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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.

sante24 – breastfeeding helpline for mothers
Mothers particularly appreciate getting help for breastfeeding from sante24, the health advice helpline. Those insured with SWICA can call 044 404 86 86 toll-free in order to get expert advice – around the clock, 365 days a year.