All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Natalie Cassidy - fame doesn't guarantee good breastfeeding support!

So it seems even fame can't guarantee you good support when it comes to breastfeeding if the latest offering from is anything to go by.  If what's quoted is true, not only has poor Natalie been badly let down, she then (innocently?) perpetuates a whole load of myths - made even worse by the fact Heatworld use the words "ick" and "eeeew" at the fact they are having to mention human milk, in breasts :O drying up. 
"Fact: Natalie Cassidy’s boobs have dried up. Really? Yes. Eeeeeeww….!
Far, far too much information, isn’t it? But the former Eastenders actress has been as candid as ever, letting everyone know of her most intimate of issues."

The beyond childish nature of this comment stunned me for a few minutes, was this written by a hormonal fifteen year old girl I wondered?  The sort who usually blushes at the utterance "breast" (let alone having to type it in an article). It continues:
"This time, she’s been speaking about how gutted she is to be forced into feeding her baby daughter, Eliza, from the bottle instead of by bitty because her breasts aren’t producing enough milk."
Yep, you read it right -  they do actually use the word "bitty" to describe breastfeeding.  I'm now thinking  actually perhaps it's a teenage boy?

But what's worse is that Natalie has been forced into bottle feeding - that is forced as in feels she has no other choice, rather than a team of armed health visitors turning up (just in case you were concerned).  Natalie's next words are telling:
"I'm just bottle-feeding now. I did six weeks but there wasn't enough milk, “ explains Nat Cass, “I was expressing and getting, like, half an ounce. There was just nothing there. My milk had just finished.”
"Just bottle feeding now" implies to me at least that she was perhaps mix/combined feeding both breast and bottle previously - which is one possible explanation for the next words of there was not enough milk.  Expressing isn't a reliable gauge of how much a mother is making - some mums really struggle to let down with a pump, particularly if they are given no support in using it to achieve optimum results.  I personally remember trying to express when my first was five weeks which resulted in only a few drops and a lot of tears!  Milk doesn't just "finish" after six weeks - once the body has been kick started to make milk, it continues to do so as long as the amount removed remains constant.  Sure there are rare cases such as severe shock/trauma that can inhibit milk letdown at least temporarily, but no mention of that here.

Far more common is the scenario where a bottle of formula or a top up is introduced - perhaps around that 6 week mark Natalie mentions, where baby has a huge "growth spurt" and feeds for England.  To a mum not in the know about these spells it very very easy to assume you're simply not making enough milk (BTDT got the shirt!)  so a top up is given.  Baby takes the bottle, appears to zonk and settle as he works to digest the foreign protein; perhaps resulting in a longer feed spacing and perhaps taking a little less at next feed.  After a few times maybe the baby becomes fussy at the breast, now annoyed at having to wait for letdown and so reinforcing to mum baby isn't content/getting enough there.  The supplements get bigger, time at the breast gets shorter and milk supply dwindles.

I decided to have a bit of a hunt and a further Google found this statement made 10th November:
“My adorable angel Eliza appears to have turned in to a little madam overnight. She’s demanding feeds all the time and has gone off my nipple because she has to work for her milk. She prefers it to be poured down her neck in a bottle. I think it’s my own fault for spoiling her in those first few weeks. On the plus side, Adam’s [Cottrell -- Natalie's boyfriend] mum Sheila is staying with us, so it’s lovely to have an extra pair of hands and reassurance that I’m doing things right.
“I was really upset because I'd have breastfed for six months if I could have,”
This is really quite sad, Natalie obviously wanted to breastfeed and yet like so many other mums has ended up at the mercy of the bottle.  Perhaps there was a transfer issue, perhaps supply was low and supplements needed - but with support things don't have to end,
"She drinks 7oz of milk every three and a half hours, like a six-month-old baby. She's really hungry! I loved it [breast feeding], but if you haven't got the milk, you can't magic it up."
Natalie is clearly suggesting she's not producing enough because she has such a hungry baby - but when breastfeeding it doesn't matter if your baby wants that amount at 6 weeks or 6 months, breasts makes it!  It doesn't gradually increase as the months go on and baby gets older - this is why the vast majority of mums with the right support can feed twins.

I'm guessing (hoping) Natalie doesn't mean every 3 1/2 hours day and night, as that would total a whopping 49oz of formula which seems rather a lot?  Perhaps Natalie meant "during the day" and there's a longer stretch at night.

Kellymom states:
In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts). Current breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby's age or weight between one and six months. After six months, breastmilk
The research tells us that exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk; a typical range of milk intakes is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day).
As a final gem the article concludes:
"Now, seriously Natalie Cassidy… we’ll hold our hands up and admit that it’s a real issue that affects a heck of a lot of us new mums, but come on… some things we just don’t need to know about. Not whilst we’re eating our lunch, anyway! Ick…"
I think perhaps the last paragraph though for me was the most jaw dropping, as it included the words "us new mums" - and it hit me the person writing this with "icks" and "eeews" is a woman with a child!  Not a daft teenager who could be perhaps excused for thinking the word "bitty" is an appropriate term for breastfeeding.

Why not drop an email to give Heat some appropriate feedback for this piece?


  1. That article in Heat is a total disgrace. Well said!

  2. i'm stunned yet again! i'll be looking at the full article and e-mailing!

  3. Heat magazine of late has become rather rubbish. It uses childish comments throughout every celeb interview and has become a contest of the journalist to ask the most inane and ridiculous questions. It is not surprising they have journalists reporting in this tired and sterotypical manner, as they are have been using this method of reporting for some time, and it has ruined a once good magazine.

  4. Aside from the that truly awful article, I live less than a mile and a half from Natalie Cassidy, and what I don't get is that there is good free breastfeeding support locally to her. There is some form of baby clinic attended by BfN support workers or actual breastfeeding support groups almost everyday week day within 5 miles of her address. I have always been impressed with the HV's knowledge, who are trained BfN breastfeeding supporters.

    In her silly E4 programme it films her panic buying newborn baby grows at our local mothercare. If you can be so overly prepared in one way, why couldn't she be better prepared and buy a book on breastfeeding to help her understand what normal nursing behaviour looks and feels like?

    It is such a shame that she hasn't been able to maintain breastfeeding past the 6 week mark. And now the breastfeeding myths have been reinforced again to another group of mothers.

  5. I've also just learnt:
    "Natalie Cassidy had planned a home birth but was induced at 10 days past 40 weeks which didn't work and she ended up with a caesarean"

    Which may go some way to explaining the early problems and bottle introduction. Shows again how linked birth and breastfeeding are - if she had got her homebirth or refused induction it may have been a different story...

    A lot of replies to this post have mentioned there's no excuse as the support is there if only she had sought it. But you also have to know you're getting bad support to then ask for good. Perhaps mixing both was working well for them for a few weeks and the gradual slide towards more formula, less breast wasn't massively obvious until baby started refusing the breast - likely due to both speed of bottle and slowing flow of reduced (not vanished) supply.
    Many mums don't realise any prep would benefit - Lisa's experience posted yesterday highlights how many of us thought with first children. If you want to breastfeed, you pick baby up and do it! Perhaps I was really naive too as I never realised there was stuff to be learnt about different methods, I thought that's what midwives/health visitors were there for.

  6. As far as I know she had pcos which can cause low milk supply can't it?

    But anyway, the heat article is just ridiculously childish!

  7. I read this article and I am personally outraged that a new mother is being slated for mearly wishing to feed her baby and keep it's hunger satisfied. Waiting days for your milk supply to increase just isn't good enough sometimes, especially for a tired new mummy with a screaming hungry baby. Formula isn't poision however some of your views are.

  8. Hi Anon
    Which part of my post do you feel slates new mums or is "poson"? As that's definitely not my intention - let me know which bit outraged you so and I will take a look and see if it needs re-wording.

    What you are missing (either intentially or otherwise) is that this article is full of myths that readers not in the know may believe.

    I don't think actually Natalie needs to defend her position to anyone - she can say I'm now bottle feeding, end of; it's really nobody elses business. But see when you post an article which misleads others, perhaps as I say in the article because Natalie herself isn't aware of the truth - then I think I'm perfectly within my rights to point out which parts of her article are factually incorrect, without being accused of slating her.


  9. Expressing doesn't give and never will give an accurate measurement of how much she is making!
    It's not the fact that she has 'given up' that people have a problem with, it's the blatant fact that she and the media are again perpetuating myths and misinforamtion! I personally couldn't give a rats arse if she decided to mix a concoction of cow dung, real ale and cider to feed her baby, what I have a problem with is her not seeking the right advice which is FREELY available to ALL women no matter where you stand in the social circles and continuing the trend to peddle myths!

  10. Ever since Heat gave out tasteless stickers about Katie Price's son I have boycotted the mag- don't like KP but they took it too far.
    This article just makes me smug about not buying that trash any more.
    I have no problem with NC not breastfeeding any more- she has a duty to her child, not to anyone else's cause, and if it worked out for her then it's absolutely fine.
    But the tone of the author is absolutely disgusting.
    I am not anti formula and don't like it when people complain about bottle feeding being shown in cartoons or soaps instead of breastfeeding, but I totally understand why anyone would want to complain about the tone of that stupid article.

  11. Janine, Cornwall12 January 2011 at 11:03

    It's sad when mums stop breastfeeding through lack of knowledge about supply and demand, when they really wanted to keep going.

    We really really really need to make sure that women are well educated about the normal way to feed an infant and the normal behaviours of a newborn baby so that we can get rid of this ridiculous 's/he was so hungry - I wasn't making enough milk' idea that so many have.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.