Before we begin this discussion, I would first want to do a little introduction to the Gerber brand for any readers out there who are (surprisingly) not familiar with this baby food manufacturer. Gerber is a proprietary product that is a subsidiary of Nestle. They produce infant formulas for babies that are sensitive to your standard baby formula.
There are cases wherein infants tend to experience negative side effects such as skin irritations when eating food during their first year. This is because there is a time when their body simply cannot process the nutrients properly. Sometimes, these irritations can also be caused by specific ingredients in your infant’s food.
Gerber helps prevent these problems by incorporating safe ingredients in an infant-friendly formula. Of course, it is still best to be careful when choosing the right Gerber product for your infant. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at two of the more popular Gerber products for sensitive infants: the Gerber Good Start Gentle and the Gerber Good Start Soothe. How do you decide between the Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe?
But first, let us take a look at the most common condition babies can go through during their first few months: colic.
What is Colic?
Infants tend to cry, a lot. Excessive crying in infants that range around the 3 hours mark for 3 days a week with no discernable reason might be caused by a condition called colic. Colic babies will usually start showing symptoms early on. It peaks at the 3-week mark after their birth and will usually last until they are 6 months old.
There are several symptoms connected to colic, these are:
- Long episodes of crying, usually in the evening.
- Gassy tummies.
- Reddish face.
- Clenched fist.
Unfortunately, there is no known exact cause for colic. Some of the factors looked at might stem from the baby having a sensitive digestive system or the mother’s diet during the nursing period. It can also be caused by lactose intolerance. A safe way to avoid or stop colic would be to switch to a gentler infant formula whose process allowed it to break down the protein and probiotics for easier digestion.
Choosing the Right Infant Formula
There are several factors you will need to consider first before buying an infant formula for your baby. I will be listing down the essential factors you need to look for to help ensure you will be getting the best possible infant formula for your child.
- Ingredients – The most important factor to consider is, of course, the ingredients used in formulating the baby food. Know how much vitamins, protein, fats, and other essential nutrients are contained in the formula.
- Contains Iron – If you prefer giving your infant the baby food route rather than natural breastfeeding then it is important for the formula to be fortified with iron. Breastmilk is the main source of iron in an infant’s diet, removing that from the equation means removing iron as well. Iron is an important nutrient during the first year.
- Generic VS Brand Name – All ingredients used by either generic or brand names will need t go through FDA approval. Go through the label carefully and look at the ingredients as well as nutrients offered by the product. There is no problem choosing generic or brand name, it all boils down to what the specific infant formula can offer.
- Age Recommendations – Infant formulas will have age specifications to help you determine whether the product is suitable for your baby. For example, Gerber Gentle is available in two stage variations: Stage 1 and the Gerber Gentle Stage 2 which is formulated for 6 months to 12 months and is available in 4-packs. The difference with each age specification is that it will offer varying number of constituents that suit the nutritional needs of a growing toddler.
- Price Range – While we all want what is best for our babies, sometimes we need to consider our budget as well. Fortunately, you can find the best value for money when it comes to infant formulas as long as you are mindful about the nutrients each product offers.
- Availability – Of course, it is most practical to find an infant formula brand that is readily available at your local store near you. This should avoid you the hassle of traveling a good distance to restock your infant formula supply when you run out.
- Talk with a Pediatrician – While there is nothing wrong about doing your own research when it comes to infant formulas, getting recommendations from a health professional is still the safest way to go. Pediatricians can give you expert advice as the best infant formula for your baby’s specific needs. I highly recommend you first consult with them when choosing the best infant formula brand.
Geber Good Start Gentle and Gerber Good Start Soothe: Which to Choose?
One of the most trusted brands when it comes to infant formula is Gerber. I, myself, grew on a Gerber diet. Gerber offers two variations for infants with an exceptionally sensitive digestive system; the Gerber Good Start Gentle and the Gerber Good Start Soothe. What is the difference between the two and which one is the best option for your child? Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe, which one should you choose for you infant? Let’s take a closer look.
Introduction to Gerber Gentle
Gerber Gentle is formulated for infants who experience Eczema and skin rash due to the protein in their diet. While the ingredients are not exclusively to blame for this condition, as we have stated earlier there are several possible causes, Gerber Gentle takes the necessary steps to ensure that the risk of skin rash is mitigated.
Gerber Gentle is a good alternative to breastmilk if the mother is unable to produce the proper amount of milk for their baby during nursing. Gentle contains lactose which is an important factor to consider if your child is lactose intolerant. So, Gentle is a good way to prevent problems caused by protein by offering a milder formula but since it does use lactose it is not ideal for babies who can’t process milk properly.
Ingredients of Gerber Gentle
Gerber Gentle is designed for infants with sensitive digestive systems. This means that it replaces its main milk ingredient with whey protein instead. Whey protein is derived from milk but is hydrolyzed to help break down the protein into an easier digestible form. Hydrolyzation of the whey protein can also significantly lower the risk of allergic reactions. Gerber Gentle is fortified with probiotic B lactis which helps build the infant’s natural immune system and strengthen their digestive health as well.
Introduction to Gerber Soothe
Gerber Soothe, on the other hand, is formulated to help offer relief in colic infants. As you have already learned earlier in this article, colic does not have a clear-cut cause. Although, the most common cause is due to either the infant’s or the mother’s diet.
Gerber Soothe is designed to help reduce the excessive crying commonly seen in colic babies and is promoted to reduce crying by up to 50% within a week of using this infant formula. Gerber Soothe also comes in a probiotic fortified version. Aside from that, Gerber Soothe contains probiotic L reuteri which promotes good bacteria in the infant’s digestive system.
Ingredients of Gerber Soothe
Gerber Soothe replaces standard milk ingredient and uses enzymatically hydrolyzed protein concentrate which helps deliver a milder formula for babies with extra sensitive tummies. However, note that while Gerber Soothe contains lactose, it is in miniscule amounts which makes it still ideal even for infants with lactose intolerance. Since it barely contains any lactose, Gerber Soothe takes its carbohydrate from corn maltodextrin.
Gerber Gentle is an infant formula designed to offer babies all the necessary nutrients as well as hydrolyzed protein for easier digestion. Hydrolyzed protein is easier to digest for infants with sensitive tummies. Gerber Gentle also contains probiotics, prebiotics and is made entirely of non-GMO ingredients.
Gerber Gentle contains a lower level of lactose at 70% and replaces that 30% with corn maltodextrin. This lower lactose content is where the “Gentle” comes from. Gerber’s main sweetener in its infant formula is lactose, this decreased amount should help digestion in infants with extra sensitivity to lactose.
While some infant formulas completely remove lactose in its ingredients, lactose is actually the preferred natural sweetener. Breast milk, for instance, contains a healthy amount of lactose. Pediatricians also note that complete lactose intolerance is a rare case in babies. This means that it is basically safe and recommended to include lactose in your baby’s diet during their first year.
Gerber Gentle also has a similar flavor and smell to your standard infant formulas but designed to be extra gentle on the tummies. Gerber Gentle is also known for being the only brand that offers “ready to feed” variations of its powder.
- More affordable than most infant formulas.
- Exclusively contains non-GMO ingredients.
- Does not contain corn syrup.
- No added sugar.
- Components are near identical to breast milk.
- Not a completely organic formula.
- Takes somewhat longer to mix properly.
- Might cause gas problems in babies.
- Some babies don’t like the smell.
Gerber Soothe focuses on a different purpose when compared to the Gerber Gentle. It is primarily designed to help colic babies find relief. It contains probiotics, specifically L reuteri which has been proven to help reduce gastrointestinal problems in infants by up to 50%.
Gerber Soothe also utilizes DHA which helps in both brain and eye development. While Gerber Gentle has 70% lactose blend, Gerber Soothe only comes with 30% which makes it perfect for infants that are lactose intolerant. The formula is also fortified with iron which has the added benefit of offering relief from gas.
The protein content in Gerber Soothe is further broken down for much easier digestion when compared to Gerber Gentle. Gerber Soothe is also formulated to be used from birth up to the first year. This means that Gerber Soothe can be chosen as the primary infant formula from the get-go.
Similar to the Gerber Gentle, the protein here is also hydrolyzed for better tolerability. Probiotic content helps strengthen the digestive system as well as boost the immune system of the infant. However, it contains corn syrup which might cause some side effects so be sure to note this with your pediatrician during the consultation.
Overall, the Gerber Soothe is best for infants who are lactose intolerant and for colic babies. As the name implies, Gerber Soothe is designed to provide comfort from colic as well as tummies that are extra sensitive to lactose while still providing a balanced nutritional diet.
- Contains most of the health benefits found in breast milk.
- Contains non-GMO ingredients.
- Ideal for use throughout the first year starting from birth.
- Formulated for significantly easier digestion for infants.
- Designed for lactose intolerant and colic babies.
- Gerber Soothe is formulated to reduce gas problems which might increase the risk of constipation.
- Might cause other digestive issues in the long run.
- It uses corn syrup as its primary sweetener which is an issue with some babies.
The Gerber Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops is an alternative for colic babies who are still being breast fed. It is formulated to deliver all the benefits contained in its infant formula variation but in pure liquid form. It contains probiotic bacteria which helps improve the digestive system of extra sensitive babies.
- A great alternative to the Gerber Soothe infant formula.
- Can help reduce gas and tummy discomfort in babies.
- Quick and easy to dispense.
- Might not work with all colic babies.
- Quite expensive.
Gerber Gentle for Supplementing offers a little extra compared to the standard Gerber Gentle. It features ‘comfort proteins’ that are designed for tiny and extra sensitive tummies. It is also packed with DHA for eye and brain development as well as probiotics for a healthy digestive system. The Gerber Gentle for Supplementing is formulated for babies 1 month old up to a year old.
- A good infant formula substitute for breastfeeding.
- Does not cause gas, fussiness, and acid reflux problems.
- Ideal for babies with sensitive tummies.
- Takes a bit longer to completely mix in water.
- Taste might be an issue with some babies.
Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe – A Comparison
Now that you have been properly introduced to both the Gerber Gentle and Soothe infant formula, it is time to a more in-depth look at the two in order to determine which one suits your baby’s needs better. We will be dividing key factors that you need to look for in an infant formula and compare what Gentle and Soothe offer in each category.
Is the formula Non-GMO?
I highly recommend that you avoid GMO foods for your baby as genetically produced food might cause unforeseen side effects during the child’s developmental stages. Non-GMO means that each ingredient used in the manufacturing of the product is made from natural and organic sources. In this regard, does Gerber Gentle and Gerber Soothe pass the test?
The good news is that both Gerber variants are non-GMO so you won’t need to worry about it causing any form of side effects to your child’s growth. GMO is still a divisive issue with some claiming that it might cause more harm than good while others believe it to be a viable food source alternative in the future. Still, it is best not to risk your child’s health so stick with a natural diet for the time being.
Milk Protein Content
It is known that not all babies have the same fortitude when it comes to their digestive system. While others seem to digest protein easily, there are babies that are highly sensitive to lactose. If you find your baby to be part of the latter group, you will need to find a specially formulated baby food to help deliver all the essential vitamins and minerals without aggravating their tummies.
The Gerber Gentle offers a standard formulation designed for babies. However, since the protein content in Gentle is not thoroughly broken down it might not be an ideal choice for colic babies. Gentle is also formulated to prevent constipation in babies. If your child has a good tummy and is not overly sensitive then this is as good a choice as any.
On the other hand, Gerber Soothe is the best alternative for colic babies. The protein content in Soothe is meticulously broken down making it considerably easier to digest and absorb. Gerber Soothe is mostly recommended for babies with extra sensitive tummies. It can also help relieve reflux issues with babies.
So, if your child has a good digestive system then Gerber Gentle will do fine. For colic babies, the Gerber Soothe is the best way to go.
Flavor and Smell
It goes without saying that there is a high chance that your baby will be a finicky eater. If they don’t like the taste or smell of the food or drink then it is basically impossible to make them eat it, no matter how healthy it is.
In this regard, I would give the Gerber Gentle the nod. It is made from natural ingredients that are the staple of infant formulas. While it does tweak its formula to suit infants, the flavor and smell pretty much stay the same.
Gerber Soothe takes a different approach as it thoroughly breaks down the protein content. This actually gives it a slightly different taste. Some infants do not mind the flavor of Soothe but there have been instances wherein the infant just doesn’t like Gerber Soothe’s flavor as it does not taste and smell like the traditional infant formula. Unfortunately for colic babies, they don’t have much choice here as this is one of the best options for them.
Probiotic and DHA Content
Probiotic and DHA are among the two most essential nutrients an infant will need during the early stages of their lives. Probiotic helps improve the body’s digestive system and prevent constipation. It helps the body maintain a good bowel movement and is a good substitute for people who are sensitive to lactose.
DHA helps develop the brain which is vital for an infant. DHA will help improve their cognitive skills and their ability to learn new skills and process new information. This is a key nutrient that is highly recommended for infants.
Both Gerber Gentle and Gerber Soothe contain probiotic and DHA. Which means this is another tie for the Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe match up.
Infant Formula Content
Now, how much does each product offer in one bottle? Considering this factor can help you save money in the long run which is why I decided to include it in as well. Gerber Gentle contains about 23.2 ounces and can be bought in a pack of 6. Gerber Soothe, on the other hand, comes in with 30.6 ounces per container but does not come in 6 packs.
One that offers more content per container is the more practical approach here as it will reduce the need to restock. For busy parents, buying an infant formula in bulk is the best approach. By applying that here, I would give the nod to Gerber Soothe as it offers more per container and should last longer when compared to Gerber Gentle.
A quick check online will give you an idea of the price for each Gerber variant. As expected, Gerber Gentle is more affordable seeing as it does contain less infant formula. It also comes in a 6-package deal which should further help you save some cash. The Gerber Soothe is slightly more expensive but with more formula content per container.
Again, choosing which one to buy will depend on whether your baby has a sensitive tummy or not. Both are relatively affordable, all things considered. I do believe that your Gerber Soothe stock will last longer at a slightly more expensive price tag.
The winner between the Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe will boil down to the purpose. If your baby has milk protein sensitivity then Gerber Gentle is a good choice. For babies who are lactose intolerant then Gerber Soothe is the way to go.
However, Gerber Soothe is not completely devoid of downsides as well. There have been cases wherein it did not help alleviate colicky babies. It can also increase the risk of constipation as well as causing other digestive issues to develop in the long run.
With this in mind, it is still best to consult with your pediatrician to properly determine which infant formula is best for you baby. Overall, Gerber Gentle appears to be the safer choice between the two with Gerber Soothe being a viable option based on the current issues your baby is experiencing.
There are several available options for infant formulas out there in the market today. Gerber is one of the most popular and widely recommended due to their selection of choices. Gerber Gentle and Gerber Soothe are both designed for infants with extra sensitive tummies but each focuses on specific factors. Understanding what these factors are will help you determine which of the two will offer the most benefits for your infant.
Hopefully, this article has helped you pinpoint these issues in order to assist you in making an informed decision on which to choose between Gerber Good Start Gentle VS Soothe. Of course, it is always better to have a health expert chime in as well in order to ensure all details are taken into account. Remember to always base your decision on which infant formula will be the safest and will offer the most health benefits for your child. It is okay to spend a couple of extra dollars if it means your child will grow up healthy.