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Supporting breastfeeding

Breast milk is best for babies, providing the best start in life. We promote, support and protect breastfeeding and we’re committed to marketing breast-milk substitutes responsibly.

Our commitment

Support breastfeeding and protect it by continuing to implement an industry-leading policy to market breast-milk substitutes responsibly

Why it matters

The nutrition mothers and babies receive during the first 1000 days of life is critical for a baby’s growth and development. Studies have found that the period from conception, through pregnancy and up to a child’s second birthday can help shape our children’s future eating habits. That’s why we support the WHO’s recommendation to exclusively breastfeed infants for the first six months of life, followed by the introduction of adequate nutritious complementary foods, along with sustained breastfeeding up to two years and beyond.

Our approach

The WHO’s recommendations on how to support breastfeeding guides all our actions in this area, particularly when it comes to marketing and creating breastfeeding-friendly environments.

What we are doing

We’re making good progress on most of our objectives to support breastfeeding.

By 2018

Ensure that all provisions supporting breastfeeding in our Maternity Protection Policy are implemented.

Our result: At the end of 2018, we had implemented our Maternity Protection policy across all our markets, enhancing support to employees in general and to new parents and primary caregivers working for Nestlé. A few minor gaps were identified and have ongoing action plans in place.

By 2020

Advocate for a breastfeeding-friendly environment by supporting the set-up of breastfeeding rooms in communities where we operate.

Our result: 5437 breastfeeding rooms for public use installed in India, Bangladesh and China.


Ensure that the practices of the Nutrition business consistently meet the FTSE4Good Index Breast Milk Substitutes criteria.

Our result: Nestlé’s FTSE4Good membership was also confirmed again, following the June 2018 index review.


Continue to strengthen our policy and procedures to maintain industry leadership on the implementation of the WHO Code.

Our result: 28 countries audited against the Nestlé Policy and Procedures for implementation of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.


Continue to report publicly on our progress on the implementation of our policy on the WHO Code.

Our result: 5883 Nestlé Nutrition employees completed training on breastfeeding and the WHO Code.

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with bold action

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in August 2018, we embarked on a series of campaigns around the world reaching an estimated 75 million people – both to raise awareness about the issue and to make our company a friendlier place for breastfeeding mothers.

In Ecuador, our media campaign reached around 3 million people through TV, radio and online. Medical delegates also went around the country to talk to local healthcare professionals about breastfeeding. Within Nestlé, we launched an internal media campaign and created breastfeeding rooms at five of our facilities, which were certified by the Ecuador Ministry for Public Health.

In Mexico, we launched an ambitious media campaign, with five videos raising awareness about caregivers and breastfeeding, a series of billboards created in collaboration with the Pediatric Academy, a PR event with the media, more than 50 000 educational pamphlets distributed to healthcare professionals and a consumer-facing social media campaign. We also created ambassadors within Nestlé and supported the opening of a breastfeeding room in the University of Marista.

In Egypt, we held a session for an estimated 300 mothers, organized in collaboration with Fatakat, the country’s most popular online forum for women. We also reached an estimated 11 million mothers through social media and TV interviews. Within Nestlé, we also opened a breastfeeding room.

Nestlé Poland also launched a successful social media campaign reaching over 2.5 million users and Nestlé Iran inaugurated a new breastfeeding room at its head office in Tehran.

Supporting breastfeeding around the world

We’re supporting breastfeeding by implementing an industry-leading policy to market breast-milk substitutes (BMS) responsibly. Our strict Policy and Procedures for the Implementation of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (pdf, 3Mb) applies in all countries where Nestlé operates, and we comply with the WHO Code as implemented by national governments everywhere in the world, as a minimum.

As of 2018, only 35 countries out of 194 have adopted legislation or regulation with full Code provisions. That’s why in the 152 countries considered higher risk in terms of infant mortality and malnutrition, we follow our Nestlé Procedures when they are stricter than the local regulation. We also support efforts to create a favorable environment for breastfeeding – for example, by working with governments to make breastfeeding rooms available.

Marketing breast-milk substitutes responsibly

Breastfeeding isn’t always possible, and we’re proud to offer the highest-quality, scientifically developed breast-milk substitutes (BMS) to help babies grow and thrive. Infant formula is the only BMS recognized by the WHO, and ours meets the most rigorous international standards of quality and safety.

To implement our industry-leading policy to market BMS responsibly, we comply with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO Code) and all relevant World Health Assembly resolutions as implemented by national governments around the world. Internally, compliance is verified through routine monitoring and audits, while external assessments were undertaken by Bureau Veritas in Indonesia (read their assurance statements online).

One of the best at marketing responsibly

Nestlé remained in the top two in the world in the 2018 Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) for our marketing of breast-milk substitutes.

We regularly engage with wider stakeholders on marketing BMS and follow our Nestlé Policy on Transparent Interaction with Authorities and Organizations. We are also a member of several relevant industry associations and have been active in the International Special Dietary Foods Industries since its foundation.

We’re proud of our place in the ATNI, as it reflects our commitment to the WHO Code on supporting breastfeeding and marketing substitutes responsibly.

Find out more

CSV - Linkbox - Helping children live healthier lives
CSV - Linkbox - Helping children live healthier lives

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Our 2030 ambition is to help 50 million children lead healthier lives.

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