Similac Advance Vs Pro Advance

Similac Advance Vs Pro Advance [What is the Difference?]

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Sometimes, it feels like there are so many minefields around bottle feeding for new moms. Everybody’s got an opinion on the right way to feed, which products to use and how to make sure baby grows up healthy and strong. When you’ve got all these conflicting opinions to contend with, finding the right milk formula can be tricky.

To help you choose, we’re taking a look at two of the bestselling breastmilk replacement formulas on the market: Similac Advance and Similac Pro Advance. We’re asking, how are these formulas different, do these differences matter, and most importantly, it is worth paying more for the pricier version?

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Similac Advance vs Pro Advance: What are the Differences?

As both milk formulas are made by the same brand, they have more similarities than differences. However, there are some key differences you might want to consider.

1. Similac Pro Advance Infant Formula Contains 2’ -FL HMO

2’ -FL HMO (or human milk oligosaccharide for a real mouthful) is a naturally occurring breast milk prebiotic. It appears naturally in breast milk, so adding it to a powdered formula is a clever way to provide similar nutritional benefits. 2’ -FL HMO is important for a baby’s immune system as it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

  • Similac Pro Advance Formula contains 2’ -FL HMO.
  • Similac Advance does NOT contain 2’ -FL HMO.

It’s worth considering because the lack of 2’ -FL HMO is one of the main differences between breastfed and bottle-fed babies. On the other hand, not all breast milk contains 2’ -FL HMO. Around 20% of women do not produce any in their milk and, while there may be slight differences in their babies’ immune responses, these infants are still expected to develop normally.

2. Similac Pro Advance Infant Formula Is Anti-GMO

If you read the Similac Pro Advance ingredients list, you’ll notice the formula stresses its ‘no GMO’ policy. Similac Pro Advance contains no GMOs but Similac Advance contains GMO ingredients.

Whether or not this is a dealbreaker will depend on how you feel about genetically modified ingredients and using milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormones. There’s a lot of information about GMOs online so it’s a good idea to do your own research if you’re unsure. Some studies suggest GMO formulas give infants less protection from childhood allergies and weaker immune responses but others have found only minimal differences.

It’s worth noting the term ‘GMO’ is often misunderstood and can encompass a wide range of ingredients, both with and without chemical additives.

3. Similac Pro Advance Infant Formula Costs More

Similac Pro Advance costs more than the Advance formula. Parents do get more for their money in terms of its nutritional composition but the cost can be an extremely important feature for families.

If you’re on a low income, the price difference between the two might feel like an important deciding factor. Those who choose the Advance formula, for this reason, shouldn’t feel like they’re making a poor decision. Both of these breast milk replacement formulas have been carefully designed to provide your baby with the nutrition it needs.

4. Similac Pro Advance Smells Different to Similac Advance

A slight difference in smell might sound insignificant unless you’ve got a fussy baby with a sensitive nose. Similac Pro Advance smells slightly sourer than Similac Advance but not unpleasantly so and, don’t worry, this is exactly what it’s supposed to smell like.

Some parents have described the smell of Similac Advance as slightly coppery or metallic. Again, it’s not unpleasant but, depending on how sensitive your baby is, one of these smells might be easier to handle than the other.

5. Similac Pro Advance Is Less Likely to Cause Allergies

A small percentage of sensitive newborns develop mild allergies to Similac Advance. So if you’ve been using Advance and find your baby responds with an upset stomach, we recommend switching to the Pro Advance formula.

This has only been an issue for a tiny proportion of users but, in the event it does happen to you, Similac Pro Advance is a proven solution. It has slightly different ingredients to Similac Advance and is better suited to babies with sensitive stomachs.

See also: Best Bottle Warmers for Formula & Frozen Breast Milk

Similac Advance vs Pro Advance: What are the Ingredients?

Both Similac Advance and Similac Pro Advance Infant Formula contain the following ingredients:

DHA: docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that promotes the healthy development of brain and eye tissues. It also contributes to the growth of a high-functioning nervous system and has been linked to improved literacy levels.

Lutein: a carotenoid with powerful antioxidant qualities that contributes to the healthy development of the retinas and brain and the healthy functioning of memory, language, and visual processing abilities.

Vitamin E: an antioxidant that promotes healthy skin and is said to give babies that ‘happy glow’.

Similac Advance vs Pro Advance: The Reviews

Similac Advance Infant Formula

Similac Advance Infant Formula is designed for infants who are being partially breastfed or receiving only powdered milk formula. Its unique combination of ingredients is intended to provide very similar levels of nutrition to breast milk so that babies don’t miss out on the nutrients they need for strong, high-functioning bodies.

Similac’s patented Optigro blend contains DHA, vitamin E, and lutein to promote brain and retinal development during a baby’s first year of life.

One serving (5.3 fluid ounces) contains: 100 cals, 2.07g of protein, 5.6g of fat, and 10.7g of carbohydrates.

Similac Advance actually contains more vitamin D, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 than Similac Pro Advance formula.


  • Provides all the nutrients a baby needs to grow strong and healthy
  • Contains prebiotics and vitamins essential for brain and eye development
  • Contains no palm olein oil
  • Can be bought ‘ready to feed’ (no prep required)


  • A little pricier than some rival milk formulas
  • Can cause gas for babies with sensitive stomachs

Similac Advance Pro Formula

Similac Advance Pro Formula is just about the closest parents can get to breast milk when it comes to choosing a replacement milk formula. It has a similar composition and nutritional makeup to the Advance version and also contains vitamin E, lutein and DHA.

However, Similac Advance Pro also contains 2’ -FL HMO, a nutritionally valuable human milk oligosaccharide (or HMO) that is said to greatly benefit a baby’s immune and nervous responses. 2’ -FL HMO is important for the development of healthy gut bacteria and has been linked to a lower incidence of allergies in later life.

One serving (5.3 fluid ounces) contains: 100 cals, 2.07g of protein, 5.6g of fat, and 10.7g of carbohydrates.


  • Provides all the nutrients a baby needs to grow strong and healthy
  • Contains iron-fortified ingredients
  • Contains NO GMO ingredients
  • Contains 2’ -FL HMO (basic Advance formula has no 2’ -FL HMO)
  • Contains no palm olein oil or artificial growth hormones
  • As close to breast milk as any replacement milk available today
  • Can be bought ‘ready to feed’ (no prep required)


  • More expensive than Similac Advance formula
  • It may be difficult to find in brick-and-mortar stores

See also: Best Mini Fridges for Breast Milk

Frequently Asked Questions

Q – Is it okay to feed my baby a combination of breast milk and Similac replacement milk formula?

A – Yes, Similac replacement formulas can be used in combination with breast milk feeds. Parents sometimes choose this ‘half and half’ option when breastfeeding is problematic but they’re concerned their baby will lack important nutrients on a formula-only diet.

Similac milk formulas (Advance and Pro Advance) can be used as an exclusive or partial feeding option for the first year of a baby’s life.

Q – Are Similac replacement milk formulas easy to buy?

A – Some parents say they’ve experienced more difficulty buying Similac Pro Advance in physical stores than they have the Advance version. It really depends on where you live and how varied the formula selection is in your local stores.

If you do have trouble finding either of these replacement formulas in stores, both can be purchased online.

Q – Is there a significant price difference between Similac Advance Pro and Similac Advance milk formula?

Yes, the Similac Advance Pro formula is a fair bit more expensive than the basic Similac Advance formulation. This price difference adds up quickly when you’re already on a tight budget so it’s something to consider when making a choice between the two formulas.

See also: [WHY] You Should Clean and Sterilize your Baby Bottles!


There’s little doubt that Similac Advance Pro is the superior choice when compared with the more basic Similac Advance formula. It is designed to be that way so it should come as no surprise and the price tag reflects this upgrade. Similac Advance Pro is demonstrably more nutritious than Similac Advance and some nutritionists have called it the closest imitation to breast milk available on the market.

With that being said, Similac Advance is still one of the best breast milk replacement formulas around and parents shouldn’t feel like they’re settling for an inferior product if the upgraded version is beyond their budget. It is almost identical to Similac Advance Pro with the exception of a few supplementary nutrients such as 2’ -FL HMO.

We hope you liked this overview of the differences between Similar Advance and Pro Advance, let us know in the comments if you want to see other similar reviews in the future!

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