4. Avoid or limit formula feedings

Formula feedings will reduce your baby's demand for breast milk, which will lower your milk production. To maintain your milk supply, it's important to pump anytime your baby has a feeding of formula or expressed breast milk. Remember, the more you breast-feed your baby or pump while you're apart, the more milk you'll produce. You might also pump extra milk — either after or between breast-feeding sessions — and freeze it for future use.

5. Drink plenty of fluids

Water, juice and milk can help you stay hydrated. Limit soda, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, though. Too much caffeine might lead to irritability or interfere with your baby's sleep. If you choose to have an occasional alcoholic drink, avoid breast-feeding for two hours afterward.

6. Don't smoke

Smoking can reduce your milk supply, as well as change the taste of your milk and interfere with your baby's sleep. Secondhand smoke also is a concern. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as childhood asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections (otitis media). If you smoke, ask your doctor for options to help you quit. In the meantime, avoid smoking just before or during a feeding.

7. Take good care of yourself

Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Sleep when the baby sleeps — and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Also consider your birth control options. Breast-feeding itself isn't a reliable form of birth control, and birth control pills that contain estrogen can interfere with milk production. While you're breast-feeding, you might want to use condoms or other forms of birth control.

Breast-feeding is a commitment, and your efforts to maintain your milk supply are commendable. If you're having trouble maintaining your milk supply or you're concerned that you're not producing enough milk, ask your doctor or lactation consultant for other suggestions.

Apr. 07, 2012 See more In-depth