Research Article

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Exploring Online Breastfeeding Support Groups, Part 1 of 2: Finding a Community of Like-Minded People Helps a Mother to Reach Her Breastfeeding Goals

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Abstract

Background

Facebook groups are becoming frequently used by mothers for support with breastfeeding.

Aim

To explore how breastfeeding mothers make sense of and interpret their experiences of online social support groups, and the perceived impact of group use.

Method

Interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results

This article reports two of four superordinate themes. Online breastfeeding support groups can support an internal vision of what breastfeeding is like and help the mother to regain control when faced with challenges. They can provide a community of like-minded people.

Conclusion

When breastfeeding challenges arise, women are forced to re-evaluate their situation. The groups not only provide information but also help a mother regain control and achieve her breastfeeding goals. Groups may be national or geographically local, but it was a like-minded community that provided both emotional and informational support, and a sense of safety. They provide a social capital for breastfeeding women and a social cohesion where women have strong ties a community of “faceless strangers.”

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