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breastfeeding

Baby Poop: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Posted 10.28.10 | Mallory West

During the first months of life, parents pay close attention to their baby’s bowel movements. Any variation from what they perceive as a “normal poop” can cause a lot of anxiety for a parent. So what exactly is a “normal poop or bowel movement”? The answer is complex; every baby is different so what is considered “normal” will vary from baby to baby.

The color, consistency and frequency of bowel movements may differ. It will depend on if the baby is breast-fed or formula-fed, as well as the mom’s diet or the type of formula used. Below are some general guidelines to help you with your diaper expectations.

Color & Consistency:

  • Breast-fed babies: An exclusively breast-fed baby’s stools will be a light mustard color and often will have seed-like specs. In terms of consistency, stools may range from very soft to loose and runny.
  • Formula-fed babies: For a baby consuming standard (milk or soy-based) infant formula, stools are generally tan or yellow in color. When it comes to consistency, a breast-fed baby will have comparatively firmer stools but usually not firmer than a peanut butter consistency.
  • Neocate babies: If your baby is on an elemental formula, like Neocate, stools may be greenish in color and are often relatively dark (but not black, black can indicate blood in the stools so always contact the doctor if you see this). This is completely normal and is due to the special composition of Neocate and the way it is digested in the body.

Regardless if your baby drinks breast milk or formula, blood in the stool is not typical so if you see this, you should let the physician know right away.

Frequency:

The frequency of bowel movements varies greatly from baby to baby. Some newborn babies may have a bowel movement after each feeding and others may go once a day or even once every two days. During the first weeks of life, before you have learned your baby’s pooping pattern, it is generally advised to call the physician if the baby goes three or more days without a bowel movement.

  • Breast-fed babies: After the first month, breast-fed babies usually have fewer bowel movements than before. It some cases, it is normal for a baby to have only one bowel movement a week. Breast milk leaves little solid waste so bowel movements are less frequent However, as long as the stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter) and the baby is healthy and growing, there is no reason for concern.
  • Formula-fed babies: Formula-fed babies typically have one or more bowel movement a day. If you are concerned that your baby has infrequent bowel movements or notice that he/she is straining to pass a bowel movement, this may indicate that he/she is constipated so check with the doctor.
  • Neocate babies: Because Neocate is so broken down, it is very easily digested and there is very little waste leftover. Therefore it’s normal for bowel movements to decrease in frequency once you switch to Neocate. As long as stools aren’t overly hard and dry and the baby doesn’t seem to have trouble passing them, this is perfectly normal.

Constipation:

Regardless if your baby is breast-fed or formula-fed, hard or dry stools that are difficult to pass may indicate constipation. Talk with the doctor about what you can do to help. Sometimes the solution is as simple as providing additional fluids. Other times, the doctor will prescribe a laxative to make it easier for your baby to pass bowel movements.

Diarrhea:

Because a newborn’s stools may be soft and slightly runny, it may be difficult to tell if they have diarrhea. A significant increase in frequency or an extremely liquid bowel movement are signs to look for. Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration so if you are concerned that your baby has diarrhea, contact the physician.

With Baby Poop, Normal Depends on the Baby

The general message for this post is that every baby has their own “normal poop” and what’s normal for one baby may not be normal for another. The key is to look out for any sudden change in your baby’s normal bowel movements. Keep in mind that occasional variations are normal, especially once a baby begins taking solid foods.

Hopefully this gives you some guidance for what to expect at diaper changing time. Keep in mind that you know your baby best, so if you’re ever concerned about your baby’s bowel movements, contact the physician just in case. What have you experienced? What advice would you share with other moms?


What to Expect from Baby Poop?

Posted 10.27.09 | Sarah O'Brien

I like to chat with other moms on BabyCenter and lately I’ve seen a lot of questions from parents having to do with baby poop (or the lack of it!). It’s also a popular topic among the calls we get on the Neocate help line. No wonder - when babies have milk allergies and other GI issues, there’s can be a lot going on in that diaper. Every child is different, but here are some general guidelines that we thought might help. Remember, if you have any concerns, it is always best to check in with your doctors.

What to expect if you are:

  • Breastfeeding: If you are breastfeeding your baby, a mustard yellow color is common and it may be seedy and runny. You can also expect to be changing a lot of diapers, because babies usually poop a lot before they reach the one month mark!
  • Formula feeding: Formula fed babies usually have firmer poops, with a peanut butter-like consistency. Normal colors range from brown to green to yellow.

It might be an allergic/GI condition if you see:

  • Mucus – This looks like what comes out of your nose and is sticky when you open the diaper. A little bit can be normal, but if you see a lot and for an extended period of time, it can be a sign of a food allergy.
  • Diarrhea – If your baby is having runnier than normal poops 2-4 times per day for more than 5 days, this is a sign that something is wrong.
  • Blood – Red or black poops can both be a sign of blood in the digestive tract and are often signs of an allergy or uncontrolled reflux.

Note: Remember that some babies’ milk protein allergy exhibits itself in other ways, like eczema, extreme fussiness or reflux. A baby with a milk protein allergy might have just one of these symptoms or any combination of them. If you see any of the symptoms, talk with your child’s pediatrician.

What to expect from an elemental formula (like Neocate):

  • When babies first start on an elemental diet such as Neocate, it may take up to 2-3 weeks for their systems to adjust and have consistent stools. If they seem to be constipated, massaging your baby's belly or moving their legs around can help get things moving.
  • Also, Neocate babies often have poops that can change in consistency and color when they first start on the formula. This is because Neocate is a low residue formula. Low residue formulas lower the number of bacteria in the gut leading to reduced breakdown of bile. More bile is present in the poop making it darker in color.

Any other questions? Give us a shout!

-Sarah


A Mom’s Journey with TED (Total Elimination Diet)

Posted 6.7.11 | Nutrition Specialist

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Rachel Miller, Baby E’s mom. We’d like to thank Rachel for guest blogging for us.

Never could I have imagined that adding another bouncing baby boy to our family last summer would not only add extra snuggles and smiles, but that it would also add a seemingly long and sometimes stressful journey into the world of food allergies. 

Baby E was born last August happy and healthy.  He was welcomed home by mom, dad, and his two big brothers.   Almost right away Baby E started showing signs of possible reflux.  We had been down the reflux road before since big brother 2 had reflux when he was a baby.   So when Baby E started sounding like something out of Star Wars (think Darth Vader), I mentioned to his doctor that I was concerned his nasal congestion was being caused by reflux.  So, Baby E was put on reflux medicine and it seemed to help a little bit. 

Baby E Before

Baby E Before

Then came the eczema.   Baby E was like a snake (but way cuter).  He started shedding away his soft newborn baby skin, and angry red baby acne took its place.  The doctor said it was completely normal and likely caused by hormones.  It was at this point that I started to consider the possibility that Baby E may be reacting to something in my diet.  Refluxand terrible skin?  But, I shrugged it off.

Then came the mucous-filled diapers.  I knew from having been down the breast-feeding diaper route before, mucous is an uninvited guest.  Seeds, yes.  Mucous, no.  He also had terrible tummy aches and painful gas.  He would often cry and had a hard time settling down.   Gas relief drops didn’t seem to help.

Then came the blood and green poops.  There is really no way to shrug off lime green bowel movements with streaks of visible blood throughout.  I immediately took Baby E back to the doctor where they took a stool sample and made sure Baby E didn’t have an infection.   No infection.  And so our journey began.  

 I knew I wanted to continue breastfeeding Baby E, so at the doctor’s recommendation I cut dairy out of my diet immediately.  Baby E seemed to make slow improvement after only a few days.   We then eliminated soy as well.  After almost two weeks of being dairy and soy free, Baby E had “better” diapers but not normal. 

This is where TED entered my life.   Total Elimination Diet

Unfortunately, my doctor was not able to offer much advice or information about TED, so I found most of my information from infantreflux.org and kellymom.com.  Determined to get kick mucous out of this diaper party and to continue to breast-feed my “intolerant” child, I started eating nothing but chicken, turkey, rice, potatoes, apples, and bananas.  Being on such a restrictive diet allowed me rid Baby E of mucous diapers, reflux, and his eczema.  Then I slowly added foods back into my diet and waited for a reaction. This was how I was able to determine that Baby E cannot tolerate dairy, soy, eggs, and tomatoes.  So now, I am still breastfeeding but avoiding these foods in my diet, and Baby E is doing great!   

Baby E After

Our journey is still continuing.  Since starting solid foods Baby E has had reactions to pears and infant oatmeal cereal.  In spite of this, I feel lucky and blessed that Baby E is doing so well and that I am able to continue breastfeeding him. 

-Rachel Miller


Elimination Diets and Breastfeeding

Posted 1.31.13 | Rob McCandlish, RDN


We often hear from moms of infants with cow milk allergy who would like to continue breastfeeding their infant. It’s very rare that an infant will be truly allergic to the breast milk: usually the infant reacts to one or more foods in the mother’s diet that affect breast milk contents. For this reason, many clinicians might suggest that a mom try to follow an elimination diet to continue breastfeeding. Other times, they will recommend Neocate Infant DHA/ARA as an appropriate replacement for breast milk. We always suggest that you check with your little one’s healthcare team and follow their advice, but below are some links to information you may find helpful.


Elimination Diet Basics

The general idea behind an elimination diet is that certain foods are strictly eliminated. This includes removing “whole” foods, like cow milk, and specific ingredients. For example, a mom whose infant has cow milk allergy may need to screen ingredient lists for anything derived from dairy. This video, featuring members of our team, explains the basics behind an elimination diet, such as eliminating dairy and soy ingredients. Your healthcare team can provide more detailed instructions on what foods you should eliminate and what ingredients to look out for.


Beyond the Basics

For some nursing infants, an elimination diet that removes common allergens like dairy and soy from mom’s diet may only provide minimal symptom improvement. If that’s the case for you, please seek advice from your healthcare team. For some families, the team may suggest a diet that restricts more foods, which they may refer to as a “total elimination diet.” You can read about one mom’s experience with the total elimination diet here. This previous blog post suggests some other websites that may be helpful to you.

But if a more strict approach like the total elimination diet still doesn’t completely help, is there still an option to breastfeed? If you are truly committed to breastfeeding, we have heard of moms who drink an elemental formula themselves so that they haven’t got ANY food in their diet that the infant could react to. You can read about my two-day experience of nothing but Neocate here. And two days is nothing: there are many teens and even adults who depend on Neocate every day to help meet their nutrition needs safely.


Elimination Diet Caution

For many moms who try an elimination diet, there is often a need to eliminate more than just dairy and soy. This can lead to a diet that is restricted in one or more nutrients, which could pose a risk to both mom and her baby. Please read this previous blog post to make sure you’re aware of some potential risks. While the article discusses a scenario in which a child is on an elimination diet, some of the key principles hold for a nursing mom (and her baby) as well. One option may be for mom to consume Neocate Junior as a safe, supplemental source of nutrition: I’d recommend the Vanilla with prebiotic fiber!

What experience can you share with other moms who are considering an elimination diet?

- Rob

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When should my baby start solids?

Posted 5.30.13 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

 
Infant baby foodA time of high anxiety for families of infants using a hypoallergenic infant formula like Neocate Infant is the introduction of solids foods. Many parents in this scenario are concerned about possible allergic reactions to new foods.

Some recently published research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uncovered that many families may be introducing solid foods too early, regardless of food allergies. Here are some of the latest guidelines and results of research.
 

The recommendations

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed their recommendations for introducing solid foods. Where they had previously recommended introducing solids no earlier than 4 months of age, they now recommend waiting until about 6 months. This is because the AAP recommends breast milk should be an infant’s sole source of nutrition through 6 months of age. (Many families that follow our blogs are aware that, for some infants, breast milk may not be an option, and Neocate Infant may be recommended by the healthcare team). For families in Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has similar recommendations.

The AAP provides some other helpful information on introducing solids here, and CPS has more for Canadian families here. Starting solids too early can be dangerous, as it’s important to give your baby solids when she has the right skills for swallowing. Also, the early introduction of solid foods has been linked to (but not proven to cause - there's a difference!) increased risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and even celiac disease. Rely on your healthcare team to help guide you on what signs to look for to tell when your baby is ready to start solid foods.


What researchers found

The CDC conducted surveys of 1,334 parents to see when they introduced solids foods and why. They published the results in the AAP journal, Pediatrics - you can find a summary of the results here. What the researchers found was that over 40% of the parents surveyed introduced solid foods before 4 months, earlier than the AAP and CPS recommend!

Parents gave many reasons for introducing solids, including wanting to give something in addition to formula or breast milk. It’s important to note that infant formulas like Neocate Infant are nutritionally complete, and can meet an infant’s full nutritional needs until a member of the healthcare team recommends introducing solids. 


What solid to introduce first

For infants using a hypoallergenic infant formula like Neocate Infant, it’s normal for parents and caregivers to wonder what solid is “safest” to introduce first. The best thing to do is to check with your little one’s healthcare team to see what they recommend. Also ask them when to introduce solids, and follow their advice!

Again, the AAP and CPS offers some great guidelines around introducing solids (see links above). For infants with severe allergies or who have trouble tolerating solid foods, the healthcare team may recommend Neocate Nutra. Neocate Nutra is the only amino acid-based semi-solid that can be given to infants 6 months and older.

What questions do you have about introducing solid foods?

- Rob McCandlish, RDN
Nutrition Specialist

Image Source


Transitioning from Breast Milk to Neocate

Posted 8.22.13 | Nutrition Specialist


You have always enjoyed breast feeding your little one. What could be better than some quiet time bonding with a snuggly bundle of love as many as 8 times a day? What a bonus that it’s the best source of nutrition for your little one. Recently though, it seems that the thought of weaning has crossed your mind once or twice. Maybe you’re going back to work and the long commute, crazy schedule and pumping is just more than you can bear. Or perhaps you have a very faint memory of what a full night’s sleep used to feel like and you are desperate to experience it once more.

In addition, your child may have been diagnosed with a cow milk and/or soy protein allergy and, despite trying an elimination diet for yourself, your LO cannot tolerate your breast milk. Will the transition from breast feeding to Neocate be difficult? Not necessarily. If your LO’s healthcare team has recommended Neocate and you are considering a transition from breast milk, read on. Included are our best tips for a successful transition.

  • First of all relax and be patient. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be.
     
  • Feeding time is more likely to be a success if it’s a pressure free zone. Your baby may need time to get used to the new formula and bottle. If he doesn’t take it in 10 minutes, try again in an hour.
     
  • A baby may be more likely to refuse a bottle if he has a choice between breast feeding and the bottle. It might be best to eventually bottle feed exclusively.
     
  • A gradual transition may be best. For instance, you can prepare Neocate Infant and mix it with expressed breast milk, gradually increasing the amount of Neocate.
     
  • A baby may be more accepting of a bottle the first time from someone other than Mom.
     
  • A baby may have a preference for a particular nipple size and temperature so consider different nipple size, shapes and warming the nipple prior to feeding time.
     
  • Your LO may be more accepting of the formula if she gets a small taste of what’s to come. Try putting a small amount of formula on her lips prior to offering the bottle.


You can find some more transition tips in 'A Guide to Transitioning to Neocate' on this page, which includes tips from a Feeding Specialist.

Do you have any ideas that have helped make for a successful transition from breastfeeding to Neocate? Please feel free to share them here.

-Yasmin

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What are Nucleotides?

Posted 9.24.13 | Rob McCandlish, RDN


Many of you have heard the great news that our new and improved Neocate Infant DHA/ARA has added nucleotides, among some other great improvements. More details on those improvements can be found here. Neocate Infant is the first and only hypoallergenic formula to offer nucleotides. You may be wondering: what are nucleotides, and why add them to Neocate Infant?

Nucleotides: building blocks of DNA

The basic explanation is that nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA (and its partner, RNA). DNA is in our cells, and it contains our genes, or the codes that make of us unique. The same way that protein is made of chains of amino acids, DNA and RNA are both made from long chains of nucleotides. (Nucleotides do not contain protein, nor are they the same as amino acids.) You can find a better, more detailed explanation of DNA here.

Why add nucleotides to formula?

Nucleotides are found in human milk, along with a lot of other helpful components. Scientists realized that nucleotides might provide some benefits to breast-fed infants, including to the immune system. Nucleotides were first added to cow milk-based formulas as early as the 1960s, and have been used in formulas in the US since the 1980’s.

One of the possible benefits of adding nucleotides to formula is that they may help to support growth in some formula-fed infants. You can read more about the evidence of how nucleotides may support growth in this publication. Nucleotides may also help to reduce how often formula-fed infants get diarrhea and how long the diarrhea lasts. Here is evidence that adding nucleotides to infant formula may minimize diarrhea.

Many infants who need an elemental formula may have experienced growth delays while trying to find the right formula. We at Nutricia want to do everything we can to offer the best possible formula to infants who need an amino acid-based diet. Because of the long history of nucleotides being safely added to formulas, along with the potential benefits, we decided to help many of the little ones that need Neocate Infant DHA/ARA by adding nucleotides.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion over nucleotides! What other questions do you have?

Rob

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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


Can I Keep Breastfeeding My Milk-Allergic Infant?

Posted 9.19.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Successful breastfeeding can get complicated if your baby is diagnosed with an allergy to cow milk, or when other food allergies are suspected. So, what can you do when breastfeeding your milk-allergic infant comes into question?

Chances are you have given quite a lot of thought and preparation regarding your plans to feed your new infant. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. It is the first choice when you ask the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and healthcare professionals worldwide. However, when your baby is diagnosed or is suspected of having a milk allergy, your baby’s diet must be free of cow milk protein.

Is it possible to manage your baby’s food allergies while sticking to your plan to breastfeed? Absolutely. Let’s look at a few scenarios and possible solutions.

My infant is reacting to the foods I’m eating.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

It’s possible for small amounts of protein from foods in mom’s diet to make their way into her breast milk, which can cause allergic reactions if the infant develops an allergy to those foods.

The first option your healthcare professional should suggest in this situation is for mom to follow an elimination diet and continue to breastfeed. An elimination diet means you remove suspected allergens - both whole foods and most ingredients derived from that food - from your diet. This means protein from the potential allergen don't make it into your breast milk, thus removing the allergens from your baby’s diet.

Often the healthcare team will recommend you start by eliminating just milk, or a few items like milk and soy, and foods containing certain ingredients derived from milk and soy. Here is a short video from some of the members of our Neocate team explaining the basics of an elimination diet.

It may take up to two weeks to see if the foods you've removed from your diet have made the difference for your little one. If your baby continues to have problems tolerating your breast milk or perhaps has only a minimal improvement in their symptoms, then additional foods may need to be eliminated from your diet. This may be referred to as a “total elimination diet (TED)”. Read more about one mom Rachel, and her experience with TED.

It is key that you maintain a healthy diet to maintain your own health so that you can be well and also provide the nutrition needed for your infant through breast milk.  Eliminating some foods, especially large groups of food such as dairy, may jeopardize your health, so it is important to seek medical supervision from your doctor and/or a registered dietitian when planning an elimination diet to make sure all potential gaps in your nutrition are filled.

Supplements of certain nutrients may be recommended, depending on the number of eliminated foods. Key nutrients often obtained from dairy in the diet, at a minimum calcium and vitamin D, may be recommended by your healthcare team as supplements, for example, if you’re avoiding all dairy. They may also look for alternative foods to provide these and other essential nutrients.

Some moms have even found Neocate products to be a great hypoallergenic option to supplement their own diet and meet their own nutrition needs to continue breastfeeding their babies. This might be particularly helpful when mom is asked to eliminate multiple food items from her diet, or follow a “total elimination diet”. If this is something your curious about, you could discuss Neocate Splash with your healthcare team, although any Neocate product can be used as a supplement.

I want to continue breastfeeding but am not producing enough breast milk.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

Some mothers struggle to produce enough breast milk to meet the needs of their growing baby. First, you should ask for a referral to a lactation specialist - experts in breast feeding strategies. Many healthcare professionals will recommend supplementing with infant formula so the baby still gets the benefits of breast milk while also getting enough calories and nutrients to ensure proper growth of the infant while the underlying cause of the low breast milk yield is addressed.

A hypoallergenic formula like Neocate is recommended to supplement your breast milk if your little one has reacted to your breast milk. That’s because guidelines advise that babies with food allergies, or who are already struggling to tolerate breast milk due to food allergies, should be given a hypoallergenic formula like Neocate when a supplement for mom’s breast milk is needed. (The reason? The fragments of protein from mom's diet that are found in breast milk are roughly the same size as those found in formulas made from broken-down dairy protein, which means they are likely to provoke an allergic reaction.)

Supplementing breast milk with Neocate can help you continue to provide your baby the wonderful nutrition from breast milk, while also making sure your baby gets the full amount of calories and nutrients they need to continue to grow and develop from a hypoallergenic formula. Your healthcare team, such as your pediatrician or registered dietitian, will advise you on what is needed for you and your baby specifically.  The amount of formula needed should be directed by your healthcare professional and will be unique to your infant’s individual nutrition needs. 

However, this can also present some challenges. Babies often have a hard time switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. I hear from many mothers in this situation that the baby will often prefer one feeding over the other, and usually the baby prefers breast milk. For example, moms have told me that their baby drinks well when they are breastfeeding but they struggle with bottle feedings. Even mothers that are exclusively bottle feeding will often say that the baby prefers the bottles of breast milk over the bottles of infant formula.

Some Tips for Moms Supplementing their Breast milk:

  • Many healthcare professionals suggest manually expressing your breast milk and bottle feeding only to help in this situation.
  • It is often recommended to add prepared Neocate consistently to the bottles with expressed breast milk. This can help with bottle acceptance because the bottles are consistently the same taste and the baby is consistently being bottle fed.
  • The amount of prepared Neocate needed should be directed by your healthcare team based the nutrition needs of your baby and your breast milk production.

Let’s say, for example, that your healthcare professional determines that your baby needs an additional 10 fluid ounces of Neocate daily and your baby is drinking 5 bottles daily. In this example, your healthcare professional might recommend an additional 2 fluid ounces of prepared Neocate added to each bottle of expressed breast milk. You would prepare the Neocate at the recipe recommended by your healthcare professional, then add 2 fluid ounces to each bottle of breast milk. This ensures the baby is getting a similar blend of breast milk and Neocate at each bottle.

Again, your healthcare professional will direct you regarding what is best for both you and your little one, so ask your pediatrician or registered dietitian for what is best for you. 

I am adding prepared Neocate to breast milk, but my baby is not gaining weight.

Answer: Ask your healthcare professional for their advice.

For some infants, the calories in breast milk or formula may not be enough to support weight gain at a normal rate. When your baby can’t consume any more breast milk or formula in a day, the healthcare team may suggest other options to help your baby gain weight and keep on track with their expected weight gain, or growth curve. (You can track your baby’s intake using the Neocate Footsteps App, so you can show the healthcare team exactly what she’s taking.)

Often an increase in calories is needed. One option your healthcare professional may recommend is concentrating the Neocate before adding it to your breast milk. This can help to increase the calories and nutrients from Neocate that your baby is consuming, on top of the breast milk. The same tips discussed above can be helpful in this situation when expressing your breast milk, especially adding the Neocate to your breast milk consistently between bottles.

Again, your pediatrician or registered dietitian will advise you what is best for you and your baby, and how exactly they want you to prepare Neocate before adding it to your expressed breast milk. It's important to only change the concentration if directed by the healthcare team, and to always follow their instructions: formula that is too concentrated can lead to dehydration and other health issues. In other words, consult the healthcare team first – please do not attempt this on your own!

What other questions do you have about breastfeeding your baby with food allergies? Please share any questions or any suggestions you might have for other mothers facing this situation in the comments below.

 

-Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN

Originally posted 8.9.16, Updated 9.19.17



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.