excellent baby formula so you don’t have to go through the hassle of making a new order every month, saving you not only time but money as well.
Those of you who are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are also in luck, as it’s purchasable with the SNAP benefits in mind.
Currently, the A.R. infant formula is one of the best on the market for this specific purpose and it comes in two forms: powder in a large, 19.5 Oz tub or the ready-to-feed variant for those of you who want to have a bottle ready quickly.
However, there are still a few Enfamil AR side effects that many parents have observed that you should also be aware of.
Enfamil AR Side Effects
Before getting into the actual side effects, there’s one key part of Enfamil AR that parents should know about, and it’s the fact it does contain lactose, making it unsafe for kids who have a milk protein allergy.
Aside from that, it’s still one of the best formulas on the market, but parents whose babies have lactose intolerance should seek an alternative.
Here are some of the most common side effects of this formula:
Arguably one of the worst side effects of Enfamil AR is the fact that it can potentially cause constipation.
Whether it’s some form of early intolerance or simply how the body responds to the new food, your kiddo may end up struggling to pass his stools, in which case you might want to consult your pediatrician on the matter for possible remedies.
If parents know anything, it’s that gassiness is almost a universal side effect for any edible baby product, and this Enfamil infant formula is no different.
The main cause? The rice cereal coagulates the mixture, which makes it heavier and harder to digest as it lingers in the baby’s stomach. This tends to cause a build-up of particularly smelly gas, so do be prepared for this.
The thicker consistency might also contribute to the gas problems as parents need to shake the bottle harder to get everything to blend, which in turn builds up air bubbles in the mixture your baby will then swallow through the bottle.
This will make him a little gassier than usual.
The same happens when the baby tries to draw the formula out and it’s been made a bit too thick, which might lead him to swallow some excess air.
While the burps and smelly toots are somewhat tolerable, what parents really dread is fussiness.
Unfortunately, digestive problems can cause colic, making your baby fussy, and then you have a whole different problem to contend with until the gas has passed!
3. Issues with the flow of the synthetic nipple
Due to the aforementioned thickness of the mixture, some synthetic nipples might end up getting clogged as they’re unable to push the prepared formula through.
While this does have an easy solution – finding a wider nipple or widening some of the ones that you have yourself with a pair of scissors or a knife – it can be irritating the first time around when the baby faces this problem.
4. Confusion between the two different types
This specific side effect only applies to parents who use both versions of the formula, as the powdered version is likely to have variations in thickness compared to the pre-measured, ready-to-feed one.
This may end up confusing your baby when he takes them and could end up with varying results.
For one, your baby may end up liking one version of the formula but utterly refuse to eat the other, despite them being one and the same minus that one detail.
Should this be the case, you may need to stick to only one. If it’s the powdered one, you might have to spend a little bit more of your own time preparing the baby formula in advance.
While rash, much like gas problems, is quite common in children, the contents of this specific formula may end up not meshing well with your child’s digestive system.
Your baby might not be able to process it well or there might be some sort of intolerance or allergy involved.
However, before you go out and swap this formula for something else, consider that rashes can be caused by a wide number of things, not just the formula.
Make sure to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to get a proper diagnosis and guidelines on how to remedy the issue.
The main reason for this is that swapping out baby formula too quickly isn’t good either because it’ll confuse the baby and his digestion, which will only make things worse later down the line, especially if your child’s digestive system is sensitive.
Should this be the case, don’t forget to ask your pediatrician for their baby formula recommendations.
6. Weight gain
One of the main issues caused by acid reflux is that babies might not gain weight at the expected rate, especially if it’s a more severe case. This naturally causes a lot of stress for new parents.
The rice cereal in Enfamil AR helps combat this by keeping the food down for longer and allowing the body to absorb the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals so the baby can gain weight.
However, this is only a benefit for babies who are having problems retaining weight.
It becomes an unwanted side effect if your baby isn’t suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD) or frequent spit ups and isn’t having any trouble gaining weight.
Other Things To Look Out For
While not exactly factors that could be classified as Enfamil AR side effects, there are some things you should also be wary of.
1. Damaged containers
While not a direct side effect of the formula, damaged containers are another thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re used to ordering your formula online.
Some parents have reported that the shipping of the formula hasn’t been handled exceptionally well recently and they received damaged products which aren’t safe for consumption.
While it’s easy to get a replacement, it can be a big hassle and a deterrent for future purchases.
2. Foamy formula
Once again, foamy formula isn’t necessarily a major issue, but it can make your baby gassy and fussy.
The foam in Enfamil AR mainly comes from the rice cereal, which produces small bubbles and traps gas inside.
If these aren’t cleared, they can lead to bloating and a whole lot of burping and gas.
Luckily, it’s as easy to solve as simply spinning the bottle around in a circular motion.
You may want to check your bottle too, though, as some of them are known to cause this issue as well.
What About Other Products As An Alternative?
While Enfamil AR is great on its own, it’s not the only good formula you can find on market shelves.
There are two others that are quite good and could prove to be decent alternatives.
1. Similac Pro-Advance
It’s also one of the most popular baby formulas on the Amazon marketplace, particularly their Pro-Advance formula, which is made to cater to even the most sensitive stomachs.
It was one of the first brands to start producing baby formula without relying on artificial growth hormones from rbST-treated cows, which makes them a healthy choice, a trait many parents are sure to appreciate.
Their mixture of various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, namely lutein, vitamin E, and DHA, the same which can be found in breast milk, ensures your little one gets all the nutrients he needs.
This formula is quite similar to breast milk, making it an excellent choice if you’re either planning on supplementing with formula or switching completely.
That’s not all though, as all of the ingredients Similac Pro-Advance contains aid with proper mental and overall cognitive development, allowing your child’s brain and eyes to develop in a healthy manner with minimal risk of complications.
The same ingredients also cater to your child’s health and safety overall, as they were hand-picked to help boost the child’s still developing immune system and give it a bit of a boost in addition to providing complete nutrition.
What it doesn’t have is palm olein oil or any other high oleic sunflower oils, which are known to make stools harder to pass and even cause constipation in some cases, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with a cranky baby.
While Enfamil may be one of the most recommended brands by pediatricians, Similac is still an excellent choice you might want to take into consideration if you’re thinking about switching to a different brand.
2. Enfamil Gentlease
This is another option to consider if you’d like to stick to an Enfamil brand, but the AR doesn’t mesh well with your little one’s tummy.
The main difference between AR and Gentlease is the fact Gentlease targets gassy and fussy babies or crying children due to colic in general, showing results as early as 24 hours in some cases.
If anything, it can be considered a counterbalance for some Enfamil AR side effects, especially if your little one is struggling with colic.
That said, these two specific versions can be mixed, but make sure to discuss this idea with your pediatrician first.
Don’t do anything with so much potential risk without the advice of a professional, and even then, make sure that the variant your child is used to is the base for the mix while the other is added in gradually increasing increments over time.
Alongside the standard set of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, the main selling points of Gentlease are the DHA and choline, which help support the development of both the brain and eyes in growing infants.
On top of that, this infant formula includes a set of dual prebiotics which help boost your precious child’s immune system to help him fend off any potential illnesses with ease.
It prides itself on having no artificial coloring, flavoring, or even sweeteners, preferring to provide children with a healthy, natural product instead of relying on cheap tricks to sell better.
Gentlease, much like Enfamil AR, is also purchasable through the use of SNAP benefits and you can also set up a subscription on Amazon for monthly deliveries straight to your doorstep.
How To Thicken Infant Formula On Your Own
If neither of these products interest you, or if they might be a bit too much for your budget to handle at the moment, you can make your own version of Enfamil AR by using some regular baby formula and mixing it with a food thickener.
This will have a similar effect to what AR does already, except you can swap out the rice cereal for something different in case your child has an allergy of some sort.
Do note that going down this route requires some professional advice, so don’t do anything of your own accord before consulting with your pediatrician first.
They’ll be able to advise you as to whether or not you should even try this in the first place and, if you do, which specific thickener to use and the proper ratios that are safe for your baby.
1. Other cereal thickeners
Rice isn’t the only option on the market, as oatmeal is always a strong contender.
In this case, it provides an excellent alternative to rice if you want to get a thicker consistency and it also helps retain the contents of the baby’s stomach for longer.
Do note that they will also help the baby gain weight, so only use them if your child isn’t gaining enough weight.
2. Commercial thickeners
Easy to order and relatively cheap, commercial thickeners work on formula and breast milk alike, with the most popular ones based on cornstarch, xanthan gum, or carob.
However, it’s worth noting that these thickeners are potentially unsafe, especially for babies with weakened immune systems.
For example, if your baby was born prematurely you may want to think twice before adding them to your baby’s food.
Another issue with commercial thickeners is an existing risk of a potentially fatal consequence in the form of necrotizing enterocolitis which, while extremely rare, still has a chance of happening.
This complication leads to intestinal tissue dying off and causing a rupture, which could be fatal to an infant.
My advice is to avoid it if you can, even though the odds of it occurring are astronomical.
3. Puree thickeners
Puree thickeners are the healthiest option as they’re usually derived from pureeing fruits and veggies, or even just using yogurt.
The best part is that you can combine these with oatmeal or rice and you don’t have to worry about any serious conditions which could put your baby’s life at risk.
While Enfamil AR side effects do exist, they’re not all that dangerous and can be easily dealt with.
Most parents find that picking a formula for their baby is a trial and error process, so don’t get discouraged if your baby doesn’t respond well to a particular formula right away.
That said, if the more frustrating side effects like constipation or gassiness persist, it might be worth looking into an alternative formula.
You can either look into some viable competitors like Gerber and Similac, or you can try some other Enfamil products like Enfamil Gentlease as your alternative.
You can get some food thickeners and mix them into regular infant formula or breast milk.
The latter achieves a similar effect to AR, so both of these options are viable.
However, for the DIY stuff, you should definitely still consult a doctor on ratios and the proper approach to make sure you minimize the risk of any other complications occurring.
There are some small issues with using Enfamil AR for babies who aren’t suffering from frequent spit-ups or stomach reflux, like gaining more weight than necessary, so you may want to avoid using it if you have a healthy baby.
Whatever the case may be, I’m sure that you’ll be able to make the right decision for your child.
Until next time, mammas!
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