The Hands

This is a post about nursing my nine-month-old.

When I was pregnant with Lucy, I tried to set some kind of reasonable goal to help me get through the beginning part of nursing. I assumed that beginning stretch would be hard, since I never it made it through that part with my twins. I could never decide, though - should I tell myself to just make it through the first three months? The first six weeks? I always just knew in the back of my mind I wanted to make it at least a year; giving in before then wasn't an option I gave myself.

Breastfeeding was hard in the beginning, but easier than I had expected. It was less like learning and more like re-learning something I had done years ago and forgotten. Since I didn't nurse my twins, every milestone Lucy and I have hit, every aspect of breastfeeding with her is new for me. And I have to say, I love it. I might be ready to stop nursing her when she graduates from high school. {I'm kidding. Maybe I'm kidding.}

There are, of course, a few elements of breastfeeding that I do not love. I've gotten a few bites {very tentative, but still painful}, I've chafed against the restrictions placed on my freedom, I've leaked and I've been engorged and I've stained my clothes with lanolin.

BUT for us, for my sweet-smelling squishy baby and I, the good easily outweighs the bad. It's been more beautiful than I can describe.

In the early days, I loved holding her naked body against my skin and feeling her against me. I loved laying on my side and nursing her for long periods of time, both of us half-asleep. I loved the satisfaction of knowing that all of her chubby rolls came from me, that I built her body with mine.

Now I love to ask her, deliberately emphasizing the key word so she pays attention, "Lucy, do you want to nurse?" and having her bury her face in my chest, trying to eat me through my shirt. I love nursing her at night and holding her asleep on my shoulder for a few minutes, just savoring her soft weight. I love to make her laugh while she's nursing, so that she smiles at me with the corners of her mouth. I love the butterfly kisses.

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law said, while I was nursing Lucy and Lucy was tugging on a few stray strands of my hair, that the hands was one part of breastfeeding that she loved the most. The tiny fat baby hands that poked themselves into her mouth, sneaked under the fabric of her shirt, reached up to her face and laid themselves on her cheeks, and yes, tugged on her hair.

And I think, I think that it's my favorite as well. The hands. I'm going to miss them when this is over.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! Ralphie just started poking around with his hands while nursing not too long ago. He'll put them on my chest, and on his head, and rest them over his eyes when he's sleepy. They're always so soft and warm.

    This post was wonderful.

    1. Lucy likes to pull her blankie over her head when she's tired, which I think is adorable. Baby hands are the softest and warmest.

      And thank you. :)

  2. I too love nursing. Any irritation I feel at being tied to nursing is far outweighed by my love of it. I certainly couldn't have made it this far if I didn't. I think about weaning a lot, but I don't know when I'll pull the trigger. I have to say that pudgy baby hands are endearing but busy toddler hands can be a bit more frustrating. Tate has moved to pinching the skin around his latch or actively pushing away from me while maintaining his latch sometimes when we nurse. But I still love the pudgy hand stroking my face & occasionally breaking to say "soooooft".

    1. Tate is a sweetie. :) I know weaning will come for us eventually, but I'm glad I don't have to think about it yet.

      Lucy will sometimes push me away as hard as she can while maintaining her latch also - what IS that? {Besides extremely painful and frustrating, I mean.}

  3. My favorite part, too. Baby hands on my face is the best.

  4. Oh those sweet chunky baby hands. Totally agree. Best part.

  5. oh,i love this post so much! The smiles while nursing are the best, hey?

    My little one is always doing something with his hands while nursing, usually it's sweet: tugging at my bra strap or putting his little fingers in my mouth or stroking his hair, but sometimes he can be a bit rough. I have scratches on my chest from his sharp little nails, ouch!


  6. My son squeezes my pudgy stomach. I struggle with my postpartum body sometimes, but when he does that, I can't help but think "This is why my body is still like this"