Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss Academic Article uri icon


  • ISSUE ADDRESSED:There is little research on how the establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding and other early parenting skills is assisted by the use of electronic peer support groups. In what ways do parents use a popular peer-moderated online resource and what topics do they choose to discuss? The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the main uses of an electronic discussion board hosted by a prominent Australian lay breastfeeding advocacy organisation. METHODS:Three consecutive days of conversations on the discussion board were followed. Using content analysis, the messages were coded and analysed statistically for the ways the board was used and which topics were and were not present. RESULTS:The discussion board almost universally gave emotional support to the participants and most users expressed their emotions in their messages. The giving of factual advice or opinions was a much less frequent use of the discussion board as was the clear seeking of emotional support and general facts or advice. The range of topics discussed was dominated by general parenting followed by various breastfeeding topics as well as much discussion related to general social support. CONCLUSIONS:The lay-moderated discussion board can be a worthwhile resource for parents in need of reassurance, information or general social support. It may also be useful to expand the amount of breastfeeding and parenting information available on the organisation's main website.

publication date

  • 2011