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.
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.
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.