Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Scott, Allison

Committee Member/Reader

Owen, Megan


The choice a mother makes to breastfeed or to formula feed is a hotly debated topic in the United States today. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are undeniable, but breastfeeding is difficult for some due to a plethora of barriers, notably a lack of social support. This literature review evaluates attitudes towards breastfeeding in public and how varying mass media formats can impact perceptions of breastfeeding and potentially breastfeeding implementation. Twenty articles with both qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from Medline Complete EBSCO Host and PubMed for a comprehensive analysis. Among 283 total articles retrieved, 20 met the inclusion criteria for analysis. The results of this analysis indicate that there is lack of support towards breastfeeding in public, which can make mothers less inclined to do so; however, exposure to breastfeeding is associated with greater acceptability, and imagery of breastfeeding presents a way to expose the public to breastfeeding and therefore, make women more comfortable to breastfeed their child. In addition, online breastfeeding support groups can address barriers women face to breastfeeding by providing emotional and educational support. On the other hand, other forms of media (television news, Twitter, newspapers, targeted social media campaigns, and smartphone apps) are not yet utilized effectively for improving attitudes towards breastfeeding and providing support. There is potential for mass media to be influential on improving attitudes towards breastfeeding and providing support, although this area is not yet well-studied. This gap in the literature indicates significant need for more data, specifically on the impact of social media on a mother’s choice to initiate and continue breastfeeding.


breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, social media portrayal of breastfeeding