Internet Use by First-Time Mothers for Infant Feeding Support

J Hum Lact. 2015 Aug;31(3):416-24. doi: 10.1177/0890334415584319. Epub 2015 Apr 29.


Background: Optimal nutrition during infancy has benefits to individuals and to society. Australian women actively seek health and nutrition information from a wide variety of sources and have extensive access to the Internet, but its efficacy in supporting recommendation-consistent infant feeding is unknown.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to evaluate sources of infant feeding information used by first-time mothers and to describe breast and formula feeding patterns 6 months post birth associated with successful use of the Internet for breastfeeding support.

Methods: Healthy women between 18 and 40 years of age in their first pregnancy were recruited to the Feeding Queensland Babies Study by convenience sampling in Brisbane, Australia, between June 2010 and March 2011. Participants completed a questionnaire online when their infants were 6 months of age and a demographic questionnaire.

Results: Health care providers, books, general Internet searches, family, and friends were common sources of breastfeeding information for women during infants' first 6 months. Information sources for infant formula were less often accessed. Of mothers who sought breastfeeding assistance on the Internet, those who found it unhelpful had lower odds of giving breast milk at 6 months (odds ratio [OR] = 0.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.1-0.5) and higher odds of giving formula (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.7-6.5) compared with those who found the help they needed, adjusted for age and socioeconomic status.

Conclusion: Professional, print, and interpersonal information resources for infant feeding are widely accessed by mothers. Online breastfeeding information and support may help women to meet their breastfeeding intentions and to minimize formula use.

Keywords: Australia; Internet; behaviors; bottle feeding; breastfeeding; breastfeeding support; infant feeding.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bottle Feeding / psychology
  • Bottle Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Consumer Health Information / standards
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Infant Care / psychology
  • Infant Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internet*
  • Maternal Behavior* / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Queensland
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult