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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UMiami: Breastfeeding Mothers Use Online Forum to Solicit and Provide Information From Each Other, Study Finds

A study recently found that women are using an online support group where they are seeking logistical information on how to successfully breastfeed, as well as sharing their own knowledge and experience. Babycenter.com – a parenting website with widespread users – hosts a breastfeeding support and help community with over 140,000 users and more than one million conversation threads. The purpose of the study, which was co-authored by public health researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences and published in the Wiley Online Library, was to understand the information seeking and sharing of its users.

From Babycenter.com’s breastfeeding support forum, researchers extracted 258 original posts and their 1,445 corresponding comments over a 10-day period in August 2017. To analyze the posts and their corresponding comments, researchers conducted content analyses in two phases – one to classify original posts, such as information seeking, and the other to classify corresponding comments, such as information sharing.

Researchers coded the posts into 15 categories that were reflective of the types of information users were seeking and randomly selected 45 conversations threads across the most popular categories to further understand how users were sharing information.

Users sought information mostly on feeding challenges, supply issues, feeding schedule and duration, pumping, physical health, excretion issues, storing milk, nipple issues, and general breastfeeding questions.

The results of this study present an important resource for breastfeeding mothers and may be an important component for future mothers who want to breastfeed. It may also be an important component of future breastfeeding interventions.

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