Women's Health

Essential lactation tips for nursing parents

Woman sitting in a comfy chair breastfeeding her baby


By Elizabeth Elsagga, DO


Lactation, the process of producing and supplying breast milk to nourish an infant, is a crucial aspect of parenthood. While it’s a natural process, some parents may encounter challenges along the way. To help navigate the world of breastfeeding, here are some essential lactation tips for those who are nursing. For an in-depth overview, please see this handout from The Office on Women’s Health.

Boost milk production

Proper nutrition:
Maintaining a well-balanced diet is fundamental for lactating mothers. Adequate calorie intake, along with a variety of nutrients, supports the production of nutritious breast milk. Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.

Hydration is key
: Staying hydrated is important for breastfeeding. Drink enough to quench your thirst, which may be more than before you were pregnant. Plan to have a bottle of fluids nearby when feeding your baby as the letdown often stimulates the sensation of thirst.

Learn more about breastfeeding support at Nuvance Health.

Bond with baby

Focus on skin to skin and putting the baby to the breast: Keeping the baby close and allowing free access to your milk will signal to your body when to produce milk. Try to feed your baby on demand to maintain milk supply. Keeping the baby skin to skin in between feeds even after leaving the hospital has been shown in research to maintain and support a good supply. The more frequently you breastfeed, the more your body will produce milk.

Ensure a proper latch
: A good latch is essential for effective breastfeeding. Ensure your baby latches onto the breast correctly to prevent discomfort and promote efficient milk transfer. Seek guidance from a lactation consultant if you encounter difficulties achieving a proper latch.

Reduce stress when breastfeeding

Create a comfortable nursing environment: Create a comfortable and relaxing space for breastfeeding. Find a comfortable chair or use pillows for support. Reducing stress and creating a calm environment can positively impact milk letdown and the overall breastfeeding experience.

Perceived low milk supply: Many parents worry about a low supply when they do not have one. The goal is to match the needs of your infant, not to “feed your freezer” in the early days. If you have a delay to your milk “coming in” or have an underlying thyroid, diabetes or endocrine disorder, please reach out to our team of Breastfeeding Medicine providers. Though pumping in between feeds can help, the underlying condition often needs to be addressed with a medical professional.

Self-care when nursing

Take care of your nipples: Nipple care is crucial to prevent soreness and discomfort. Ensure your baby latches onto the entire areola, not just the nipple. Use nipple creams to soothe and moisturize your nipples, especially in the early days of breastfeeding. Drying out the nipple with a hair dryer or salt baths can lead to cracking, so avoid these unnecessary suggestions. Physician’s Guide to Breastfeeding has a lot of good information for patients as well.

Stay informed about medications: Many medications are safe while breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider to ensure any medications you use are safe for you and your baby. Inform healthcare professionals you are breastfeeding to receive appropriate advice. E-lactancia is in both English and Spanish and is a great resource for medications.

Seek support

Join a support group:
Connecting with other breastfeeding parents can provide valuable support and advice. Consider joining a local or online breastfeeding support group to share experiences, ask questions and gain insights from others who are going through similar experiences. La Leche League is active in our area and is a great place to start.


Read more on breastfeeding FAQs from Nuvance Health.

The bottom line:
Breastfeeding is a unique and rewarding experience that comes with its challenges. By following these lactation tips, nursing parents can enhance their breastfeeding journey, ensuring both their well-being and the health of their precious little ones. Remember, each family is unique, so don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if needed.


Speak to Dr. Elsagga and/or make an appointment.


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