Using feminist theory, this study focuses on discourse around breastfeeding on Twitter. Using a mixed-methods approach, I first examine the use of the hashtag #breastfeeding on Twitter to identify the networks driving the discourse. The discourse analysis was completed to explore how feminist principles and mothers’ agency were represented in tweets related to breastfeeding. The results, based on (N = 2,818) tweets, show that discourses are seen as breastfeeding as “natural” and “primary,” bottle feeding as second best, sexualization versus the natural functions of the breast, breastfeeding as a provocative act, mothering as a public or private nexus, breastfeeding related product placement, breastfeeding as protection for baby or mother, support and education for breastfeeding, breastfeeding as it pertains to insurance, and intersectionality. Also, the network analysis found that the discourse was driven primarily by non-profits and health organizations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Breastfeeding--Public opinion; Breastfeeding--Social aspects; Twitter--Research; Discourse analysis; Feminist theory

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Ammina Kothari

Advisor/Committee Member

Laura Shackelford

Advisor/Committee Member

Andrea Hickerson


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes