Bd de la Cluse 30
1205 Genève

Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
Médecin-cheffe de service

Breastfeeding on demand is recommended for all babies. The timing and frequency of feeds vary from one infant to another. During the first 4 to 5 months, your baby will double in weight. The baby should drink according to its needs. Your milk production will adapt to your baby’s appetite.

The first days

During the first days, we suggest you keep your baby with you in your bedroom, because the waking periods are short and rare. If the baby does not try to suckle, place it on your chest. Your body odor will stimulate the baby. You can also manually extract colostrum (liquid before the flow of milk) from your breast. At least at the beginning, give the baby the breast as soon as it shows signs of awakening and before the baby cries.

By the time breastfeeding sets in, a baby needs to suckle frequently, including at night. At this stage, there is no need to respect a fixed interval between meals. A feed may last between 10 to 45 minutes. Keep in mind that the duration and frequency of feeding during the day differs from baby to baby. Leave the baby on the breast as long as it continues to suckle effectively. When the suckling movements are weak or ineffective, it means that the baby is no longer drinking.

The night

The sleep cycles of the newborn are anarchic and take several months to settle down. In addition, the baby’s stomach is small, and breast milk is very digestible. During the first few months, your baby wakes up during the night to suckle because it is hungry.


Breastfeeding requires a little training. You gradually learn to decode the signs of awakening and hunger of your baby and to adopt the most comfortable position. Detailed information can be found on the internet explaining the suckling procedure, the criteria for efficient suckling and optimum breastfeeding, the manual expression of milk or breast and aureole massage : Breastfeeding consultations.

Our breastfeeding consultants are available to guide and reassure you : : +41(0)22 372 44 00

Tips for night-time feeding or bottle feeding:

  • Put the baby’s bed in your bedroom
  • Breastfeed or bottle feed while lying down
  • Avoid turning on the light and only change the diaper if necessary, try to keep pace with your baby by resting during the day

Tips for successful breastfeeding

  • Breastfeed on demand, not according to a fixed schedule.
  • Do not limit the frequency or duration of breastfeeding, let your baby guide you.
  • Watch for signs of awakening.
  • Avoid giving the baby a pacifier before starting breastfeeding. Breastfeed only, without the supplement of bottle-fed infant formula.
  • Share your experience with other people who have had a positive experience with breastfeeding.
  • Contact breastfeeding support networks.
  • Listen to yourself, keep your common sense and trust yourself.

Growth spurts

These occur approximately every three weeks and last 2 to 3 days. During certain periods, your baby suckles more often than usual. Your breasts naturally produce more milk to meet the increased need.

Stool and breat milk

After the first month, the stools of breastfed babies are sometimes less frequent than those of bottle-fed babies. Some may even have no stools for several days. This is a normal phenomenon. It is due to the composition of breast milk, which babies can fully absorb. If the baby suckles well, continues to gain weight, has wind, urinates 5 to 6 times a day and behaves normally, there is no need to worry.


Many babies spit out milk after a meal. Regurgitations may be abundant, but they are most often temporary and not serious. To limit such occurrences, keep your child upright for a few minutes after breast or bottle-feeding and do not fix the diaper too tightly. If the baby puts on little weight, has less appetite, sleeps badly and wakes up suddenly crying, consult your pediatrician.

The difficulties of breastfeeding

Difficulties in starting breastfeeding – such as nipple sensitivity, pain, cracks or congestion – are common. The midwifery team is available to assist you in this process.

The brochure Allaiter pour bien démarrer dans la vie (Breastfeeding for a good start in life), will be given to you on leaving the Maternity.

What are the reassuring signs ?

  • Your baby wakes up spontaneously and often to suckle.
  • It suckles effectively 8 to 12 times a day during the first days of life. Swallowing is frequent and regular.
  • At the end of feeding, the baby is calm and relaxed.
  • Around the 5th day of life, the baby has at least 3 stools (yellow and granular) a day and urinates 5 to 6 times a day.
  • The baby slowly regains weight and recovers its birth weight in 10 to 15 days.

What signs do you need to pay attention to ?

  • Feeding is rare (less than 5 to 6 per day) during the first stages of breastfeeding.
  • Swallowing is rare.
  • Your baby is crying all the time.
  • Stools are rare in the first month. The baby urinates little (less than 4 times a day).
  • Your baby is not gaining weight. Your baby sleeps all the time or sleeps badly.

In such cases, consult your pediatrician.

You are sick

Do you have a temperature, a cold, the flu or gastroenteritis? You can continue to breastfeed. Consult your doctor and do not take any medication without medical advice from a doctor or pharmacist. Common diseases, treatment or medical intervention must not mean stopping breastfeeding. Each situation should be evaluated with a breastfeeding professional (midwife, gynecologist, pediatrician or lactation consultant).

Your baby is sick

It is strongly recommended to breastfeed your baby, even if it is ill because of the antibodies present in the breast milk. If your child is hospitalized, the general pediatric lactation consultants will give you all the information you need to continue breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and work

Your maternity leave ends. Two solutions are available to you. If you want to continue breastfeeding your baby, contact your midwife or lactation consultant three weeks before you return to work. Ask your employer about the measures offered by your company to promote breastfeeding. Finally, be aware that a Swiss federal law protects women who breastfeed their children. You can also choose to stop breastfeeding. Your midwife will tell you about the transition to infant formula.

For further information :

L’Organisation mondiale de la santé The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding only until six months of age. Beyond that, it should be supplemented by a varied diet. It may also be that, for professional or personal reasons, you decide to end breastfeeding before 6 months. Progressive weaning is recommended to prevent breast pain and getting your baby used to bottle feeding.


Last update : 09/08/2022