Facebook support for breastfeeding mothers: A comparison to offline support and associations with breastfeeding outcomes

Ayanna Robinson, Carolyn Lauckner, Marsha Davis, Jori Hall, Alex Kojo Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: For breastfeeding mothers, online support groups through Facebook may be a more convenient and preferred source for accessing breastfeeding information and support, but few studies exist that examine the use of Facebook groups specifically for breastfeeding support. This study explores the sources of support among users of Facebook breastfeeding support groups and a possible mechanism by which support received on Facebook may translate to behavioral outcomes among breastfeeding mothers. Methods: From July–September 2017 a survey was distributed online to African American mothers (N = 277) who participate in breastfeeding support groups on Facebook. The survey assessed network support from Facebook and other sources of breastfeeding support, perceived breastfeeding norms, breastfeeding self-efficacy and breastfeeding attitudes. Correlations and linear regression analysis were used to examine the relationship between covariates and outcome variables. Results: The average intended breastfeeding duration among participants in this study was 19 months. Participants reported the highest amount of breastfeeding support received from their Facebook support group, in comparison to other sources of support, and Facebook support was significantly correlated with intended breastfeeding duration (p < 0.05). Self-efficacy and breastfeeding attitudes remained significant predictors of intended breastfeeding duration within the final regression model. Conclusions: Breastfeeding support received within Facebook groups may compensate for inadequate support received within mothers’ networks. More research is needed to understand the mechanism through which Facebook support may contribute to prolonged breastfeeding durations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Facebook groups
  • Social media support
  • breastfeeding attitudes
  • breastfeeding self-efficacy
  • online communities
  • peer support groups
  • perceived norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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