Helping babies get the best possible start in life, as well as supporting mothers during their child’s first 1 000 days of life, has been our underlying motivation over the last 150 years.
It is universally recognized that good nutrition in the first 1 000 days of life – from conception through pregnancy and up to a child’s second birthday – can have a profound impact on long-term health, growth and development.
However, millions of babies around the world do not receive the necessary nutrition during this period. We are motivated by the opportunity to address issues such as stunting (have a low height for their age) and wasting (have a low weight for their height), to help give babies the best possible start and support parents during this critical time.
Supporting optimal nutrition for mothers and babies
Our commitment to support and protect breastfeeding
We believe breast milk is the ideal nutrition for babies. We support and promote the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, followed by the introduction of nutritious complementary foods, along with breastfeeding, up to two years of age and beyond.
Through Nestlé Research, we are dedicated to furthering our understanding of the connection between maternal and infant nutrition, including how breast milk and mothers’ diets impact the health of their babies. For infants who cannot be fed on breast milk as recommended, infant formula is the only suitable breastmilk substitute recognized as appropriate by the WHO. We also advocate for the elimination of inappropriate breast milk substitutes.
Expanding our commitments to responsibly marketing infant formula
We have a long-standing commitment to market Breast Milk Substitutes responsibly. We are leading the industry in promoting breastfeeding and responsibly marketing Breast Milk Substitutes. In 2011, we became the first manufacturer of Breast Milk Substitutes to be recognized in the FTSE4Good index (the responsible investment index of the FTSE Group) and have maintained our inclusion in the index every year since.
We have made several new commitments in response to the Breastmilk Substitute Call to Action issued by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and six civil society organizations. It called on manufacturers of breast milk substitutes to take specific steps towards full compliance with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
Central to our response is a unilateral Nestlé pledge to stop promoting infant formula in all countries for babies aged up to six months, extending our existing policy to the USA, Canada and Japan, where no regulations currently exist, by the end of December 2022. We will also advocate for the regulation of marketing of infant formula for babies up to 12 months of age globally.
Supporting parents and their babies
Our purpose is to enhance people’s quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. Supporting the first 1 000 days of life is fundamental to this. We are committed to supporting breastfeeding and protect it through an industry-leading policy to market breast milk substitutes responsibly. Our Global Parental Policy offers 18 weeks' paid leave for all primary caregivers (regardless of gender). We have installed thousands of breastfeeding rooms in Nestlé facilities and in local communities that support our operations around the world.
The Parenting Index
To support families in the first 1 000 days of life, we’re listening to moms and dads to understand the real-life experiences of parents. It helps us provide fresh insights to the conversations around parenting, easing the pressures that parents face each day.
The first-of-its kind study of 8,000 parents across the world, has revealed perceptions and realities around the 'ease of parenting'. The common responses cited the pressures they put on themselves and those they feel from society. The Parenting Index has helped to power positive change: a guarantee a minimum of 18 weeks and 4 weeks of fully paid parental leave respectively for primary and secondary caregivers and offer more flexible working hours.
Healthy parents, healthy babies
A mother’s diet is vitally important, as good nutrition during pregnancy and lactation can impact her baby’s future health and development. Each year, about 140 million women who give birth face the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies – pregnant women need 50 percent more folic acid, zinc, and Vitamins A and B12. Our supplements, Materna, help provide key vitamins, minerals and DHA. It is also enriched with folic acid, which plays a vital role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and helps in the development of the baby’s nervous system.