Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Romayne Smith-Fullerton

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Pamela McKenzie

Joint Supervisor


This thesis explores the controversial subject of online breast milk sharing through the lens of Social Positioning Theory and interpretative repertoire analysis. I examine medical statements, Facebook wall posts on the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global group and selected Canadian provincial groups, as well as a selection of Canadian print news media coverage pertaining to milk sharing to discover how this practice is discussed. I argue that the medical literature discusses milk sharing as unsafe, informal, and a generally unacceptable means of obtaining breast milk, whereas the HM4HB group members discuss it as a safe, intimate experience between donor and recipient, and more meaningful and accessible than obtaining milk from anonymous donors at a milk bank. I also argue that in a selection of news stories and columns, Canadian print journalists privilege the maternal discourse and offer a sympathetic outlook on milk sharing to their audience.