Breastfeeding benefits infants, but support is often needed to meet breastfeeding goals. Social media may help disseminate infant feeding information to caregivers. The relationship between parents’ health information-seeking behaviors (HISB) on social media and infant feeding practices remains understudied. Based on social cognitive theory (SCT), parents’ self-efficacy and outcome expectations are two potential factors for improving online HISB. We aimed to use SCT to describe associations between outcome expectations, self-efficacy (eHealth literacy), and online HISB across infant feeding groups among a nationally representative sample of U.S. parents. Eligible participants (N = 580) completed a cross-sectional online survey assessing infant feeding practices (never breastfed, only pumped, only fed-at-the-breast, and both pumped and fed-at-the-breast), self-efficacy (using eHealth literacy as a proxy), outcome expectations in online HISB, parents’ online HISB on social media, and demographic information. Survey weighted linear and logistic regression models were constructed. No online activities differed by infant feeding practices. Parents who pumped only had significantly lower eHealth literacy than parents who never breastfed (adjusted β = -2.63, 95% CI: -4.73, -0.53). Parents who used both methods had 1.78 times greater odds of considering online tools useful for making health-related decisions (95% CI: 0.96, 3.28) and 1.49 times greater odds of considering online tools important for accessing health information (95% Cl: 0.70, 3.15) than parents who never breastfed, though neither association was statistically significant. Understanding these associations between infant feeding practices and online HISB, as well as the two potential factors of parents’ self-efficacy and outcome expectations, may offer implications for tailoring online social media resources to promote breastfeeding outcomes.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License