Breast milk provides a great amount of bioactive compounds and the benefits of breast-feeding are well established. Therefore, it remains the best way to feed the newborn. Nevertheless, circumstances might lead mothers to consider formula-feeding. Feeding infants on standard formula results in a different gut microbiota than with breastfeeding. There is accumulating evidence that infant formulas with added prebiotics alter the gastrointestinal microbiota and metabolite production in a way that it is more similar to what is observed in breastfed infants. It better mimics breastmilk than standard formulas. This review describes how nutritional benefits of breast milk are being recreated by adding different kinds of prebiotics to infant formula. It highlights the current knowledge regarding the health benefits of prebiotics in early life and current products on the market. Lastly, it answers the question ‘where do we go from here?’ by exploring the latest science and emerging prebiotic products.
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