Early life and medical career
Miriam Stern was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, daughter of Orthodox Jews. Her father Sidney was a nurse and her mother Jenny worked for the Newcastle school dinners service. Her sister is social justice activist Murreil Hazel Stern.
As a girl in a family of modest means, Stern grew up in a prefab house on a large council housing estate. Her mother was a dressmaker who taught Miriam how to make her own clothing, and from an early age she bought remnants of cloth with her pocket-money. Up until her teens, she fashioned her own designs, complemented with cheap and improvised accessories.
As a teenager she attended school on a scholarship and was shy. Inspired by her father, she had early aspirations to become a doctor, a profession traditionally dominated by men. She had a very ordered mindset and worked very hard, establishing her own study timetables during the week but attending the local youth club at weekends. She enjoyed music, danced and played table tennis.
Stern attended the Central High School in Eskdale Terrace and trained as a nurse at the Newcastle General Hospital (Royal Free Medical School). She went on to study medicine at King's College, Durham (which became Newcastle University in 1963). After qualifying as a doctor, she worked at the city's Royal Victoria Infirmary and specialised in dermatology as a senior registrar at Bristol Royal Infirmary. She became a research director and then managing director in the pharmaceutical industry for Syntex. In 1972 she married playwright Tom Stoppard. They later divorced.
Stoppard became well known during the 1970s and 1980s as a television presenter on scientific and medical programmes such as Don't Ask Me and Where There's Life.
Dorling Kindersley describes her as 'the UK's most trusted baby expert' and publishes many of her titles. Stoppard has written several books about health, including the Children's Medical Handbook, but particularly on the subject of women's health.
She writes on health issues and acts as an agony aunt for the Daily Mirror, having previously answered readers' letters for The TV Times magazine. Her company, Miriam Stoppard Lifetime, sells her books and health products.
In August 2012, writing in the Daily Mirror, Stoppard supported UCL’s Institute of Child Health research which suggested reviewing the recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding until six months, adding that the appearance of teeth should signal the end of breastfeeding.
Stoppard was mentioned in the 1986 song "Architecture and Morality Ted and Alice" by the band Half Man Half Biscuit on The Trumpton Riots EP: "The horrible sincerity of Miriam Stoppard makes me want to go out and commit mass murder". She was named Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards on 6 November of that year.
- "Parenting" – Life & Style Home. Sydney Morning Herald. (22 November 2006).
- Sunday Express magazine supplement 23 October 2011, p.55 Accessed and added 8 January 2015
- Dorling Kindersley (2017). "Miriam Stoppard". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
- "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 12.
- Is 'breast only' for first six months best? Archived 4 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Ucl.ac.uk (14 January 2011).
- Dr Miriam Stoppard column When should you stop breast-feeding?. Daiy Mirror (14 August 2012).
- Stonewall Awards 2008. Stonewall.org.uk (27 March 2009).