Just one drop: Breastmilk for healing

So it’s one thing to hear breastfeeding moms crow about how well breastmilk worked to clear up a baby’s red eye, but another to experience squirting oneself in the eye with fresh breastmilk.

First of all, it is painless. Soothing, even, if the eye is already irritated (and if it’s not, why bother?). Breastmilk is the exact balance an eye wants, and doesn’t create any sort of “foreign body” reaction. Mechanically, it washes the eye. But it also, fresh, contains leukocytes which directly fight infection. It contains sugars and nutrients which inflamed cells can use to help repair and function instantly. And it contains stem cells, which helps it repair damage directly. It blurs the vision for a few minutes, because it is not transparent, but it clears quickly, the inflammation settles down, and the pain goes.

But that’s just the beginning. When I burned my arm badly, I annointed the burn with breastmilk. The pain fled. Healing was rapid. Scarring minimal. I love hydrocolloids for burns but I’d rather apply breastmilk. My housemate gasped when a bad, fresh grease burn vanished in minutes with a few drops of milk on it. To the point where a year or two later, when a couple injuries happened at once, plus an old skin inflammation that had been failing to heal for months… I offered to find someone to donate a small amount of fresh milk, and the offer was accepted, strange as it sounded.

But it didn’t sound strange to my community of moms… my request was answered by five volunteers within half an hour. A few hours later we had a small jar of milk fresh in hand, and shortly after that healing had already begun, wounds that had been frustratingly difficult to heal for months had started to close. “More please?” was the request the next day. And another mom offered another half ounce. Not enough to deprive a baby, but such a tiny amount of precious liquid to heal a long hurt.

A couple years ago, I foolishly tried to clean an immersion blender and nearly chopped the tip of my finger off. It was cut to the bone, white, gaping. Direct pressure and breastmilk started helping quickly. By the time the EMTs arrived, it was holding together enough that I didn’t have to go in, by their judgement. The tip of my finger was dead white, and I annointed my finger with milk along the wound, visualized blood and lymph and nerves flowing, healing, functioning. I watched the tip of my finger pink up. They say that people with fibro have more nerve connections than they should, with more connections specifically to blood vessels and that the nerves do more than they’re supposed to. In any event, if I have poor blood flow in my skin, and someone points it out (a white splotch despite massage, for example), the moment they point it out it will pink up. It causes pain, it causes fibro, it causes reynauds… but it also might just have saved my fingertip. I kept applying milk. I kept visualizing. It kept pinking up whenever I thought about it. I thought about my finger for months (couldn’t help it, the nerves felt buzzy everywhere downstream from where they’d been cut.)

Two years later, and I’m still a little buzzy but blood flow and function are perfect. Barely a scar is visible. I wonder if it is because the wound was bathed in stem cells every time I thought to put a drop on it. There was a V-shaped flap. Even that healed. There was no infection.

On my birthday in 2014, I turned 42 and my son fell against a crate and split his lip. It was bad. And bleeding. And I nursed him immediately, and by the time he stopped, the bleeding had stopped, and the wound looked ten times better than when we’d started. He has a scar there, a small one, but milk and nursing saved him a trip to Urgent Care, and healed him fast.

My mother skeptically agreed to try it with one infection, and came asking for it the next time one struck.

The magic of breastmilk is transitory. Even refrigeration can inhibit the best parts of it.

But I think about how a drop of fresh milk could make a new burn vanish (milk was applied within minutes of the grease landing on the arm), and I think about how many gallons of fresh breastmilk a breastfed baby will consume… And yeah, I’m pretty sure formula will never do that.

People ask me why I don’t call formula a second choice, but a fourth choice. And it really comes down to the fact that fresh breast milk is a magic thing. And if it’s not possible, frozen or fridged from the baby’s mama is very good. If that can’t be had, donor milk is very beneficial and has helped many, many babies. (In my community, there are babies who have only ever had breastmilk despite their mothers having had mastectomies or severe blood loss that inhibited milk production). And if those things don’t work for a family, it’s a very good thing that formula is widely available, but it’s still the fourth choice. This is NOT a slam on formula feeding. This is not a criticism of people who can’t breastfeed or don’t feel comfortable taking donor milk. It’s a reality check. The “ideal” is not always possible in parenting, but we really ought to have a realistic knowledge of what the options are before we determine what the best fit is. It would be ideal for me to take my gregarious kid to social gatherings every day. With my chronic pain and fatigue issues, that’s not happening right now. But I’m not going to pretend that our routine is my “first choice”. My first preference would be to get up cheerfully in the morning, get Shiny off to school, go do something fun and educational with Miles with other children, come home, fix a nutritious lunch, do something productive and creative, and then make a fantastic dinner. But I haven’t gotten Shiny to the bus in four months because of an injury. Other people do it. Thank god they’re there to pick up the slack.

I don’t have milk anymore. When I had the embolism last year, I went on coumadin, and my levels jumped up and down on a daily basis because my special snowflake metabolism wouldn’t know consistent liver function from a sparkly unicorn. After shooting from 1.3 to 3.6 and ending up in the ER pissing blood for no good reason whatsoever, I asked to go on Xarelto… and put Miles on short shifts at the boob because the medicine does appear get into the milk, and being orally absorbed, may cause anticoagulation in a child. Not ideal in an active toddler. I dried up quickly. He still nurses now and then, despite saying he was done every day for six days, on the seventh, he lost his shit and begged for boob and I shrugged and let him nurse for 2 minutes and he was fine. Like magic. Even without milk.

So if I was being granular about it, I’d rank my own “preference/ideal” scale for infant feeding (<6 months) thusly:
Fresh mama’s milk at the breast
Fresh mama’s milk in a bottle or SNS (note that logistically this can be the single most draining approach to new baby parenting.)
Fridged mama’s milk
Frozen mama’s milk
Fresh donor milk (assuming a safe donor, which is an assumption that should not be made casually)
Fridged donor milk
Frozen donor milk
Pasteurized donor milk (personally, I react badly to cooked milk from cows. I can drink fresh raw milk or fridged raw milk or cooked-then-cultured milk without issues. It’s an enzyme thing. So feeding babies exclusively pasteurized milk, even human milk, isn’t high on my personal list of preferences, though it may have less risk of infection, it also does much less than fresh milk to help prevent infection and illness. But compared to formula, still gold.)
Cow-milk based formula (and here I’d rather have organic)
Cow-milk based whey hydrolysate formula (i.e. Good Start)
Cow-milk based full hydrolysate hypoallergenic formula (i.e. alimentum etc.)
Soy formula
Homemade formula
Goat milk
Cow milk

When people say, “every drop is precious”… yes. Even if a mom only produces an ounce a day for her baby to drink, and the rest comes from something else, think about the magic that even that ounce can do. One drop to heal a small burn. 1/2 ounce to heal a couple of injuries and start healing on several more.

There’s a reason why it was worth it to me, when Shiny was still new, to weigh her, nurse her, weigh her, pump until I got to our “goal” and then feed that pumped milk immediately by bottle. The more of my relative-to-her normal stem cells that colonized in her gut, the better off she would be. I wish I’d bathed her in breastmilk, head to toe, though certainly I leaked enough in the early days that essentially, I did.

Entertainingly, scientists managed to create a rat forelimb using a collagen scaffold and seeded cells recently. It is remotely possible that one day we will have disembodied mammary glands that produce a reasonable facsimile of some of the biodynamic parts of breastmilk for feeding babies who can’t nurse. Add formula to the thing, have it convert that into something more alive.
And it will probably still be a distant second, third, or fourth to a mother’s own milk, to fresh milk from a donor. Because we still don’t fully understand the complexity that is human breastmilk. It’s possible we never quite will. Sometimes it seems that the more we learn, the more we learn that there is still to learn. What we know now is just one drop in the bucket.

Reasons to keep on nursing your toddler, even when they annoy the crap out of you.

Reasons to nurse a toddler
1. Toddlers are notoriously fickle about what they will eat in a given day. Three grapes, a dust bunny and a half a crayon are less worrisome when you know they’ve nursed a couple of times (or more).
2. They roll on the ground in public places during flu season. (And transfer some of those germs to your breast, which tells your boobs to boost immune factors. Boobs are amazing. Toddler milk for a child not nursing often may be more immune-factor-dense than even newborn milk.)
3. The big bad world is a scary place. The boob is a great source of comfort and can help ease anxiety and smooth transitions.
4. Kids are hilarious when they talk about nursing. “I luf dat boop! I nursh please, thanks!”
5. Breastmilk absorbs quickly. So even if they’re puking and having diarrhea, breastmilk can help keep them hydrated and out of the hospital. (See #2, insert “norovirus” for flu)
6. More than just comfort, nursing releases endorphins for both mother and child. This is especially important when a child is injured. Boob helps ease the pain and calm the child (and the mom!)
7. Speaking of injuries, toddlers fall. Mouth injuries are not uncommon. Breastfeeding applies a perfect amount of direct pressure for lip and tongue injuries, stops bleeding, eases pain and may take “Oh my god we have to run to the ER” to “Oh, hey, I think he’s going to be all right” in a matter of minutes. It is in fact very difficult to apply direct pressure to a toddler’s lip in any other way.
8. Breastmilk is incredibly soothing for sore throats and can help a child who is refusing all food and drink get to the point of being able to take things by mouth. (I have pumped fresh milk for a friend’s sick, weaned child for this purpose. 3 ounces was enough to get him eating again.)

It is easier to go from some supply (even if small) to a lot of supply for a sick child than it is to go from no supply to any supply at all. It is NOT unusual to not enjoy toddler nursing. Sometimes it makes me want to jump out of my skin. But then something happens and I remember why I keep on keeping on. Because the benefits are worth it, and when we need it, we really, really need it. So I set limits wherever I need to, but I don’t cut him off entirely.

Another for the “I don’t know what to think” files…

I was sitting here, Miles was playing next to me.  All of a sudden I heard a thump, and a rustle and a cry.

“Oh my god, Miles just fell out the window,” I said to my husband.  He ran outside.

I looked out the window to find my son standing in the ivy about 5 feet below my window, hollering. I could see a spot of blood in his mouth, and put my hands down to him. He reached up, took my hands, and walked up the side of the house until I could bring him inside. There was a red mark on his side. Another on his elbow. He wouldn’t let me look in his mouth.

I latched him on. And gasped. Because the niggling little discomfort I’ve always had when he nursed was gone.

He apparently popped the last of his tongue tie.

He’s acting 100% fine now.

I’m sitting here with the crazy eyes and the nervous laughter.  I just don’t even.

Ten Years

Crossposted from MDC

The milestone passed unnoticed, another day of nursing among many.

My son turned 18 months old a few days ago, on July 2. And that day marked 10 years of breastfeeding in my lifetime.

When my oldest was born (20 years ago as of a few weeks ago), I thought I’d nurse her for maybe 8 months, maybe a year. That stretched without effort to two, then I set some boundaries and we went on to 3, and she went on a trip for a week or two with her dad and came back wanting boob. At 4 I weaned her for 2 weeks and she urged me very eloquently to let her comfort nurse, and that went on for another 2 years. I’d ask her when she would wean, and she’d say “When I’m six.” Always, “When I’m six.” She was 5 years and 364 days old when she nursed her last, a few quick sucks and a pat on the breast and she was done. She’d come in putting blisters on my nipples and went out as gentle as could be.

Her sister, born over 8 years ago, came in like a lamb, lapping at the milk that spilled from my breasts but not sucking, and after 5 days of “easy” she was weighed and all hell broke loose and nursing became an arduous chore. I nursed more often at first, that kept her from losing but didn’t make her gain, so finger feeding and bottles followed every breastfeed, I would weigh, nurse, weigh, pump, feed until she’d had the minimum amount that would keep her gaining well enough to keep the doctor from pushing formula. She’d been gentle because she was born with no suck at all, due to a chromosome problem we didn’ t get fully diagnosed until she was 7 weeks old. Shortly after that, bottles started making her gag, so I went from the arduous pumping schedule to manually expressing milk into her mouth at every feed, and things got easier for a little while, though I could never sleep, never relax when she was at the breast. At 5 months she learned to suck, and I started to relax… but she stopped gaining weight. At 6 months old she started to chomp… oral defensiveness kicking in and teething, but with no rhyme or reason or way to predict… and at 8 months she got teeth and didn’t stop biting. There was no formula on the market she could tolerate, so I persevered. My eldest had been allergic to dairy so we held off on plain milk for a long time… and she kept biting. Every day just about, and sometimes multiple times per day, she bit me. Sometimes every feed. Finally, desperate, and fighting always the urge to push her away, fling her across the room whenever her jaw locked on my breast, I weaned her at age 2 1/2 years, just about exactly.

My youngest, my son, was born 18 months ago, and did okay but not great. My reflexes of massaging and hand expressing hid a problem… posterior tongue tie. I was sore, and it didn’t get better, kept getting worse, but he gained okay. I had PTSD type flashbacks when he’d clamp down, when it hurt, but giving up was not an option–I’d now had two children who could not have tolerated formula as infants, and I wasn’t about to find out if the third was following in their footsteps. At 2 months I asked for help… and found out he had a grade 3 tongue tie, his tongue locked tightly to the base of his mouth, couldnt’ even get a finger under it. We got it fixed and things got better…but never, ever perfect. I don’t know how long he’ll nurse, but he still nurses now, at 18 months old, and I don’t believe that weaning before age 2 is an acceptable option if I am capable of nursing him, so we’ll see how long after that we make it. He’s starting, finally, to learn better manners. He asks “please” rather than just shoving on my breast, sometimes. If he can learn to be more gentle, to be kind, I’ll let him nurse as long as we both want to.

I enjoyed nursing my first after that first horrible week with her. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it much since. But I don’t do it for my own pleasure, and anyone who thinks I do has a screwed up notion of what pleasure is. I do it because it is the right thing to do for my babies, it is what they need. My soy and dairy-allergic eldest thrived on mother’s milk. My middle child who cannot have added citrates and who needed every single extra stem cell and IQ point I could give her is doing better than they ever let us hope. Breastmilk may well have saved her life–there are not many children with her syndrome and a significant percentage of those died very young.

My little boy, though… he loves his “boop!” and even when he’s driving me crazy and making me feel touched out and panicky…. I still manage to find moments where it is comfortable enough, where I can watch his eyes flutter closed as he drinks his “mook”.

People always say that they are sad when their last baby grows out of a phase or hits a new stage of development. For the first time as a parent I’m not wondering when he’ll hit a stage or wishing he’d develop faster, but likewise I don’t regret that he’s moving past babyhood. When he is done nursing, I will be done with nursing as well, and a good long run of it.

Making breastfeeding work

https://www.facebook.com/TheLeakyBoob asked about this article http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4352172.html , “What do you think more moms need to increase how long they breastfeed?”

My answer:

Were it not for the right help at the right time in the right place that I had with my first, and for a mother who persevered despite difficulty, I would not have spent 9+ years of my life breastfeeding despite horrible horrible difficulties. Breastfeeding support needs to be RIGHT NOW, in the mother’s home, on the spot. In the hospital if she’s still there.

Structural problems (inverted nipples, tongue tie, IGT) need to be spotted early and addressed quickly in the right manner.

I’m an experienced breastfeeder. It took us weeks to diagnose our issues with my second baby and months to diagnose them with my third, despite a depth and breadth of experience few moms can match. If I had a hard time, what chance does a first time mom have in a family that is not supportive?

Moms need help available to them RIGHT NOW when they ask for it. When I told my midwife with my first that I was in horrible pain and could not continue to feed at the breast and needed a pump, she was at my house in half an hour, and had the problem fixed soon after that. The only reason it took me a week to call her? My problems (which occured within an hour of birth) were not addressed at the hospital.

With my second child, I thought everything was all right since she was nursing without it hurting me… it didn’t hurt because she wasn’t doing more than mouthing the nipple. Dramatic weight loss, poor gain led to weigh/nurse/weigh/pump/bottle feeding for a couple months… but we got far better results once I figured out I could just manually express into her mouth. Had I known then what I knew with my third (that hand expression was an option for increasing intake at the breast) I think I would have gotten a hell of a lot more sleep those first few months.

With my third child, we looked at his mouth, looked at his tongue and said, “Oh, no tongue tie.” But the tie was posterior and things didnt’ get easier, didn’t get better, and I think the thing that saved us was I already had a reflex to massage the breasts constantly while I nursed. At 2 months I was fed up with how much it still hurt, and a week later his tongue tie was diagnosed, and it took a week to find a practitioner who knew how to fix a posterior tie.

While things were at their worst with my son, I felt like I’d been lied to. About everything from “Babies come when they are ready” to “Nursing gets easier”. For me, every baby has been in some ways harder than the last, though my middle child took the cake for number of biting incidents. I came to the conclusion that there are no hard and fast rules for “how nursing will go”…and that it is possible to be a staunch advocate for breastfeeding without actually enjoying the process of breastfeeding most of the time.

And that’s important. So many moms get the message that breastfeeding is this lovely glowy magical experience of bonding with their baby. It can be. But that’s not why it is important. It is important because babies NEED it. Because with my first, she turned out to be allergic to soy and dairy, and that could have been a real nightmare without the breast. Because my second didn’t tolerate citric acid or citrates, and if you can find ANY formula on the market that doesn’t contain citrates, I’ll be impressed. Because my third baby’s tongue tie meant he didn’t really deal very well with bottle nipples. (There’s another lie… that bottles are always easier. 2 of my 3 kids could not cope with bottles without choking, even on very slow nipples.) Because all three of them have a famiily history of autoimmune disease, obesity, diabetes, digestive issues, etc…. Because without breastmilk my second child might be far more disabled, or dead.

I don’t think formula is evil. I fed my foster son formula, it was what we had, he did fine. But you never know if your baby is going to be one who tolerates a relatively inexpensive formula… or if they won’t tolerate anything on the market. So many mamas end up on the milk share boards because their babies fail to thrive on formula. Most babies on formula may do okay in the short term. But it’s a gamble. And if we can help moms breastfeed successfully despite the fact that breastfeeding isn’t always easy or perfect or natural or glowingly beautiful… that’s fewer babies with problems. And the more mamas making milk, the more milk available to the mamas who can’t.

I asked my mother why she did it, wincing over a pump with my sister when I was a teenager. She just said, “Because it’s the right thing to do for the baby.” That got me through a hell of a lot more crappy nights of blistered nipples and a baby who wouldn’t latch than anything else anyone ever said to me. Not “Breastfeeding is easy” but “Breastfeeding is worth it.”

Extended breastfeeding

I mentioned that I’d nursed my first to age 6 and my second to age 2 1/2, and someone was impressed at how extended nursing was with #1. My answer:

Well, I didn’t set out that way but at age 2 I sat her down and said, “The world health organization says that you have a right to nurse until you’re two and for as long after that as we’re both happy. So you need to be nice to me and stop if I tell you I need to stop, and if you do that you can nurse as long as you want.” She sort of blinked at me and said, “Otay mommy”. So after that if she was getting rough I stopped her. If she was screwing around I stopped her. If I was cramping, I stopped her, and so I never felt like I was trapped nursing her, it was something she did to touch base and for comfort.

When she was 3 she went on a trip with her dad for a week and I assumed she’d be done when she came back, but no, she went right back to it. My milk was mostly gone though. Nursing got shorter and she got less and less milk.

When she was four, my doctor refused to prescribe medication for me unless I weaned (stupid, really, it was prozac and then zoloft, which would be FINE for a nursing 4 year old.) So i told her why we were stopping and she agreed. After two weeks, she sat ME down and said, “Mommy, your milk is all gone. And if anything did come out I’d stop nursing so I wouldn’t get the bad medicine. Can I please have my num nums back?”

I asked, “When are you going to wean then?” She answered, “When I’m six.”

So I let her nurse, and there were two occasions where she suddenly stopped and said, “Milk came out, I’ll stop so I won’t get the bad medicine.” Her nursing got less and less frequent to the point where by the time she was five, weeks would go by without her “touching base” that way… I’d ask, “are you weaned?” She’d say, “When I’m six.”

The night before she turned six, we were traveling, and she crawled into bed with me to snuggle. I said, “You’ll be six tomorrow. Are you ready to wean?”

She took about 3 sucks and then patted me and said, “I’m going to miss num nums.”

She never asked again.

There’s no magic light that goes off over their heads saying “too old”. It either works or it doesn’t and we find the way that makes sense for the given child and given situation.

With her younger sister, developmentally delayed with poor oral motor coordination and oral defensiveness, I got bitten a lot. Nursing was never, ever, ever easy. I fought through it and nursed her for 2 1/2 years, then had to wean her cold turkey because I had hit my limit on being able to tolerate the biting. She got a 6 month grace period on my “after age two…” policy, but I knew it was safer to wean her when I realized I was fighting tooth and nail to stop myself from flinging her across the room every time she bit me.

I doubt my son will nurse as long as his oldest sister, but I hope he nurses a bit longer than his middle sister. It’s hard to say. I don’t enjoy nursing him the way I did #1, but he’s certainly not as painful to nurse as #2 most of the time. But he’s never had a particularly fantastic latch due to a tongue tie that took a couple months to correct, so now that he has teeth I feel them a lot when he’s tired. If he can learn to cover them, he could nurse a very long time. But he’s absolutely enchanted with solid food, and has his dad around, so I’m not the absolute center the way I was with #1 as a single mom. He could surprise me and wean at 18 months, he loves food so.

Breastfeeding and slow-to-gain babies

A mama with a newborn with gain issues and possible tongue tie asked for breastfeeding advice. Here’s what I said.

It took us 2 1/2 months to get properly diagnosed and treated for Miles deep posterior tongue tie. I STRONGLY recommend you search for and join the Tongue Tie Babies group on Facebook, ask questions there and go to a practitioner who believes posterior tongue tie exists. It is a stupidly simple thing to fix with a trained practitioner (minutes, literally) but many people simply do not understand it who should. Those who understand it become evangelists about fixing tongue tie.

IN THE MEAN TIME… The first and most important thing to do is to feed the baby. A close second is to get your supply up.

Now, you say baby lost weight precipitously in the first three days. If you have any sort of IV fluids, however, this is VERY NORMAL. Many caregivers do not even recommend counting weight from birth, but from the 3-day-post-birth low. Being told your baby has lost weight on day 3 is like being told the sun came up in the morning. Shiny had lost 1 pound by day 5… but if you look at her birth pictures, she was VERY swollen when born, probably due to her chromosome issue. Miles lost 13 ounces in 3 days and my midwife did not even blink. We did not give formula in either case.

The best thing you can do to get your supply up is empty your breast as often and completely as possible. Get a good pump, your insurance will probably pay for it. If not, there are plenty of ways of getting one, including rental if you can’t pay $200 up front. Pump on one side while nursing on the other. Get a hands-free bra. Whenever you pump, massage the breast, milking toward the nipple. It takes some practice to learn to do this without breaking suction. When you’re nursing, massage. I cant’ stress this enough. All the teas and tinctures and drugs in the world cannot compare to stimulating and emptying the breasts well and thoroughly, often, and at 10 days your supply is in NO WAY a done deed. Right now your milk supply should be hormonally driven, and you’ve got a couple MONTHS to really fix things.

So, what’s a girl to do? As a mom who has dealt with a lot of crappy nursing situations, here’s what I strongly recommend:

1. GET GOOD HELP. You need a lactation consultant who is both experienced with posterior tongue tie and knows where to send you to get it fixed. You need either a chiropractor or a craniosacral therapist to work on the baby, and you need to get any tongue tie addressed.

2. Whenever you feed formula, spend some time pumping. You need to tell your body how much milk to make, and the more empty you keep your breasts, the more milk you will make.

3. Practice hand expression. Find what works best to make the milk squirt the most, and then do that while your baby is nursing. I have successfully fed two babies with bad latches simply by milking my breast into their mouths at every damn feed. It is hell. But in both cases, the babies DID in fact gain sufficiently and learn to nurse despite huge hurdles (neurological in one, tongue tie in the other).

4. Consider getting a scale. Weigh baby, dressed, before a feed. Without changing the diaper, weigh baby after the feed. You’ll get a feel for how much your kiddo is getting, and how much you need to pump (or how much formula you need to give.) MOST caregivers when faced with a baby losing, will say “Give 2 ounces after every feed.” THIS IS WRONG AND WILL KILL YOUR SUPPLY. In no case is it possible to say “Give 2 ounces after every feed” unless baby is continuing to lose weight day after day at a rate of at least an ounce a day. In most cases, a baby will only need about a half ounce or so after each feed.

5. Spend a lot of time skin to skin in bed with baby. Get as much help as you can and expect that you’re going to spend the next couple weeks figuring this out. It may take a month or two. Rearrange your life if you possible can to allow you as much rest and baby time as humanly possible. The more you get now, the easier things will be in the long run.

Nursing in public

With my first I was very discreet. Mostly so with my second. Then a woman got harassed in a Target for nursing under a clothing rack with a blanket over her baby, and I said no more. I don’t cover up unless it is convenient for ME to do so (i.e. to stop a baby from looking around.) 

Because I realized that it doesn’t matter. Decent people with good manners will not bother a nursing mother no matter HOW much boob they can see. Jerks will be jerks no matter how much she covers up. And yes, if you tell a mother she should cover up, you are being a jerk, no matter how “decent” you think you are.

It has nothing to do with modesty. I have a size 46L chest. My breasts are bigger than my baby’s head, and there are NO nursing clothes that I can reasonably afford on the market. And my baby gets to eat. If someone has a problem with that… it is THEIR problem. Not mine. Not my baby’s.

And no one has EVER told me to nurse somewhere else. Not ever. Not once. Which is as it should be in a decent, sane society.

If you disagree? Keep it to yourself. I don’t give a crap, and the law is on my side. I don’t want to know if you’re a jerk.

I am my baby’s lovey…
I'm his lovey

ETA: This pretty much sums it up, and is a good answer to 97% of the shit people throw out there against public breastfeeding.