From what I gather the mum was anorexic, and anorexics often have problems concieving. There is nothing I can find on the internet that links breastfeeding with infertility. It is traditionally used as a natural spacer between children but as the lady over the road (with 10 breastfed children) says ‘breastfeeding is not contraception’.
If anyone has a link to the whole article I’d love to read it but in the meanwhile, if you think the headline is dangerous, misleading and could affect pregnant mothers decision to breastfeed then there are a few things you can do.
1) Tell them what you think on the That’s Life forum, you have to register:
2) Tell them what you think on the That’s Life facebook page, although they have now taken off readers ability to post on the wall and have been working overtime deleting posts, you can reply to posts.
3) Sign the petition to ask the Press Complaints Commission to implement additional ‘special guidelines’ to cover all areas of reportage concerning breastfeeding. Because inaccurate, misleading and harmful statements about the effects of breastfeeding on a woman’s body, her social life, or her working rights (and more) are frequently made by the media. All such statements give rise to a health risk, as in contrast to babies who are breastfed and their mothers, formula fed babies and their mothers run an increased risk of many medical conditions.
4) Complain to the Press Complaints Commission, you can do this online:
The bit of the code that has been breached is:
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
5) Email the editor of the holding company
6) Write That’s Life a letter and send it snail mail
H Bauer Publishing,
It is interesting that on their contact page there is a link to complain to the Press Complaints Commission.
7) Don’t buy it!
This is the article
As far as new mum Nina was concerned, breast was best for her baby boy. But her feeding regime had a terrible side-effect …
My cheeks were plump, my hair was glossy and my rounded belly was peeping over the top of my trousers. At 5 months pregnant, I was truly glowing.
“I’ve never felt happier,” I sighed, cuddlying my finance Mike.
As a teenager, I’d suffered body-image issues and had swung between dieting and bingeing. But since meeting Mike, my self-confidence had soared and I saw our relationship as a new chapter in my life.
After two previous miscarriages, I wanted to be as healthy as possible during this pregnancy. So I’d started taking daily pregnancy vitamins and had switched to organic fruit and veg. As the months sped by and my clothes strained over my growing tummy, I cleared out my wardrobe and gave my size-6 jeans and tops to charity.
“I won’t fit into these again,” I told Mike. I didn’t really mind. I was going to be a mummy. Who cared if I didn’t look like Kate Moss in a pair of skinny jeans?
In due time, I went into labour and our son Issac was born. The midwife smiled as she placed him my arms. Issac weighed 7lob 8oz and was robustly healthy. I’d already read parenting books, so I knew breastfeeding would give him the best start in life. So each day, I’d sit with Issac snuggled to my breast for hours. He was thriving. I had also read breastfeeding was beneficial for mums too, because it was a good way to loose baby weight.
Sure enough, I noticed the difference in my body after a few days of intensive breastfeeding. My stomach was almost flat again and my pyjamas were hanging off of me. ”this breastfeeding’s obviously working,” I smiled with a rush of satisfaction. I also started hopping on our scales once a day and saw I was steadily loosing weight. Some days the scales showed I’d lost four pounds. In contrast, little Issac was gaining weight fast.
“You’re doing really well with the breastfeeding.” the nurse told me. ”Keep it up.” I smiled and nodded, thinking to my self: Don’t worry, I won’t be giving up any time soon! And to give myself a little extra boost, I also went on a diet. I avoided meals and nibbled on biscuits instead. Two months after giving birth, I’d snapped back to my pre-baby weight of 8 1/2 stone.
I was adjusting to life as a mum. Mike worked in the evenings, so I was often on my own with Issac. When he developed colic, I found the only way to placate him was to feed him on demand – every two hours. As a result his weight rocketed, while mine dropped further.
One day I was putting him down for a nap when I noticed my reflection. Running my hands over my belly, I was sure I caught the outline of a bump. I’m still too fat, I thought furiously. Leaving Issac in his cot, I spent two hours running up and down the stairs, desperately trying to burn off more calories. I only stopped when he began crying for his next feed. Feeling exhausted, I fed him them immediately stepped on the scales, eagerly watching the dial swing. I’ve lost another pound, I thought triumphantly. The weight loss was like a drug. And from then on I was in self-destruct mode. Despite being a new mum to a beautiful baby, all I cared about was losing weight.
Soon I was existing on 500 calories a day. A cup of watery porridge and two rice cakes were just enough to fuel my breastmilk, but there was no energy left for me.
Mike had no idea what I was doing, but he noticed how exhausted I looked. ”You’re making yourself ill,” he said. ”Maybe you should cut down the breastfeeding.” Horrified, I shook my head. ”No way, it’s the best thing for Issac,” I replied. I didn’t mention it was better for my diet too.
As weeks passed and my weight went into free fall, we argued more and more. My parents were also concerned. ”You’re too thin, love,” mum said. But I wouldn’t listen.
When I wasn’t breastfeeding, I was running up and down the stairs, or taking Issac for long walks in his pram to burn off more calories. I was obsessed.
By the time Issac was five months old, he seemed to be getting hungrier and would cry as soon as I finshed a feed. I realised my breast milk was no longer giving him the nutriction he needed, because of whay I was doing to myself. But I was too scared to stop breastfeeding, so I clung on for another couple of weeks. When I finally weaned him onto formula milk, I made a decision – if he no longer needed my breast milk, what was the point of eating at all?
Days went by and all that passed my lips was diet cola, coffee and hot chocolate. My body was in a terrible state.
I hadn’t had periods while I’d been breastfeeding. But despite me stopping feeding, they still hadn’t started again. I’d also become so thin, my energy levels had plummeted and I could barely walk. Mike was frantic and one day he snapped. ”What am I going to tell Issac when he’s older?” he yelled at me. ”How am I going to explain why he hasn’t got a mummy?” ”What do you mean?” I gulped. ”Can’t you see?” he said. ”You’re starving yourself to death. I’m dreading the day I have to tell our son I couldn’t save you.”
Stunned, I looked from Mike to Issac, sleeping in his cot. For the first time in weeks, the fog of my illness cleared and I could finally see what I was doing.
Issac’s first birthday was in a few months yet here I was, risking my family’s future. How could I have been so reckless? At 5ft 7 in and just over 6 sotne, I was dangerously thin. I was killing myself. ”I’m so sorry,” I sobbed to Mike. ”Please help me get better.” With his support, I visited the doctor, who referred me ti an eating disorders specialist. The specialist diagnosed me with with anorexia nervosa and suggested hospital treatment. ”I’m not leaving my son,” I said firmly. So instead, the doctor arranged for me to have regular check-ups with a nutritionist and nurse. And thanks to counselling sessions, I slowly began to understand my illness. I realised my breastfeeding combined with anxiety and pressure of being a new mum, had sparked the eating disorder.
Now it was time to get better. I put away my scales and, week by week, increased my calorie intake. It was tough, and at first, I hated seeing myself gaining weight. But whenever I looked at Issac, chubby and happy, I knew I had to get better for him. And not only for my son, Mike and I had talked about having a huge family, but I was worried about my fertility. Had being so thin damaged my chances of conceiving a little brother or sister for Issac? I had to pusht hat thought to the back of my mind and concentrate on getting better.
Mike attended workshops run by an eating disorder charity, SEED, which helped him come to terms with my illness. And I was making a good recovery.
On Issac’s first birthday, I ate a huge slice of the cake I’d baked for him. It felt so good. From then on I went from strength to strength, gaining one and half stone. All my energy went into gettin better and looking after Issac. But in my heart, I knew the brutal truth. My over-the-top breastfeeding had made me so emaciated, I’d almost certainly made myself infertile. How would I be able to give Issac a little brother or sister now?
Mike was optomistic. ”Let nature take its course,” he kept telling me. ”You’ll fall pregnant before you know it.”
Today, I pray he’s proved right. But there’s been no change – and I fear that’s the way it will stay.
I’d love to have more children yet I fear we’ll be forced to go down the IVF route. But if that’s what it takes, I’m determined.
I’ve been so foolish, I let my breastfeeding and weight loss get so out of hand and it’s affected my fertility. But I refuse to let it affect Mike and I completeting our dream family.
Nina Hanney, 25, Hull, East Yorkshire.