Heading into motherhood for the first time, I had no preconceived goal or limitation of how long I would breastfeed. I knew I wanted to breastfeed as long as it served us both. It wasn’t until my son was almost three and a half years-old that I was frequently becoming frustrated during feedings. It didn’t take long for me to realize the time to wean had come.
It was late November when I first told my son that soon there would be no more “nums”. Together, we decided that we would wait until the last day of the year, which was also exactly his half birthday.
In preparation for this huge change in our lives and relationship, we talked about it for a couple of minutes every few nights. I knew he really understood when he started ending our talks with his oh so sweet, “Soon, but not yet. Right mommy?” As the time drew near, I began telling him about the ceremony we would have on the last day. We would go to the water together and let Mama Ocean wash away all of his baby and all of my nums.
As of December 31st, 2015 I had fed my baby for three and a half years, to the day, and it was time for us to move forward with this transition in our lives; his first coming of age. That morning I let him decide what we would do for the entire day, but that one thing we had to include was go to the ocean… he knew why.
We arrived at Mama’s Beach around 4:00pm. The wind was picking up and the waves were crashing. We sat down on the sand for what would be our last feeding, that sacred connection. I remember watching him. His eyes closed the entire time, one arm around my back, the other hand gently resting on my chest. The most bittersweet moment I had ever felt.
A few minutes later, he got up, took my hand and led us to the water. So sweet. So brave. We held onto each other in the turbulent waters as a wave was making its way to us. I looked at him and said, “Mason here comes the wave that’s going to wash away all of your baby and all of my nums. Are you ready?” He nodded his head yes just moments before the wave washed over us.
That night when it was time for bed, when I thought there would certainly be tears, Mason said in his sweet dreamland voice, “Mommy, I want nums… But your nums washed away, and so did all of my baby,” and he rolled over and fell fast asleep. There were tears, plenty of them, but, not one of them belonged to my big guy Mason.
Photo: Sommer and Mason breastfeeding during a visit to the forest before going to the ocean to wash away the nums.
Image Credit: Sommer Waagosh Tarro