Frequently Asked Questions


Breastfeeding: Nestlé support

How does Nestlé support breastfeeding?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of 4 months, but preferably for 6 months. Breastfeeding should be continued, with the addition of complementary foods, at least through the first 12 months, and thereafter as long as mutually desired by mother and infant.

Consistent with AAP recommendations, Nestlé believes that optimal nutrition starts with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by developmentally appropriate, stage-based feeding choices. The Gerber Start Healthy, Stay HealthyTM Nutrition System supports breastmilk as the infant’s first source of nutrition, or a Gerber® Good Start®  formula for those not able to or who choose not to exclusively breastfeed.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Kleinman RE, ed. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 6th Edition. © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics.

Is there a support center available for nursing mothers?

Parents can access the Start Healthy, Stay HealthyTM Resource Center 24/7 at 1-800-721-7575 (en español 1-800-511-6862). Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) are available for live counseling on a one-to-one basis.

Our staff of experts also includes Registered Dietitians who are available for questions on prenatal nutrition and nutrition for infants and young children 0–48 months.

Online, the Start Healthy, Stay HealthyTM Resource Center at also provides breastfeeding information, advice and support including how-to videos and tools, along with nutrition information for infants and young children from birth to preschool.
Back to Top

Breastfeeding: Breastmilk composition and benefits

What are the proven health benefits of breastfeeding?

Generally, breastmilk is the perfect first food for the infant, due not only to its optimal nutritional profile including probiotic bacteria, but also to naturally occurring immunological components – which together support healthy growth and development, and support for a healthy immune system. In fact, human milk is well known to contain immune promoting compounds, including immunoglobulins, growth factors that promote gastrointestinal and immune system maturation, and other components that have antimicrobial activity.

Due to the overwhelming evidence supporting health benefits associated with breastfeeding, encouraging the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding should be a fundamental objective of healthcare professionals.

Field CJ. The immunological components of human milk and their effect on immune development in infants. J Nutr 2005;135:1-4.

How does the composition of breastmilk change over the course of lactation?

Generally, breastmilk is ideal for infants, and the composition changes to meet the infant’s growing nutritional demands. The first milk, called colostrum, is present in small amounts for approximately the first 3 days after birth to match the small size of the infant’s gut. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed at least 8 to 12 times per 24 hours so baby receives this valuable milk. Colostrum is designed to meet a newborn’s special needs – and is high in protein and low in fat and sugars. In fact, the protein content is 3 times higher than mature milk, because it is rich in the mother’s immunological components – helping to support the infant’s developing immune system.

Transitional milk comes in approximately two to five days after birth. Transitional milk has high levels of fat, lactose and water-soluble vitamins, and contains more calories than colostrum. Transitional milk gradually changes to mature milk by about two weeks after birth. Mature milk is produced in the same volume as transitional milk but is thinner and more watery. Mature milk has further changes in nutrient composition to meet the infant’s needs.

How does the composition of breastmilk change in the course of a single feeding?

Breastfeeding is a continuous biological process. With every breastfeeding, the first milk delivered is called foremilk. Foremilk is characterized by a more watery appearance and lower fat and higher carbohydrate content relative to the creamier milk that follows. After several minutes of nursing, the creamier hindmilk is released. Hindmilk has the highest concentration of fat and is higher in protein and calories – helping baby feel satisfied and gain weight.

Does breastfeeding help protect against allergies?

While the protective effects of breastfeeding against allergic disease in general are not yet completely confirmed, evidence supports the role of breastfeeding in protection against some food allergies as well as atopic conditions including atopic dermatitis. Breastfeeding is universally recommended by pediatric medical societies for all infants regardless of atopic heredity. In their 2008 Clinical Report, the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “There is evidence that breastfeeding for at least 4 months, compared with feeding formula made with intact cow milk protein, prevents or delays the occurrence of atopic dermatitis, cow milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood.”

Breastfeeding confers immunity, in part, by passing on microbes in breastmilk to the baby for immune protection. We know the intestinal microbiota (also known as microflora) play a critical role in the development and maturation of the infant’s immature immune system. Health-promoting bifidobacteria make up 80–90% of the intestinal microbiota of breastfed infants, derived from bifidus-promoting oligosaccharides in breastmilk, and from the naturally occurring bifidobacteria in breastmilk. Immune protective effects of bifidobacteria have been well established.

Greer FR et al. Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas and the Committee on Nutrition and Section on Allergy and Immunology. Pediatrics 2008;121(1):183–91. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Kleinman RE, ed. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 6th Edition. © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics.
Yoshioka H et al. Development and differences of intestinal flora in the neonatal period in breast-fed and bottle-fed infants. Pediatrics 1983;72:317–21.
Fooks LJ, Gibson GR. Probiotics as modulators of the gut flora. Br J Nutr 2002;88(Suppl 1):S39–S49.
Gueimonde M et al. Breast milk: a source of bifidobacteria for infant gut development and maturation? Neonatology 2007;92:64–6. Saavedra JM. Use of probiotics in pediatrics: rationale, mechanisms of action, and practical aspects. Nutr Clin Pract 2007;22:351–65.

Back to Top
Nestle -- Good Food, Good Life

The content on this site is for educational purposes only and is intended solely for medical professionals in the United States only. If you are not a medical professional, please visit

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland or used with permission.

© 2016 Nestlé. All rights reserved.