Parents often find themselves in a discussion over which baby formula is better and one of the more popular debates is Elecare VS Neocate.
Elecare VS Neocate gets thrown around so much because they’re amino acid-based formulas for babies, a step further than Enfamil Nutramigen and Similac Alimentum in helping prevent milk allergies from impacting your child.
Similac and Enfamil typically still have dairy and soy as part of the ingredients but the cow’s milk protein contained inside is completely broken down to its base parts to minimize the chances of it reacting with your baby’s digestive system if it still hasn’t developed.
These are the so-called hydrolyzed formulas, one of the few types of hypoallergenic formulas that exist, but also less effective than Elecare or Neocate.
Elecare and Neocate infant formulas are the most beloved amino acid-based formulas, as mentioned earlier.
These are for kids whose bodies still react with an allergic reaction even to the hydrolyzed formula’s lactose residue.
Some kids have such severe food allergies to dairy and soy protein that they have to resort to the most extreme measures like having to take modular formula through IVs.
Sure sounds like a whole heap of trouble, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is and it really sucks for both the mother and her little one when she has to seek a special formula that won’t cause a bad reaction.
This is why it’s important to always schedule an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrics professional to test for potential allergens so you can know which formula will be best right off the bat.
Should your child end up having a soy and/or milk protein allergy, elemental formulas are usually the go-to, but, between Elecare and Neocate, which one is better?
Elecare Vs Neocate: The Facts
Before we enter into this debate, it’s important to know a few things.
The first main thing to note is that while these two individual products are great, your child might not need elemental formulas and might only need Enfamil or Similac to meet their needs.
Budget is often the deciding factor when it comes to these formulas and they’re best reserved for when your child can’t actually stomach the hydrolyzed formula and, as a result, needs the elemental ones.
There are also more brands than just these two, brands like Alfamino and Puramino, but those are a bit below these two in terms of quality and overall safety.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re thinking about trying a new formula, it’s worth having a conversation with your pediatrician first.
If it seems that the formula isn’t working at first, don’t give up on it on day 1.
It takes up to 2 weeks for the food that your child eats to pass through his entire digestive system, enough time for you to be able to log and see whether or not your little one’s body is reacting poorly to any substance that might be an issue in the baby food.
During this period, it’s wise to work together with your pediatrician to help figure out just what might be causing an issue in the food if there is anything.
That said, you can skip the waiting if your child shows very aggressive signs of feeling unwell because it’s likely something to do with the formula.
Make sure to take him to a doctor immediately if you see any odd behavior occur after he starts taking the new formula.
One more thing that might end up scaring you is the color of your child’s poop, especially when swapping over from breast milk to formula.
When using elemental baby formulas, you’ll find that your child’s poop will turn a greener color as opposed to the yellowy one you might be used to while you were breastfeeding your child.
This is completely normal and is caused by the amino acids present in the formula.
The greener poops should also appear to be a bit more constituted and chunkier than the breastfed ones which, again, is entirely normal as your child’s body develops and adapts to new foods.
As far as the actual elemental formulas are concerned, they’re the next step after hydrolyzed formulas in case the baby can’t stomach their content and needs a formula where the proteins are dissolved even further.
On top of that, these formulas are a good way of helping your kids deal with colic, milk allergies, reflux, frequent spit-ups, and overall lactose intolerance.
That said, solutions don’t always come as simple as that since even some of these great options don’t work for all infants, though Neocate and Elecare have been proven to be some of the best.
However, they do have two major downsides and those are the smell and taste of the products.
Due to being broken down to a very basic form, the elemental baby formulas, unfortunately, don’t belong to the category of formulas that taste like human milk.
In fact, they usually smell bad and taste equally as gross, something that might put your baby off the moment he catches a whiff of what he’s about to eat.
This is why I don’t suggest skipping straight over to elemental baby foods and just wait for the doctor to give their verdict before cranking the danger alarm up preemptively.
That said, if you do have a baby who is at least a year old, you can actually get some flavored options in the Junior package, though sadly, anyone younger than that isn’t allowed to have any so you might have difficulty in your kiddo’s younger years.
Do note that the consistency of elemental formulas is a lot thinner compared to that of a regular one which might make it seem a bit more liquid than usual.
That’s completely normal for those formulas and you should know that you’ve done nothing wrong, just follow the instructions on the box and you should be just fine.
The Differences Between The Two Formulas
Although these formulas are similar in function and effectiveness, they do have their differences:
• Neocate contains fewer nutrients than Elecare which provides your kiddo with all the necessary ones like manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, and others.
• Neocate is a certified GMO-free product meaning that overall, it’s healthier for your child to consume whereas Elecare has yet to receive this tag.
• Kids are more prone to poor reactions to Elecare purely for the fact that it contains some of the more common allergens like soy oil and corn syrup whereas Neocate doesn’t and is a better universal choice.
• Neocate contains more calories and fat than Elecare meaning that Elecare does indeed care about its customers.
• As far as price is concerned, Elecare has got Neocate beat in that one by quite a considerable margin.
And those are the only major differences, really.
The two are rather similar in every other sense apart from these 5, even to the point where they both have two different variants of baby food based on ages.
There are the Elecare and Neocate infant for kids under 12 months of age, and then there’s the junior option for those kids who still haven’t developed a resistance to lactose intolerance or their milk allergies in general.
EleCare Infant Hypoallergenic Formula
Distributed by Abbott, our first contender is a strong one in the Elecare VS Neocate matchup.
It’s a type of elemental infant formula that’s tailored to help deal with a number of gastrointestinal problems, especially infantile food allergies, by helping strengthen their immune system.
This is all thanks to the amino acids that the product consists of which are a lot easier to digest than untouched or hydrolyzed proteins and reacts a lot less with your child’s digestion, leaving a lot less chance for an allergic reaction to occur.
It’s one of the top-tier baby formulas for pediatricians nationwide that contains all the necessary nutrients required for your child to grow up healthy and safe.
It also contains DHA and ARA, beneficial acids that help promote digestion and help balance out the intestinal flora.
The baby formula in question also contains a sizable number of vitamins, like vitamin A, B, C, D and K, that help aid various areas in developing at a proper pace without any major problems down the line.
The best part is that it contains no traces of dairy whatsoever so your child is highly likely to be completely safe from any potential food allergy problems that might otherwise occur, though you should still be wary regardless, just in case.
As mentioned before, there’s also a junior option should your child require a bit more time to develop his digestion and shake that baby allergy off in case it’s still present, although it’s important to not overdo it with formula feeding as he should still be eating solids too.
The one downside that you might encounter is the fact that while Elecare infant doesn’t contain soy protein, it does contain soy oils which still might trigger an allergic reaction if your child has a very serious soy allergy.
As far as the price goes, it’s quite conservative considering the overall effectiveness of the product and the complex processes involved in creating such a food, nevertheless, all mothers are thankful for it.
Sure, it might be a lot more than you’d pay for a pack of baby food that isn’t hypoallergenic, but then your kid wouldn’t be able to eat any of it without being caused extreme discomfort and you having to go change a nappy for the umpteenth time.
You will get a decent quantity with your purchase but it’s important to note that one can of formula is going to last you about half a week, give or take a day.
• Amino acid formula
• Contains no lactose or dairy
• Contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals for a regular child’s dietary needs
• Contains DHA and ARA, acids that help in food digestion
• Available in an infant friendly version, as well as one marketed towards kids who’ve had their first birthday
• Helps with most problems that relate to digestion
• When you do the math, the amount given gives you a lot of bang for your buck
• Has a corn syrup base which might not agree with some kids’ stomachs
• Also contains soy oil which might make it a somewhat risky pickup depending on your little one’s stomach.
• Not branded as free from GMOs
• The taste is rather unpleasant due to how broken down the proteins are
• Relatively pricey despite the good value for the amount because of all the processes involved in its approval and manufacture
Neocate Infant with DHA and ARA
This is the other contender in the Elecare VS Neocate showdown and one that matches its opponent up in almost every category with some key differences.
Neocate runs in the same category as its opponent, advertising itself as an elemental formula based on amino acids to help out kids with more severe digestive problems and very sensitive stomachs with several food allergies.
Distributed by Nutricia, this product is completely hypoallergenic and GMO-free, containing very little of anything that the baby’s body might react negatively to, if at all.
They confirm this through strict safety measures put in place during production and by only getting their ingredients from trusted suppliers.
The base formula also contains nucleotides that not only help calm the baby down by regulating levels of stress at a natural level, they also help boost the gastrointestinal tract and help strengthen its protective lining to prevent any abrupt reactions to future foods.
It’s there to help mimic a fully breastfed baby’s digestive tract if, for some reason, you aren’t able to provide him with the necessary breast milk to do so himself.
Speaking of ingredients, the Neocate infant formula, much like the Elecare one, contains DHA and ARA acids that help further promote a healthy digestive tract.
Not only that, but it also contains all of the other necessary nutrients and vitamins that a child needs in his daily life to develop both his brain and his body like iron, phosphorus, zinc and manganese as well as vitamins A, B, C, D and K.
All of the ingredients have been specially curated so that the final blend causes as little issue as possible with the largest percentage of children, putting their health and safety as a priority.
That said, due to that specific process, the amount of nutrients contained in a standard Neocate infant package is slightly less than that of its contender which might put some people off.
To compensate for that, the people over at Neocate and Nutricia have added a bit more fat into the mix to help add some extra calories which will end up making your baby sated faster and the can might last you a bit longer.
Some parents might find that last benefit to not be one at all though, and that’s fine as it’s up to personal preference.
There’s one negative trait that they share and that’s the very unpleasant smell and taste of the product which might lead to the child outright rejecting it at first until he gets used to the taste.
It’s a sad fact, but one that cannot be avoided in this case as all the things that are good for our bodies tend to taste rather awful at first.
But, to not rain on Neocate’s parade entirely – their products contain no traces of soy or dairy whatsoever as mentioned before nor do they contain any corn syrup, giving them a leg up at least where that matter is concerned.
Another thing that the two have in common is the fact that they both have Infant and Junior options, depending on your child’s age or if your precious bundle of joy needs to stick to the formula for a little bit longer before swapping over to solids.
As far as the price is concerned, Neocate is a little bit pricier than its Elecare counterpart when everything is properly measured, but not by much.
If you’re someone who’s pinching pennies it might matter, but it’s not that big a price difference overall.
• Hypoallergenic elemental formula
• Free of GMOs, sweeteners, artificial coloring, and preservatives
• A fine blend of nutrients, minerals, nucleotides, ARA and DHA as well as vitamins to make for a solid meal for your little one
• No traces of soy, corn syrup, or dairy in the product thanks to strict manufacturing policies
• Blend curated in the most optimal way to avoid some of the most common issues kids face with food (intolerances and allergies)
• Has two versions, one for kids who are younger than 12 months of age and one for those who’ve already had their first birthdays
• Much like Elecare’s product, the overall smell and taste can be rather unpleasant
• The ingredients list has lower measures than that of its competitor
• One of the priciest elemental formulas on Amazon
Comparing The Two
As you may have noticed yourself, the two products are quite similar in many aspects, but there are a few differences that clearly make one better than the other.
1. The price: Elecare wins
As an avid budget mamma, I’ve always looked at the best bang for my buck and tried to find all the places where I could save up some money without sacrificing on quality.
The truth is that both of these products are at the top of their weight class and there is little else that can touch them for the time being.
However, in being so similar, I’m of the opinion that you should be going for Elecare first if price is your main concern (except if your child might have a soy or corn allergy in which case you’d want to opt for the latter).
2. The ingredients: Neocate wins
While their ingredients lists are almost identical and while it is true that Elecare packs a bit more of them in their drinks, Neocate provides nucleotides as well as a little bit of that caloric oomph into the mix.
These two facets alone have tipped the scales in the favor of the latter in the Elecare VS Neocate debate.
3. Overall safety: Neocate wins
The final difference came down to the manufacturing process itself; just how safe and well-regulated is it for both brands?
Well, Neocate has proven that they produce their baby formula under very strict supervision and rigorous production policies while also making sure to only obtain their ingredients from trusted buyers who don’t add GMOs to their product.
This has earned them the right to display a GMO-free label on their product and has earned them a win in this category, so much so that I don’t even need to mention the fact that they don’t include soy or corn syrup in their products which are potential allergens.
The Winner Of The Elecare VS Neocate Contest: Neocate
Now, while this judgment might be true on paper, it’s mostly just a personal opinion and you should keep that in mind when looking to buy a product.
Sure, this product is safer than the Elecare, but it’s also a lot pricier and the gap between victory and loss was paper-thin in the other categories, so the former is nothing to scoff at either.
I’d say that the first one is the winner for budget-centric moms while the latter is a winner for those who can afford to splurge a little bit extra when shopping for baby food and gear in general.
That said, as much as I want to say that the choice is yours, it ultimately lies in the hands of your child as he’s the one who’ll have to be tasting them and he might completely prefer one over the other.
Regardless of which one you chose as your own personal winner of the Neocate VS Elecare derby, the fact is that they’re both excellent products that’ll help your kids avoid any potential infantile allergies until they clear up once their digestive tracts develop a little.
That said, do keep in mind that that’s not a decision you should make on your own and that you should always rely on your family doctor, pediatrician, or any other qualified healthcare professional for advice on the matter.
They’ll be able to assess what the next step should be and whether or not your child might have an allergy to a specific substance or not.
If you’re lucky, you might not even need to opt for elemental or even hydrolyzed foods and can stick to regular baby formula for your kiddo.
I know that mine personally didn’t require any and I was very thankful that was the case because otherwise, I would’ve had a big dent in my pocket when comparing the prices between the regular and specialized foods.
With all that said, I’m sure that your child is going to be as healthy as he can be and that he’ll have no need for any specialized foods, but, even if he does, your child’s overall health is worth it, mamma.
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