Marcus Tudgay took just five minutes to end the goalscoring drought that has seen Steve Cotterill's side sink into the relegation zone and the Forest boss's assertion that his men have been playing well without getting the breaks was borne out by the confident display that followed.
McCleary's made it 2-0 before Tudgay eased the nerves with his second following Leadbitter's penalty for the home side.
The Reds remain in the drop zone but having closed the gap on a number of teams above them, Ipswich included, and crucially having stopped the rot in style ahead of a break in Championship action ahead of FA Cup weekend.
"If we can go on a good run, we'll comfortably get ourselves out of this," was Cotterill's verdict afterwards.
"I thought it was deserved today. We've probably played better and lost in the last few weeks, but there hasn't been a lot wrong and the goals we scored today were outstanding.
"And we did it today without nine players who would normally be in our 16."