Common Questions

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General Questions

Each product is stamped with a “best by” date in the format dd mm yy. For example, a best-by date of August 25, 2014 would be indicated as “25 AUG 14”.

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If you registered online at gerber.com to receive mailings from the GERBER® Resource Center you can easily unsubscribe online by signing in and updating your profile information. You also can call our nutrition experts toll-free at 1-800-284-9488, 24/7.

Please note that it can take from 4 to 6 weeks to process the information, so you may receive one more mailing. But after that you should not receive any more.

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The best-known infant formula marketing guidelines are the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, developed by the World Health Organization in 1981. These guidelines are known as the WHO Code. We abide by the Code in every country where it is law, and follow the aim of the Code where it is not, such as in the United States, where we affirm our belief that breastmilk is best within consumer communication.

We encourage moms to breastfeed as long as possible, with consideration for their life circumstances. If a mom chooses not to breastfeed, we believe that Iron-fortified formula is the best alternative to breastmilk.

For information about how Nestlé complies with the WHO Code in developing countries and in other countries where the code is law, visit www.babymilk.Nestle.com.

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Codes indicate use by dates, product, place and time when the food was manufactured. An example of a code is: 12Feb14 450F 0821.

The 12Feb14 code indicates that the food is best used by February 12 of the year 2014.450 identifies the product (Vanilla Custard Pudding).

F indicates the plant where the food was made. 0821 is the military time when the food was manufactured.

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Our Parents' Resource Center (PRC) is available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Give us a call and we are happy to walk you through your options to continue to breastfeed while supplementing with formula.
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All formulas provide complete nutrition and can be used for supplementing with breastmilk. If you choose to supplement with formula, GERBER® GOOD START® PROTECT, in particular, is an excellent choice to consider. It is made with gentle, easy-to-digest COMFORT PROTEINS®, specially designed using Nestlé’s unique two-step process. The process starts with gentle 100% whey protein, the highest-quality protein available in infant formula. This gentle protein is then broken down into smaller pieces to be specially designed for your baby's developing tummy. GERBER® GOOD START® PROTECT is also the ONLY INFANT FORMULA with the probiotic B. lactis, similar to those naturally found in breastmilk, that helps support digestive health and your baby’s developing immune system.

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Nestlé supports breastfeeding and believes that breastmilk is the best start a baby can have in life. Like the World Health Organization (WHO), Nestlé recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by safe and appropriate complementary foods, preferably with continued breastfeeding until at least two years of age.
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The benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby outweigh all other formula alternatives. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that breastmilk be the primary source of nourishment for the first year of life.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year or longer. Contact our certified lactation consultants for guidance on preparing to return to work while continuing to breastfeed.
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It’s great that you’ve decided to keep breastfeeding when you return to work! At first you may find that it’s a challenge, but once you get into a routine, pumping at work will become much easier. And the benefits of breastmilk for your baby are worth the extra effort and time.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • The Administration of Maternal and Child Health Bureau has an initiative to promote breastfeeding in the workplace to employers who may then support our expanding female workforce in the United States. Talk to your supervisor about a designated private space and time for pumping about every three hours while at work.
  • Envision your baby. Think of your baby when pumping. Look at her picture. Some women bring small items of their baby’s clothing to touch and smell to encourage the milk ejection reflex.
  • Drink liquids. Have a glass of water or juice nearby as you pump. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and keep nutritious snacks, such as trail mix or similar high-protein foods, at your desk.
  • Dress for pumping. Plan your working wardrobe with pumping in mind. Front-buttoning blouses will be easiest for pumping. Prints and light colors will help camouflage milk stains. Wear nursing pads that are absorbent and ventilate well.
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The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends fresh expressed breastmilk to be stored in the refrigerator (39° F or 4° C) for 72 hours and in a standard freezer (0° F or -18° C) for up to six months. Breastmilk should never be stored in the door of the refrigerator or freezer due to higher temperature fluctuations. Labeling the stored milk with a date is also very important. You will want to use the oldest milk first whenever possible.
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Baby will be back to birthweight by 10 days old then continue to gain about 5 to 7 oz per week for the next three months.
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Your breastmilk actually provides your baby with complete nutrition and hydration so no need for formula or water during the first 6 months of life, unless directed by your pediatrician.
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Common causes

  • Infrequent or delayed feedings
  • Over-production of milk
  • Poor or inefficient milk removal
  • Supplemental feedings
  • Rapid or sudden weaning
  • Breast edema

Basic remedies

  • Relieve the pressure in your breast as soon as possible by either breastfeeding, hand-expressing your milk, or using a breastpump. If your breasts are too full for her to latch on, express a little milk by hand or pump.
  • Breastfeed or pump every 2 hours to help you build a good milk supply while relieving the engorgement. Remember, your newborn baby should be breastfed at least 8 to 12 times per 24 hours.
  • Take a warm shower or place a warm, wet cloth on breasts.
  • If your baby doesn’t breastfeed long enough to soften them, use a breastpump until both breasts feel comfortable.
  • Use cold packs between feedings.

If your hands and/or ankles are swollen due to retaining extra fluids, your breasts might also be swollen from retained fluids. Try pushing the excess fluid away from the nipple and areola. Do this by placing your fingers and thumb right at the neck of your nipple and press into your chest for about a minute. The nipple should become more elastic to allow either breastfeeding or pumping to be more effective.

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Every woman has a different milk capacity that has nothing to do with the size of her breasts. A woman with small breasts can have more milk glands for breastfeeding than a woman with large breasts. The size of the breast is more related to the amount of fatty tissue that a woman has in her breast. This has nothing to do with breastfeeding.
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Our Parents' Resource Center is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call and we'll be happy to share helpful feeding advice for your little one. You may also want to sign up and register on our website to receive up-to-date information during key stages in your pregnancy.
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Healthy snacks are important during pregnancy. Bring cut-up fresh fruit or vegetables from home or choose healthier offerings from the vending machine:

  • A handful of trail mix—a combination of raisins and other dried fruit pieces, nuts, and toasted seeds
  • A whole-grain mini bagel topped with cream cheese or cottage cheese and thinly sliced strawberries
  • Whole-wheat crackers spread with peanut butter
  • A fresh fruit salad
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • A bag of pretzels
  • A handful of nuts
  • A carton of skim milk or fruit juice
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Unless you’re told otherwise by your doctor, continue to salt your foods to taste. Pregnant women need salt in their diets to maintain their expanding blood volume, which increases by up to 50%. Your cells also hold more water during pregnancy, so a little bit of swelling is normal starting in the second trimester—especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy. This mild fluid retention isn’t related to salt intake and shouldn’t be treated by restricting salt or taking diuretic medications (also called water pills) without your doctor’s approval.
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You should first turn to nutritious foods to meet your vitamin and mineral needs, but many women’s diets fall short of the ideal balance. A multiple-vitamin-and-mineral supplement that supplies about 100% of the Daily Values for each nutrient is enough for most adults. However, during pregnancy, Iron, Calcium, and folic acid are required at higher levels. Your doctor may want you to take a vitamin-and-mineral supplement to help meet your needs. Pregnancy isn’t the time to experiment with large doses of single nutrients, since megadoses of some of them—such as Iron, chromium, Vitamin A, selenium, and fluoride—can produce numerous side effects, ranging from mottled teeth to birth defects. Always consult talk to your doctor before taking any prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement during pregnancy.
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An over-the-counter supplement is okay as long as it’s specially formulated for pregnant women and has folic acid and Iron, which are critical nutrients in pregnancy. Although it’s possible to meet most of your nutritional needs with a healthful diet, some pregnant women simply don’t get enough Iron, folic acid, Zinc, and Calcium in the foods they eat. Your doctor probably felt that a prescription supplement was the best way to assure that you receive sufficient quantities of the essential vitamins and minerals. You can ask your doctor about over-the-counter prenatal supplements.
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Try eating mini meals and snacks about every three hours. Also drink liquids, such as milk, fruit juice, broth, or water, between meals rather than at mealtime so you save every bit of your stomach space for nutritious foods.
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Your growing baby is putting more and more pressure on your stomach. One result is heartburn, a burning feeling in your chest. Here are a few tips that may help with heartburn:

  • Eat small, frequent meals instead of the traditional three square meals a day.
  • Relax while you eat.
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
  • Avoid foods that are greasy or spicy.
  • Sometimes sipping 8 oz of cold (but not iced) water can bring relief.
  • Don’t take antacids without your doctor’s advice; some types can cause fluid retention or other unwanted side effects.
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So-called “morning sickness” can strike at any time of the day. When the nausea passes, try to eat a small, nutritious snack. If you’ve been vomiting, replace lost fluids by drinking apple juice or grape juice (nothing too acidic), or sucking on ice chips. Keeping plain crackers or other snacks handy may also help at the first feeling of nausea.
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Folic acid is essential for your little one’s brain and spinal cord to develop properly, especially in the first few weeks of pregnancy—when the brain and spinal cord begin to develop. In fact, the March of Dimes recommends that all women who could become pregnant take a multivitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. If you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, ask your doctor's advice about the best vitamin supplement for you.
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Be sure to talk your doctor if you have any questions about weight gain or your diet. Gaining weight in the last trimester is as important as in the earlier stages of your pregnancy, for both you and your baby. On the other hand, gaining more than two pounds a week should be discussed with your doctor because gaining too much weight in the last few weeks of pregnancy can be linked to pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure).
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There's no one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy weight gain. How much weight you need to gain depends on various factors, including your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI). Your health and your baby's health also play roles. Work with your health care provider to determine what's right for you. Consider these general guidelines for pregnancy weight gain from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

Pre-pregnancy weight Recommended weight gain:

  • Underweight 28 to 40 pounds
  • Normal Weight 25 to 35 pounds
  • Overweight 15 to 25 pounds
  • Obese At least 15 pounds


If you're carrying twins or triplets, you'll probably need to gain 35 to 45 pounds.

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Breastmilk is best for babies because it offers the nutrition your baby needs. But if you decide not to breastfeed, infant formulas provide DHA and ARA as well as the essential fatty acids (linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic acid).
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It’s important to have ongoing conversations with your doctor about your baby's diet, especially during weaning. Since typical weaning foods don’t have DHA, there’s a likelihood of a reduction in dietary DHA as solid foods begin to displace formula/breastmilk. Baby foods with DHA help to ensure that DHA continues to be readily available in a baby's diet.
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During weaning most babies may not be getting enough DHA, an important fat that supports brain and eye development. Babies consume less DHA during the natural decline in consumption of breastmilk or formula and complementary foods contain little or no DHA. As your baby moves to solid foods, you can feed him GERBER® Cereals and GERBER® Organic 1ST FOODS® and 2ND FOODS® baby foods that have DHA as a complement to breastmilk or formula.

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DHA & ARA are fatty acids, or lipids, found naturally in breastmilk. They’re components of baby’s healthy brain and eye tissues. During the third trimester of pregnancy, Mom passes DHA & ARA to baby. After baby is born, Mom can provide DHA & ARA to baby by breastfeeding or giving her formula with added DHA & ARA.
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DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) & ARA (arachidonic acid) fatty acids, or lipids, found naturally in breastmilk. They’re important components of your baby’s healthy brain and eye tissues.
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DHA helps support brain and eye development during baby's growth. DHA serves as a major structural fat in the brain and the retina and is also a key component of the heart. DHA is important for mental and visual development in infants.
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DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid found in breastmilk and fish such as tuna and salmon.
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DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) are fats that support brain and eye development. DHA & ARA were passed to your baby during pregnancy and also are found in breastmilk. Most babies in the United States don’t get enough DHA, and some experts say your baby’s DHA consumption should increase proportionately to his body weight. Unfortunately, the amount of DHA that your baby consumes will likely decline as solid foods begin to replace some of the breastmilk or formula in his diet. Complementary sources of DHA, such as infant cereals or baby foods with DHA, are good ways to help ensure that your baby gets this important component.
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Babies are born with a good store of Iron, provided by you during a healthy pregnancy. Those initial Iron reserves need to be maintained by an Iron-rich diet of breastmilk or Iron-fortified infant formula. Around the middle of the first year, your baby's natural Iron stores may start to deplete. Iron contributes to your baby’s growth by helping to expand the number of red blood cells that help supply her body with oxygen. If you’re breastfeeding, your physician may prescribe a dietary supplement of Iron. If you are formula-feeding, use an Iron-fortified formula such as GERBER® GOOD START® Gentle.

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Hard, dry stools are difficult for Baby to pass, and they aren't fun for you either. Keep in mind, though, that even some healthy babies go several days without a stool. Constipation is not caused by Iron in your baby's formula, but might be associated with a number of factors, including the introduction of new solid foods with varying amounts of sugar or fiber. If your baby has recurring bouts of constipation, be sure to check with your doctor.
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The right time to introduce your little one to a bottle is only after breastfeeding is going well and your baby is around 4 weeks old. If your baby is having feeding problems, particularly with latching on, it’s best to avoid any bottle-feeding until she’s breastfeeding easily. Switching from breast to bottle too early may confuse a young baby because bottle-feeding requires a completely different sucking pattern. Start out by feeding your baby expressed breastmilk in a bottle once a day or every other day. If your baby is two months or older, it may be difficult for her to accept bottle-feeding because she has become used to breastfeeding. In this case, another person such as Dad or a relative may need to lend a hand. Your baby knows you and can easily sense your skin and touch as well as your presence. Some mothers may need to leave the room while another person bottle-feeds the baby. Be patient and calm. Try bottle-feeding your baby when she’s not hungry and somewhat sleepy so she will be more apt to take a bottle.
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If you’re breastfeeding, use sealed and refrigerated breastmilk within 48 hours. When feeding formula, we recommend preparing and feeding a bottle immediately. If you must prepare ahead of time, refrigerate unused bottles up to 24 hours. After feeding begins, discard any remaining formula left in the bottle within one hour. Once a baby has fed from a bottle, microorganisms from her mouth are introduced into the formula. Neither refrigeration nor reheating completely prevents these microorganisms from growing.


Many new moms have questions about preparing a bottle. First, be sure never to heat a bottle of breastmilk or formula in the microwave. It creates hot spots in the liquid that can burn her mouth, and it destroys breastmilk’s delicate nutrients. Safely warm a bottle with these steps:

  1. Stand the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes or hold under running water.
  2. Gently shake the bottle to distribute the warmed milk.
  3. Test warmed breastmilk or formula by shaking a few drops onto your wrist. If the liquid feels just barely warm, it’s a safe temperature for your little one.
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Letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle filled with fruit juice, breastmilk, or formula can promote tooth decay. Infants are susceptible to tooth decay even before they cut all their teeth.

Follow these simple guidelines suggested by dentists:

  • Take the bottle away from your baby before she falls asleep.
  • Weaning your baby from the bottle may be completed by her first birthday.
  • Be sure to never put juice or sweetened drinks into your baby’s bottle.
  • Clean your baby’s teeth and gums with a clean, soft washcloth or fluoride-free tooth and gum cleanser after each feeding.
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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, food allergy happens when the body reacts against harmless proteins found in foods. Symptoms of a typical food allergy reaction may be immediate (within minutes) or delayed (usually within 48 hours) after exposure.

Signs and symptoms of a possible food allergy in infancy include:

  • Itchy skin rash or eczema, producing dry, scaly and often red patches
  • Breathing problems, including sneezing, wheezing, or throat tightness
  • Vomiting most or all of food after feeding
  • Loose, watery stools eight or more times a day
  • Bloody diarrhea


Food intolerances are sometimes mistaken as food allergies. A food intolerance can produce symptoms similar to those of an allergy, but usually doesn’t involve the immune system. These types of reactions commonly occur in your baby’s first year and generally disappear by the time the child is 3 years old.

Food allergies may not always disappear.

If you think your baby is having a reaction, stop feeding the food and consult your doctor.

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When present in a food, the Top 8 FDA recognized food allergens are listed in the ingredient statement in consumer-friendly terms. These allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. We take into consideration all sources of these allergens including any that could result from contact at manufacturing facilities. If the allergen is present only as a result of the product’s manufacturing location, you may see a statement about that adjacent to the ingredient statement.


The FDA-recognized food allergens (also called the top 8 allergens) are peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. We closely monitor when an ingredient derived from these foods is present at one of our manufacturing locations. For food ingredients that are not FDA-recognized food allergens, we follow strict manufacturing procedures to prevent contact with any ingredients that are not part of the products’ recipes, but cannot guarantee whether or not these other ingredients are present at our production locations.

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Our gluten labeling policy for GERBER® products is as follows: Gluten-containing ingredients (such as wheat, rye, and barley) are always listed in our ingredient statement when used as ingredients in our products. We also label gluten-containing ingredients from indirect sources (for example as a result of contact during harvesting, manufacturing or transport of ingredients) if the finished product could contain 20 ppm gluten or more.

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Participating hospital nurseries are the only place the GERBER® Baby Nutrition Kits are available. Click here to learn more.

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Samples are occasionally available. You can sign up here to receive samples and offers should they become available. If you are a medical professional, please visit medical.gerber.com.

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Samples and offers are occasionally available. You can sign up here to receive samples and offers should they become available.

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GERBER® GOOD START® Formula provides a one-time complimentary gift to moms of twins, triplets, and other multiples. Please call us toll-free for more information at 1-800-284-9488.

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Antioxidants are nutrients that work in the body to help support a healthy immune system. Most well-known antioxidants are Vitamins A (from beta-carotene), C and E.

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Nucleotides play key roles in many biological processes and are found naturally in breastmilk. They’re the basic building blocks of DNA and RNA, which are found in all the cells in our bodies—including our immune cells. Nucleotides are added to all GOOD START® milk-based formulas to help support baby’s growth and development.

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100% whey protein means that the only protein used is whey. Whey protein is a protein found in milk. Milk has two primary proteins, whey and casein.

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Hydrolyzed proteins are proteins that have been broken down into smaller pieces (peptides) similar to the way a baby’s digestive system would break down the proteins. “Partially hydrolyzed proteins” are used in GOOD START® infant formulas.

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Sterilization (boiling) of tap or bottled water and utensils is recommended. Your doctor will advise if it is not required. If boiling water, bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute and cool before preparing formula.
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Experts recommend continuing to breastfeed for as long as possible. But some moms may choose to supplement with formula. Rest assured that this can also be a nourishing, nurturing choice for your baby.

If you use formula, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises choosing an Iron-fortified variety. Because your baby is tripling her birth weight and doubling her brain size in the first year of life, adequate Iron intake is critical for good health.

To start supplementing with formula, we recommend the following:

  • First talk with your baby’s doctor about formula choices.
  • Have your baby breastfeed for a shorter period at each breast.
  • Offer your still-hungry baby a formula bottle. (Some parents find that baby may smell breastmilk on you, and she may be more receptive if Dad or someone else offers that first taste of formula.)
  • If your baby fusses and refuses the bottle, calm her down by returning her to the breast. If she still is not taking the bottle, try again at the next feeding.


GERBER® GOOD START® formulas are an excellent choice to supplement breastmilk. They are the only infant formulas made with gentle COMFORT PROTEINS®, specially designed using a Gerber-patented two-step process and are easy to digest. The process starts with gentle 100% whey protein. This gentle protein is then broken down into smaller pieces.

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All healthy babies' digestive tracts contain different types of bacteria, also known as cultures. "Beneficial cultures" refers to those groups of "good" bacteria. Scientists have learned that the digestive tracts of breastfed babies appear to have much more of one type of beneficial culture, called bifidobacteria, and many experts believe that these baceteria may be one of the reasons breastfed babies are generally healthy. BIFIDUS BL™, the beneficial cultures in GOOD START® Protect, are Bifidobacterium cultures, similar to those found in breastmilk. GOOD START® Protect is specially designed to help bring the balance of cultures in formula-fed babies closer to that of breastfed babies. Breastmilk is the ideal source of nutrition and protection for your baby. Talk with your baby’s doctor about all your feeding choices.

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The word “probiotic” literally means “for life.” The World Health Organization defines probiotics as beneficial cultures that—when consumed in adequate amounts—provide health benefits. These benefits vary, depending on the type of beneficial culture or probiotic that is used. The benefits range from aiding digestion to supporting a healthy immune system. Infant formula supplemented with certain beneficial probiotic cultures is now available to help support your baby’s healthy immune system. One way probiotics can provide this benefit is by increasing your baby’s levels of key antibodies, which are an important part of the immune system. Another way probiotics help support your baby’s healthy immune system is by helping to maintain a healthy balance of cultures in her digestive tract that supports the natural protective envIronment found there.
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We have a variety of formulas for infants and toddlers. Talk to your baby’s doctor about which formula is right for your baby.
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Atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema, is a persistent, itchy, red, skin rash, and is the most common allergic disease in infants. In the U.S., nearly one in five infants develop atopic dermatitis.
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If a child already has those symptoms and this is due to allergy to cow's milk protein, our formulas are not appropriate.

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Breastmilk and formula are the main source of nutrition but, as your baby gets older, solid foods begin providing more of the primary nutrition. As your active older baby transitions to solid foods, it may be difficult to get her to slow down long enough to eat a balanced diet. That's why you may want to consider adding an older-baby formula such as GERBER® GRADUATES® Gentle, GERBER® GRADUATES® Protect or GERBER® GRADUATES® Soy to your older baby's or toddler's diet. Both are specially designed to meet the changing nutritional needs of older babies and toddlers 9 to 24 months old. GRADUATES® Gentle, Protect and Soy formulas are specially designed with ingredients that support the needs of growing older babies and toddlers:

  • Calcium to support growing bones and teeth
  • 25 nutrients to support healthy growth and development
  • Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA for brain and eye development.
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Older-baby formulas are designed to provide extra nutritional support during the transition to solid foods. When your baby’s too picky or too busy to eat, he may come up short on important nutrients, especially Iron.

The AAP recommends avoiding cow’s milk until your baby is at least one year old, because cow’s milk doesn’t have the proper balance of nutrients he needs. GERBER® GRADUATES® formulas are nutritious alternatives to whole milk, and are designed for toddlers up to 24 months of age. They offer important nutrients, such as Iron, vitamins C & E, and Zinc, while also providing the Calcium a growing toddler needs. Standard formulas provide adequate nutrition for the first year. GERBER® GRADUATES® formulas provide extra nutrition support.

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From a tiny infant to a teetering toddler, your baby speeds through her first year—sitting, crawling, standing, and maybe even taking her first wobbly steps. During these short 12 months, her birth weight triples, her brain size doubles, and her length increases by 50%.

That’s a lot of growth and change, and it takes a lot of energy and good nutrition. Little bites of solid foods may not meet all of baby’s growing nutritional and developmental needs, especially for Calcium and Iron. In fact, Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S., affecting mainly older infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

That's why breastmilk or an Iron-fortified formula should continue to be the primary source of nutrition throughout the first year of life.

For toddlers who are 9 to 24 months, GERBER® GRADUATES® Gentle and GRADUATES® Protect formulas help support optimal nutrition. They both offer Iron, DHA & ARA, and Vitamins C and E, and as much Calcium as in standard milk-based formulas1. And GRADUATES® Protect is the only older-baby formula with beneficial probiotic cultures to help support your toddler's immune system.

GOOD START® Gentle and Protect can be used throughout the first year of life. If your baby is doing well on this formula, and if you feel confident he's getting all the Calcium he requires, there's no need to switch. If you feel that your baby is a picky eater and wants extra nutritional support, GERBER® GRADUATES® Protect is an excellent choice.

Disclaimers/Notes: 1Standard formulas provide adequate nutrition for the first year. GERBER® GRADUATES® Gentle provides extra nutrition insurance.

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Your doctor might recommend a soy-based formula if:

  • Your baby has a hereditary or temporary lactase deficiency, which makes processing milk sugars difficult.
  • Your baby is sensitive to cow's milk.
  • You want a vegetarian-based diet for your full-term baby.

In such situations, GERBER® Soy is an excellent choice. It provides milk-free, lactose-free complete nutrition for baby's first year plus easy digestion—a combination that helps make feeding time a gentle, joyful experience for both you and your baby.

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For best results, ease your baby into a routine. A few days before you plan to introduce solid foods, let your baby become comfortable at the table with your family. Hold her in your lap, place her in a bouncy baby chair nearby, or let her sit in her high chair. Before you begin feeding, breastfeed your baby or give her a bottle to take the edge off her hunger so she won’t be fussy at the table.This helps assure you that your baby still gets adequate nourishment for growth, regardless of how much—and which—solid foods she eats. For your first solid food attempts, pick a time of day when baby is in good spirits, wide awake, and mildly hungry. Also pick a time of day that works for you. Perhaps a quiet weekend is best so you don’t need to worry about rushing somewhere.
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When your baby is first starting on solid foods, she is exploring and getting "tastes"—don't worry, her main nutrition is still coming from breastmilk or formula. Introduce single-grain cereal when your baby has doubled her birth weight, and is hungry after 8 to 10 breast feedings, or drinks more than 32 oz of formula a day. Baby should also be able to lift and support her head, turn her head away when she is full, frequently put things in her mouth and watch with interest as you eat.
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The timing for introducing solids can vary from one baby to another, but you should wait until your child is at least 4 months old. Experts recommend starting solids between 4-6 months, when developmentally appropriatebut talk to your doctor to see when your child is developmentally ready.
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Rice cereal (such as GERBER® Rice Cereal) is typically the first complementary food introduced to infants. It is made with gentle ingredients and is easy to digest. Its smooth, fine texture is developmentally appropriate for your baby’s first solid food.


Wait about three days in between each cereal to see how your baby tolerates them. Watch for signs of allergic responses such as diarrhea, a rash or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop feeding oatmeal and contact your pediatrician.

Once your baby is eating cereal, you can also add baby foods like GERBER® 1ST FOODS® fruits and vegetables.

To learn more about feeding your baby at this stage of development, read our Nutrition Guide for Supported Sitters.

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Yes, most pediatricians recommend starting with an Iron-rich cereal. Iron is an important nutrient for your baby's growth and mental development. Around the middle of the first year, babies' natural Iron stores may begin to deplete.

GERBER® Infant Cereals provide an excellent source of this important nutrient.

Their thickness can be easily changed to match your baby's skill level, from very watery at introduction to thicker when your baby is more experienced.

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Your baby may be ready if she sits independently, shows excitement when food is presented, or picks up and holds small objects in her hand.
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Your baby may be ready if she or he crawls with her stomach off of the floor, starts pulling herself to stand, or begins to use her jaw to mash food.
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After your baby enjoys single-grain Rice and Oatmeal cereals, try GERBER® Multigrain cereal, which is made with a small amount of wheat. Then introduce GERBER® Whole Wheat cereal for new, healthy tastes. For your baby’s first wheat introduction, mix 1 tbsp. cereal with 4 to 5 tbsp. of breastmilk or formula. If she tolerates for another two days, continue feeding as desired. If you suspect any reactions, stop feeding this cereal and call your pediatrician.

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Around six months is a good time to introduce baby to a cup. She may not get the hang of it at first, but with practice, she’ll get used to it.

Tips for introducing a cup:

  • During introduction, there should be no liquid.
  • Give your baby an empty cup, imitate how to drink from it and teach her how a cup functions.
  • Hand the cup to her and let her practice holding it.
  • A spout can help control spills.
  • Try to find a cup that's the same size as her bottle to help her learn to grasp it more easily.
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If desired, once your baby is over six months and can drink from a cup. Limit juice to <4 fl oz per day.
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Once your baby is six months old you can start with 1 to 2 fluid ounces a day. Older babies can drink up to 4 fl oz a day.
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Breastmilk or formula should be your baby's primary source of nutrition and fluids during the first year of life. Small amounts of 100% juice can be introduced after your baby reaches six months of age and can drink from a cup.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children 1 to 6 years of age have no more than four to 6 fl oz (1/2 to 2/3 cup) of juice per day. This amount counts as one serving of fruits or vegetables. The remaining fruit and vegetable servings should come from whole peeled fruits, or vegetables that are mashed or pureed.

Babies who consume too much juice may not consume enough breastmilk, formula, or healthy solid foods, leading to a decrease in their nutrient intake. In addition, some children consuming excessive amounts of juice may experience stomach pain or diarrhea.

Follow these simple guidelines for adding juice to your child's healthy meal plan:

  • Buy products that are 100% juice. Identify 100% juices by looking at the percentage of juice declared above the Nutrition Facts panel. All beverages with juice must declare the amount of juice above the Nutrition Facts panel.
  • Avoid beverages with names like "ade," "drink," "beverage," or "cocktail" because they usually aren’t 100% juice, and can have added sweeteners, artificial flavors, or added color. Beverages that are 100% juices offer your child the most nutrition from fruits or vegetables.
  • Choose products that are pasteurized. Nonpasteurized juices, like some fresh ciders, may contain bacteria that can make your baby sick.
  • Serve juice only from a cup while seated and supervised and never from a bottle.
  • Introduce juice in small amounts. Once your baby has reached 6 months of age, start with 1 fl oz in a cup. Then you can increase the amount to no more than 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) per day until she reaches 1 year of age. After she reaches 1 year, limit juice to 4 to 6 fl oz per day.
  • When your baby turns 1 year old, you can also offer beverages that are water and 100% juice blends. Make sure these blends have no added sweeteners, artificial flavors, or colors, and check the label for information on recommended serving sizes.
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If a mother is NOT breastfeeding and is using powdered formula, GERBER PURE® water can be used to prepare infant formula for healthy infants starting from birth. Ask your baby’s doctor about infant formula feeding for your baby, including how much to feed and the need to sterilize (boil) water, and preparation utensils before mixing formula.


Always follow instructions on the infant formula and GERBER PURE® water labels.

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GRADUATES® offers a line of products that are appropriate for the Crawler, Toddler or Toddler 2+ (ages 2 years +) stage of your child’s development. Read the package for the developmental cues that indicate your child may ready for each product. Click here to learn more about Milestone Symbols™.
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While your baby may be ready for some table foods, GERBER® 3RD FOODS® products provide a good transition to eating table foods. Feeding GERBER® 3RD FOODS® products helps your baby learn to mash and swallow new and different textures while still eating the variety of foods he needs for growth and development. Most 3RD FOODS® dinners are designed to have tender pieces that encourage mashing.

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2ND FOODS® are pureed to a smooth texture for baby, while many 3RD FOODS® have more texture to encourage chewing. 3RD FOODS® also offer new varieties and combinations.

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Your baby is growing up right before your eyes! She laughs. She waves “bye-bye.” And she may turn her head away from the spoon if she doesn’t want to try a new food. If that sounds familiar, here are some hints for feeding your finicky eater:

Offer nutritious choices. Serve her mashed fruits such as GERBER® 3RD FOODS® Banana Strawberry and vegetables such as GERBER® 3RD FOODS® Sweet Potatoes. Also offer whole-grain choices, dairy options like sliced cheese and yogurt and chopped, lean meats or poultry.

Allow a little play. Mashed potatoes and applesauce may seem more appealing if she can finger paint with them first.

Let her experiment. If she wants to dip her cheese into her peaches, let her. What tastes good to her may not taste good to you!

You might try introducing a new food along with a familiar food, even mixing the two. For example, if your child likes bananas, introduce peaches by mixing them with bananas.

Keep at it. A food that’s refused today may be accepted tomorrow. It can take several tries before your child accepts a new food. Try not to only serve foods she seems to like. Offer new foods or familiar foods served in a new way, such as mashed banana served on a piece of waffle.

Be creative. Older babies like bright colors and fun shapes. Try serving your child foods such as GERBER® GRADUATES® Yogurt Melts® snacks or GERBER® GRADUATES® Puffs.

Though mealtime may seem challenging right now, your persistence will pay off. You’ll be helping your child establish healthy eating habits.

If your child doesn’t seem to like a new food, don’t be discouraged. Some experts say it may take a minimum of 10 exposures to a new food before he may decide that he likes it.

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Although hot dogs are an option, they tend to be higher in saturated fat. Even though toddlers need fat and saturated fat in their diets, hot dogs should only be an occasional food. Offer lean meats or poultry or mashed beans and peas to meet your toddler’s protein servings on a daily basis.

If your child does eat a hot dog, take care: A hot dog’s size and shape poses an increased risk of lodging in a child's windpipe and obstructing breathing. To prevent this, cut hot dogs into quarters lengthwise and then into bite-sized slices.

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Many doctors recommend not giving children honey until they’re one year old. Tasty as it is, honey can contain spores that cause infant botulism poisoning, which has serious effects.
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Even though your baby is growing quickly, cow’s milk (and goat’s milk) aren’t recommended for her as a replacement for breastmilk or infant formula. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents wait until after her first birthday to introduce cow’s milk. There are several reasons:

  • Improper balance: Cow’s milk and goat’s milk do not contain the right balance of nutrients your baby needs during the first year to grow and develop. These milks, which aren’t meant for human infants, contain excessive amounts of some vitamins and minerals that could stress your baby’s kidneys. Sodium, potassium, and protein levels are especially high.
  • Not enough Iron: Cow’s milk has insufficient amounts of Iron for your baby’s developing brain, and the Iron in cow’s milk isn’t easily absorbed. Iron deficiency can have serious consequences, including slower growth, decreased social behavior, lower learning ability, and even anemia. In addition, cow’s milk is low in Zinc, vitamins C and E, and copper.
  • Digestion problems: Your baby may have trouble digesting cow’s milk or goat’s milk. After age one, go ahead and introduce your baby slowly to whole cow’s milk. Don't serve reduced-fat or fat-free milk to a child less than two years of age, unless directed by your doctor. Little ones need the extra fat in whole milk to provide energy for their growing bodies and to help with brain development.


After age one, if your active, growing toddler is a picky eater, consider an older-baby formula. It’s a nutritious alternative to whole milk, because it offers more of important nutrients, such as Iron, vitamins C and E, and Zinc, than whole milk while providing the Calcium a growing toddler needs. At age two, switch to lowfat (1%) or fat-free milk.

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Sometimes feeding vegetables to your baby can be a challenge. The Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2008 showed that on a given day, 30% of toddlers ages 12 to 24 months didn’t eat a distinct portion of vegetables in any amount. When they do eat vegetables, French fries are the vegetable they eat most often.

As you start to introduce more nutritious foods, like deep yellow and green vegetables, keep in mind that it may take several attempts, sometimes up to 10, for your child to accept a new food.

If she doesn’t like certain fruits and vegetables, don’t give up! While you never want to force your child, continue to offer her new varieties of vegetables along with familiar favorites. This age is an important one for building healthy eating patterns into preschool-and school-age development.

Here are some fun ways to help you serve a nutritious diet:

  • Mix GERBER® 2ND FOODS® fruit baby foods or GERBER® 3RD FOODS® fruit baby foods into Iron-rich infant cereal.
  • Add GRADUATES® veggie dices or 3RD FOODS® vegetable baby foods to pasta, rice, soups, or macaroni and cheese.
  • Spread 3RD FOODS® Banana Strawberry or Peaches baby foods onto a cracker or piece of whole-wheat toast.
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GERBER® 3RD FOODS® products have appropriate textures for babies learning to chew. GRADUATES® products are designed for older babies and toddlers who are learning to self-feed.

GERBER® 1ST FOODS® products are single fruit and vegetable baby foods. The food is pureed for easy swallowing. These foods are typically introduced when your baby is in the Supported Sitter stage.

GERBER® 2ND FOODS® products include many fruits and vegetables your baby enjoyed in the GERBER® 1ST FOODS® line, but there are many new varieties and combinations of ingredients. These foods are typically introduced in the Sitter stage.

GERBER® 3RD FOODS® products are ideal for feeding your baby in the transition to table-type foods. Many varieties have more texture and may include tiny particles that help babies learn to mash food with their gums. GERBER® 3RD FOODS® products also offer new varieties. These foods are typically introduced at the Crawler stage.

Read the package for Milestone Symbol and developmental cues that indicate your child may be ready for each product. Learn more about our Milestone Symbols™.

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Product Questions

Yes, you can refrigerate unused portions of baby foods, as long as you didn’t feed your baby directly from the package. Store in a cool, dry area that is not exposed to heat. Do not allow the product to freeze.
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Baby food in pouches that have been resealed and refrigerated should be used within 24 hours, as long as you didn't feed your baby directly from the package.
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After resealing, the pouch should be refrigerated within one hour and used within 24 hours.
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How do I prepare baby food?
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No. All baby foods can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature.
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Once you're in the Sitter stage, spoon or squeeze food from the pouch into a serving dish for spoon feeding. After resealing, the pouch should be refrigerated within one hour and used within 24 hours.

Baby food can be kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. Do not use any baby food one hour after opening it if it hasn’t been refrigerated.

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Your baby may not have a preference for warmed foods, so it’s not always necessary. But you may want to warm refrigerated food to room temperature. Remove as much food as you think your baby will eat at that meal and place it in a microwave-safe dish. Heat for only a few seconds at reduced power and warm to body temperature. Stir to eliminate any hot spots and always test the temperature before feeding your baby.
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For the first feeding, mixing 4 or 5 tablespoons of liquid with 1 tablespoon of cereal would be best. Over the next few days, less liquid could be added so the cereal isn't quite as thin. Eventually, it should be a smooth, feedable consistency (much like jarred food) for each feeding.

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Pour or spoon desired amount of cereal in bowl. Your baby's first bite of "solids" should look more like thin milk. Mix 1 tablespoon of cereal with 4 to 5 tablespoons of breastmilk or formula until it has a souplike consistency. Over time, thicken cereal a bit by reducing the amount of liquid you add. For older babies, mix with baby food for added taste.
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We recommend that you do not feed cereal from a bottle, unless directed by a pediatrician. Feeding cereal from a spoon helps develop feeding skills.
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Store cereal in a cool, dry place. An opened container of cereal can be kept up to one month (30 days).
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Your baby may not have a preference for warmed foods, so it’s not always necessary. But, if they do, mix 1/4 cup of cereal with 1/4-1/3 cup unheated liquid. Warm at medium (50% power) 15 to 30 seconds*. Stir to even out temperature and test the temperature of the cereal before feeding.

*If mixing with milk for children over one year, heat on high power for 15 to 20 seconds.

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No. All GRADUATES® products can be served at room temperature, but we recommend that you warm the LIL’ MEALS™ and GRADUATES® LIL’ ENTRÉES® products before serving to achieve the best possible taste and texture. Always test temperature before serving.

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GRADUATES® Snacks ( WAGON WHEELS®, LIL’ CRUNCHIES®, Cookies): These products are shelf stable after opening and can be resealed and stored in your pantry or cabinet.

GRADUATES® Fruit & Veggie Pick-Ups™: After opening, these should be refrigerated and used within 2 to 3 days.

GRADUATES® Lil' Meals™: If the product has been heated and your baby has eaten directly from the container, discard any leftovers. If the product has not been served directly from the container, refrigerate the product in an airtight container for up to two days.

GRADUATES® LIL’ ENTRÉES®: Cover any leftovers and refrigerate for up to three days.

GRADUATES® Pasta Pick-ups™/Breakfast Buddies™: Discard any leftovers.

GRADUATES® Grabbers®: Unopened pouch can be stored at room temperature. Refrigerate opened pouch within one hour: serve within 24 hours.

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GRADUATES® LIL’ STICKS® meat sticks have been specially designed for toddlers to self-feed in the Toddler stage. The unique stick shape is easy to hold. LIL’ STICKS® are made with a soft texture and are easy to chew and swallow.

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GRADUATES® offers a line of products that are appropriate for the Crawler to Toddler 2+ (ages two and older) stages of your child's development. Read the package for the developmental cues that indicate your child may be ready for each product.

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Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. The difference lies in how the food is produced, processed and handled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets forth a strict set of guidelines that products must meet to be considered "certified organic." All organic foods must be produced according to these guidelines and certified by a USDA-accredited inspection agency. Organic farmers are required to keep detailed records of crops and only materials approved by the USDA may be used. If a food bears a "USDA Organic" label, it means it's produced and processed according to the USDA standards. Certified organic foods must meet the strict standards set by the USDA National Organic Program.

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The GERBER® Organic line has choices for your baby, which include Organic cereals, baby foods, meal options, snacks and juices.

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Yes. Around the middle of her first year, your baby will be in the Supported Sitter stage. At this time, you may want to start introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet. Before starting solid foods, be sure to discuss it with your pediatrician. If you’d like your baby’s first solid food to be organic, start her on GERBER® Organic Brown Rice or Oatmeal Cereal. Once your baby is eating cereal, GERBER® Organic 1ST FOODS® vegetables and fruits would be an appropriate addition to her diet. Be sure to wait about three days before introducing a new food.

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No need to dilute! GERBER® juices are ready to serve.

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Serving juice in a bottle isn’t recommended. Juices are a way to add flavor and variety to your baby’s diet once she can drink from a cup.
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Once open, juice needs to be refrigerated. A 4 oz. single serve juice must be used within 2 to 3 days and a 32 oz. juice must be used within 5 to 7 days.
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There are many foods that contain naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit and milk. The sugar listed in the nutrition facts panels of GERBER® 100% juices are all naturally occurring—when sugar is listed as an ingredient statement, it is added to the product.

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Yes, GERBER® juices are pasteurized.

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies do not require fluoride supplementation in their first six months of life1. And the American Dental Association states that infants fed formula prepared by adding water with fluoride may be getting too much2. This might lead to a condition called enamel fluorosis (which may affect appearance of teeth before eruption through the gums). Low levels of fluoride in water alone may not lead to fluorosis, but combined with other sources may be too much. Talk to your doctor about the sources of fluoride in your baby’s diet.

GERBER PURE is not sponsored or endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American Dental Association.

1American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2009. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook, 6th edition, pg 1,047. 2American Dental Association (ADA), 2006. Interim Guidance on Fluoride Intake for Infants and Young Children.

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Parents may choose to boil GERBER PURE® water just as they may choose to boil tap water or any bottled water. Always follow the instructions on infant formula and GERBER PURE® water labels. Ask your baby’s doctor about infant formula feeding, including the need to sterilize (boil) water and preparation utensils before mixing formula.

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According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), during the first six months, neither breastfed nor formula-fed infants require extra water, even in hot, dry climates, and even when they have a fever. From 6 to 12 months, breastfed infants still do not need additional fluids. Formula-fed infants over six months of age may be offered water between feedings, but it is still not necessary4. If you think your baby is dehydrated, please consult your doctor immediately.

*Always follow the instructions on infant formula and GERBER PURE® water labels. GERBER PURE® water is not sponsored or endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

4American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2009. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook, 6th edition, pg. 43.

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GERBER PURE® water undergoes an extensive, multi-step process to ensure consistent purity and quality. It is purified by reverse osmosis and/or distillation and then filtered, UV treated, and ozonated to remove potential contaminants. What’s left is clean water, pure and simple.* Ozonation, an excellent sanitizer, is the passing of ozone through water to purify the water. We have chosen the most stringent water quality standards and the most advanced purification process available.

*GERBER PURE® water is not sterile. Always follow the instructions on the infant formula and GERBER PURE® water labels.

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Health claims are part of an FDA initiative to provide Americans with information to help them make healthier dietary choices. A health claim “characterize[s] a relationship between a substance and its role in reducing the risk of a disease or health-related condition.” A qualified health claim is a benefit statement that must include qualifying language indicating any limitations on the degree to which the science supports the claim. The FDA concluded that the current scientific evidence is appropriate for consideration of a qualified health claim regarding the relationship between the consumption of 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formula and a reduced risk of atopic dermatitis.
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Claim language which FDA has permitted is as follows: For healthy infants who are not exclusively breastfed and who have a family history of allergy, feeding a 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formula from birth up to four months of age instead of a formula containing intact cow’s milk proteins may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis throughout the first year of life. FDA has concluded that the relationship between 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed infant formulas and the reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is uncertain, because there is little scientific evidence for the relationship.


Partially hydrolyzed formulas should not be fed to infants who are allergic to milk or to infants with existing milk allergy symptoms. If you suspect your baby is already allergic to milk, or if your baby is on a special formula for the treatment of allergy, your baby's care and feeding choices should be under a doctor's supervision.

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YES. GERBER® GOOD START® milk-based formulas are the first and only routine infant formulas that meet the criteria for a qualified health claim.

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YES. GERBER® GOOD START® formulas are nutritionally complete and promote healthy growth.

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YES. GERBER® GOOD START® GENTLE, PROTECT, and SOOTHE are the only infant formulas that contain COMFORT PROTEINS®, specially designed using a Gerber-patented two-step process to be easy to digest. The process starts with gentle 100% whey protein, the highest-quality protein available in infant formula. This gentle protein is then broken down into smaller pieces designed especially for your baby's developing tummy.

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YES. GERBER® GOOD START® GENTLE, PROTECT, and SOOTHE formulas have DHA and ARA for brain and eye development. In addition, GERBER® GOOD START® GENTLE, PROTECT, and SOOTHE formulas have Choline to support brain function.

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It may help to introduce GOOD START® gradually to minimize the notice of any changes in taste and ease the switch on your baby’s digestion. To wean or switch your baby to a GOOD START® formula, do so over about a week's time.

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Our formulas are lighter because of the 100% whey COMFORT PROTEINS® used in all our GOOD START® milk-based formulas. If you prepare and refrigerate a GOOD START® milk-based formula ahead of time, it might separate into layers, like breastmilk. You can mix the layers by gently shaking the bottle.

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You should try to feed prepared formula immediately, within one hour at room temperature, or immediately refrigerate prepared formula up to 24 hours. Discard any remaining formula left in the bottle within one hour after feeding begins, because once a baby has fed from a bottle, microorganisms are introduced into the formula. Neither refrigeration nor reheating completely prevents these microorganisms from growing.

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Your doctor might recommend a soy-based formula if:

  • Your baby has a hereditary or temporary lactase deficiency, which makes processing milk sugars difficult.
  • Your baby is sensitive to cow's milk.
  • You want a vegetarian-based diet for your full-term baby.


In such situations, GOOD START® Soy is an excellent choice. It provides milk-free, lactose-free complete nutrition for your baby’s first year plus easy digestion—a combination that can help make feeding time a gentle, joyful experience for both you and your baby.

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Soy proteins are protein derived from soybeans. The soy protein used in GOOD START® Soy infant formula is partially broken down, easy-to-digest soy protein.

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