Learn to Pump from YouTube??
Learn to pump from YouTube? You can learn a lot from YouTube University just watching videos online. New Little Life founder, Allison, did this recently when she and her husband remodeled their kitchen. They consulted the experts of YouTube quite a bit and realized something. Some of these YouTubers were actually experts and some of them were just random people who had done it once. Others were literally taking you along the journey with them as they did it for the very first time. Allison said it was really interesting to see the variety of content that you could find for free. She thought, was that really the best way to do it, or is that the way they just decided to do it and it happened to work? This got her thinking, can you learn to pump and use a breast pump from watching free videos on YouTube??
(This post was originally a video. Check it out, here!)
Can You Learn To Pump from YouTube??
Let’s talk about it!
First, there are a couple of things you need to understand about YouTube. (You probably already know these things but we do need to just bring them up because they’re important!) Literally anybody can upload a video to YouTube and say just about anything they want. There are some guidelines on content, like you can’t do illegal stuff. They do limit what you can say about the pandemic, for example, and there’s a few other restricted topics.
Otherwise, you could literally say anything you want, upload it, and people can watch. YouTube doesn’t fact check the content. They just want viewers. So, if you say something outrageous or call yourself an expert and people your videos, YouTube likes that. They will show that to more people whether or not it’s true or accurate. If you see something on YouTube that seems too good to be true, it might actually be too good to be true.
Anybody Can Say Whatever They Want
For instance, doing research for this post, we Googled info on milk supply. There was some outrageous stuff there! Just one search got lots of content for this topic. There was a video that said “I quadrupled my milk supply in four days! Secrets to increasing milk supply fast!”
Quadrupled her milk supply in four days? That’s what she said. But could it really be true? Watching the whole video, which has 1 million views, revealed that her claim was nonsense. It’s cool that she was able to increase her milk supply that quickly! But, she actually was coming off of a large milk supply, it had only dipped a little and then she got it back and called it quadrupling. She claimed it was all because of Special K cereal and power pumping. We’re happy that worked for her, but that is not realistic, and she is not an expert in pumping, right?
No Access to an Expert
Next, YouTube videos are free content designed to help you. But, YouTube is not going to give you everything you need to meet your breastfeeding goals and pump in the best way. You might be able to piece it all together and figure it out. However, when you’re watching free videos, you have no access to an expert. You do not have anyone there to help you with your unique situation.
YouTube is designed for general information. If you’re looking at how to pump more milk, that’s great. But are you an exclusive pumper or are you a stay-at-home mom? Are you a working mother? Do you have some underlying conditions that make it difficult to make a full supply in the beginning? A general video on increasing milk supply may not be what you’re looking for! And, you’re going to have to watch a lot a lot of content to be able to piece together something. Do you want to spend time through trial and error or talking to an actual expert? You’ll save a lot of time and hassle by joining something like our Pumping for Working Moms Program where you get access to our courses, one-on-one time with IBCLC Allison, and individualized support.
What Worked for One Doesn’t Work for All
Then, another thing to remember about YouTube is just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. One case study does not mean that this is how it is. Because this woman ate oatmeal for breakfast every day for a month and her supply was fantastic does NOT mean that the correlation and causation there are appropriate.
Helpful Info to Learn to Pump from YouTube
There are some really good basic principles that you can find for free:
- Supply and demand. That’s kind of universal and and gonna work in a generally same way for most people.
- A general timeline for milk expression. If you’re not expressing milk either by feeding or pumping you’re not going to continue to make milk
- Flange sizing. There’s a lot of questions about that but it’s not like rocket science. You can figure it out.
If you start to learn something by watching videos on YouTube, you sometimes realize you don’t even know what you don’t know. Listening to other people’s experiences, trying to find experts and doing a little research can help you narrow down what information you need and what help might be best for you.
There’s also some paid courses that you can take from YouTube. Topics like “Pumping 101,” “Pumping Basics,” etc. Pumping courses like this are usually pretty general. So what do you do if you need something more specific to your needs? Some of these different situations might be:
- You plan to exclusively pump
- You are a stay at home mom not pumping a lot
- You’re a working mom combining breastfeeding and pumping half and half
Now, all of these different scenarios have different recommendations. So if you take a course just on general pumping, that will probably give you some really good base knowledge on where to start, but it will not help you meet your specific goals.
Try finding content that is very specific to your situation. Make sure that you’re getting the right recommendations for your scenario.
When Should You Start to Learn to Pump from YouTube?
Looking at a course, or watching YouTube, either on pumping or breastfeeding while you’re still pregnant, especially if you’re a first-time mom, is a good idea. But, it is kind of like learning to ride a bike before you actually have a bike. It’s a good idea to be prepared, at least you’ve seen a bike before you’ve seen someone else ride it, you know what it looks like and how to use it. So once your baby gets here you can actually get on that bike and practice the skills you need to make it work.
However, imagine if you were given a bike and you had never seen one before. If you had never seen anyone ride it, what would you even do? Do you sit or do you stand? How does it work? Why won’t it balance? The analogy goes on and on. But do you see what we mean? It’s still good to learn about breastfeeding and pumping before you do it, even if you won’t fully understand what to do until you do it.
Reach Out to a Lactation Consultant
Another good place to find information about pumping is from lactation consultants. Naturally, if you have questions about lactating you should see a lactation consultant, right? This does get a little bit tricky, though, because lactation consultants get no formal training in pumping. Lactation consultants are breastfeeding experts, not pumping experts.
New Little Life founder Allison is a lactation consultant and she doesn’t remember being taught anything about pumping.
As lactation consultants, we did get a little bit of information about bottle feeding but even that was scarce. We were really experts in breastfeeding. Lactation consultants know a lot about milk supply, how to feed babies, and a lot about the lactation basics. A lot of this information can be applied to pumping, but as a lactation consultant I really had to learn how to pump on my own by personal experience and/or through experience in my professional practice.Allison Tolman, IBCLC and founder of New Little Life
Ask your local lactation consultant or whoever you’ll be working with what their experience is in helping pumping moms. Hopefully, they are honest in both their experience and their limitations around the subject.
Lactation Consultants Aren’t Perfect
Unfortunately, there are stories of women who saw lactation consultants that gave them some pumping advice and the mother knew it was not correct. Then, these moms lost all trust in their lactation consultants and discredited most of the other things that they said. This is unfortunate because the lactation consultant probably was really knowledgeable about breastfeeding and just a little bit out of their wheelhouse in the pumping arena.
Lactation consultants tend to get comfortable in the things that they do most often. For example, Allison is most comfortable in helping mothers combine breastfeeding and pumping, especially those who are going back to work. But, if you come to her with a complex tongue-tie issue or a food allergy situation, she would only know the basics.
Instead, she would point you in the direction of an expert. They would be able to help you more effectively than she would because her wheelhouse really is helping working moms combine breastfeeding and pumping, and not tongue-ties or food allergies, etc.
Find a Lactation Consultant to Fit Your Specific Needs
Ask your lactation consultant what they’re most comfortable with. If they they work mostly with NICU moms, they’re usually very good at initiating that milk supply right off the bat and getting pumping started off. But pumping long term, they probably don’t do a lot. If you have a someone who works at a WIC office, they’re going to have a more specific set of skills based on the population that they see a lot so take that into consideration when you’re looking for a lactation consultant to help you with pumping. Find a lactation consultant that does what you want and what you need.
Don’t Only Learn to Pump from YouTube, Try Our Program!
Remember, that receiving help virtually can be really beneficial, too! New Little Life has an entirely virtual program called Pumping for Working Moms. It is designed for those who are combining breastfeeding and pumping. So, if that’s you and you want to learn more about that, join our program! You have easy access to an expert. The program is very specific with focused content from someone who specializes in exactly what you do.
YouTube Helps You Learn the Basics
You can find a lot of good information on YouTube but you are going to have to sift through that and piece it together on your own. YouTube is good at sharing basic important things like flange sizing, making a pumping schedule, etc.
This info is good in helping you prepare. You need reviews from users and moms who are actively in the trenches using these pumps and figuring this stuff out. That’s really helpful!
An online course where you can go back and refresh content when you have questions and need to is really helpful. Having a lactation consultant, someone to ask when you have a question, is super valuable. We kind of need little bits and pieces of all of these things to be successful.
The Pumping for Working Moms Program Meets Your Specific Needs
But if you have more specific questions about your individual situation, YouTube won’t be able to help with that since what worked for one person may not work for you. This is the tricky thing when we’re using YouTube to meet our goals. You just have to be careful who you’re listening to. Do they know what they’re talking about? Do they have the experience to back it up? Is this information specific to you?
In conclusion, YouTube has a place and New Little Life is going to keep making free content for you on YouTube to help you and to help you get to your goals. But, realize that YouTube is for a wider audience.
If you want more in-depth personalized experience, if you want to actually talk to Allison one-on-one, she lives in inside her program with her members! Join the Pumping for Working Moms Program for specific advice, and let Allison do the heavy lifting of sorting through what information you need.