The benefit of social media support for breastfeeding mothers

How do social media play a role in offering social and emotional support to benefit breastfeeding mothers? Let’s talk about it! New mothers, from the moment their baby is born, face a myriad of challenges. We’re speaking not only about challenges concerning new lifestyle adaptation but also social challenges. This kind of challenge influences their parenting style and -let’s be honest- even influences their peace of mind.

This time we are going to tell you about the specific challenge that is breastfeeding. Even today, such a natural act has practically become a controversial topic.

Nowadays, with the existence of social networks, everyone gives their opinion on any topic openly. When it comes to women and their babies, everyone has something to say about breastfeeding. Today, there has been an increase in breastfeeding rates in the United States.

Can Social Media impact a mother’s decision to breastfeeding?

As we know, breastfeeding is an act that comes from natural origins, if you will, biological knowledge. It responds to an instinct that responds to a basic need: to allow survival. The mother satisfies her baby through breastfeeding, fulfilling his most basic needs for food, nutrition, and affection.

Although this act is natural, certain aspects of this act can be influenced by the social environment, for example, how long the mother will feed her baby. However, this act itself is affected by the culture and the comments of those around the mother. Now is also affected by social media. Thus, public opinion becomes part of a mother’s decision about whether or not to breastfeed her baby.

Social media is more than just a tool to entertain yourself by watching memes. There is much more content shared than just funny videos. Social media is a tool that connects us all. It is a window to different experiences and perceptions that can have a significant impact on our lives.

Social media groups can influence both negatively and positively particular attitudes and actions. 

When mothers get to the Internet searching for guidance or advice, they find many groups of people giving their positive or negative opinion regarding breastfeeding. The same happens when they upload content about it on their own profiles on social networks. Their followers or viewers begin to comment on it. Other mothers can also be found commenting and posting their own experiences in this regard.

On top of it, there is also the fact that individuals with substantial differences participate in social networks. So, the mother is receiving comments from individuals of different cultures, different economic strata, different educational levels, different ages, and, of course, different life histories. All these seemingly simple factors can affect breastfeeding for the mother, especially for new mothers.

So is it wrong to explore social media regarding the practice of breastfeeding?

The fact that mothers look for opinions or advice on breastfeeding on social media is normal behavior. When breastfeeding their baby for the first time, many mothers face their own -and social- expectations on this topic.

For some of them, the act occurs naturally in an efficient manner. But for the vast majority, it is an experience full of uncertainty, insecurity, and of course, inexperience. The experience itself or even the thought of breastfeeding can be overwhelming. This is why the support search is the main reason that makes them come to the Internet world.

The problem comes when the mother prioritizes what she finds on social media over her own experiences, ideas, feelings, and instinct. So, mothers must keep in mind that. That being said, Social networks can play a supporting role for breastfeeding mothers.



How does social media play a role in offering social and emotional support to benefit breastfeeding mothers?

Now, Social Networks can be a tool that benefits mothers seeking support regarding breastfeeding. This can be expected just by considering two main aspects of Social Media: the capacity to connect people and the influence on people’s lives.

People group together due to human social nature. So it is not unusual to find exclusive groups that support the theme of breastfeeding. These are individuals who established shared opinions, practices, and beliefs on this subject. Mothers who have decided to feed their baby naturally through breastfeeding can find groups that promote and accept this idea. In these groups, mothers can feel understood and accompanied, even respected regarding their decision. This is achieved thanks to positive social interactions and the very existence of specific support groups for this topic. Also, to the sense of community that social networks offer. Thanks to the fact that these are structured and designed to achieve this objective.

But this is not the only way that social media can benefit breastfeeding mothers

Although support groups can be very positive for these mothers, some individuals manage to stand out in the networks considerably. They are the so-called Influencers, individuals whose social role is of outstanding importance in social networks.

When one of these individuals provides strong support on their personal networks with recommendations or information, breastfeeding mothers feel supported and visible. Their practice is normalized. This is thanks to the enormous impact that Influences have on the social groups they are reaching.

An Influencer can even affect the mother’s decision to initiate or continue breastfeeding. Even when the mother has received negative opinions or rejection in her close social circle.

However, it is pertinent to understand that the emotional support we find in networks from specific groups or individuals does not necessarily imply adequate or educational information. It is important to remember that health professionals are those who can provide information with investigative support. Both inside and outside of social networks.

Thus, although both are valuable, it is vital to differentiate between educational content and emotional support, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. In any case, a proper health professional is prepared to offer both education and emotional support to breastfeeding mothers.

Finally, let’s keep in mind that the experiences and perceptions that we find on the Internet can benefit our lives as long as they fit our personal and social context. And in the specific case of breastfeeding, the experiences, opinions, and exchange of information between women can be of emotional help as long as they are shared from empathy.

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