Similac Advance Vs Pro Advance: Is The Pro Version Better?

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As parents, we all want to find the very best products for our kids to support their health and development. This is especially important when it comes to baby formula as this alternative to breast milk needs to be just as nutritious and beneficial for your child to help them grow.

At the same time, you want a brand that you can rely on for the best ingredients, great product choices, and other perks for loyal customers. There are many experienced parents that recommend Similac baby formula in some form – and the company itself isn’t shy about tooting its own horn. So, what is it about this brand that is so special?

In this guide, I want to take a look at some of the different aspects of this well-loved brand to see why it is so popular. This includes elements of their customer service, ethos, and their line of products. From there, we can look at two of those key products in more detail.

The fight of Similac Pro vs Similac Pro Advance sounds one-sided on paper, so let’s see what there is about these products that impress users and if the Advance model really is better. From there, I will also mention a couple of related products that are worth consideration in certain situations. In the end, you should hopefully have a better idea of which to get for your child.

Is Similac the best brand in North America?

This is a pretty bold question, to begin with, but we might as well go there. Like so many top brands, there are claims that Similac is the number one choice for parents in the region, as well as one highly recommended by pediatricians. If their data is accurate and they are indeed selling more than competitors, this says a lot about their products and customer care. There are certainly plenty of positive reviews on their site.

While I can’t guarantee that you will personally find them the best option, or that your baby will love the taste of this more than something else, there is a good likelihood of customer satisfaction. A lot of this comes down to many of the top Similac benefits below. These include the Similac promises to customers, their care policies, and their product line.

Who is Similac: getting to know the brand.

Before we dive into the comparison of the Similac Advance vs Pro Advance formulas, it will help to learn more about the company creating these products. So, here are some Similac FAQs to get us started.

1. What sort of products does Similac offer?

Primarily, Similac is concerned with providing the very best in quality baby formula products to parents. This includes the Advance and Pro Advance formulas reviewed below, as well as some other options for specialist diets or babies with certain needs. There are usually a few different styles and size options for each product, and you can browse them all with ease on the official site. In addition to this, there are some items for bottle feeding that might prove useful.

2. What are the Similac promises?

When you visit the Similac site or see reference to the brand across the internet or social media, you may see the term Similac Promises. The company states that it promises it will “nourish the journey of parents and their babies”, which basically means providing great food across a baby’s development. They also double down on this idea of commitment by stating they have been in the industry for more than 90 years, with many “innovations” along the way.

3. Does Similac have a good customer care program?

On the whole, parents are happy with the quality of the products and the service received with this brand. Part of this comes from the customer support center, which seems to be quick to answer questions. There is also the appeal of the Similac loyalty scheme. The idea is that subscribers can gain access to discounts and rewards that add up over the year.

There is also access to samples and coupons for those that are new to the company. This could be a great way for newcomers to test out products and get an idea of what their child needs before committing to a product. In addition to this, there is an option for repeat orders on the Similac site so that you can be sure of a regular supply and not miss a shipment.

4. Can Similac guarantee freshness?

This is something that is an issue with lesser brands. Companies can promise a high-end product but buyers find that it is nearly out of date once it arrives. With Similac, their service means that there should be around 6 months of life on a product when shipped. At times of supply issues, it could be no less than 2 months.

5. What is the Similac warranty like?

If for any reason you are unhappy with your order or receive something that is incorrect or unneeded, you can apply for a refund. Items can be returned if unopened – so there is the option to resell them – and buyers must do so within 60 days. If the company was at fault, they will handle the costs of shipping the product back.

6. How safe is Similac for babies?

Finally, there is the issue of safety and making sure that you provide nothing but the best for your child. There is nothing to worry about here unless your child has an allergy to one of the listed ingredients for the product chosen. You should be able to clearly identify this before purchasing or contact the company for verification.

A bonus of choosing Similac formula is that none of the ingredients are genetically engineered. There are specialist options that are organic, but no formula contains any plant or protein from a questionable source.

What is Similac Advance Infant formula and why it is so popular?

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While this product has the name Advance, it is actually one of the more straightforward solutions in the product range. It is advanced in that it has a carefully created formula for infant health. It just isn’t as special as some others. With that said, this is a formula with Iron. This means that you should get a little more iron for improved health than in some alternative products.

The main benefit here is the blend of ingredients that Similac uses to compete with other creators. They talk about an “exclusive” blend of ingredients including different enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that can offer the best nutritional value. It is recommended to go online and see the full list for yourself.

But, highlights include DHA, lutein, and vitamin E. DHA in particular is something you should look out for in the best baby formula products because it is so advantageous for eye and brain health. This is something you don’t want to overlook as there are massive changes in vision, recognition, motor skills, and more in early life. A good dose of DHA could make a difference.

Another benefit to this option is that there is no palm olein oil in this product at all. This was an important decision from the company is it should mean that babies can absorb calcium with greater ease. Of course, that calcium is essential for growing strong bones as your child gets bigger. The more they can absorb from one feed of a good quality formula, the less likely it is that you will need any other form of supplementation.

Finally, there is the benefit of the different options available in styles and sizes. I will highlight one of the styles a little more below, as this is also an option for the Pro Advanced and is just as helpful there too. They are different sizes of tub available and you can choose the quantity per order to make life easier.

Are there any disadvantages to choosing this Advance option?

When looking at the Similac Advance disadvantages, there is one clear issue compared to the Pro Advance option. Most parents will naturally assume that the Pro version is the better because it is meant to sound like the more professional option. There is a clear difference in the formula that is advantageous, which you will see in a moment.

That doesn’t mean that the Advance with Iron is inferior, it is just a different option and taste. With that said, Similac does push the Pro Advance and other similar options onto parents more than the standard Advance option.

There is a link to the Pro Advance on the homepage and the products are on the first page of results in their store. The standard Advance falls behind on the second page. This alone suggests that even the makers think that one is better than the other.

What makes the Similac Pro Advance formula different from the Advance?

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The name Pro always infers that you are going to get a more “professional” or better option than a previous model in a line. This isn’t any more “professional” in terms of its performance but there is something that does elevate it a little depending on your viewpoint. There is an extra ingredient here in the form of 2’-FL HMO (human milk oligosaccharide) This little addition to the formula means that Similac can say it is “our closest to breast milk”.

So why is this so important? Some parents that use the formula from the start – by choice or by need – may not see why authenticity matters with the taste or the consistency of the liquid. The baby isn’t exactly going to get offended that it has been duped by an imposter.

However, there are times where parents make the switch to formula from breast milk during their child’s development. Perhaps they struggle to express enough or find formulas more convenient when returning to work. This is where the idea of more authentic milk is more reassuring.

Is this Pro Advance Similac formula as good in other ways?

Otherwise, the benefits are pretty much the same as with the Advance version, although that one has the extra iron in it. You get the same blend of DHA and lutein with the added vitamin E. Again, this is a great way to help the development of a child’s cognitive abilities and eye health as they grow up. There is also the same lack of palm olein oil so that your child can absorb all that calcium and grow fit and strong with ease.

There is also the fact that you can get this product in different sizes to suit your needs. The Similac Pro- Advance 36Oz 3 pack appears to be the popular choice, and is the most heavily promoted by the company. But, there is a 20.6 oz tub of powder too, in case this is the more convenient option.

Are there any disadvantages to choosing this Pro Advanced option?

As long as your child doesn’t have any issues with the ingredients and the improved taste and consistency of the formula, you should be fine. However, there will be times where alternative products are more suitable. I will highlight some of those below. There is also the fact that this product is not suitable for infants or children with galactosemia.

Unfortunately, this is in the small print of the listing on their site and they could do a better job of informing parents. If your child has this condition, or any other that could make feeding an issue, make sure to seek advice from your pediatrician.

Is the Ready-to-Feed formula the better option for you?

So far, the products mentioned here have been the tubs of powder that you mix up with water to create a liquid feed for your child. These are great and easy to store at home. However, it can take time to mix up the formula and then warm up the bottle so it is just right. This isn’t always ideal for sleep-deprived parents at 3 am. That is why I want to point out the alternative option in the Ready-to-Feed range.

Both the Advance and Pro Advance products come in these pre-made solutions. This takes away some of the preparation time for parents in a rush or those scared to mess up the ratios. There may be a risk of a shorter expiry date, but you can order in enough that this shouldn’t be an issue.

The Pro-Advance option is a popular choice and has three versions for consideration. There is a 6 pack of 1-qt bottles, a 24 pack of bottles that are 3 fluid ounces, and then a 48 pack of bottles that are 2 fluid ounces. Somewhere there, you should find a version that meets your needs.

Similac Advance Vs Pro Advance: Is one of these options guaranteed to satisfy your needs?

It is important at this point to talk about some of the caveats and alternative options Similac offer. There will be a vast majority of parents able to support their child’s needs with either the iron-rich Advance or the more realistic Pro-Advance option here. This should be the case whether you have a standard powder or one of the Ready-to-Feed bottles.

However, there are children with more specialist needs, and that is where it helps to look at some options for sensitivities and other issues. You may find that you get a similar level of quality with enough tweaks to the formula to make a difference.

You can learn more about the best formula for gassy babies in my other guide. For now, I want to quickly mention that you can get some brilliant Pro Sensitive products from Similac that help to ease a baby’s stomach and make it easier to digest the proteins in the milk. Many cases of fussiness and gas are down to lactose sensitivity, so this formula assists with that.

Elsewhere, you will also find some great products in the Similac Organic range. These options are ideal for anyone that wants to avoid even the slightest risk of chemicals or questionable ingredients. As mentioned before, these Advanced Similac formulas are free from GMO ingredients and safe for kids. But, the certification on the Organic Similac formula takes this a step further.

Make sure to talk to your pediatrician about any dietary or breastfeeding concerns.

Before we go into the final pros and cons and a recommendation on these products, I want to emphasize the importance of professional guidance. If your child is struggling with breastfeeding, you find it difficult to express, or there are issues with a current formula, talk to a healthcare provider. They can give you an idea of the styles of formula needed or any other tips for a better experience.

The pros and cons of the Similac Advance vs Pro Advance formulas for babies

Let’s go back over the different pros and cons of the two highlighted products and see which is the most recommendable choice.

Similac Advance Formula Pros:

  • A great formula for brain health and overall development
  • Lots of great natural ingredients with no GMOs or other questionable components
  • Plenty of extra iron to support your child’s health
  • Well-liked by many parents and children where applicable for dietary needs
  • Comes in different sizes to make it more convenient
  • Comes in an additional Ready-to-Feed bottle

Similac Advance Formula Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the same taste or consistency to make it as realistic as the Pro Advance formula
  • Doesn’t have the same exposure on the company’s website.

Similac Pro Advance Pros:

  • A great formula for brain health and overall development
  • Lots of great natural ingredients with no GMOs or other questionable components
  • That 2’-FL HMO to make it more like breast milk
  • Well-liked by many parents and children where applicable for dietary needs
  • Comes in different sizes to make it more convenient
  • Comes in an additional Ready-to-Feed bottle
  • Better promoted and therefore more accessible than the Advance option

Similac Pro Advance Formula Cons:

  • Not suitable for some health conditions
  • Gassy babies will still be better off with a sensitive version.

Which is the best option for your child? The Similac Pro Advance formula or the Standard kind?

As you can see, there isn’t much to separate these products when you look at the basic benefits and ingredients. Both options do a very good job at helping parents provide the best nutrition for babies and come in the same options. Therefore, you might think that you are better off going for the standard Advance rather than the Pro Advance, especially if there is a coupon going that cheapens the deal.

It all comes down to that deciding factor of the 2’-FL HMO content and the effect of that on the quality of the formula. If you would rather offer something that is as close to the real thing as possible, this is the option for you. Also, the enhanced promotion and alternative versions of the Pro Advance formula show that the company put more weight behind this newer “better” version than the old classic. Of course, if you find that your child has dietary issues, you will need to rethink your approach.

Either way, Similac is a great company to stick with.

There isn’t a decisive winner in the battle of Similac Advantage vs Similac Pro Advantage. But, one thing that is clear here is that you can’t go too wrong with this brand. Even if you disagree with the company and aren’t sure about this more realistic approach to the formula, you should find something in their range to suit your needs.

Take your time to browse the product line – not just in terms of purpose and ingredients but also the quantities in each order and the style of formula. Those little bottles of Ready-to-Feed Pro Advance could make a big difference to a lot of parents. Finally, don’t forget to consider the Similac rewards schemes and discounts for a better experience long term. You could end up building a good relationship with them – whichever type of formula you end up with.



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.