babys immunity great start

2’-FL the ingredient you should look out for better immunity for your baby

Objective: To highlight the immune boosting function of HMOs in babies for mothers

Your baby’s immune system is very tender and under-developed. This is the reason, parents and relatives are told to be extremely careful while handling the baby. Among the numerous things, breastfeeding is the first immunization against infections. Vitamins, minerals and nutrients apart; there is a special fibre present in breast milk which strengthens your baby’s immunity.

Lets learn more.

Breastfed babies seem to have fewer episodes of gut and lung-related infections. Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months has shown to reduce the load of infection-causing virus and diarrhoea-causing bacteria.1 , 2

Immune cells and a unique carbohydrate called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which can provide immunity to breastfed babies.3

present in breast milk

While there are more than 1000 different types of Prebiotic HMOs present in breast milk, the most abundant one among them is 2-Fucosyllactose (Few-co-sill-lack-toes) or 2’-FL.4

2’-FL, the food for the good gut bacteria

present in breast milk

There is good & bad bacteria in all of us. The reason we don’t get sick is because the good bacteria are more in number. The same is true for your baby. This is how prebiotic HMO like 2-FL helps. It is a good food for the good kind of bacteria residing in your baby’s tummy. More good bacteria means less bad ones! Prebiotic HMOs help boost immunity, keeps your baby’s gut happy and healthy.5 , 6

present in breast milk

How 2’-FL helps in immunity building

70 – 80% of the immune cells are present in our tummy. Prebiotic HMOs like 2’-FL helps to build immunity by 4 ways.4, 7

  1. Prebiotic HMOs like 2-FL only ‘feed’ the good bacteria, increasing their numbers in the tummy.2, 6
  2. They look like a part of your baby’s gut. This confuses the bad bacteria as they ‘stick’ to them. Off they go out of your baby as poop. No bad bacteria, lesser infections.
  3. Good bacteria ferment the 2-FL. Much like milk gets fermented to curd, fermented HMOs are really good for your baby’s tummy.
  4. Finally, prebiotic HMOs helps to train your baby’s immune system to identify good from bad bacteria.

A good foundation for a healthy life beyond gut thanks to 2’-FL

The benefits of 2’-FL extends beyond your baby’s gut – it helps in overall growth and development of your baby. Higher numbers of good bacteria would also mean lesser episodes of diarrhoea, lesser gut-related problems and a happier baby. Prebiotic HMOs seem to also have a role in brain development. Prebiotic HMOs have shown to be associated with better memory and learning in babies.8

Breast milk is the richest source of 2’-FL. That is nature’s marvel. Want to know more? You could always consult your paediatrician to understand about prebiotic HMOs for your baby.


  1. Ayechu-Muruzabal V, Poelmann B, Berends AJ, Kettelarij N, Garssen J, Van't Land B, Willemsen LEM. Human Milk Oligosaccharide 2'-Fucosyllactose Modulates Local Viral Immune Defense by Supporting the Regulatory Functions of Intestinal Epithelial and Immune Cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 19;23(18):10958.
  2. Ho NT, Li F, Lee-Sarwar KA, Tun HM, Brown BP, Pannaraj PS, Bender JM, Azad MB, Thompson AL, Weiss ST, Azcarate-Peril MA, Litonjua AA, Kozyrskyj AL, Jaspan HB, Aldrovandi GM, Kuhn L. Meta-analysis of effects of exclusive breastfeeding on infant gut microbiota across populations. Nat Commun. 2018 Oct 9;9(1):4169. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06473-x. PMID: 30301893; PMCID: PMC6177445.
  3. Ayechu-Muruzabal V, van Stigt AH, Mank M, Willemsen LEM, Stahl B, Garssen J, Van't Land B. Diversity of Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Effects on Early Life Immune Development. Front Pediatr. 2018 Sep 10;6:239. doi: 10.3389/fped.2018.00239. PMID: 30250836; PMCID: PMC6140589.
  4. Reverri EJ, Devitt AA, Kajzer JA, et al. Review of the Clinical Experiences of Feeding Infants Formula Containing the Human Milk Oligosaccharide 2'-Fucosyllactose. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1346.
  5. Milani C, Duranti S, Bottacini F, Casey E, Turroni F, Mahony J, et al. The First Microbial Colonizers of the Human Gut: Composition, Activities, and Health Implications of the Infant Gut Microbiota. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2017;81(4):e00036-17.
  6. Miqdady M, Al Mistarihi J, Azaz A, Rawat D. Prebiotics in the Infant Microbiome: The Past, Present, and Future. Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2020 Jan;23(1):1-14. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2020.23.1.1. Epub 2020 Jan 9. PMID: 31988871; PMCID: PMC6966216.
  7. Walsh C, Lane JA, van Sinderen D, Hickey RM. Human milk oligosaccharides: Shaping the infant gut microbiota and supporting health. J Funct Foods. 2020 Sep;72:104074. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2020.104074. Epub 2020 Jul 3. PMID: 32834834; PMCID: PMC7332462.
  8. Berger PK, Plows JF, Jones RB, et al. Human milk oligosaccharide 2'-fucosyllactose links feedings at 1 month to cognitive development at 24 months in infants of normal and overweight mothers. PLoS One. 2020;15(2):e0228323.