Can Social Media Help You Breastfeed?

World Breastfeeding Week happens each year during the first week of August (in Canada it is celebrated during the first week of October). This year, the theme is “Talk to me: Breastfeeding – a 3D experience”. The focus this year is on communication, with an emphasis on the role that digital media can play in protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

Recent statistics show that:

  • 79% of all adults are online
  • 95% of millennials (ages 18-33) are online
  • 86% of generation x (ages 34-45) are online
  • Searching for health information is the 3rd most popular online activity for all Internet users ages 18 and older (after e-mail and search engine use)

These same statistics show us the percentage of people using social networking sites by age group:

  • 83% of millennials (ages 18-33)
  • 62% of generation x (ages 34-45)
  • 50% of younger boomers (ages 46-55),
  • 43% of older boomers (ages 56-64)

From these statistics, it’s easy to see that if we are not reaching out to moms and moms-to-be via social media, we are missing out on a wonderful way to connect with them and provide accurate information and support. For millennials, social networking sites are the fourth most popular online activity. It’s obvious that if we want to reach moms-to-be, and moms with young children who are breastfeeding, social media is the way to go.

I remember as a new mom spending a lot of time online. I was able to find information, get support from others going through the same things as me, and sometimes help others who were looking for support with their own issues. Peer-to-peer support is so important when it comes to breastfeeding. Humans are social creatures by nature, and we are not meant to breastfeed or parent in isolation. In today’s world, social media is one of the ways that many moms are seeking out the support they need.

Along with peer-to-peer support, parents also need accurate, evidenced based information from experts, to help them make informed decisions. This is where we see a gap with social media use. There just are not as many of the older generations (the ones who often have the knowledge and expertise that moms are looking for) using social media. A common reason for this that I have heard among those that I have talked to, is not seeing the value of social media. “How can you help someone in 140 characters?” was something I heard once when talking about Twitter, and I know many people feel the same about other forms of social media.

So, in light of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, I wanted to collect stories from those people who have been impacted by social media (for better or worse) during their breastfeeding journey. Has social media been a source of information or support for you? How did/does it impact your breastfeeding? Have you found help through social media with problems that you were having? Where did you find that support? Are there any drawbacks you’ve found to using social media as a source of information/support? Please tell me your story by posting in the comments, e-mail me at or let me know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.

I look forward to hearing from you!





  1. Hi Fleur,
    I have 4 children and live in the Netherlands. All the expenses you make on bf (courses, help, materials etc) are for your own account. Why? I still do not understand as we all agree that bf is the best start for our children.
    Anyway, I couldn’t and still can’t afford the help I really need. And here comes Twitter along..Thank God for Twitter!! I have had so much help from IBCLC, nutrionists, moms etc. I’m feeling more confident than with the other three. Even the bf is ‘flowing’ better! All thanks to social media!

  2. I’m commenting as someone who helps mothers with breastfeeding through social media. I have answered many questions on Facebook, especially on the La Leche League group, and found that breastfeeding women are very generous with their encouragement and support of each other. While I try to connect women to local resources, they universally are grateful for the support they get on line.

  3. I am on Livejournal and when I was pregnant with my first child, my son, I became a member of the community “breastfeeding” there. I had no idea there was so much to know, so much that I didn’t already know, until I started reading peoples’ stories and questions. I read every single question and every single answer to the questions, and I read every story, every concern, every boast (of how long women had been breastfeeding). I became well-versed in common issues and how to address them. I became familiar with since it was a commonly suggested resource. I became aware of Dr Hale’s book regarding medication’s compatibility with breastfeeding. I learned tips and tricks for avoiding or curing thrush.

    I asked for and was assigned a mentor to check in with me and help me online with any questions I might have. I didn’t end up needing very much of her help but it was nice to know that she was there. I ended up becoming a mentor for a couple other women as well, later (for a while, and then I felt like I was too busy with my child to help in such a one-on-one way).

    I am glad to have had the resources I had, since I didn’t have much first-hand (IRL) experience with breastfeeding. I’d only seen one woman breastfeed that I knew of and she didn’t live near me any more when I had my son.

  4. Shannon says:

    I actually learned about The International Breast Milk Project (@givemilk) and other milk banks via twitter. After nursing my son for 18 months, I was still able to make a sizable donation. In addition, I’ve seen many positive reinforcements via Facebook, Tumblr, etc. with nurse-ins, etc. My yoga studio also posted a link on Facebook to, where nursing mothers were asked to comment about break time at work to pump. If it weren’t for social media, these resources would not have been available to me. And even if my immediate friends aren’t as passionate about breast feeding as I am, it’s nice to know that there is a community out there who feel the same way I do.

  5. Social media definitely provided me with significant support during both of my breastfeeding adventures, but especially with my first baby. Anyone who knits or crochets probably uses or has heard about It is so much more than a place to find patterns or post your projects. The Ravelry community is where I found the bulk of my support. I joined several groups: Knitters Who Nurse, Breastfeeding Knitters, New Moms, February 2011 Babies. The ladies in these groups were the people I consulted when I had questions and concerns or just needed to vent. Actually, they are still a part of my daily life! Facebook was also a sanity saver when I was on maternity leave and felt really disconnected from the world. While I didn’t post a lot about my breastfeeding experience on FB, I “like” a number of groups that are very supportive of breastfeeding moms! So yes, social media makes a huge impact on today’s breastfeeding moms.

  6. My breastfeeding journey has been significantly impacted by social media. The beginning was beautiful. I exclusively breastfed and felt comfortable nursing wherever, whenever. Then in May I became ill and went to the ER to see what was going on. Little did I know I would be be admitted to the hospital for most of my summer. I was diagnosed with gallstones which led to pancreatitis and pseudocysts. The cure: not eating or drinking to rest the pancreas. This lasted six days. I had the gall bladder removed and went home with low supply. Then two days later was admitted again. This visit lasted five weeks. Most of this visit I did not eat, was given 1500 calories via IV and then feeding tube. I was so very weak and scared to pump due to the use of calories, but depressed at the thought of losing my breastfeeding relationship that I loved so much. I wasn’t going to mention it online, didn’t want the attention, but I decided to go ahead and I reached out to my La Leche Leagea members via our group’s facebook page. Here I found the encouragement needed during a very difficult time. I’d never pumped (much) before this time, and they gave me great advice to help me along the way. One of my friends then reached out to another group we are a part of, an Attachment Parenting group via I had not met many of the other women belonging to this group so it was overwhelmingly touching when they offered to cook and deliver meals to me once out of the hospital. Today I am writing once again from the hospital. I am able to nurse my daughter still, although not exclusively. The relactation process has been difficult as this is my fourth hospital stay, and of course I am not able to eat or drink once again. Through my LLL group I’ve found a plethora of information on relactating, and was even provided with breast milk to supplement with. HumanMilk4HumanBabies on facebook has been helpful in trying to locate more donor milk. has linked me with other women who are relactating. Although I have all the support I could ask for from my husband, it’s really nice to be connected with other women who encourage me to continue this journey, and also to not beat myself up over not producing enough milk for my baby, who is five months now.

  7. I forgot to mention that I was able to share my milk supply with two other babies that I met through social media.

  8. I have been breastfeeding my son, Ethan, for 13 months now and I give all thanks to social media. I tried to read up about breastfeeding before I gave birth because I didn’t know anyone close to me who breastfed. My mother did but for only a couple weeks and she did not support my decision to breastfeed. Just a couple hours after my son was born we discovered that he was tongue-tied. The first week was spent seeing so many specialist including lactation consultants, pediatrician, occupational therapy, ENT, and a night in the hospital for jaundice. It took me 10 days to convince all the medical professionals that he needed his tongue clipped. He was trying to breastfeed almost constantly and he was very upset because he wasn’t getting milk. Success! At 3 weeks Ethan was diagnosed with acid reflux. Yet again we had another battle to face with trying to keep him upright while breastfeeding. It was near impossible so I started exclusively pumping. I pumped for 10 weeks. During this time I knew nothing about pumping or breastfeeding or being a mom for that matter. I turned to BabyCenter’s forums and the YouTube mommy community. These were real women who face some of the same setbacks. Best of all they had no problem talking about breastfeeding and they provided SUPPORT. After a case of mastitis I decided to give breastfeeding a whirl again and yet again we had success. YouTube moms have taught me so much; I have learned about different positions to use, products to make it easier, and how to leap over obstacles. I consider many of these women friends and I use them as a point of reference for some of my friends in real life. Social media has made me a better mom for various reasons but I truly love the support I get from it.
    I blogged our breastfeeding story about 5 months ago:

  9. Oh Fleur. If it weren’t for Twitter, I would have never met you and would never have had that much needed call at an ungodly hour when my sweet baby Willow was only a few weeks old. After the call, your support throughout my breastfeeding journey has been invaluable.

    It was actually the Internet that made me interested (and so, so, so determined) to breastfeed. Before I had Willow, I began watching YouTube videos and making friends with the mommas on YouTube and nearly ALL of them breastfed their babies. It became something that I was so interested in that I began researching online about the benefits and after that, I knew there was no other way that I wanted to feed my baby.

    Before I had Willow, I found a lactation consultant through Twitter and she came to our house and gave us a breastfeeding class. My husband and I did two hours of breastfeeding 101 so by the time I had Willow, I thought I knew what to do. And I did… sort of. She latched on perfectly, just moments after she was born and I cried tears of joy… here I was, sitting in the hospital bed, super proud and in absolute amazement that I could feed a baby from my own breasts. It was empowering and I thought, “This is easy. This is magical. This is profound.”

    A few days later, still in hospital due to Willow having pretty severe jaundice and nursing her like crazy to try and get as much liquid through her as possible, I cried tears of sadness. Here was my baby girl, not getting from me what she absolutely needed and having to sit under these sunlamps to increase her biliruben levels. In the wee hours of the night, after my mom had left and while my husband caught some sleep, I sat on my computer on Facebook, in my hospital room, reaching out to my friends and my family and my YouTube mommy community to get support.

    Since Willow nursed so frequently, I ended up getting something called “rusty pipe syndrome.” Basically, to put it to you straight, I ended up getting a bloody discharge from my nipple. When the nurse at the hospital looked at it, she grimaced and said, “Oh. I’ll get the lactation consultant.” The LC at the hospital never came to my room so this time, I turned to Google. When I figured out what my nipple was up to, I went back to Twitter/Facebook to see if anyone else had the same thing as me. Turns out someone had and they gave me great advice: don’t nurse off that side for a few feedings and it should harden up and fall off (the remaining bloody discharge). It worked.

    Then it was time to take my baby home and I continued the breastfeeding journey there. Through cracked nipples, the use of a nipple shield, pumping, engorgement, tracking wet/dirty diapers, a very sleepy baby at the breast, long feedings, sleepless nights, etc., I turned to Facebook and Twitter to chat, get support and listen to other momma’s stories.

    The other community that was so invaluable to me at the time (and still is!) was the YouTube community. I would make videos about our breastfeeding journey and I would ask questions, get advice and share my own findings with the moms in that community. I don’t think I would have got through those first few weeks of breastfeeding if it weren’t for all of the Internet support I had.

    You see, in my circle of family and friends, I had only seen (barely) two or three people breastfeeding. I’m not talking about get-up-close-and-learn kind of breastfeeding. I’m talking about the divert-my-eyes-because-it-might-seem-strange-to-stare kind of breastfeeding. My mom couldn’t breastfeed my sister or I, my mother-in-law didn’t either so I couldn’t ask them for support either.

    So, to close this crazy long comment, yes, the Internet was my rock (besides my husband who was absolutely amazingly supportive through everything) and I don’t think I would have made it through if it wasn’t for social media.

  10. If it wasn’t for twitter I really do not think I would have made it this far with my daughter and I’s breastfeeding relationship. I am the only person in my circle of family/friends to have breastfed and my first 2 attempts ended in formula feeding. I felt defeated but I feel like I have a good chance, though it’s a work in progress, at meeting our goals this time because I know no matter what time of day, no matter the day, I always have somewhere to turn for help.

  11. I actually didn’t even know that western people still breastfed until I joined social media groups when I was pregnant. I know that sounds absurd, but it is true. I knew almost no one who had babies when I was young, and those that I saw in person and on TV were given bottles. I just literally never thought about it before I was already pregnant!

    I quickly became a lactavist before I even gave birth, and even though I was very educated about it, I still struggled immensely for months with breastfeeding. It was mostly through twitter that I found the support that helped me and kept me going. My doctors sure were no help, I fired a ped for telling me that my son wasn’t getting enough to eat from me at 6days old and needed formula supplement. I didn’t say anything to his face (unfortunately, I’m too non confrontational) but I never saw him again. I totally give credit to all the great breastfeeding moms i’ve met online for giving me the knowledge and courage to do such things!

  12. Kirstin says:

    I am late to parenthood and was very unsure about how I would take to it. I had no expectations, ie wanted to BF, but if I couldn’t, I wasn’t going to be hard on myself. I had a miserable pregnancy so didn’t read a single parenting book or anything online. Getting through each day was hard enough. When Ollie arrived, the maternal instinct kicked in so hard that I didn’t know what hit me. All of a sudden I couldn’t imagine giving my child formula, leaving him to cry or putting him in another room. (These are things I had seen the parents around me do and assumed that this was the ‘norm’) I was lucky that I had no trouble breastfeeding, not that it was easy, but compared to some, I was fortunate. I found online different positions as my letdown was too strong for him and if I had gone to a Dr they would have diagnosed reflux, which it wasn’t (Happen to 2 of my Mum friends) I have also spent the last 6 months researching online (reading Mummy blogs and FB pages, Dr Sears etc) and learned about Natural/Attachment Parenting. I can’t believe I have to write that I had to learn about Natural Parenting!! I would have gone down a path that goes against my instincts if it were not for Social Media as in Australia we are still very behind when it comes to the Natural way. I was shocked to discover this. I want to get the word out to let Mums here know that is ok to go with what you are feeling. Don’t feel guilty for holding your baby, picking her up when she cries and feeding on demand not according to a routine. I am a very proud breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, BLWeaning Mum of a 6 month old

  13. Veronica says:

    I am still breastfeeding my 6 month old son, and while I have not felt the need to reach out for advice or help with any questions or concerns, I feel emotionally supported simply knowing that on-line breastfeeding communities exist. There is a distinction between more public forums and breastfeeding communities to be made. I distinctly recall being very upset after reading the comments on an article about breastfeeding in public. Most of the comments were written by people clearly outside of the breastfeeding community and were very negative. It was so nice to be able to find more supportive forums that don’t think of breastfeeding as a disgusting activity, that are encouraging women to breastfeed. I think the largest areas for improvement are education in general, with as much accurate information as possible.

  14. I talked about it a lot in this blog post: I have no doubt that the internet saved my breastfeeding relationship. After all, I didn’t know anyone “in real life” that had breastfed. I was the first person I ever saw do it.

  15. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Twitter and Facebook helped me with breastfeeding. I am currently nursing my son, who will be 1 year old on August 13th. This is quite an accomplishment for me. He is my 4th child. With my other 3 daughters, I never made it past about 3 months when it came to breastfeeding them. I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t have anything to do with social networking at that time, and didn’t even know who to turn to for help. I couldn’t keep my supply up and didn’t know the first thing about fixing it. It (oddly) never even occurred to me to consult a lactation consultant or a hospital for help. The only contact I had with someone like that was when they came in my hospital room during the 2 day stay after I had the babies and asked me if I had any questions, which I didn’t at the time. I didn’t know WHAT to ask. By the time I started struggling with my supply taking a nosedive, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Boy, do I wish I had Twitter back then!! When my supply issues returned with my son, I almost lost that supply again. I turned to Twitter and Facebook for help and with the contact and support and encouragement from SEVERAL IBCLCs, help from other nursing moms, and over 3 months of hard work and dedication, I FINALLY made it back to giving him about 99% breastmilk and only a rare occasion of having to give formula. I still don’t have enough to be able to supply him with breastmilk every time k am away from him but I’ll take that over exclusively formula feeding ANY day. This whole situation has really made me think about how I can now encourage other moms that are having breastfeeding issues like I did. Sometime in the soon to be future, I will become an IBCLC myself to educate the world about breastfeeding and help those who didn’t think they could make it.

  16. EcoMomical says:

    I struggled with thrush after the birth of my daughter. If I had not been for support and real-time information from professionals and moms I found on Twitter using the #breastfeeding hashtag, I probably would have given up, despite my very strong desire to breastfeed and one-on-one work with my local lactation consultant. Breastfeeding started out fine, but once we passed thrush back and forth, everything became so hard. I had read numerous books on the subject, but the human interaction provided via social media made such a huge difference for me. Even though I ended up pumping almost exclusively, I still was able to do that and nurse in the mornings for 15 months. As far as I am concerned, I went above and beyond my initial breastfeeding goals thanks to social media. Now that I am pregnant again, I am preparing myself for any nursing pitfalls by finding IBCLC’s online so that I know who to tweet if I have questions. The only drawback to online support is the overwhelming amount of mis-information out there. I like knowing and very much appreciate that there are licensed and/or certified professionals out there who are willing to help. Anyone who says social media is irrelevant is not using it correctly to meet their needs.

  17. I absolutely believe in the value of social media, and on-line support in general. When I was breastfeeding my first child, we were having issues with her choking and gasping when my milk would let down. It was through an on-line forum that other moms told me I probably had overactive letdown and oversupply, pointed me to, and helped me work out my supply. I’ve loved the support with each one of my children. Now, nursing my fourth child, we are encountering sensitivities to dairy. I’ve been so thankful for the encouragement and support of moms and lactation consultants on Twitter who have not only encouraged me to keep going, but given me tips and pointed me toward helpful resources.

    I talked a lot about the great support the on-line community has been to me on my parenting journey here:



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