Enfamil Enspire formula is marketed as the “next best option to breastmilk.” It offers two ingredients not found in other infant formulas.
Moreover, the company omitted any processed or unnecessary sugars, making it a healthier option for your infant.
Read on to discover all of the pros and cons of Enfamil Enspire, and decide if its the best formula option for your baby.
Enfamil Enspire Formula – A Real Mom Review
Key Benefits of Enfamil Enspire
Enfamil Enspire is the only baby formula with two important ingredients that naturally occur in breastmilk. This “dynamic duo” of lactoferrin and mild fat soluble membrane (MFGM) gives your baby a product that is closer to breastmilk than any other option available on the market.
Let’s take a look at these key ingredients to discover why they foster cognitive development, and support a healthy immune system.
A key benefit of Enfamil Enspire is an ingredient called lactoferrin which distinguishes it from other formulas.
In breastfed infants, the majority of lactoferrin is found in the pre-milk, or colostrum. It functions in the body by binding and transporting iron where it needs to go. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and may be helpful in preventing certain chronic illnesses and health issues.
The lactoferrin in cow’s milk has been shown to exhibit this same protection against infection, and to boost gut immunity (source). Including this ingredient in and infant formula allows babies to receive such health benefits.
Another key component of this formula is the MFGM or milk fat globule membrane It too is a naturally occurring component of breast milk. The MFGM in Enspire is sourced from cow’s milk.
MFGM is one of several fats that promote baby’s cognitive development. Healthy fats are important for infant brain growth and forming nerve connections. However, this fat complex has the added benefit of boosting the immune system (source). It wraps around the fats in breastmilk, forming a triglyceride that functions as a prebiotic to feed the healthy gut bacteria. This means it helps to support your baby’s brain and immune system (source)! It could potentially reduce the chances of your baby developing painful ear infections, for example.
Ingredients in Enfamil Enspire
Now, you know the two most awe-inspiring ingredients of Enfamil Enspire, but the benefits don’t stop there. Let’s take a closer look at all of the ingredients.
Five fluid ounces of Enspire provides 5.3 grams of fat. Breastmilk is roughly 4 percent fat, similar to whole cow’s milk, making it ultra-creamy (source). To mimic the composition of breastmilk, Enspire has similar ratio of fat, but in a different form. Like most infant formulas, it contains a blend of vegetable oils.
Enspire has four types of oils, similar to those in other best baby formulas. These include palm olein, coconut, soy, and high oleic sunflower oils. Palm is the primary fat used because it’s similar to breast milk fat. However, the percentage of palm oil in infant formula is much lower than that of breastmilk (source). This results in a formation of a “soap-like” substance within in the intestines that binds the calcium in milk. This compound blocks the absorption of the calcium needed for growing bones. While these calcium soaps are not harmful, they can be bothersome in the form of harder stools or constipation.
Next is coconut oil, a good source of medium-chain triglycerides that are easily digested. We would love to see coconut oil as the main source of fat on the ingredient list.
Soy is another type of fat that most companies add because its lower cost. The problem is that soy oil is associated with chronic medical conditions such as obesity, type II diabetes, and possibly autism (source). Also, most soy oil is produced with genetically modified soybeans. It would be great if all formula companies eliminated soy oil from their products.
Like many infant formulas on the market, the two other types of fat you will find in Enfamil Enspire are arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).
These are fatty acids that naturally occur in breastmilk which are important for brain and eye health (source). Mortierella alpina oil and crypthecodinium cohnii oil are algae-derived sources of ARA and DHA respectively. Although fish and eggs are potential sources of these omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, most companies to not use them due to cost. The exception is Baby’s Only Organic Infant formula which includes an egg source. Because young infants do not yet consume eggs and fish, the ARA and DHA in breastmilk or infant formula is and early benefit to their vision and cognitive development.
In addition, DHA and ARA have may have a role in reducing inflammation, supporting digestion, and boosting the immune system (source).
Prebiotics and Probiotics
The Enfamil Enspire includes galactooligosaccharides and polydextrose, both of which are prebiotics. This means that these two types of fiber ferment in the intestines, and “feed” the health bacteria. Breastmilk contains large amounts of prebiotics to support gut health, so this is simulated by adding them to baby formula.
Probiotics also promote gut health by providing an army of healthy bacteria ready to fight infections. However, Enfamil Enspire does not contain probiotics because they don’t remain viable during processing. If desired, you may supplement with Enfamil Vitamins Infant Probiotics Dual Probiotics Drops to easily gain these benefits.
If prefer a baby formula with added probiotics, try out the Gerber Good Start Soothe. It also contains prebiotics.
Protein is a macronutrient needed for growth and to build muscle mass. It also provides calories and energy. Cow’s milk is the most commonly used protein in baby formulas. It consists of two components: whey and casein.
Whey is the liquid portion of protein, and contains the previously discussed lactoferrin among other components. It is metabolized by the body quickly, and provides immediate energy. 80 percent of cow’s milk, however, is casein. This solid component contains the calcium and fats. Because the body uses casein slowly, it provides a sustained source of energy. Enfamil Enspire contains nonfat milk as its first ingredient, plus added whey protein concentrate in order to meet the protein requirements for infant formula (source).
Whey is the preferred protein for baby formula because it is less likely to cause allergies, although lactoferrin and some immunoglobulins have been shown to trigger reactions (source). Because whey breaks down quickly, however, your baby may be hungry more frequently.
Another point: cow’s milk is 20 percent whey and 80 percent casein, and breastmilk is 60 percent whey and 40 percent casein. This means that your baby may digest Enfamil Enspire more easily because the ratio is closer to that of breastmilk.
Carbohydrates and Sugars
The primary carbohydrate in breastmilk is lactose, and the same is true for Enfamil Enspire. The included lactose, however, comes from cow’s milk. This sugar helps with absorption of calcium and other minerals, and provides the calories babies need to thrive (source).
What’s truly wonderful about Enspire is that the sole source of carbs is lactose. This means no corn syrup or any of the unnatural sugars seen in other formulas. Yay, for Enfamil!
One of the reasons other manufacturers use corn syrup is because they believe babies are sensitive to lactose. However, this is not usually the case (source). More babies are likely to have an issue with the cow’s milk protein (whey or casein) than with lactose, the carbohydrate in human breastmilk.
If offered an infant formula that contains such sugar alternatives, many babies prefer the sweeter taste. This, however, can foster a preference for sweetness, and lead to problems like obesity and diabetes (source).
We love Enfamil Enspire because the only carb and sweetener is lactose. Unlike some infant formulas, there is no maltodextrin, a thickener that can raise blood sugar levels. This ingredient also reduces the growth of probiotics within the intestines. It should never be included in a baby formula.
Enspire is not very sweet in comparison to formulas that contain corn syrup. If you switch try to Enspire from one with corn syrup, it may take time for your baby to adjust.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you look at the back label of any infant formula, you will notice a long list of insane sounding ingredients. But, have no fear! These are only vitamins listed in their scientific word format. With Enspire, your baby will get a healthy dose of all the vitamins and minerals they need.
The vitamin list includes:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamins B6 and B12
- Folic acid
- Pantothenic acid
Ingredients that promote brain, organ, and muscle functions are:
For minerals, you get healthy amounts of:
Important electrolytes include:
A quick note: most baby formulas have added iron (1.8 mg) to prevent anemia. Iron deficiency anemia can have detrimental effects on brain development (source). Fortunately, this small amount of iron is not significant enough to cause constipation or other digestive issues. Babies who are prescribed an iron supplement by a doctor are more likely to experience stooling problems. If you want a formula with less iron for sensitive babies, you may want to look into organic or European formulas.
Otherwise, this is formula ready to provide complete infant nutrition for the first 12 months of a baby’s life.
One potentially problematic ingredient in Enfamil Enspire is soy lecithin. This is a widely used food additive surrounded by controversy because of the word “soy.” However, this ingredient is an excellent emulsifier to help blend the ingredients together.
There are several benefits and issues. First, it has been deemed safe for infant consumption by various health authorities (source). Secondly, soy has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health (source). It also helps the body process choline which is important for cell functioning. Unfortunately, most of the soybeans used in the United States is genetically modified. Harmful chemicals such as hexane are also often used during processing.
Gentleness of Enfamil Enspire
Enfamil Enspire contains more whey than casein, making it a more gentle formula.
However, it cannot officially be classified as “gentle” because the proteins have not been partially hydrolyzed. However, the company does offer Enfamil Enspire Gentlease Formula with all the benefits, and fewer tummy issues.
The problem with the Gentlease version of Enspire is that it contains corn syrup. This a much sweeter option that lactose, and more likely to cause issues. Surprisingly, over the course of the day, infants can consume more corn syrup than what is found in a can of Coca-Cola! Not only does corn syrup increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and dental caries, but it can alter a baby’s palate (source). This can make your baby crave sugar later on in life.
Otherwise, Enspire Gentlease has partially hydrolyzed milk and whey protein to help your baby better digest the formula. Since the whey proteins in the regular Enspire formula are not hydrolyzed, it can be more difficult for sensitive baby tummies to digest the formula.
Common Problems with Enfamil Enspire Formula
The only real issues with Enspire are the unpleasant odor and its price. It is also not appropriate for infants with a cow’s milk allergy.
In regards to cost, Enspire is the most expensive Enfamil powdered formula on the market, mostly likely because of its “similar to breastmilk” qualities. The company knows that many moms will pay more for the premium ingredients.
To be honest, its price is equivalent to most hypoallergenic infant formulas. Is it worth it? That depends on your preferences and budget.
While it’s always best to choose an option that is “closest to breastmilk,” Enfamil Enspire is not affordable for everyone. Unfortunately, there are no generic versions of this infant formula.
Our only other complaint is that it’s not organic, something that is almost always a sign of a high-quality product. This formula is, however, free of both GMOs and artificial growth hormones.
Walmart – 4.7 Stars, 521 Reviews
Target – 4.7 Stars, 1062 Reviews
BuyBuyBaby – 4.7 Stars, 491 Reviews
Walgreens – 4.7 Stars, 487 Reviews
FAQs About Enfamil Enspire
How does Enfamil Enspire compare to Similac Pro Advance?
The main difference between Enfamil Enspire and Similac Pro Advance is inclusion of lactoferrin and MFGM. Similac Pro Advance instead has is a probiotic called 2′-FL HMO, also found in abundance in breastmilk.
Similac Pro Advance also has a few other ingredients not found in Enspire such as the antioxidant lutein which helps with brain and eye development.
It contains high oleic safflower oil instead of palm olein oil which is a huge benefit. This is a better fat option as it doesn’t inhibit calcium absorption. While this a safe source of fats, there may be some longterm heart disease risk.
As for similarities, both formulas offer DHA, prebiotics, and very similar amounts of vitamins. Also, both include lactose and whey protein concentrate.
Similac Pro Advance lacks a source of ARA. However, it does offer a significantly higher amount of inositol for brain health.
It is also higher in sodium. The FDA has recently proposed lower sodium intake to promote better renal and cardiovascular health.
Essentially, both infant formulas are are wonderful options with different pros and cons. We prefer Enfamil Enspire because of its unique ingredients, but Similac Pro Advance is significantly more affordable.
See more formula comparisons in our Similac vs Enfamil article.
Should I use purified water to make this formula?
Tap water is fine, depending on the safety of your local water source. Consider checking your local water reports before using it to prepare your baby’s formula. You may want to consult a doctor regarding the need to boil tap water prior to use, although this is unnecessary in most scenarios. Bottled water is a fabulous option because it’s already purified. However, make sure to use a brand without fluoride. Many infant nursery waters on the market contain added fluoride which is unnecessary until age six months when teeth begin to erupt (source). Excessive fluoride ingestion can cause teeth staining.
How do I prepare a bottle of Enfamil Enspire?
Prior to preparing a bottle of formula, wash your hands first. Then, follow the instructions on the formula label precisely (source). Add the correct amount of powder to a bottle, then mix in the recommended amount of water. Place the cap back onto the bottle, and shake it well.
Per the package instructions for Enfamil Enspire, use one scoop of unpacked, level powder for every two ounces of water. If you want to heat the bottle of prepared formula, do not use a microwave because it can cause hot spots.
It is important not change the ratio of water to powder without speaking to your pediatrician. Doing so can reduce the amount of calories and nutrients your baby consumes.
You may wonder if Enspire is a high-quality product designed to improve your baby’s life.
Our answer is “yes.” This formula is a great product that provides the necessary nutrients with very few questionable ingredients. In addition, it is non-GMO and free of artificial growth hormones, making it desirable product. It is at the top of our list of baby formulas.
Because of ingredients not seen in other formulas such as lactoferrin and MFGM, it is a “closest to breastmilk” infant formula. It also has prebiotics to improve gut health.
If only Enfamil would produce an organic version, Enspire might just be the next best thing to breastmilk.