Woman Says Breastfeeding Made Her Infertile

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that's life magazineUK magazine, that's life!, published an article in September that made the front page of their magazine. A gigantic "My warning to mums: BREASTFEEDING left me INFERTILE" is the biggest thing on the cover.

Not surprisingly, this cover pissed off quite a few breastfeeding moms, but then I found out the truth of the article as well, and frankly, I got kind of mad too, because the woman's infertility had nothing to do with her breastfeeding.

Nina Hanney, the mom in question, had body issues even as a teen -- binging and dieting. When she did get pregnant, however, she loved the growth of her body, and said, "I'd already read parenting books, so I knew breastfeeding would give him the best start. I had also read breastfeeding was beneficial for mums too, because it was a good way to lose baby weight."

In the article, she laments how her baby had colic and needed breastfeeding every two hours ... implying that this is frequent and stressful. Um, breastfed babies often feed every 1-1/2 to 2 hours, so here's one reason moms were annoyed -- her baby was acting totally normal, and yet her own opinion, and the way it was portrayed, treats it as if somehow her baby was unusually needy and demanding.

One day, she saw her stomach had a bulge, so she claims she thought she was too fat and took up running up and down the stairs for exercise. Her obsession with weight loss put her into self-destruct mode. She lived on 500 calories a day, which she says she got from "a cup of watery porridge and two rice cakes."

When her partner told her to cut down on nursing because she seemed run down, she insisted on keeping it up to burn the extra calories. But around the time her baby was 5 months old, she put him on formula and then claims she stopped eating altogether, aside from diet cola, coffee, and hot chocolate. Sounds healthy, doesn't it?

Her partner -- seeing how she had a severe problem -- convinced her to get psychiatric help for her anorexia. She does say, however, "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 our completing our dream family."

So ... um ... basically she was starving herself to death, which can stop periods, she was mentally ill, needed mental help ... but both she and the magazine chose to blame it on breastfeeding? Preeeetty far stretch, if you ask me. All I see here is one very sad mother who was very mentally ill, not a breastfeeding problem whatsoever. 

that's life! did finally issue their apology:

Our 8 September issue carried an interview with Ms Nina Hanney in which she described her eating disorder and how, after giving birth, she tried to accelerate weight loss through a combination of dieting and breastfeeding. We would like to make clear that the article and coverline (‘My warning to Mums: breastfeeding left me infertile’) were based on Ms Hanney’s fears, rather than any medical testing, and that breastfeeding cannot cause infertility.

They also promise to run a pro-breastfeeding article, but many fear the damage was done, especially since many people read covers and yet never read the article inside, nor their apology.

Do you think their headline was misleading and unfair to breastfeeding?


Image via that's life

breastfeeding, natural parenting, postpartum weight

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nonmember avatar Liz

Anyone who believes jibberish like that shouldn't become a parent to beging with. I mean just looking at the cover of the magazine makes it obvious it's not a reliable source of medical information.

Lisa Carneal

That cover is clearly some tabloid-type magazine, so I wouldn't give what they say much credence to begin with. Seems like something along the lines of National Enquirer. That is a pretty sensationalist and misleading headline, though.

Jaimie Leader-Goodale

sadly a lot of the papers in UK are tabloid style - so hard to say - but at the same time, it's a tabloid - i don't give it much credence.  Unfortunately *SOOOOOO* many people DO give them credence, that's why they still make money right? I think the headline is sensationalistic and irresponsible personally, but am not surprised by it in the slightest. 

mommix4 mommix4

Why would anyone believe that??

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Look at the rest of the articles listed on the front page... if you are going to take ANY of those seriously, you might as well be getting all your factual information from the Enquirer. This is as true as Batboy and Vampire Elvis sightings.


I guess it seems odd to me that people would look at this with a serious tone.

nonmember avatar Cardenie

Yeah, anyone reading the article would see the headline was sensationalistic. And how she managed to make milk on 500 calories a day PLUS exercising like a maniac is beyond me.

jpfsmom jpfsmom

That is actually what I was thinking Cardenie, yeesh!!! I just hope this poor child has some great family members to watch over her since this poor young lady has some serious issues and may not be around much longer but I agree with the above posters, this is so tabloidish, I highly doubt anyone will take the claims seriously.

Water... Water_geM

Her anorexia  was the cause of her fertility problems..the breastfeeding was s tool she abused to acheive what ever goals she thought she could.

Stephanie J Harris

to any readers  of that mag, I have some lake front property in arizona I'm selling...

nonmember avatar nina

An anorectic may be triggered by anything pertaining to weight loss. Had I taken up running it would have been as much of a trigger as BF. I started doing what I thought was right for my baby and it became apparent that it was becoming a means to lose weight as well, but because it was an 'acceptable' and praised activity it took longer for me to realise I should stop as it was triggering anorectic behaviours. Anorexia is always present in a sufferer. It never goes away, nor is it 'caused' by activities such a breastfeeding. It is simply amplified by it. (Continued)

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