Instagram promotes positive attitudes towards breastfeeding

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Source: AllerGen Network News

AllerGen investigator Dr. Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba) met AllerGen Highly Qualified Personnel Alessandro Marcon (University of Alberta) at AllerGen’s 2016 Research Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Their encounter catalyzed a unique research project that explored the question of whether or not Instagram users are building communities of support around women who breastfeed.

The answer, the researchers found, is “yes”! 

Analyzing more than 4,000 images and 8,000 comments posted on Instagram using popular breastfeeding-related hashtags, they found that the platform was used to create supportive networks for new mothers to share their experiences with breastfeeding. Discussions were overwhelmingly positive with virtually no hostile content.

Their paper, “Protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding on Instagram,” was published in Maternal and Child Nutrition in August 2018.

The researchers suggest that Instagram could potentially offer “new avenues and opportunities to ‘normalize,’ protect, promote, and support breastfeeding more broadly across its large and diverse global online community.” This, in turn, could help improve breastfeeding rates by changing perceptions and building supportive communities for breastfeeding moms.