Alfamino and Neocate are both amino acid-based formulas, but their ingredients are different. Alfamino contains potato starch and soy, while Neocate has neither of those. Neocate is Halal and Kosher, while Alfamino is not. Alfamino has a more pleasant taste, but for some babies with severe food intolerances it may not work.
Amino acid-based formulas are a great alternative to traditional milk-based baby formulas for babies and toddlers with cow’s milk protein allergy, other severe food allergies, or severe eczema. These formulas are also called elemental formulas, because during the manufacturing process, the food proteins are broken down so much that they become easier to digest.
There are several great brands of amino acid-based, hypoallergenic formulas, but how do you choose which one will work best for your baby? Some of it will come down to trial and error, and what works for one baby may not work for another, but you should know that there are some differences between the different brands. I’ve got an excellent article that breaks down the differences between several of the major formulas here, but in this article I will be focusing on the differences between two specific formulas; Neocate and Alfamino.
|Manufacturer||Nestlé Health Science||Nutricia|
|Free from Dairy and Soy?||Contains soy oil, dairy free||Yes|
|Infant and Junior Formulas Available?||Yes||Yes|
|Flavor options||Infant – Unflavored|
Junior – Unflavored, Vanilla
|Infant – UnflavoredJunior – Unflavored, Strawberry, Chocolate, Tropical, and Vanilla|
-Taste is fairly mild, some babies take it just fine
-Alfamino claims that it contains 10% more MCT oil than competitors, giving it a higher fat content.
-Approved for WIC & Medicaid
– Doesn’t contain any soy oil
-The Neocate Syneo version contains prebiotics & probiotics
-Neocate Jr comes in different flavors, with and without prebiotics
-Approved for WIC & Medicaid
|Cons||-Not Halal or Kosher-Only comes unflavored-Contains soy oil-Spit up will stain clothes||-Unflavored variety doesn’t taste great-May have slightly less MCT than Alfamino-Spit up stains clothes|
|Ingredients||See below||See below|
|Does Insurance Cover it?||Varies from state to state, see below||Varies from state to state, see below|
If charts aren’t your thing, or if you want more details, keep reading below to get a breakdown of all the differences between Alfamino and Neocate.
Alfamino vs. Alfamino Junior
Nestle makes two versions of Alfamino; an infant version, and a Junior version for babies over 1 year of age. There used to be no flavor options to choose from, but there’s now an option for a Junior Vanilla flavored Alfamino. Many people agree this is the best tasting of the hypoallergenic formulas, so it’s not a huge dealbreaker that there aren’t that many flavors.
The difference in the junior and the infant varieties is the fat and nutritional content. The infant version is more targeted toward the needs of a baby under the age of 1, and it contains DHA/ARA to mimic breast milk, while the junior version has a higher percentage of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) to help a growing toddler get enough fat content from the formula. Both the infant and the junior formulations contain soy and potato starch, so be aware of that if your child is very sensitive to either of those things.
Where Can You Buy Alfamino?
Some of my local pharmacies and my local Walmart carry elemental formulas, but I don’t usually see Alfamino on the shelves there. This is a formula that is harder to find in a local store (at least where I live) and may need to be purchased online through Amazon or through Nestle directly.
Corn Syrup Solids, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Vegetable Oils (Soybean, High Oleic Sunflower, and High-2 Palmitic Vegetable Oil), Potato Starch, L-Arginine L-Aspartate, and Less than 2% of: L-Lysine Acetate, Calcium Glycerophosphate, L-Leucine, Citric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides (Citrem), Calcium Citrate, L-Proline, L-Valine, L-Glutamine, Glycine, L-Isoleucine, Potassium Chloride, L-Threonine, L-Serine, L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalanine, Sodium Phosphate, L-Histidine, L-Alanine, L-Cystine, Potassium Citrate, L-Tryptophan, Magnesium L-Aspartate, Choline Bitartrate, L-Methionine, M. Alpina Oil*, C. Cohni Oil**, Maltodextrin, Sodium Citrate, Inositol, Sodium Ascorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Taurine, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Magnesium Chloride, DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols, Niacinamide, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Vitamin K7, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenate, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.
**Ingredients can always change, check Nestle’s website for the most current ingredient list, here.
Mixing Instructions for Alfamino
Mix one unpacked, level scoop for each fl oz of water. Each can will make 94 fl oz when mixed as directed.
Neocate Infant vs. Neocate Syneo vs. Neocate Junior
Neocate infant and Neocate Syneo are both targeted for babies under one year of age. They contain DHA and ARA to mimic the benefits of breastmilk for your baby’s brain development. The difference between these two is that Neocate Syneo contains prebiotics and probiotics in a special blend. This is supposed to help a baby’s good bacteria levels resemble the gut balance of babies who are breastfed. This helps babies tolerate the formula better and it promotes future gut health.
Neocate Junior is specifically formulated for babies over one year old, with a higher amount of calories per fluid ounce, and several flavor options that you can mix and match for older kids. The Jr options come with prebiotics or without, and there are different flavors for each option.
Where Can You Buy Neocate?
Neocate is one of the easier elemental formulas to find on the shelves at stores near me. I usually get it at CVS or Walgreens if I’m going to get it from a store, but I’ve recently started seeing it at Walmart as well. However, Neocate is usually cheaper if I purchase it from Amazon as opposed to going to my local pharmacy. As of the time of writing this, one can of Neocate was $47.99 at the store, and it’s $46.99 on Amazon. That’s not a huge difference, but sometimes the Amazon price drops lower (hello Prime Day and Cyber Monday) and when you are buying 10 cans at a time, the small bits add up.
Corn Syrup Solids (54%), Refined Vegetable Oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides (8%), High Oleic Sunflower Oil (6%), Sunflower Oil (5%), Canola Oil (4%)), and less than 2% of each of the following: Calcium Phosphate Dibasic, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Glycerophosphate, L-Arginine L-Aspartate, L-Leucine, Tripotassium Citrate, L-Lysine Acetate, L-Glutamine, L-Proline, Citric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides (CITREM), L-Valine, Glycine, L-Isoleucine, L-Threonine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Tyrosine, L-Serine, L-Histidine, L-Alanine, Sodium Chloride, L-Cystine, Magnesium Chloride, L-Tryptophan, Choline Bitartrate, L-Methionine, Tricalcium Citrate, Magnesium L-Aspartate, M. alpina Oil*, C. cohnii Oil**, M-Inositol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, L-Carnitine, Uridine 5’-Monophosphate Disodium Salt, Cytidine 5’-Monophosphate, Niacinamide, Inosine 5’-Monophosphate Disodium Salt, Adenosine 5’-Monophosphate, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Guanosine 5’-Monophosphate Disodium Salt, DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamin Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cupric Sulfate, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Acetate, DL-Alpha-Tocopherol, Potassium Iodide, Mixed Tocopherols, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Phylloquinone, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, D-Biotin, Vitamin D3, Cyanocobalamin. *A source of Arachidonic Acid (ARA) **A source of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
**Ingredients can always change, check Neocate’s website for the most current ingredient list, here.
Mixing Instructions for Neocate
Mix one unpacked, level scoop for each fl oz of water. So, for a 6 oz bottle, you will need 6 level scoops of powder. Each can will make 97 fl oz when mixed as directed.
Which one should I choose for my baby?
Honestly? It depends. It can vary from child to child, sometimes the only way to find out is by trial and error. There are some differences between the two formulas that may help you rule one or the other out very quickly though.
- If you need a formula that is Kosher or Halal certified, then you should start by looking at Neocate.
- If you have a child that is very sensitive to soy or to potato, then you should start with Neocate.
- If taste is the most important and your baby isn’t sensitive to soy, then you might want to start with Alfamino.
- If your child is underweight and needs to catch up, their doctor might recommend starting with Alfamino.
Check with your doctor and see what they recommend first. Then, pick one to try (or check out my list here with the other formulas that are amino acid-based).