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If you are wondering whether or not you're pregnant, a pregnancy test is the way to know for sure. But what if it’s too soon for accurate results? Look out for these subtle early signs of pregnancy - tiredness, morning sickness, frequent urination, aversions to foods that you normally love, breast tenderness and swelling and a missed period if you are regular with menstruation!
Yes, false negative readings do happen, either from testing too early or from making an error in following the test instructions. They can also arise from using a diluted urine sample and/or from inaccuracies in timing of the test.
It is to be noted that first morning urine is the ideal specimen for pregnancy testing as it contains the highest concentration of HCG, the level of which can differ from one woman to another despite a similar gestational stage.
So, if you suspect you’re pregnant, go see your doctor for a blood pregnancy test no matter what result you get from any home pregnancy test kit.
Yes you can, but to a certain limit. High consumption of caffeine which is also found in chocolate, soft drinks and teas may increase your risks of having a low birth-weight baby or miscarriage.
So, make sure to follow the recommendations of the National Health Services in UK and do not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.
Showers and baths are okay during pregnancy as long as they are not steamy and the water is not too hot (more than 39°C) to raise your internal body temperature, making you sick and dizzy and causing your blood pressure to drop and thus, depriving your unborn baby of nutrients and oxygen.
So if you want to benefit from showers and baths as a way to relieve your pregnancy pains and feel comfy, make sure to keep the water temperature warm and beware when stepping in and out of the bathtub/ shower!
Yes, you can have sex as often as you like during pregnancy, as long as it’s proceeding normally and you don’t have any medical reason for preventing intimate contact.
If you’re worried about harming your baby, don’t! He’s well protected by the amniotic sac, the strong muscles of your uterus and the mucus plug that seals your cervix, which is there to keep him away from infections.
Traveling is quite safe before week 36 of pregnancy, as long as you don’t have a high-risk pregnancy or a health complication that requires special care.
So, if you’re planning to travel by plane while expecting, try to make it during the second trimester when the risks of emergencies are the lowest, taking into consideration the following precautions:
- Get travel assurance and protect yourself and your baby before you go.
- Book an aisle seat for an easier access to the restroom.
- Check the airline’s guidelines about traveling during pregnancy.
- Stretch your legs and ankles while seated and walk the aisle every now and then, to promote healthy blood circulation.
- Don’t wear tight clothes that can restrict your movements and force you to strain your muscles.
- Buckle up the lap belt under your pregnant belly during the flight.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and blood clots.
- Don’t consume any gas-producing food or beverage.
- Educate yourself about health centers/ hospitals at your destination, just in case.
- Always communicate your travel plans with your practitioner and ask for his approval.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your OB/GYN or midwife straightaway and don’t wait for your next prenatal visit to bring the issues to his attention:
- Unusual abdominal pain or severe pelvic cramping.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Chronic diarrhea.
- Persistent vomiting.
- Blurred vision.
- Bleeding of any kind (especially during second and third trimesters).
- Swollen face, hands and fingers.
- Severe headaches.
- Painful or difficult urination.
- Burning sensation with urination.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with a foul smell.
- Fluid leaking from the vagina.
- High fever.
- Sore cracked nipples.
- Reduced fetal movement after week 28.
- Feeling pelvic pain or pressure.
With the hormone rollercoaster ride your body embarks on during pregnancy, it’s pretty normal that the efficiency of your metabolism and gastrointestinal system decreases, causing you more gas and more abdominal discomforts which can range from morning sickness and bloating in early pregnancy to acid reflux and indigestion later on.
In our data, a typical pregnancy lasts on average 280 days as of the last menstrual period, or more accurately, 266 days following the last ovulation cycle… Put this in mind when you want to calculate your baby’s due date with our free, handy Due Date Calendar tool or by using one of the methods shown in the article entitled: Ways To Find Your Due Date!
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors.
Truth to be told, the success rate of VBACs now-a-days is between 60 and 80%, which means that nearly 2/3 of women who've had a previous c-section are good candidates for Vaginal Birth After C-section, yet only your doctor can determine if you're one of them.
Among the medical factors that your OB/GYN may consider when evaluating your situation are the ones mentioned here.
Yes - It can actually happen if your bowel is full, since the rectum is beneath the uterus, and when you push during labor, you put pressure on that particular area.
But at this stage of your delivery, we ask you not to worry about pooping and focus more on your baby; people around you are there to support and help you and won’t even think of judging you!!
The loss of bladder control or the involuntary leaking of urine is quite common postpartum. As a matter of fact, you may start to notice a decrease in your ability to control your bladder as you near your due date. But take heart! This issue is temporary and often ends within six weeks to three months after your baby is born. If it doesn't, you should then talk to your physician to see what can be done to help.
It’s normal that you will want to regain your pre-pregnancy shape and body as fast as possible after delivery, but our advice to you is not to rush yourself but to give it a minimum of 2 month break to fully recover from childbirth and establish a good milk supply. And while doing so, try to engage in these healthy habits that will steadily help you lose the extra kilos you gained while expecting:
- Breastfeed your baby (as breastfeeding will help you lose around 435 calories per day).
- Eat healthy nourishing foods, including proteins, veggies, good fats, fibres and probiotics.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Decrease the level of your stress to lose more weight.
- Choose exercises that will help you move your body and make you feel energized.
Kindly visit our website on https://www.starthealthy.nestle-me.com/en/pregnancy/article for more details and tips on healthy eating and healthy ways to recover and regain shape after giving birth.
The most important thing is to keep your baby’s umbilical cord clean and dry.
To clean it, you just need to rub it gently with some rubbing alcohol a couple of times a day.
To care for it and keep it dry until it falls off (one to two weeks after birth), just make sure to choose the right diaper that won’t let it soak with urine, avoid binding it with a cloth/ bandage, and last but not least, dress your baby with loose clothes that won’t rub against it.
P.S. If you notice too much redness or foul odour around your baby’s umbilical cord, consult the pediatrician.
Not at all.
You can start bathing your baby once or twice a week, after his umbilical cord stump dries up and falls off. Before that, you just need to wash him with a soft cloth/ sponge. As for the daily baths, they may be quite fine for him a few months afterwards, though not necessary.
Here you can find all that you need to bath your baby safely.
Within the first few days, your baby should have one dirty nappy for every day of life (which means 1 single nappy on day one, 2 nappies on day two, etc.). But as of day four, your little one should be pooping his diaper 3 to 4 times a day, or after every feeding, or even more often; that's totally normal as well.
P.S. The poop of a breastfed baby is usually soft to runny with some seed-like spots. Click here for more details.
If your baby is a newborn, he might be encountering a common condition called Jaundice. Jaundice is not only about yellowish skin, it’s also about other symptoms, like sleepiness, yellow eyes, weight loss and lack of appetite. It must not be left untreated and its treatment is usually easy and nothing to worry about. (Click here to know more about Jaundice)
But if your baby is no longer a newborn, the yellow discoloration of his skin might be a sign of Carotenemia, a non-serious condition caused by a high consumption of beta-carotene rich foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
For the first few months postpartum, picking up your little one every time he cries won't spoil him and doesn’t lead to behavioural issues later on. As a matter of fact and according to studies, your young baby may tend to cry less, relax faster, and become more autonomous when he’s responded to swiftly. All in all, by being responsive to your baby’s crying while he is getting used to being in the world, you are letting him know that he is loved and cared for, and that will give him a sense of security.
Click here to get to know the possible reasons why your baby and other babies cry.
Yes, pooping green occasionally is normal. In fact, green is in the normal range of infants’ stool colors, and so are the yellow, the seedy mustard and the brown.
The following are many of the causes associated with green stools:
- Unsuccessful breastfeeding
- Excess of milk
- Stomach bug
- Sensitivity/ allergy to a food or medication (whether consumed directly or through the mother’s diet).
That said, a green poop is nothing to be worried about as long as your little one is fine and gaining weight. Yet the variations of red, white and black are the ones you shouldn’t ignore, as they can indicate an illness or an infection that needs to be treated straightaway.
As the amount of breast milk you’re giving your baby at every feed cannot be measured, here's what you can do to to see if he's getting enough to eat:
- Watch for his weight gain which is supposed to be around 200g per week.
- Record the contents of his nappies; He should have a minimum of four wet diapers and three dirty ones per day. His urine must be clear or pale, and his poop must be seedy yellow.
As your newborn baby needs to wake up frequently to nurse (every two to three hours), it will be impossible for you, at least for the first month of life, to try making him sleep through the night. But, over time and as of week 6, you will be able to help him sleep better and for longer stretches by following consistently these strategies:
- Get your baby into the habit of falling asleep by himself, by putting him down on his back when he’s drowsy but awake.
- Make sure your baby's nightime feedings are peaceful and calm unlike his daytime feedings. That way, you can help set his body clock and the difference between day and night.
- Don’t rock or nurse your baby to sleep so he won’t become accustomed to needing them to drift off.
- When your baby is 3 month of age, set up a 30 minute-bedtime routine to help him wind off and relax. You can start the routine with a bath, follow it by a calming story telling or a song and finish it in the nursery or the room where he usually sleeps.
- When your baby is about six months old or older, and more aware of the concept of separation, give him a stuffed animal or other familiar object to bring him comfort and security when you’re not around.
There's more to know about baby sleep on this link.
Call the doctor if your baby is under 3 months old and has any fever.
Call the doctor if your baby is between 3 and 6 months old and has a fever of 3.8.3ºC or higher.
Call the doctor if your baby is over 6 months old and has a fever of 39.4ºC or higher.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever with breathing difficulties.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever with swallowing difficulties.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever associated with severe pain or headache or stiff neck or coloured patches on the skin.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever and sore throat for more than 24 hours.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever for no obvious reason.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever for more than 3 days in a row.
Call the doctor if your baby has fever and is lethargic or refuses to eat.
A Last Word of Advice: Fever is one of the serious symptoms in babies never to ignore!
As a general rule, waking or not waking a sleepy baby for feedings is conditional on his age, weight and overall health and wellness.
That said, we advise you to wake your little one up to nurse at regular intervals within the first two weeks of life, and afterwards, if he’s not eating properly at each feeding, if he’s not gaining weight and if he’s not wetting a minimum of 6 diapers per day, implying dehydration.
Nevertheless, it's basically fine to wait for your healthy sleeping newborn to wake up on his own for feedings.
Nutrients and vitamins in breastmilk are, generally speaking, all that your healthy baby needs in the first six months of life. Yet, you may exceptionally ask his doctor whether or not he needs vitamin D supplementation which is basically recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics due to babies’ little exposure to sunlight and insufficient intake of vitamin D from breastmilk.
As of day one; You do not have to wait for several months to take your child outside the house and get some fresh air together. It’s perfectly fine to do so whenever the weather is fine and you feel like it.
Yet, it’s advisable to avoid going with your little one (who’s less than 8 weeks old) to enclosed, crowded spaces and meeting with sick people and germy friends, thus limiting his exposure to airborne germs that could be harmful to his developing immune system.
P.S. Before taking your baby out in public, make sure his vaccines are all up to date.
A word of advice: When going out with your infant, dress him in one more layer of clothing than you would have on yourself unless you’re wearing him in a wrap or sling, giving him extra warmth by holding him close to your body. Be cautious not to overdress your little one, as babies with extra layers (of clothes or blankets) are at high risk of overheating and SIDS.
It’s true that formula's composition is heavy on a baby’s tummy and takes longer time than breast milk to be digested, promoting longer stretches of fullness and thus longer periods of deep sleep. Nevertheless, it may not be the answer to your question for many reasons:
1- Hunger is not the only reason for night wakings. Your baby’s room temperature might be the cause, the noises and his dreams too.
2- There’s no real evidence that formula feedings can help with night wakings, as some babies might react to it and sleep worse.
3- Formula night feedings can be counterproductive, causing your baby constipation and gas.
That said, we remind you that the best way to get your little one to sleep through the night is by establishing a daily bedtime ritual and following it to the letter.
There's more to know about infant formulas on this link.
Take heart, there’s nothing wrong with your baby. He’s just pretty much absorbed by getting used to the world and to everything that is going on inside his tiny body. Give him some more time; meanwhile you need to focus on the one-side interaction and make sure to consistently play with your little one, talk to him, put yourself face to face with him… all for the sake of establishing a good connection that will help him thrive emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and socially.
Click here for some ideas on how to interact with your newborn baby and help him develop.
Yes. But, he will be lagging behind full-term babies of the same age, and won’t be able to catch up until he’s two years old. In other words, your preemie will achieve the same order of developmental milestones, in his own time and at his own pace, though.
For more facts about infant developmental milestones, see:
If you’re struggling with milk supply and not making enough of it for your dear baby, do not worry. We have some tips and tactics to help you boost your milk production:
- Breastfeed your baby very frequently, as more demand will increase your supply.
- Make sure your baby is latching on properly and nursing effectively.
- Switch between your breasts during the same feeding session.
- Add pumping sessions between feedings or afterwards.
- Take good care of yourself and make sure to have enough rest and sleep.
- Follow a healthy balanced diet that includes basil, salmon, apricots, cumin, almonds, asparagus and sweet potatoes, known to increase milk production.
- Breastfeed your baby exclusively.
- Try not to give the pacifier to your baby, as it might interfere with his daily breastfeeds.
We also urge you and all new mothers out there to check out our articles related to breastfeeding:
It’s ok to nurse your baby if you have a common flu or cold, for these germs don’t pass through breast milk, yet the illness-fighting antibodies your body’s producing do, giving him some kind of protection. But if you’re concerned your little one might catch the infection by direct contact with you, be careful enough to perform these strict hygiene precautions:
- Wash your hands very frequently.
- Cover you cough/ sneeze with a tissue not your hands.
- Reduce the close face-to-face contact with your baby.
- Consider putting a mask whilst nursing to avoid breathing/ coughing into your baby's face.
P.S. Consult the paediatrician if your infant develops the warning signs of the flu.
There's no denying that fruit juice has nutritional benefits, yet it’s better for your child to eat a real piece of fruit than drink the juice it contains, why?
- Because when a fruit is pulped to make juice, it releases more of its sugar.
- Because a fruit juice is quite acidic and can be harsh on your child’s digestive tract and enamel.
That said, we advise you to delay introducing juice to your child as long as you can- and then when you do, make sure it's diluted (one part juice to 10 parts water) and do it at mealtimes (to help protect your baby’s teeth and help his little body absorb iron from food, especially if breastfeeding beyond six months).
You can start offering your baby cow’s milk as a main drink when he’s one year old. Before that, you need to be giving him infant formula or breast milk, along with complementary foods that are rich in energy and micronutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A and folates. However, a little cow's milk in your baby's food is fine once he has started on solids; Cow's milk may be low in iron, but has loads of important nutrients for your growing baby.
Here is more of the must-know foods to avoid in a baby's first year!
If your little’s one weight measures way more than children his age as per WHO growth chart for babies’ length and weight, it might be that he’s taking in more calories than he's using up. Here’s how to help him pare down the grams and improve his health:
- Offer your baby a healthy well-balanced diet. Click here for details.
- Keep your baby active. He might not be able to run and play like older children just yet, but there’s lots he can do to keep his arms and legs moving throughout the day. Here’s what you can do to help.
The answer to this question will probably vary from one child to another.
As you already know, newborn babies sleep around 16 hours a day, though in short stretches compared to adults. By 3 months of age, they might sleep for 5 consecutive hours or more at night. At 5-6 months, they might sleep 8 to 10 hours, or even more at night. OR, they might NOT sleep soundly through the night until they're one year old.
If your little one is one of those babies, there is nothing to be concerned about. To help yourself get through this phase which can be quite exhaustive and help your baby develop healthy sleeping habits, just follow these Ways To Get Your Baby To Sleep!
Head banging is usually nothing to worry about. So if your child is banging his head occasionally against the crib or the wall or any other surface, he’s most likely trying to soothe himself and release his stress, anger or frustration. This kind of behaviours, just like thumbsucking, is a normal part of a toddler’s life and doesn’t indicate an issue.
As a parent, you better not make something out of it, while doing your best to address any underlying cause of emotional upset and keeping a close eye on how often your tot bangs his head and how severely he does it, and report it to his paediatrician.
Head banging can be a sign of developmental disorders if it continues beyond age 4 and if associated with repetitive motor movements, developmental delays and impairments in social skills.
Your tot's mastery of physical prowess (both gross and fine motor skills) will allow him greater independence. In the following articles, you can learn what you can do to help him develop this prowess and be active:
At this age, your child is naturally active as he learnt how to walk, run, kick and throw. Make sure to provide him with a minimum of 30 minutes of structured physical activity and 60 minutes of free play every day so he would be able to develop these skills and practice.
The possibilities of games and activities for toddlers are limitless… You can either get inspired from the active ideas in:
OR just follow your tot's lead.
You better not let your child eat a food that’s fallen to the floor even if it was picked up so quickly, as germs and bacteria can attach to it in a matter of 3 seconds. The safest thing to do is to throw it away.
- Wet foods (like cut fruit and dairy products) are at a high risk of contamination when dropped to the floor, compared to dry foods (like cookies and bread).
- All floors are hazardous even the ones that look clean.
- The longer the food stays on the ground, the more bacteria build up on it.
Knowing if your child’s cuts and scrapes need medical attention or if stitches are required can be hard sometimes. Here are some indications and guidelines to help you out..
* Seek Medical Attention, if:
- The cut is caused by a soiled or rusted object.
- The injury contains dirt, grit, glass or other debris that won’t go away with water and soap.
- The wound is caused by an animal bite.
* Stitches May Be Needed, if:
- The injury is on the face, neck, palms, fingers or genitals.
- The cut is over an artery or on a joint crease.
- The bleeding persists after 10 minutes of applying direct firm pressure.
- The wound is deep.
- The cut is wide or gaping with visible dark red muscle or yellowish fat.
If your child has food allergy, it’s quite important that you check the entire list of ingredients on food labels to see if his allergen is present and prevent severe problems with allergic reactions.
Here’s what you need to do:
-Carefully check the list of ingredients, looking for your child allergen’s common name. Don’t miss what’s in parentheses, for they often include the major allergens.
- Check the statement following the expression “May contain traces of”.
- Don’t buy a product that doesn’t have an ingredients list.
- Get to know more about your child’s allergen, its less-common names and when it often appears.
- Understand food labelling limitations; some allergen ingredients may be disguised and hidden behind other names that are not easily recognized as allergy triggers, like coloring, spices and natural flavours.
- If you doubt the safety of any food item, call the manufacturing company asking about its ingredients and manufacturing process.
- Be careful when you read phrases, like "peanut-free", as this type of statements is usually not regulated and doesn’t mean that the product was made in facilities where said “allergen” is not present.
Picky eating is pretty normal during toddlerhood; Toddlers are supposed to be picky eaters; it’s kind of their way to exert some control over their lives. So take heart! There is nothing to worry about and here’s what you can do get through this phase and how you can get your picky eater to eat:
- Offer your tot three main meals and one snack daily, so he'll be getting enough nutrition to grow.
- Let your child feed himself; kids enjoy the satisfaction of feeding themselves.
- Don’t persuade, beg or watch your son eating. Just let him be!
- Try offering your child colourful and tasteful variety of food at every meal. If you want, you can keep track of what food your tot has tried and liked through our Baby Taste Tracker.
- Allow your tot to pick his food and involve him in preparations as appropriate for his age, so he can feel more in control and more enthusiastic about eating.
- Let your child practice a new adult eating behaviour (like using a spoon/ fork and drinking from a glass) at the end of every meal, in a way to boost his confidence and incite him to eat more.
- Prevent your child from getting bored during mealtime, by giving him a small toy for example or by positioning his chair in front of a window.
This is a question many families are asking at the moment. There is a huge amount of information on the media about COVID-19 and it is leaving many of us anxious and confused.
If you are living in an affected area it is possible that you or anyone in your family could be exposed to the novel coronavirus. Many people may only experience mild symptoms, especially children and young adults, but there are some more serious cases requiring hospital care. Those with mild symptoms may still be able to infect others. This means that the best way to keep your family and your community safe is to follow basic precautions in your home and when out and about, such as good hand and respiratory hygiene. Also make sure to keep informed and follow the advice of your local health authority regarding restrictions put in place for travel and gatherings.
You can find all the most up-to-date advice from WHO here:
For new parents breastfeeding can pose many challenges and particularly during this time can cause anxiety. It is important that you seek advice from your midwife or health professional if you feel you are struggling. Don’t feel discouraged, breastfeeding has important health benefits for both you and your child and will provide the best nutrition for your baby. There is currently no evidence that breastmilk can transmit the virus to your child and it is encouraged that mothers who are able to do so should continue to breast feed their baby, with some precautions to minimize transmitting the disease through contact. These include washing your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling or feeding your child. Should you have respiratory symptoms (such as coughing or sneezing) it is recommended by WHO that you wear a mask where possible when being close to your baby (including during feeding), but make sure you are aware of how to use and dispose of it safely. If you find that you are simply too unwell to feed your baby then try if possible to express milk so that someone can help you with feeding your baby for you. If you do express milk make sure that you and the other person feeding your child both follow the same hand hygiene rules before and after handling any feeding equipment, or your child, and follow recommendations for proper pump and bottle cleaning after each use.
We understand that in the current situation many parents will worry about risks of COVID-19 infection in their day to day lives. Here at Nestlé we always follow strict protocols on hygiene and cross infection control and ensure that all our foods are safe and free from contaminants. During this worrying time we have of course reviewed all our protocols and introduced additional measures to guarantee that we provide a safe product for you and your family. Your baby is not at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 from our baby food or formula. However, if you choose to feed your baby with formula milk it is important that you follow the same hygiene rules as women who are breastfeeding. Make sure to wash your hands well for at least 20 seconds using soap and water before you handle the formula or bottle, and before you handle your baby, to reduce the risk of spreading the infection by contact. Also ensure you clean/ disinfect any possible contaminated surfaces regularly. If you are feeling too unwell to feed your baby, if possible, ask someone else to help you with the feeding duties making sure they still follow the same hygiene protocol. Should either you or a partner or other care giver develop a cough or other respiratory symptoms it is recommended that you wear a mask, if available, when handling and feeding your baby to further reduce the risk of spreading infection. Be sure you know how to safely use and dispose of your mask and if you are unsure speak to your health professional.
At Nestlé we believe that when possible breast feeding will provide the best nutrition for your baby. We do not yet know enough about the novel coronavirus to be certain of possible protective effects of breastfeeding. However, we do know that breast milk generally has many benefits for your child’s health including benefits to the baby’s immature immune system. We therefore encourage all women to consider breastfeeding their baby wherever possible. If you find yourself unable to breastfeed make sure to nonetheless follow the same hygiene rules to minimize the risk of spreading infection during feeding/ handling your child and try not to put undue pressure on yourself during what is already a stressful time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and are struggling with your feeding choices, please do seek help from your health professional who may be able to offer some additional support and advice.
We understand that in the current situation many parents will worry about risks of COVID-19 infection in their day to day lives. Here at Nestlé we always follow strict protocols on hygiene and cross infection control and ensure that all our foods are safe and free from contaminants. During this worrying time, we have of course reviewed all our protocols and introduced additional measures to guarantee that we provide a safe product for you and your family. Your baby is not at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 from our formula milk or baby foods. However, in the current situation it is important that you also follow some additional measures in your own home to ensure the food remains safe for your baby. It is recommended that you maintain good hand hygiene (washing your hands well for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after touching or handling any food or packaging), making sure to clean/ disinfect any contaminated surfaces regularly and washing your hands well before and after feeding your child. Also make sure you do not contaminate your product with dirty utensils and ensure that all parts of your feeding equipment are regularly cleaned and appropriately sterilized or disinfected as per manufacturer instruction.
Yes. This is very important as all of your feeding equipment including bottles, teats, scoops, bowls, spoons, used by your baby should always be cleaned and sterilized or disinfected. Ensure you clean all feeding equipment first in water and then either appropriately boil or sterilize equipment that is temperature resistant or wipe the surface with appropriate alcohol solution to disinfect if not. Don’t worry if you are unsure what to do in your specific situation, but please speak to your doctor, health worker, or midwife who will be able to advise you more specifically.
Pregnancy can be a worrying time for many parents to be and the current COVID-19 pandemic is naturally adding to this anxiety. It is important to remember that the best thing for you and your baby during pregnancy will be for you to stay well and look after yourself. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can pass to, or harm your unborn child, but this is still being studied and we do not know enough about this new disease to understand all its possible effects on pregnancy and your baby. It is therefore important that you follow appropriate precautions to protect yourself from exposure to the virus and seek medical attention early should you develop any symptoms such as a cough, fever or difficulty breathing. Make sure to practice regular good hand hygiene and avoid anyone who shows symptoms of a cold or flu. You should also avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose, where possible, as this can be an entry route for the virus if you have touched any possibly contaminated surfaces. Remember that during this stressful time it is especially important for you and your baby that you generally stay fit and well and if you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling with isolation at home speak to your health worker, midwife or counsellor and stay in touch with friends and family via social media where you can. WHO has also created some useful advice for all of us who are struggling with the stress and anxiety of this new situation.
We currently do not know enough about COVID-19 to be certain of how it affects infants and children of different age groups specifically, but there have overall been less reported cases in young children and babies than in other age groups and generally children seem to be not as severely affected by the disease. Some people who contract the disease may become more seriously ill and develop pneumonia and serious breathing difficulties, but often those affected more severely seem to be older or suffer from other health conditions. However, we do know that it is possible for people of all age groups to potentially become infected and unwell and it is therefore important that you follow some extra precautions in your home and lifestyle for the time being to protect yourself and your family and also to protect those around you.
You or your child can catch COVID-19 from others who are infected with the virus or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your eyes, mouth or nose. The disease spreads from person to person via small droplets from the nose or mouth which can be spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. Because these droplets can land on surfaces and remain there for some time regular handwashing and respiratory hygiene are very important in preventing the spread of the disease and protecting yourself and your child. Make sure that you yourself wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before you handle your child and that those around you do the same. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately and ensure you again follow good hand hygiene afterwards.
Young children may struggle to wash their own hands and babies will need your help to do so for them. Make it a playful part of their daily routine especially when coming in from outside, and before and after mealtimes, using soap and water or if not available alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Some advice from WHO on effective handwashing can be found here:
People may also catch COVID-19 by inhaling droplets directly from another person infected with the virus. This is why it is very important to stand at least 1.5 metres away from anyone who is unwell or coughing and sneezing.
To keep your little one extra safe at this time it is important that you minimize interactions with other people who might be unwell including taking them out and about to meet friends and family and attending big gatherings. For anyone who does handle and interact with your child it is important to follow good hand and respiratory hygiene. This may be challenging but is important for the time being as it helps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Make sure to also stay up-to-date with your local health authority guidance on this.
If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case it is important to seek medical attention early.
If you are concerned that you may be showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with someone suffering from COVID-19 the best way to ensure you are keeping your children and other family members safe is limiting your contact with them and maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading infection. This can be very challenging but it is important to limit the spread of disease as much as possible.
Should you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being cared for at home it is important to follow the advised isolation protocol by your health professional and WHO. This usually includes staying at home and limiting contact between yourself and other family members (the only exclusion being for breastfeeding mothers who are encouraged to continue feeding their child with special precautions in place). It is recommended that you have your own room that is well ventilated away from other family members in addition to using good hand hygiene and where possible wearing a medical mask and/ or maintaining good respiratory hygiene. If you are instructed to wear a mask make sure that you understand how to use and dispose of it safely. WHO also recommends using dedicated linen and food utensils for yourself that are not shared with your children or other family members, and that all possible contaminated surfaces are cleaned regularly wearing gloves and other available protective equipment where possible. Make sure you are aware of how to use and dispose of these safely. If you are unsure as to what to do please speak to your health professional.
It is natural for parents to worry how best to protect their child whilst still giving them all the care and attention they need. If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case it is important to seek medical attention early.
Generally, the best way to ensure that you are keeping your children and other family members safe from spreading infection is by limiting your contact with them and maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene to limit the risk of infection. However, Unicef reminds us that ‘keeping babies close and responding to their need for food, love and comfort are all essential for babies’ wellbeing’ and also that of the caregiver. To nonetheless minimize the risk of your baby becoming infected it may be required that you wear a mask when being close to your baby to reduce the risk of spreading the disease, but make sure you are aware of how to use and dispose of it safely and always keep good hand and respiratory hygiene as well. This includes trying to avoid coughing and sneezing when close to your baby. Should you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being cared for at home it is important to follow the advised isolation protocol by your healthcare provider and WHO. Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to continue feeding their child with special precautions in place. This may be a very challenging time, so do make sure that you seek support from your counsellor or health professional if you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to manage the situation.
There is currently not enough known about COVID-19 to be certain of how it affects infants and children of different ages specifically. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and a dry persistent cough. Should your baby develop a fever, cough or breathing difficulties it is essential you seek medical attention early. Other symptoms may include aches and pains, nasal congestion or a runny nose, a sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms or feel unwell at all but could still spread the disease to others. If you are concerned or unsure always speak to your health professional.
Managing an unwell child within the family may be challenging at the best of times. It is normal to feel particularly worried in the current situation and should your child show any symptoms of being unwell it is important to seek medical advice early.
Should one of your children show symptoms of COVID-19, had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or themselves test positive for COVID-19 and are being cared for at home, it is important to follow the advised isolation protocol by your healthcare provider and WHO. This usually includes them staying at home and limiting contact between them and other family members, except the designated care giver. It is recommended that they have their own room that is well ventilated away from other children in addition to using good hand and respiratory hygiene. Whilst older children who are unwell may be able to wear a mask to limit the spread of infection this is not recommended for very young infants and toddlers as masks may have some air tightness and could be uncomfortable or even hazardous for a young child if left unattended. Make sure that if your health professional does recommend a mask you understand how to safely use and dispose of it. WHO also recommends using dedicated linen and food utensils for the infected child that are not shared with other family members and are cleaned thoroughly after use. Children might find this stressful and struggle with anxiety at all the news they hear about the virus. It is important to help the whole family cope with this and we have included some helpful advice from WHO for the whole family on managing this stressful time. Do speak to your health professional or counsellor if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Symptoms may vary between individuals and we are still learning about the disease and how it affects different age groups. Common signs of infection for all age groups include tiredness or lethargy and respiratory symptoms such as coughing, fever and shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. It is very important that you seek medical advice early if your new born or toddler experiences any of these symptoms or appears to be unwell in any way.
We do not know enough about COVID-19 to be certain of the protective benefits of probiotics or other immune boosting supplements, but we do know that probiotics generally contribute to a healthy immune system.
COVID-19 is a novel strain of Coronavirus, a type of respiratory virus, which was not previously identified in humans. Although seasonal flu is also a contagious respiratory virus, that may affect some people worse than others, we have had the opportunity to study seasonal flu for many years which means we are more aware of how it spreads and changes each year. There are also effective vaccines that have been developed for flu to protect those more at risk of becoming very unwell. Our understanding of the novel coronavirus is much more limited and there are currently no vaccinations to prevent the disease and we are still trying to understand this new disease fully.
If you are coughing or sneezing or have been tested positive for COVID-19 it may be recommended that you wear a mask when you are handling and feeding your baby. If you wear a facemask it is very important that you understand how to do so correctly and use and dispose of it safely and that you still follow good hand and respiratory hygiene advice.
There is a very comprehensive guide by WHO on how to use and dispose of masks correctly and when it is appropriate to wear a mask that we recommend for reference.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, such as in the case of COVID-19, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed but we always recommend good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk, uncooked eggs, or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of other cooked or uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products. Also ensure you practice good hand hygiene when handling these foods and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose and always make sure to use separate utensils for cooked and uncooked foods.
We do not yet know exactly how long COVID-19 survives on different types of surfaces but it is possible that this may vary from a few hours to several days under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). It is therefore important to clean any surface that may be contaminated well and to practice regular good hand hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose which could provide an entry route for the virus.
Many of us find that we are ordering more food and daily necessities to our home than before to avoid going out. Naturally, we as families may feel concerned that these deliveries could introduce the virus into our home. Overall, WHO deems it to be safe to receive packages from a COVID-19 area and advises that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating goods and the risk of catching the virus from a package that has travelled and been exposed to different conditions and temperatures is low. However, we are still learning about this new Virus and if you are ordering any food or products to your home generally, and also locally, it is always wise to practice good hand hygiene after handling packaging and potentially cleaning the packaging and products themselves and limiting the interaction with your delivery agent, such as by having a ‘no contact’ delivery, as they may be inadvertently a carrier of the virus.
No! Do not take antibiotics for COVID-19 as these are not effective for treating viruses and may be harmful if used inappropriately. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and should only be used as directed by your physician.
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