Neonatal gut microbiota establishment represents a crucial stage for gut maturation, metabolic and immunologic programming, and consequently short- and long-term health status. Human milk beneficially influences this process due to its dynamic profile of age-adapted nutrients and bioactive components and by providing commensal maternal bacteria to the neonatal gut. These include Lactobacillus spp., as well as obligate anaerobes such as Bifidobacterium spp., which may originate from the maternal gut via an enteromammary pathway as a novel form of mother-neonate communication. Additionally, human milk harbors a broad range of oligosaccharides that promote the growth and activity of specific bacterial populations, in particular, Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides spp. This review focuses on the diversity and origin of human milk bacteria, as well as on milk oligosaccharides that influence neonatal gut microbiota establishment. This knowledge can be used to develop infant formulae that more closely mimic nature's model and sustain a healthy gut microbiota.