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Benefits of HMOs

2 mins


Breastfeeding is universally recognised as the optimal nutrition for babies.1–3 Research suggests that breastfed babies have fewer infections and may have a stronger immune system,3 which in part may be due to the presence of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in breast milk.4,5

HMOs are complex carbohydrates unique to breastmilk and research is revealing the full extent of their beneficial properties.

Breastfeeding baby

Benefits of HMOs on immunity - Resources

Watch a 2 - minute video that will tell you more on the benefits of HMOs on immunity or download the infographic below.

  1. World Health Organisation (2002). Infant and young child nutrition: Global strategy on infant and young child feeding. Available at: (accessed February 2019).

  2. Unicef (2015). Improving breastfeeding, complementary foods and feeding practices. Available at: (accessed February 2019)

  3. Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet 2016; 387: 475-90.

  4. Kunz C. Historical aspects of human milk oligosaccharides. Adv Nutr 2012; 3(3): 430S-9S.

  5. Bode L. Human milk oligosaccharides: every baby needs a sugar mama. Glycobiology 2012; 22(9): 1147-62.


We believe that breastfeeding is the ideal nutritional start for babies and we fully support the World Health Organizations recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by the introduction of adequate nutritious complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age. We also recognize that breastfeeding is not always an option for parents. We recommend healthcare professionals to inform parents about the advantages of breastfeeding. If parents consider not to breastfeed, healthcare professionals should inform parents that such a decision can be difficult to reverse and that the introduction of partial bottle-feeding will reduce the supply of breast milk. Parents should consider the social and financial implications of the use of infant formula. As babies grow at different rates, healthcare professionals should advise on the appropriate time for a baby to begin eating complementary foods. Infant formula and complementary foods should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.