We live in an interconnected, online world and everything is affected — even breastfeeding. Thanks to the Internet and social media, mothers with low milk supply have been able to breastfeed longer than if they didn’t have access to online channels, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 143rd Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Researchers found from a large online questionnaire that mothers with low milk supply who sought information about increasing their milk output from the Internet or social media platforms were 10 percent more likely to breastfeed at two months than mothers who did not. The former were also more likely to breastfeed at four and six months.

Additionally, the Internet was a vital resource for most mothers with low milk supply. While in-person practitioners — such as lactation consultants and nurses — were the most-common first resources for mothers when they needed breastfeeding help, 86.7 percent of mothers used the Internet for information as a subsequent resource.

“Our national Healthy People goals include extending the length of time infants are breastfed for,” said Diana Cassar-Uhl, MPH, IBCLC, lead researcher of the study. “In a population at risk for early, unintended weaning, interactive online peer-to-peer information sharing may provide an intervention that can lengthen breastfeeding duration.”

However the study that most people did not shared milk from an online milk-sharing platform or social media, instead gaining access through family, friends and local communities.

According to Cassar-Uhl mothers with low milk supply are at great risk of early cessation of breastfeeding, making the findings more noteworthy for health professionals.