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taste

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


All About Splash

Posted 9.1.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Nutricia Neocate E028 Splash

NEW! As of September 2017, E028 Splash is now Neocate Splash! Learn more at www.neocate.com/splash

 

If you’re used to preparing powdered Neocate formula, you might be wondering if there is an easier way. It’s tough enough getting yourself and/or your family dressed in the morning, much less having to measure out and prepare powdered formula for daycare or school or work. Fortunately another option is E028 Splash!




What is E028 Splash?

E028 Splash, or just “Splash” for short, is part of the Neocate line of hypoallergenic formulas. The “E028” is a unique product code that stuck! The "E" stood for "elemental" and the "28" represents the 28 essential vitamins and minerals added. Splash is technically a “medical food,” which falls somewhere in the middle of a food, a drug, and a supplement. Orange-Pineapple Splash has been available in the US since 1995, and in 2006 we introduced 2 new flavors: Tropical Fruit and Grape.

Splash, just like Neocate Junior, was designed for individuals over a year old and contains some of all of the nutrients growing bodies need, like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Splash is used by children, teens, and adults. Splash is unique because the protein source is free amino acids, which are safe for kids with food allergies and other medical needs that require an elemental diet. It’s also gluten-free and casein-free.


What makes Splash so great?

The number one reason families love Splash is because it’s so convenient. Splash is the only ready-to-feed, hypoallergenic, amino acid-based formula there is! It goes into a backpack, purse or briefcase just as easily as any other drink box. No more measuring powder, measuring water, and shaking! Not only is this convenient for daycare, day trips, work or school, but it also takes the guesswork out of the equation for babysitters, family, and other parents if you have a child on Neocate that visits on a play date.

Children love Splash for a number of reasons. Severe allergies may mean they need a special formula, but who says it has to LOOK like a special formula? Not us! Splash is packaged to look like other juice drinks, so allergic kids don’t have to feel “different” from everyone else. For some, the novelty of getting to drink their formula through a straw instead of from a cup can make a world of difference. And don’t tell your little one that we said this, but the drink box keeps the distinct smell of formula wrapped up. And to top it all off, Splash comes in 3 great flavors, which can help anyone stick to an elemental diet by adding variety.

Splash has been a blessing for so many families that it has even appeared in a few news stories: here’s a video of Splash helping Matthew Bernard!

- Rob


Flavor Packets

Posted 9.19.13 | Rob McCandlish, RDN


2013 UPDATE: Flavor Packets are no longer available. Please visit the 'Buy Neocate' section for all of the Neocate products that come in delicious flavors!

Over the years, Nutricia has been proud to offer the best products available for patients who require an elemental or amino acid-based diet. In the early years, most formulas were not flavored. Because of the distinct taste of amino acids, we offered an option to our Neocate customers in the form of our Flavor Packets. Flavor Packets have been an easy way to customize the amount of flavor and sweetness you add to unflavored, amino acid-based formulas.

Over the years, we expanded our offerings of formulas that come already flavored. As more customers have preferred these versions, which offer convenience and savings over Flavor Packets, we’ve seen much less interest in the Flavor Packets.

We want you to know that, while we currently have a stock of Flavor Packets which will not expire for a while, this is a limited supply which will not be replaced. We will continue selling them on Neocate.com and MySpecialDiet.com until they phase out, and we are able to transition customers to flavored products. We want to avoid a situation where Flavor Packets are phased out without our customers expecting it.

We encourage those of you who are big fans of Flavor Packets to start considering the other great options in our Neocate family. Neocate Junior is available in Tropical and Chocolate flavors, and also comes in a great Vanilla flavor with the addition of prebiotic fiber. Along with Neocate Junior, we also have Neocate’s E028 Splash which is available in delicious Grape, Tropical Fruit, and Orange-Pineapple flavors.

You may also want to begin discussions with your healthcare team if you would still like to explore adding other, safe flavor options to one of our unflavored products.  

- Rob



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.