What to expect when starting Neocate

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 Syneo Infant or Neocate Infant, the infant formulas of the Neocate 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. 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. 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 or hunter green).

Don’t be alarmed, though. This is common for most hypoallergenic formulas, because of how it’s digested and absorbed. (The exception is formulas with prebiotic fiber, like Neocate Syneo Infant or Neocate Junior.) If you really want to know more about what causes this color, we suggest talking to a microbiologist and a gastroenterologist! Or read more here.

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. 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. Again, more here.

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 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, 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 becomes pasty, so not too loose, but also not too formed (remember, you wanted us to be honest!). With Neocate Syneo Infant, stools may be softer, more like breastfed infants, than with other hypoallergenic formulas that don’t contain fiber.

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 (or flatulence). Changes are especially common in the first few days/weeks. 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 in the first days/weeks with Neocate, or a change in the smell of gas. (You wanted our honest answers, right?) More gas may cause some temporary discomfort or fussiness. 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, watery 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 more powder, 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 consistency, some parents have told us they noticed some extra spit up in first few days of starting Neocate. 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 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, 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. 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, ET.

-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. We talk to Neocate families and learn about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob also has two nephews who used Neocate for cow milk allergies!

Published: 07/30/2013
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Comments
Carolyn Ricciardi
Hello Amy, I am so sorry to hear that you and your little one are struggling with the transition to Neocate! 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. Just like introducing the unfamiliar taste of a new vegetable once an infant reaches solids, which research shows can take up to 15-20 times before they get used to the taste and accept it, it often takes a few days for infants to adjust to Neocate. Other clinicians, as you mentioned, may make recommendations for mixing Neocate with other formulas or ingredients. One way to transition is to use the "fading" approach. Fading is a strategy where a small amount of a new formula is mixed with something the child is used to (which in this case would be Nutramigen), gradually increasing the ratio of new to old over time. 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 for a successful transition. We can’t provide recommendations for changing the flavor of Neocate Infant DHA/ARA because formula manufacturers are prohibited from flavoring or artificially sweetening infant formulas. However, we have heard some clinicians make recommendations for substituting a small amount of an accepted fruit juice for some of the water when preparing formula, adding a small amount of something sweet (not honey), adding or non-alcohol-based vanilla extract, but again we cannot recommend this practice. It’s best to discuss with your child’s healthcare team to see if they have recommendations. We hope this information is helpful! Best of luck to you and your family!
14/02/2020
Amy
Please help. My 11 month old was labeled as “failure to thrive.” He has tried 4 different formulas since birth and was placed on nutramigen since he was 2 months old. He is 16 pounds 11.5 ounces and his pediatrician decided he needed a higher calorie formula so she started him on Neocate. We have been on it for 2 days now and every single time I try to give it to him; he won’t drink it. She suggested we try giving him some rice dream milk, but he refused that as well. He will not sleep without a nightly bottle feed. I keep making bottles of the Neocate and he screams and cries after taking 4 sips of it. Almost like he’s in pain. His pediatrician tells us to keep trying it and it could take up to two weeks for him to transition to it. He’s never had issue taking to the nutramigen. Is there anything I could do to make it taste a little better for him? I have heard some people taking the old formula and mixing it with the new one for a day or two to get them to adjust to the new formula, but I don’t think you can mix this formula with anything else. Please help. I’ haven’t slept in going on 3 days now. He won’t sleep at night anymore and is extremely fussy all day because he won’t drink the Neocate no matter how hard I try. I’ve been getting sent home from my job because I’m showing up to work sleep deprived. Please, anything you can suggest that can help my husband and myself will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
14/02/2020
Carolyn Ricciardi
Hi Shelia, I am sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling on her current formulation! When infants switch to Neocate, they tend to have stools less frequently (often ~1 every day or two), especially if they had been experiencing diarrhea as a symptom of cow milk allergy. The decrease in frequency of stools has to do with the fact that Neocate is so broken down and well-absorbed. We wouldn't expect an increase in reflux or gas when switching to Neocate, but every infant has a slightly different experience. We always recommend working with your little one’s health care team to find the best formula for your child and provide suggestions for symptom management. Wishing you a successful Neocate trial!
07/02/2020
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