A mom snuggles with her newborn baby in bed.

Breastfeeding and lactation support

Expert breastfeeding and lactation support in Minnesota and western Wisconsin

For those who choose to breastfeed or produce milk for their child, so much about their lactation experience is unique – from baby’s first latch to the final pumping session. But one thing that’s the same for everyone is the need for encouragement and support throughout their lactation journey.

At HealthPartners hospitals and clinics, our breastfeeding and lactation experts can provide a range of education and support services, whether you’re breastfeeding or chest feeding, pumping, supplementing with donor milk or baby formula, or using a combination of feeding methods.

Common breastfeeding concerns and lactation issues we treat

  • Blocked milk ducts
  • Breast and nipple changes
  • Breast infections such as mastitis or thrush
  • Engorged breasts
  • Blocked milk ducts
  • Difficulty releasing breast milk (poor let-down)
  • Fussy baby due to too much or too little milk
  • Latching problems
  • Low milk supply
  • Pain during breastfeeding or pumping
  • Slow weight gain for baby
  • Sore or cracked nipples
  • Weaning concerns

Our breastfeeding and lactation services

From prenatal lactation education and encouragement during your birth center stay to ongoing support through Lactation Café, we offer a variety of services to help guide you throughout your lactation journey.

Prenatal lactation education and classes

If you’re hoping to produce your own milk for your child, knowing where to find lactation education resources helps you prepare for baby’s arrival. Here are a few of the ways we help you prepare.

  • If you’re receiving prenatal care at HealthPartners or Park Nicollet clinic, you’ll get a preparing for childbirth booklet that includes helpful information on breastfeeding and lactation.
  • Our myHealthyPregnancy app offers a range of helpful resources throughout your pregnancy and after baby arrives – including breastfeeding help.
  • If you’re planning on delivering at one of our family birth centers locations, all offer resources to find virtual or in-person childbirth classes.

Postpartum breastfeeding and lactation support during your birth center stay

Once your little one arrives, our lactation consultants and registered nurses work together to care for you and your baby during your birth center stay. From helping you learn how to latch your baby and comfortably hold baby during nursing sessions, to helping you develop a feeding plan, they’ll give you hands-on care to help you feel confident in how you’re feeding your new baby.

All of our hospitals have baby formula, and most of our birthing centers have donor breast milk for when a baby needs extra supplementation due to a medical reason.

Ongoing breastfeeding help and lactation support for all

No matter how you’re feeding your baby, if you’re producing your own milk, you may need a range of breastfeeding or lactation services to help keep you and your baby healthy.

If you’re breastfeeding a newborn, you may need help with latching your baby. If you’re pumping at all, you might want tips on finding the right flange size to reduce discomfort. If your baby is gaining weight slowly, you may need advice for increasing your supply while also supplementing your baby with donor breast milk or formula. Our lactation consultants can help with all of these needs and more.

Lactation support for transgender parents

If you hope to produce milk for your baby, we can provide expert lactation guidance and breastfeeding or chest feeding help. We can help you create a feeding plan that works for you and your baby, whether that is feeding directly from your breast or chest, pumping and bottle feeding, or using a supplemental nursing system with donor milk, formula or a combination.

Lactation support for adoptive parents and non-birthing partners

Even if you didn’t carry and give birth to your child, it’s still possible to breastfeed or chest feed your baby. Depending on your needs and goals, we can work with you to determine the best approach to help induce lactation.

Choose a location to schedule a lactation appointment

Other breastfeeding and lactation services

Lactation Café

Do you have feeding or lactation questions? Do you want to weigh your baby? Do you want to connect with other parents? You can drop into an in-person or virtual Lactation Café. They’re free and open to everyone.

You’ll be able to weigh your baby, meet with a lactation consultant along with other parents, and get answers to all your feeding questions. Drop-in locations include:

Park Nicollet Clinic Brooklyn Center – Brookdale

6000 Earle Brown Dr., Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Every Tuesday from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Park Nicollet Clinic Plymouth

4155 County Road 101 N., Plymouth, MN 55446
Every Wednesday from 10 to 11:15 a.m.

Park Nicollet Clinic Minneapolis

2001 Blaisdell Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Every Wednesday from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Park Nicollet Clinic and Specialty Center Shakopee

1415 Saint Francis Ave., Shakopee, MN 55379
Every Tuesday from 10 to 11:15 a.m.

Methodist Hospital

6500 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55426 (Signs will direct you to the Lactation Café meeting room)
Every Thursday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Lakeview Hospital

For updated information on the Café session dates and times, visit our Stillwater Baby Café group on Facebook, or email LVlactationconsultants@heatlhpartners.com.

Virtual Lactation Café

Every Tuesday, Methodist Hospital hosts a free virtual lactation café from 2:30-3:15 p.m. for HealthPartners or Park Nicollet patients. There’s no need to schedule ahead of time. Just email methodistlactation@healthpartners.com to be sent a link for the Virtual Lactation Café. All you need to do is put “SEND” in the subject line.

Breast Milk Depot

Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN and Hudson Hospital & Clinic in Hudson, WI are breast milk depots. This program helps parents with an ample supply of breast milk donate their milk to other babies. Donor milk is often used to help nourish babies until the birthing parent’s milk comes in.

To participate, you need to be a registered milk bank donor. You can register by calling the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies at 763-546-8051.

Donor breast milk for purchase

In the first few days after the birth of your baby, you may need to supplement their feedings with either formula or donor breast milk until your own milk supply begins to increase. If you want to use donor milk, you can purchase a limited amount at the Methodist Hospital Health and Care Store.

No appointment is needed – you can just walk in between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. But your doctor or clinician will need to write you a prescription for the purchase. If you have questions, you can leave a voicemail at 952-993-3121. The store is located at 3931 Louisiana S. Ave. in St. Louis Park.

24/7 BabyLine

If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s health, our registered nurses are here to guide you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The BabyLine is open to all HealthPartners and Park Nicollet patients and members.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs )

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and most doctors recommend breastfeeding or producing your own milk if you can. That’s because there are many proven benefits for baby and you. For example, your breast milk is designed to meet all your baby’s nutritional needs and can help provide specific immunities for many illnesses. When it comes to benefits for you, breastfeeding can help you form a close bond with your baby – plus reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Learning to breastfeed your baby takes some time and patience, so try not to be discouraged if things don’t feel natural right away. A common challenge early on can be getting your baby to latch correctly so they can feed efficiently and you’re not in pain. With the help of your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant, you and baby can learn the best positions and techniques that work for you to get a good latch consistently. Other issues your care team can help you with include blocked or clogged milk ducts, engorged breasts, breast and nipple changes, and more.

After your baby is born, the first food your body will begin to produce is called colostrum. Typically, colostrum is produced for about 2-5 days after birth. It contains antibodies and white blood cells that help your baby build a strong immune system. And it’s rich in nutrients that promote growth, making it the perfect food for a newborn.

While it may seem like you’re not producing much colostrum, it’s important to know that your baby’s stomach is only about the size of a peanut M&M when they’re born. So, they can only take little amounts at a time during those first few days.

But it’s also important to know that their tiny stomach needs to be filled up frequently – usually every 2-3 hours. And those frequent feedings – whether you’re nursing or pumping and feeding them by bottle – is what helps your body increase the amount of colostrum you’re producing and transition to more mature milk.

After about 3-4 days, mature milk starts to come in.

Signs that your baby isn’t getting enough breast milk include falling asleep at the breast, still appearing hungry after feeding, and not gaining enough weight. If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, it’s important to contact a doctor and seek help right away.

All of our hospitals and clinics offer breast pumps like models from Spectra or Medela for purchase. But your health insurance may cover all or nearly all of the costs. Just call your insurance provider to check your coverage.

Stick to a pumping schedule. Pumping on a schedule can help maximize your milk supply and prevent clogged ducts. Try to pump at the same times every day around the times baby eats.

Plan where you can pump and store milk at work. Under federal law, employers have to provide a private space for breastfeeding mothers to pump while at work. If you’re not sure where you’ll pump, ask your employer.

Plan to pump twice during a workday. Most breastfeeding moms pump every three to four hours. As you think about your work schedule, remember to block time to pump twice.

Practice pumping before going back to work. It feels different to pump than to nurse your baby. If you haven’t been regularly pumping as part of your feeding plan, practice so you can get used to it and know how much milk you’re likely to express during pumping. Freeze any unused breast milk.

Breastfeed when you’re at home. Whenever possible, skip the bottle when you’re near baby. This helps keep your milk supply stable and helps you bond with baby.

Ask for help. You’re not alone and you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Ask your friends and family for support as you transition back to work. They might help with childcare, household chores or meals.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others. If you’re not sure what your insurance covers, call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: