What to expect when starting Neocate Infant DHA/ARA


Posted 7.30.13 | Christine Graham-Garo


We talk to familes who use Neocate all the time, usually when they call us with questions. The most common questions we get come from families who are new to Neocate and starting to use Neocate Infant DHA/ARA, the infant formula of the Neocate product family. Remember: Your healthcare team is familiar with your little one's medical care, so their advice and guidance is more important than what we have to say!

We want to make sure you know what to expect when starting Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. If you're one of these families, read on for answers to some of these questions. Many of these questions come up during the first week you'll be using Neocate. We'll walk you through some of the most common questions we get, and our best answers to those questions. We can almost guarantee you will be glad you did, even if you didn't think you'd have any questions at all!

How long does it take to see results with Neocate?

That is one tough question to answer! The best we can tell you is that, generally, consensus guidelines and healthcare teams who work with infants suspected to have food allergies suggest staying on a new hypoallergenic formula for about 2 weeks. This allows time for your little one to adjust to the new formula. As you probably know by now, starting any new formula comes with a bit of a transition period.

Every baby is different, keep that in mind when reading this list. Some parents have told us that they've noticed changes as soon as the first few days, but change can take time. Some research shows it can take that full 2 weeks to see the full improvement in symptoms of food allergy. Be sure to talk to your baby's healthcare team if you are unsure about any changes you see.

Will I see any changes in my baby's diapers?

We're not used to predicting the future, but the best answer to this question is "Yes, probably." If this website would let us add an emoji here, we would! It's hard to say for certain what anyone will experience, because every baby is different. (That's not a cop out, we swear, it's true!) We can tell you what we hear from a lot of parents, though.

A lot of parents tell us that they see a change in the color of bowel movements after they switch to Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. The color a lot of parents tell us they see is green. Yes, you read that right: Green! It can range from a very dark green (think hunter green) to a "true" green (think forest green). Don't be alarmed, though. This is common for any amino acid-based infant formula, because of how it's digested and absorbed. If you really want to know more about what causes this color, we suggest talking to a microbiologist and a gastroenterologist!

How long will the diapers be this color?

Another great question! The color can change from day to day, like it does for everyone. Some families tell us that they saw variations of this color as long as their infant was using Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. For other families though, the color has changed after a few days or weeks to a more yellow-ish/khaki/tan color. So the color may change, or it may stay pretty stable.

How many diapers will I have to change per day? And what about stool consistency?

Nobody likes changing diapers. Truly. One thing to know when starting Neocate is that the frequency of the stools per day may decrease. That's not a rule - remember: every baby's different. But most parents tell us that on Neocate they were eventually only changing diapers for a bowel movement once every day or two. That's because Neocate Infant DHA/ARA has amino acids as the source of protein and ingredients that are very broken down and low residue. This means that for a baby who drinks Neocate Infant, there is usually less poop coming out the other end.

With Neocate, you can probably expect a change in stool consistency. For some infants stool may become more loose, and for others it may become more formed. A lot of parents tell us the stool with Neocate Infant DHA/ARA becomes pasty, so not too loose, but also not too formed (remember, you wanted us to be honest!). You may see the consistency change in the first days and weeks after starting Neocate before you find out what's "normal" for your little one. Again, though, check with your little one's healthcare team for their guidance. If your little one hasn’t had a bowel movement in a while and/or seems uncomfortable, speak with her doctor.

What about other side effects of digestion, like gas?

With any change in formula, there may be some changes in your baby's gas. Changes are especially common in the first few days to the first week. Amino acid-based formulas like Neocate are no exception, especially because they're digested and absorbed differently to other formulas.

A lot of parents tell us that they notice more gas or a change in the smell of gas (you wanted our honest answers, right?). After about 2 weeks, the gas should return to what is typical for your baby, or your baby may just adjust.

While we're on the topic of digestion and diapers, there are a few other factors to be aware of that can influence changes. The introduction of solid foods into the diet can cause some change in color, consistency, and frequency of stools, as well as gas. Also medications (like antibiotics) can cause changes.

Neocate seems to have a thin, water consistency. Is that normal?

You may have noticed that Neocate formulas seem thinner in consistency than other standard, milk-based formulas. This is typical for amino acid-based formulas, simply because the form of protein - amino acids - causes it to appear thinner in consistency. Before you add any scoops, make sure you're mixing Neocate correctly. Follow the directions on the can or check our mixing videos. If your doctor gives you special mixing instructions, please follow those instead.

Because amino acid-based infant formulas have a thin consistence, some parents have told us they noticed some extra spit up in first few days of starting Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. This typically improves over time. However, you should speak with your doctor about other solutions to minimize the spit ups.

Neocate smells and tastes different.

Wait, was that a question, or a statement? Because Neocate Infant DHA/ARA is uniquely made with amino acids, it also has a unique flavor. Some parents tell us that their baby doesn't notice any change in taste, where for other babies, the difference can take time to get used to. If that's the case, usually it just takes some time.

If you're concerned that it's taking too long for your infant to adjust to Neocate Infant DHA/ARA, please talk to her healthcare team for guidance. Before you do, we have developed a some handouts that may help you have that discussion. Look on this resources page for guides on Transitioning to Neocate and Feeding Tips for a Successful Transition.

 

We hope the answers to these questions help you when starting Neocate Infant DHA/ARA. As always, if you have questions about using the formula, please give our Nutrition Specialist team a call at 1-800-365-7354, Mo-Fr, 8:30am-5:00pm, EST.

-Christine Graham-Garo, Nutrition Specialist
-Rob McCandlish, RDN, Nutrition Specialist

Curious about how we know so much? Christine and Rob each have more than 5 years of experience at Nutricia, talking to Neocate families and learning about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob has a nephew who used Neocate Infant DHA/ARA until he outgrew his cow milk allergy!

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Read Comments (14)

  • 2014-09-06 | amy

    my baby has food protein allergies and was experiencing extreme amounts of bright green mucus stools. Now he’s on Neocate. He has the dark forest green stool that you mention, but he has a significant amount of mucus still. Is this normal with Neocate fed babies?

  • 2014-09-08 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

    Hi Amy,
    Great question. The best thing to do is to check with your little one’s healthcare team. There is no one “normal” with an amino acid-based formula - every baby has a slightly different experience with Neocate. We have heard some parents also describe mucus, but we can’t really say that is normal, as mucus can sometimes be a symptom of something else.
    Best of luck,
    Rob

  • 2014-12-13 | Paula

    do you count neocate by volume or water amount I’m confused

  • 2014-12-15 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

    Hi Paula,
      I think that you’re asking how to mix Neocate Infant DHA/ARA? If so, you add one scoop (level and unpacked) of Neocate Infant DHA/ARA for every ounce of water. For example: add 4 ounces of water to the empty bottle, then add 4 scoops of Neocate Infant DHA/ARA powder. Shake really well, and you’ll end up with about 4.4 ounces of prepared formula. We also have a video that demonstrates mixing:
      http://youtu.be/B9G2Tuh45Qo?list=UU0Nfz24VpgNKxipQ-Ye71Dg
    If that doesn’t answer your question, give us a call at 1-800-NEOCATE (636-2283).
      Warm regards,
    Rob

  • 2015-03-02 | Chelsea

    We are one week in on using Neocate for our son who had multiple food protein intolerances as well as milk and soy intolerance. He seems to be having a very hard time digesting the formula and is crying a lot and I can hear his stomach turning. Is this normal for a baby transitioning from breast milk to formula? Or does it sound like he is not responding well to the formula?

  • 2015-03-03 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

    Hi Chelsea,
      For some infants, it can take a bit longer to adjust to an amino acid-based infant formula like Neocate, since it is digested and absorbed somewhat differently than breast milk or routine infant formula. Sometimes a healthcare team might suggest a gradual transition over the course of a few days to ease the switch, but sometimes they prefer a hard switch. You may want to check with your son’s healthcare team to see if they have any guidance, but he may just need a few days to fully adjust.
      Best of luck,
    Rob

  • 2015-12-15 | alexandea

    Hi…
    My daughter just started this formula last night. She seems to spit up but also looks like she is choking a bit after spitting up and then proceeds to scream. It’s a runny spit up though. So I’m confused why she looks as if she is choking?

  • 2015-12-16 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Alexandea,
      As an amino acid-based formula, Neocate is thinner than standard formulas. So some infants spit up a bit more easily when starting the formula. Sometimes spit up “goes down the wrong pipe” and leads to coughing - that may be what your daughter is experiencing. Check with your daughter’s healthcare team to get their suggestions to help limit spitting up as she adjusts to Neocate.
      Best of luck,
    Rob

  • 2015-12-22 | Rowena

    My daughter now is on Neocate, we are on the third can already..my baby has acid reflux, and only Neocate made her calm down from being so fussy and crying hard all the time. My only concern is, I think Neocate can digest easily that’s why my baby is always hungry and also I notice that when she sleep it’s very easy for her to wake up especially at night when she hears anything even if its not noisy..is that normal?

  • 2015-12-28 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Rowena, good questions. We’re so glad to hear that Neocate has helped your LO’s reflux and discomfort. It’s not unusual for parents to tell us their infant with cow milk allergy seems very hungry when starting Neocate. Healthcare teams have suggested this may be due to increased comfort with Neocate (less of the discomfort they felt on other formulas) and/or they are “catching up” on calories that they missed on previous formulas (maybe due to malabsorption). It’s often temporary, but it would be best to check with your daughter’s healthcare team, and they can also give you input on her light sleeping (that’s a new one for us - I don’t think we’ve heard that before).
      Best of luck,
    Rob

  • 2016-03-17 | Shannon

    My son has been on neocate for about two weeks. I still am noticing mucus in his stools. Is that normal or is it a cause for concern?

  • 2016-03-21 | Neocate Admin

    Hi Shannon. Small amounts of occasional mucus are not that unusual, either with or without Neocate. Some parents report seeing more mucus after they start Neocate. This may be caused by changes in the types of bacteria (“good bugs”) in the digestive tract, which usually break down mucus that the cells of the digestive tract secrete. If you have concerns, or if it seems to be larger amounts of mucus more often, please check with your little one’s healthcare team.

  • 2016-08-27 | yinette

    Hello, my daughter is a month old and she has been using this formula for about 2 days , but i notice that she has been spitting clear acid a few hours after her having her formula, she seems really uncomfortable and cries . is this acidity normal ?

  • 2016-08-29 | Nutrition Specialist

    Hi Yinette,
      It’s not unusual with hypoallergenic formula like Neocate to see increased spit up in the first few days as she adjusts. This is often attributed to the thinner consistency of hypoallergenic formulas. It usually goes away as they adjust to the new formula. Keep in mind: sometimes hypoallergenic formulas like Neocate help with reflux, but it may not go away completely. In those cases, the healthcare team can advise on additional steps to take.
      It’s also not unusual for infants to take a few days to adjust to the way hypoallergenic formulas are digested. Bowel movements often take place once every 1 or 2 days, sometimes longer, with some straining in between. Infants usually get used to this pretty quickly.
      Best of luck,
    Rob

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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.