Debunking the biggest myths on breastfeeding

True or false? Every myth contains a kernel of truth. Here we focus on five of the most widely held assumptions regarding breastfeeding and help you separate the facts from the folklore.

Small breasts produce little milk

Wrong. Breast size alone is not the decisive factor in the amount of milk produced. The size of the breast is determined solely by the amount of fat in the tissue, i.e. the more fat there is, the larger the breast. What is decisive for the quantity of milk, however, is the number of milk glands. Small breasts can therefore easily produce a sufficient amount of milk for the baby.

Avoid a varied diet.

Wrong. Nursing mothers need a healthy and varied diet. Although certain foods, such as cabbage, garlic and onions, can upset a baby's stomach, not every child is equally susceptible to them. We therefore recommend that you aim for a well-balanced diet by taking into account your child’s requirements. You will quickly notice if your child is intolerant to a certain food.

Women should abstain from smoking and consuming alcohol during the time that they breastfeed because doing so passes harmful substances on to the child through the breast milk.

Complete ban on sport

Wrong. The claim that women who do sport produce sour milk is entirely fictitious. But be sure not to overdo it because it may affect the taste of the milk slightly. Light sporting activities are not only desirable, they are even recommended by Health Promotion Switzerland. Ideally you should do 2.5 hours of fitness training at moderate intensity spread out over several days during the week.

Women who breastfeed can get pregnant

Correct. Although a woman's hormones are in flux during the months in which she breastfeeds, a pregnancy is nevertheless possible without contraception.

Bottled milk for sleeping through

Wrong. Bottled milk is more difficult to digest than breast milk, something that has led to the assumption that babies who are bottle-fed will sleep longer. Fact is, however, that the baby's sleeping rhythm is related not to diet but to the development of the brain.

If you have any questions about feeding and caring for your baby, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.