Challenging Changes - Transitioning to Neocate

Posted 7.10.15 | Nutrition Specialist

Infancy is a time marked by rapid growth, requiring important nutrition in the form of breast milk and/or infant formula. You may need to make changes from breast feeding to Neocate, or from another formula to Neocate, due to cow milk or food allergies and related symptoms, or you may need to add Neocate to an elimination diet.

Any transition to a new formula, like Neocate, can present challenges. Many parents come to us with questions about the taste of Neocate. Infants, especially older infants, can have trouble changing to a formula with a different taste and consistency to what they're used to. We can't provide medical advice, so the first and most important thing to do is to talk to your healthcare team! We've got a great resource, below, but here are a few points:

  • Some feeding specialists and pediatricians often recommend sticking with the straight Neocate - it depends on the clinician - it often is just a matter of time for many infants to adjust to Neocate's taste. Like the unfamiliar taste of a new vegetable, it can take up to 15-20 times before they get used to the new taste of Neocate.
  • We can’t provide recommendations for changing the flavor of Neocate Infant DHA/ARA – formula manufacturers are prohibited from flavoring or artificially sweetening infant formulas. It’s best to discuss with your child’s healthcare team to see if they have recommendations.
  • Some clinicians make recommendations for changing the taste of the formula, but we cannot recommend this. Again please discuss with your healthcare team.
  • When it's necessary to supplement breast milk with Neocate Infant DHA/ARA, many parents see success when they express breast milk, mix it with prepared Neocate according to the healthcare professional's instructions, and feed the infant using a bottle. That way the “taste” and feeding method are consistent between feedings. A baby may be more likely to refuse the bottle if she goes back and forth from breast to bottle feeding, especially if the bottle feeds are only Neocate Infant DHA/ARA.


Because parents come up with lots of questions for these transition scenarios, we have worked with a Feeding Specialist in developing helpful tips to use in these transition situations. You can find two printable, 2-page documents with helpful tips titled ‘A Guide to Transitioning to Neocate’ and ‘Feeding Tips for a Successful Transition’ on this page of helpful resources.


The key strategy for many transitions is a process called 'fading.' Fading involves adding the new formula (Neocate) to the old one in increasing amounts over time. It's important to talk to your LO's healthcare team to see if they recommend fading, and if it might work for you. (Sometimes, especially if food allergy symptoms are challenging, they may not want you to keep the old formula in your baby's diet.) Here are some of the highlights:

  • First, remember that schedules and routines are important when embarking on a transition. Keeping consistent with these will have an impact on your success. Be patient and relax.
  • The overall goal is to have your child accept the new combination as they work their way into the overall change. This might require lessening the first amount of Neocate that’s introduced, however; try to avoid returning to 100% of the previous product.
  • Transition times will vary between children. Some may readily accept the new combination while others may require more time. The goal is to move forward with success even if the pace is very gradual.
  • Transitions can impact the digestive system and can be marked by changes in body outputs- stools, gas and spit-up. These might be something new, or changes to existing habits. See our FAQs page and read the ‘What you may see’ entry for more details.
  • If changes feel a little too unsettling, talk to your healthcare provider or ask them to refer you to a Feeding Specialist.

Below are links to further posts from our Food Allergy Living blog that address transitions.

As always, if you have questions about using Neocate products, please give our Nutrition Services team a call at 1-800-365-7354, Mo-Fr, 8:30am-5:00pm, EST. We can't give medical advice, but we can answer your questions about using the products!

What tips have you found helpful in your transition?

-Jody L. Benitz, MS, RDN

Image from Abigail Batchelder

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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.