What is Enfamil Gentlease, and how is it different from traditional baby formulas? How will you know if your baby can benefit from Gentlease, and when is it best to use a different type of formula? We have all the answers for parents here.
What is Enfamil Gentlease? What babies can benefit from it?
Enfamil Gentlease is a specialty type of milk-based formula for babies with sensitive stomachs, who have trouble digesting standard formula.
If standard formula gives baby gas or makes them fussy, or if baby develops colicky crying (loud, repeated, inconsolable crying) while consuming standard formula, Gentlease may help relieve their symptoms.
This is because the protein blend in Gentlease is formulated so it’s easier to digest.
Switching formulas to Gentlease can often relieve gas, fussiness, and colic in as little as 24 hours.
Is Gentlease a hydrolyzed formula?
Gentlease is known as a partially hydrolyzed formula. Hydrolyzed formulas contain milk proteins that are broken down, so they are easier to digest.
Hydrolyzed formula comes in two main categories: partially hydrolyzed and extensively hydrolyzed.
Partially hydrolyzed formulas, like Gentlease, contain milk proteins that are broken down part of the way.
- The protein pieces in partially hydrolyzed formula are smaller than in traditional formula, but bigger than in extensively hydrolyzed formula.
- Think of the milk proteins in standard formula as an intact pearl necklace. Proteins in partially hydrolyzed formula are like that pearl necklace broken into about five parts, so you have multiple smaller strands of pearls.
- The partially broken down proteins are easier to digest for babies with sensitive stomachs --- babies who become gassy or colicky when they consume intact milk proteins.
- But babies with milk allergies --- and most milk intolerances --- won't be able to consume partially hydrolyzed formulas like Gentlease without experiencing symptoms. The proteins in partially hydrolyzed formulas aren't broken down enough for them.
Extensively hydrolyzed formulas contain milk proteins that are broken down into very small parts.
- The proteins in extensively hydrolyzed formula are like many little broken strands of a pearl necklace, strands containing two to three pearls apiece.
- Extensively hydrolyzed formulas are meant for babies who are extremely sensitive to intact milk proteins, due to either an allergy or intolerance to milk.
- If a baby can’t tolerate standard or partially hydrolyzed formula without experiencing milk allergy or milk intolerance symptoms, the next step is to try an extensively hydrolyzed formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum.
- Many babies with milk allergies and intolerances can tolerate the extremely broken down proteins in extensively hydrolyzed formula.
What types of Gentlease are available?
There are multiple types of Gentlease formula available to choose from:
- Original Gentlease
- NeuroPro Gentlease
- Enspire Gentlease
Each type of Gentlease comes in liquid and powder forms.
All three formulas have the same benefit of being easier to digest, and all three help relieve gas, fussiness, and colic.
There are only a few minor differences between the three types.
- The NeuroPro version claims the added benefit of reducing spit-up in babies who tend to spit up frequently.
- And the Enspire version is formulated to mimic breastmilk as closely as possible. But it’s far more expensive than the “regular” and NeuroPro versions. Plus, all brands of formulas have similar nutrients to breastmilk.
If you’re looking to relieve gas, fussiness, and colic, the original Enfamil Gentlease will likely be enough for your baby --- and its price is very similar to that of standard formula.
Can Gentlease help with reflux?
Reflux, orx happily and gently spitting up, is normal. There's no reason to switch formulas if baby's a content spitter. If baby spits up frequently, though, you may consider the Neuropro version of Gentlease.
If your baby frequently and forcefully spits up, and has the more serious gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you will likely need to switch formulas.
But Gentlease won't be the best fit.
Since half of GERD cases are due to a milk allergy or intolerance, extensively hydrolyzed formula may help relieve symptoms.
You may also consider a formula that's specially designed for babies with reflux, such as Enfamil AR (anti-reflux).
Learn more about baby reflux in this video from Board-Certified Pediatrician, Dr. Kyla Smith.
Is Gentlease right for babies with a lactose intolerance?
Even though the formula is easier to digest, Gentlease still contains lactose. So, it isn't a suitable option for babies with a lactose intolerance.
Many extensively hydrolyzed formulas are lactose-free and designed for babies with allergies and intolerances, so they're better options.
You might also consider another formula meant especially for babies with a lactose intolerance.
How to switch formulas to Gentlease?
If you've decided to switch formulas to Gentlease, you'll want to switch gradually, so baby has time to get used to the taste.
You'll do this by mixing baby's current formula with Gentlease, and gradually increasing the percentage of Gentlease that you give baby over the course of several days.
For example, you might use this schedule to transition baby:
- Day 1: 25% Gentlease, 75% current formula
- Day 2: 50% Gentlease, 50% current formula
- Day 3: 75% Gentlease, 25% current formula
- Day 4: 100% Gentlease
After you've fully switched to Gentlease, baby's gas, fussiness and colic may resolve in as quickly as 24 hours, but it might also take several days for these symptoms to resolve.
Is Gentlease right for baby? An overview
Gentlease may help relieve symptoms if your baby is:
- Often gassy because of standard formula
- Fussy because of standard formula
- Crying loudly and repeatedly, and you can't console them (colicky crying)
Gentlease is not right for your baby if they have:
- A cow's milk allergy
- A lactose intolerance or other milk intolerance
- GERD (acid reflux disease)
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