It takes an e-village
MetadataShow full item record
Breastfeeding is the most preferred source of infant nutrition, as recommended by national and international health organizations. The national rates of ever breastfed and exclusively breastfed infants through three months exceeds the goals established by Healthy People 2020. The rates of breastfeeding among African American mothers, however, falls significantly below the national average. Multiple factors including, the lack of breastfeeding support influence breastfeeding decisions among mothers. The decrease in breastfeeding among African American mothers at six months post-partum suggests that this population would benefit from targeted breastfeeding support efforts. Social media, and particularly social network sites like Facebook, are increasingly being used by mothers to exchange social support. However, few studies exist to examine social media support specifically among breastfeeding mothers. This dissertation examines the experience of Black mothers who participate in Facebook groups for breastfeeding support, their other sources of breastfeeding support, the types of support received through social network sites, and associated breastfeeding outcomes. A mixed-methods study was conducted and included data collected through surveys, focus groups, and through qualitative content analysis. Participants reported varying levels of breastfeeding support within in-person networks and received a combination of informational, esteem, and emotional support through their Facebook groups. The results and findings suggest that Facebook groups may be used to support breastfeeding mothers in overcoming breastfeeding challenges and sustaining breastfeeding overtime. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between breastfeeding support through social networking sites and breastfeeding outcomes.