I've breastfed two kids, and both times came with their own set of struggles and challenges. I spent hours Googling and perusing message boards and blogs for help, but yet it never dawned on me to check out YouTube for advice and instruction. (Even though I watched like, 100 videos of women in tubs giving birth because why not!?)
Turns out there are a ton of breastfeeding videos on YouTube, as well as women dedicating their channels solely to breastfeeding videos and advocacy. Some are helpful, some are just up there for shock value, and some are downright weird. Almost all of them are proud advocates of extended, longterm breastfeeding and have the videos to prove it. In watching a bunch of them I've noticed a few things: There's a core group of outspoken breastfeeders leading the pack on YouTube (listed below), their videos are incredibly popular and get upwards of millions of views, and often they've disabled the comments - or spoken out against them - because they're graphic and sexual. Sigh.
Watching these videos also brought up something for me: that even after breastfeeding two kids of my own, I felt weirdly uncomfortable watching a lot of them. Intellectually I think it's awesome that YouTube is home to women hand-expressing breastmilk and nursing on camera in the most realistic, human way possible. In a world where women are still asked to stop breastfeeding in public, these videos are, overall, incredibly empowering. But I still felt "weird," watching them, which says a lot more about my own hang ups than it does these videos. Perhaps I could benefit from more videos like these.
Mama Cabbage was the first breastfeeding YouTuber I came across. This Oregon-based mother of three sons says she "loves to share the beauty of breastfeeding, bonding and pregnancy in her daily videos." She also has this warning to viewers: "If you find anything perverted about any of these breastfeeding/bonding videos, you are a product of the sexualized western culture. In other words, you have a problem, not the mother who is committed to her children's physical, emotional, and spiritual well being."
Mama Cabbage speaks in coos, like a dove-turned-fairy princess. It's slightly disarming, but I'm not sure why, exactly. A lot of her videos are just...breastfeeding. She sweetly talks to her baby (or, in previous videos, toddler sons), chirps like a delicate bird, and shoots close ups of her boobs. It's almost...soothing? Like you're just there in the room with her.
Koalababyxx Angie is a 31-year-old mom from the UK, with four kids and one on the way. Her bio reads: "My videos are mostly promoting Breastfeeding and encouraging other women to be confident with feeding their child whenever and wherever they may need to, without shame or embarrassment." She has awesome, Elsa-like, thick, blond hair.
The most interesting thing about Angie, besides her ability to breastfeed two toddlers at once, is that she speaks candidly about taboo subjects, with videos like this week's 'I Get SEXUALLY AROUSED by breastfeeding my toddler!' and 'Shocking video! Orgasm when Breastfeeding?'
She definitely knows how to promote her videos with juicy headlines, because I clicked on ALL of them eagerly. She also calls breast milk "bittie," which is wonderfully charming in her British accent.
Karen3131 is an enigma. She has one of the most popular breastfeeding videos I could find, with almost 13 million views. In it, she hand expresses to soothing flute music. That's it. It's soothing and strange, like low-fi performance art. Her second and last video is of her in her underwear using a breast pump, and that has over 4 million views. She hasn't made a video since 2008, but had she kept going she'd probably have her own talk show by now.