Breastfeeding Tips in Geneva

I am a first-time mother living in Geneva – I knew I wanted to breastfeed but did not really know how long for. I had a wonderful pregnancy, but far from the birth I had hoped for – I breastfed for 16 months (I went back to work following mat leave), and although I had many issues (several serious mastitis), I’m not quite sure why it never occurred to me to stop. I later realized that I think personally this was key to reconnecting with my baby and slowly making peace with my delivery. Here are a few things I learned and found out along the way that may be helpful to other mothers in Geneva.

  1. Although the midwife following your postpartum will be able to help you with all things breastfeeding, not all midwives are specialized in breastfeeding – the Arcade des Sage femmes offer breastfeeding help, with free drop-ins and sessions. There are other perinatal centers in Geneva but I am not familiar with them.
  2. There is the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) consultants in Geneva! 
  3. HUG maternity has a consultation morning – I found this a bit hit and miss depending on who you see. However it can be helpful if you feel something is not right, so you can be referred quickly if need be to the “Centre du Sein” (but if you are really ill, then you should head to emergencies).
  4. I was blown away by the effect that an acupuncture session with Sophie Pernet, a midwife with a very particular training had on my recurring mastitis.
  5. La Leche League Suisse Romande has many meetings/ virtual meets (in many languages!) in Geneva – it’s nice to be able to talk to other mothers who may be in the same boat as you!
  6. If you feel something is not right, trust your body and seek help quickly as this is the best way to overcome any issues – don’t suffer in silence!
  7. Lamal (basic) insurance covers 100% of 3 breastfeeding appointments within 12 months of the baby’s birth, by a midwife, dr, or lactation consultant of your choice.
  8. Diet is super important to milk quality – omega3 rich foods, amongst others, are highly recommended. This is not the time to count your calories. Although your body will make the best quality milk with what it has, the quality and nutritional composition of your milk are reflected by your diet. The better you eat, the better your milk (and your health too!).
  9. Sore nipples are the worst. Breastmilk and air drying help, and I found this balm by Nessa Organics amazing – a little pricey but worth it, and you can also use it on baby’s dry skin (or as a lip balm).
  10. Lamal insurance will also cover the majority of the rental fee during some time, or a portion of the purchase fee of a milk pump (check details with your insurance).
  11. The law is on your side if you are still breastfeeding when you go back to work! You are entitled to paid time during your workday to pump/ breastfeed for a year. Many restrictions can make it hard for employers to make space for you to pump/ breastfeed at work (I was pumping in our conference room with a post-it on the door), but it’s important that there is a dialogue and you have the time/ space you need.
  12. Babies sometimes feed all the time! Mamamap is a nice tool if you want to find a little space to breastfeed while out.
  13. Breastfeeding during the Coronavirus pandemic – GIFA has some official information, as well as an overview of many breastfeeding resources in Geneva


The choice/ need to breastfeed or bottle-feed is so personal. In the end, no mother should be judged or feel guilty about their experience, as long as the mother and her baby are happy. Fed is Best.

Isotta Zelenka

Mother of 1 child, 2 years old, in Geneva since 2011.
Member of MotherStories since 2019.

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