Learn how this key milk ingredient nourishes the good bacteria in your baby’s gut and keeps them healthy.

Your little one needs extra protection in early life as their natural defence systems are not fully developed at birth. Breastmilk, which contains several important components, protects them from infections and diseases.

Milk oligosaccharides, a key component of breastmilk, are useful substances that nourish good bacteria in the digestive system and keep babies healthy. In fact, other than carbohydrates and fat, oligosaccharides are the third most abundant solid component in breastmilk.

What is 2'-FL?

Known as babies’ “natural guardians”, milk oligosaccharides assist babies’ undeveloped immune systems. To date, more than 200 types of milk oligosaccharides have been identified.

2'-Fucosyllactose (2'-FL), the most abundant type of milk oligosaccharide found in breastmilk, is one of the 200 “natural guardians” helping to support a child’s immune system. While oligosaccharides don’t have any nutritional value, an abundance are found in breastmilk.

Known as a babies’ “natural guardians”, milk oligosaccharides assist babies’ undeveloped immune systems. To date, more than 200 types of milk oligosaccharides have been identified.

The benefits of 2'-FL

2'-FL is part of a group of a special type of milk oligosaccharides that provide several health-promoting benefits. It:

* Encourages the growth of “good” bacteria in your baby’s digestive tract, where 70 to 80 per cent of cells that support immunity are located. A healthy digestive system is essential for the development of your baby’s immune system.

* Blocks the growth of harmful bacteria and strengthens your baby’s gut barrier function. This supports the development of a healthy immune system as well.

What is the difference between 2'-FL and prebiotics?

Milk oligosaccharides, besides selectively promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, are also highly effective in increasing the number of cells that support immunity.

However, prebiotics such as galacto oligosaccharides (GOS) and fructo oligosaccharides (FOS) are different structurally from milk oligosaccharides and do not offer the same targeted benefits.

Does my child need 2'-FL?

2'-FL helps to influence your child’s immunity development in a positive way. Studies have found that a higher level of 2'-FL is associated with greater protection against infections such as infant diarrhoea, as well as a lower risk of allergies.

Where is 2'-FL available?

With the advancement of technology, 2'-FL is now available in formula milk in Singapore. Such formulated milk maintain beneficial bacteria while helping to sustain a favourable gut environment that blocks the growth of harmful bacteria. This is particularly vital as the digestive tract is an important organ of the immune system. As your child grows and gets exposed to different types of germs in their daily routine, this may offer greater immune protection.

When choosing formula milk, check the label for 2'-FL. These formulas are also usually enhanced with iron and vitamins to support your child’s natural defences.

Brought to you by Nestlé Baby & Me.

Photo: Nestle

Like us on Facebook and check SmartParents regularly for the latest reads!

Elsewhere on SmartParents.sg…

Nursing? 6 foods to eat, 6 to avoid

EXPERT ADVICE: Reflux and GERD

Preventing allergies in baby: 6 myths busted!