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breastfeeding relay milk
Infant Nutrition

What Is a Breast Milk Relay?

What Is a Breast Milk Relay?

Breast milk is perfectly adapted for a baby. But when weaning occurs, for whatever reason, parents are often lost when faced with the multitude of substitute products available.

Are breastfeeding relay kinds of milk the solution? Let’s see closer below.

Industrial infant formulas

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, then partial breastfeeding as part of a diversified diet until age two.

However, there are circumstances when women may wish or need to discontinue breastfeeding early (although it should not be discontinued during the first week of life, and if supplementation is needed, experts from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggest using a breast milk bank or hydrolyzed or amino acid-based formulas).

The market offers many substitutes for breast milk, industrial infant formulas generally formulated from cow’s milk.

They can be classified into several categories:

The “first age milks” are preparations for babies under 6 months. Infant formula brands are not allowed to advertise this type of product so as not to compete with breastfeeding.

Second-age milk”, or “follow-on milk”, is a formula for children who have started to diversify their diet, i.e., around 6 months.

Growth milk, enriched with iron, from 12 months to 3 years.

From the age of 3, the child can consume classic cow’s milk.

Milk replacers: substitute milk

breastfeeding relay milk



Breastfeeding relay milk”, first or second age, appeared on the market a few years ago. It is important to note that :

This mention is not regulated and represents a commercial argument put forward by the brands.

Their price is higher than the classic preparations.

However, some of them contain interesting components which can represent an asset for the health of babies. As the composition varies from product to product, it is essential to refer to the long list of ingredients to ensure they are present.

Please note: some breastfeeding relay milk contains palm oil, a controversial ingredient due to the negative impact of its production on the environment.

Presence of prebiotics and probiotics

Relay milk generally contains prebiotics and probiotics. The objective is to limit diarrhea during the transition from breast milk to infant formula (breast milk also contains certain prebiotics and oligosaccharides).

The presence of these components enriches the intestinal flora, limits the risks of the development of pathogenic bacteria, reduces sensitivity to allergens, and stimulates the immune system:

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that cannot be digested by the body but stimulate the activity of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Prebiotics added to industrial baby milk are usually oligosaccharides. They come in two forms: fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS).

Probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, etc.) that colonize the digestive tract and facilitate digestion by rebalancing the intestinal flora. They are generally lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

Naturally present in breast milk, these compounds benefit the cerebral and psychomotor development of the infant and his vision.

Some infant formulas are enriched with the following:

arachidonic acid (ARA), from oil derived from the fermentation of a mushroom, Mortierella alpina;

docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), contained in fish oil.


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