8 YouTube Videos That Make Breastfeeding So Much Easier

Photo: Getty Images.
There's a YouTube tutorial for pretty much anything — whether you want to practice yoga poses or fix a broken freezer, you can learn it online. Sometimes there's just no better way to master a new skill or solve a problem than watching a demonstration in real time. That's why people spend the big bucks on lactation consultants who make house calls.
But hold the phone before calling in the pricey professionals. It turns out there are millions of breastfeeding videos on YouTube, some by qualified doctors or international board-certified lactation consultants, and others by random people willing to vlog about their own struggles and share in your pain.
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Everyone has an opinion when it comes to breastfeeding, and everyone has a different experience with it, so it can be both comforting and empowering to learn more about it via an outside source — who can't talk back. "Breastfeeding is one of those things that people's issues can certainly vary," says Blair Hammond, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Mount Sinai Pediatrics. "What I say is, get as many opinions as you can — ask a lactation consultant, ask your friends and family, figure out what your issues are, and find the answers that work for you."
Indeed, there are trained lactation consultants whose job it is to help you learn how to breastfeed. "One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act was that women need to have access to breastfeeding support free of charge," Dr. Thomas says. "You really shouldn't have to figure it out on your own, so know what your rights are, and what your insurance will cover."
That said, you're probably googling all your breastfeeding quandaries before even seeking professional help; there's just something urgent-feeling about breastfeeding questions that makes answering them on your own, instantaneously, so satisfying. A video can be an easy way to crack an issue right open, or just find some emotional support. "I've used YouTube videos to be a source of encouragement for patients, like a, You can do it, kind of thing," says Jennifer Thomas, MD, IBCLC, a pediatrician and member of the executive board on breastfeeding for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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Whatever the source of your nipple confusion, the videos ahead could hold the answer.
World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 this year, and the entire month of August is devoted to breastfeeding awareness. For more coverage on nursing, pumping, or choosing not to do either, head over to our Mothership page.
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Baby-Led Latch
Birth-class lore has it that babies can find a nipple and suckle onto it, unassisted, mere moments after being born. If you're wondering how?! then get thee to YouTube. Dr. Thomas says she often refers people to this video of a baby self-attaching. "The baby starts off on mom's chest and without any assistance gets over and latches. When the baby gets onto the nipple, the whole village erupts in cheering." The actual video quality isn't stellar, but Dr. Thomas says it's a great example of a breast crawl or baby-led latch.
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Identifying Tongue Tie
There are good videos about tongue tie, which is a condition that happens when tissue underneath a baby's tongue gets stuck to the floor of the mouth, and it can cause a lot of pain when you're breastfeeding, Dr. Hammond says. "It's quite obvious when the baby tries to stick out the tongue, and often it will become heart-shaped and almost forked when it's out," she says. When you lift the baby's tongue up, you should be able to see the membrane, and doctors can easily spot it. But if you're not sure what you're looking for, this video may help.
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Cross-Cradle Latching Position
Breastfeeding positions aren't always the most intuitive to learn, so videos can certainly be helpful to figure out what you're supposed to be doing, Dr. Hammond says. In this video, a board-certified lactation consultant shows how to do the cross-cradle latching position, a new-mom go-to, step by step.
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Paced Bottle Feeding
Learning how to give a breastfed baby a bottle is a science (and kind of a mystery!), but paced bottle feeding is one method that works for a lot of families. In this video, a board-certified lactation consultant demos how to give a real (and adorable) baby a bottle.
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Football Hold
Here, a board-certified lactation consultant demonstrates how to do the "football hold," which is another much-talked-about, not-always-intuitive breastfeeding position. She uses a fake breast, but you can use your imagination.
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How To Use A Breast Pump
Most breast pump companies have tutorial videos for how to use their products, which can be hugely helpful. You may be able to get a breast pump for free through your health insurance, but it's still a confusing piece of machinery to figure out when it's the middle of the night your first week home with baby and your breasts feel like they're going to explode. This roundup of tips for using a Medela breast pump is a great place to start.
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How To Use A Nipple Shield
Some people find that wearing a nipple shield, which is just a piece of silicone that covers the nipple, can be helpful, whether latching is painful, or their baby's having trouble getting on the nipple in the first place. In this video, a board-certified lactation consultant explains what nipple shields are, who might benefit from them, and how to use one when breastfeeding.
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Hand Expression
Hand expression is a great way to pump milk in, um, a pinch. And like much of breastfeeding, it can be tricky to figure out on your own. Dr. Hammond recommends a video from Stanford University on the subject, but this one from Unicef does the trick, too.
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