Food Allergy Living Blog Tagged Results

switching formula

Understanding How Infant Taste Buds Work

Posted 2.4.10 | Mallory West

Ever wonder if your infant has the capacity to really taste his or her food? Well, this post will address the sense of taste in infancy!

To start, let’s review the basics of the “gustatory system”. Taste buds on the tongue relay information to the brain, which is perceived as taste.

The 5 basic tastes of any human are:

  • sweet
  • salty
  • sour
  • bitter
  • savory (aka umami).

Research shows that infants are born with a predisposition to accept sweet tastes, such as breast milk. Infants also have a predisposition to reject new foods, a phenomenon known as “neophobia”[1]. During infancy, almost all foods are “new” so it’s no wonder that introducing a new food or formula may result in some resistance from your baby.

The good news is that this neophobia can be overcome by repeated exposure to the food. In other words, taste preferences aren’t set in stone; they are constantly evolving. With repeated experience, infants accept and may even prefer the previously rejected food. One study observed mothers who presented a particular food daily over a period of time. The researchers found that it took 15 feedings for the infants to accept the new food readily.

Therefore, whether you are introducing solids or switching over to Neocate from another formula, don’t be discouraged! It is not only ok, but normal for your little one to reject the new food at first. Just be patient and persistent and continue to present the food in a positive manner.

An interesting tidbit: An infant’s perception of bitter taste is developed several months after birth. A study found that newborn infants did not reject the taste of bitter, while older infants did[2]. Another study identified the time period for this developmental change to be around 4 months of age[3]. The researchers found that infants who were put on a specialized, broken down formula (which have a slightly bitter taste due to the broken down protein) before the age of 4 months transitioned to the new formula with no resistance.

After this age, the infants identify the change in taste and moms may have to be a bit craftier to transition their little one onto the new formula. The researchers pointed out that a gradual transition, where the new formula is mixed with the previous formula, helps older infants to accept the new formula. This allows infants taste buds to gradually and repeatedly be exposed to the new flavor and associates the flavor with something that they already like (the previous formula).

What tastes did your child prefer when you first began introducing foods? Have you noticed any change in their taste preferences as they get older?

- Mallory

[1] Birch, L. L. (2002). Acquisition of food preferences and eating patterns in children. In C. G. Fairburn, & K. D. Brownell (Eds.), Eating disorders and obesity (2nd ed., pp. 75-79). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
[2] Beauchamp GK, Cowart BJ, Kajiura H. Early developmental change in bitter taste responses in human infants. Dev Psychobiol. 1992 Jul;25(5):375-86.
[3] Beauchamp GK, Griffin CE, Mennella JA. Flavor Programming During Infancy. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 4 April 2004, pp. 840-845

Lessons from Developmental Psychology

Posted 12.3.09 | Mallory West

Recently I was volunteering at a local organization which provides respite care to families of children with special needs. There was a baby in the center who had recently been switched from a milk-based formula to a soy-based alternative. The caregiver was explaining that the baby didn’t seem to like the formula and that she didn’t blame him because it tasted awful. Everybody smelled the formula and made disgusted faces, making a huge deal about how terrible it was that the baby had to drink it. And all I kept thinking was, well of course the baby doesn’t like it! How many of us would want to eat or drink something when everyone around us thinks it’s gross.

I wanted to share this with you because parents often call us for advice on transitioning their baby to Neocate. Hopefully, this entry will provide some helpful guidance if you are making that switch.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that if your baby is prescribed a special formula, it’s because of a medical condition which makes him or her unable to tolerate typical formula. The special formulation of Neocate makes it taste different from standard formulas, but it’s also this special formulation which provides relief and allows your baby to grow, thrive and be healthy. So how can you help make the transition smoother?

The answer is a lesson of developmental psychology! Research shows that although children are born with predispositions for certain food preferences, the majority of food preferences are shaped by experience1. A child’s food acceptance and preference are strongly influenced by the way their parents present these foods. Children learn to accept and prefer foods which are presented repeatedly and in a positive manner. At the same time, if a food is presented in a negative context, the child is likely to dislike and reject the new food (which is the most likely reason for the baby I described above not wanting the formula).

Therefore, if you present the new formula positively, even tasting it yourself and showing a pleasant response, your child is much more likely to accept and even like it. Likewise, if you display your distaste for the formula in front of your baby (for example making a disgusted face and exclaiming “this formula tastes gross!”), your baby is likely to learn to dislike it as well.

So, the takeaways are:

  1. When introducing a new formula to your baby, remember to keep a positive and supportive demeanor. Try not to make unpleasant facial expressions or negative comments in front of the baby.
  2. Remember that children learn to accept foods which are presented repeatedly so don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t accept the new formula right away.

Keeping these tips in mind will hopefully make the formula transition much more pleasant for your baby and as a result, much more pleasant for you too!

Do any of you have tips for helping with the transition to Neocate? We’d love to hear them!


1. Birch, LL. Development of Food Acceptance Patterns in the First Years of Life. Proc Nutr Soc. 1998 Nov;57(4):617-24.

Your Child Is Growing Up and It’s Time To Switch Formulas?

Posted 1.6.09 | Christine Graham-Garo

*Please note an updated version of this blog is available at: Transitioning from Neocate Infant to Neocate Junior

Often, I get calls from curious parents regarding up-age products, which are products for babies that are one year of age and up. Our conversation is very similar to this:

“My little one with an allergy is about to turn one years old. Can I keep him on the same formula or should I switch to a different one? If I have to put him on a new formula, how do I do it?” – Parent

“The answer is simple and only involves two things: New formula and weaning.” – Nutrition Specialist

Of course, it’s not that simple. But it isn’t as hard as many would think. And honestly, the process usually depends on your child.

Depending on what formula your child is on now, you can usually just switch it to the product next in line. Here at Nutricia infants with milk protein allergies are on Neocate Infant. Once a child turns one, parents can then switch their formula to Necoate Junior or EO28 Splash.

Since each child is different, my formula suggestions are always on a case-by-case basis and of course depend on a doctor’s recommendation. However, for instance, if your child still has malabsorption issues, I would often recommend Neocate Junior because it contains a higher amount of vitamins and minerals.

After you make the formula choice, you need to begin weaning your little one. Again, the process of weaning is not set in stone; however, you usually start by giving your child a combination of new formula and old formula until he or she is completely comfortable on the new formula. For example, you could start off with 25% new formula and 75% old formula. If that works for your little one, slowly keep increasing the amount of new formula. If your child gives resistance, switch to less of the new formula and more of the old. Basically, you can create your own weaning recipe!

What have your experiences been like switching to up-age formulas? I’d love to know!

And as always, if you have any questions, send them my way!

- Christine

Introducing New Foods: A Transition Guide for Babies and Kids with Food Allergies

Posted 2.8.08 | Nutrition Specialist

Many parents come to April and I with questions about when and how to introduce new foods to their child once he or she is symptom free and growing strong.

Of course, this is something you should talk about with your child’s doctor or dietitian. After all, every child – and every child’s allergy – is different. But we’ve also put together a transition guide that we think you’ll find helpful. Here are a few highlights:

  • Only introduce new foods when your child is well.
  • Introduce foods one at a time so that, if your child does have a reaction, it is easy to identify the culprit.
  • Start with foods that are least likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • Leave 1-2 weeks between the introduction of a new food.
  • Give small amounts of foods first. Start with a “pea size” amount and gradually increase over several days if there are no symptoms.
  • If symptoms occur, stop the food being tested and discuss with your child’s doctor or dietitian.
  • Continue to give your child foods that have already been introduced and tolerated.
  • Again, always follow the advice of your healthcare professional.

Take care,

Transitioning from Neocate Infant to Neocate Junior

Posted 3.22.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Is your little one about to turn one and are you wondering if you should keep the same formula or if it’s time to switch to a different one?

If you have been an avid reader of our blog, you might have a hunch of what we are about to say. The answer isn’t simple and isn't the same for everyone. Your transitioning path depends on what formula your child is using and the condition your little one has been diagnosed with. If you are part of the Neocate family and are currently using Neocate Infant DHA/ARA, you can usually just switch to another Neocate formula that's designed for toddlers and beyond. Of course each instance is unique and you should speak with your doctor first before switching any formula or making dietary changes.


Once a child turns one, the Neocate product range offers a wide variety of powdered and ready-to-drink formulas. Our product range for those one-year-old and older includes: Neocate Junior, Neocate Junior with Prebioitics, Neocate Splash and E028 Splash.



The next question on your mind might be, Well how can I tell the difference between all these formulas? We put together a post that provides a bit more information about all these formulas: Neocate Products Similarities and Differences.

Once you and your healthcare professional have chosen the right formula for your little one, the next step will be to begin the transition process. Again, the process of transitioning is not set in stone. For some little ones a "cold turkey" switch to the next formula is no problem. For others, a more gradual switch is a better approach.

For little ones in need of a gradual switch, fading is a strategy where a small amount of a new formula is mixed with something the child is used to (such as expressed breast milk, another formula, or another beverage they currently drink), gradually increasing the ratio of new to old over time. The goal is acceptance of the new combination, even if the difference is noticeable. It is important that once you begin the transition, try not to return to the preferred beverage if your child refuses. Instead, decrease the ratio of Neocate to the previous beverage just slightly. It is very important that through the process of fading you are in touch with your healthcare team and are communicating your concerns on a regular basis.

For some children: the slower, the better – others may transition very quickly. Each child will have his or her own unique pace, which can range from a few days to a few weeks. You can use the table below as a guide to fading and a tool for discussing fading with the healthcare team. The goal is successfully moving forward, even if the pace is very gradual.

How to read this table: For example, if you start off with 25% of the new formula and 75% of the "old" formula and if that combination works for your little one, slowly keep increasing the amount of new formula while decreasing the old one. This could be over the course of a few bottles, a few days, or even a few weeks. If your child resists the new ratio, you can switch back to less of the new formula and more of the old, but try not to slide back too much. Again, the healthcare team can give you advice!

Important note: When transitioning between powdered formulas, you should mix each formula separately following the directions on the can (or specific instructions given by your healthcare team), and then combine the prepared formulas in a clean container. Once mixed, unused Neocate formula can be safely stored in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Once your little one has successfully transitioned to the new formula, you can have some fun trying it in yummy recipes. Our blog is chock-full of recipes you can experiment with. View Allergy-Friendly Recipes.

If you have any questions, our team of Nutrition Specialists is just a call away. They can't give medical advice, but they can definitely answer your Neocate product questions, and may be able to help steer you toward the right questions to ask your healthcare team! Don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can answer for you.

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.