July 30, 2019 | Tonight was the last time I would feel my precious baby boy nuzzled sweetly against my chest. This dark, quiet, summer night before the moon moved into the glorious radiant Leo, my son’s sun sign of course. For the last two years, I was his refuge… his solace… his comfort… his nourishment… his sanctuary. And I knew that after he took his final suckle, that bond would shine inside of me forever.
For two years, Tre has literally depended on me for sustenance, tenderness, care, trust, security, lifelong immunity and the deepest sense of love. He calls it Mu-mush (the best name ever). Over the course of two years, he has cradled into my breasts at least 4,358 times (according to my blurry calculations). And I’ll be the first to say, every single time was sacred and special. Yes, there were those first five months of his life when he woke up every 90 minutes to nurse. And those sick nights when he would not let go. And there were those times when I’d miss gatherings because I nursed him before sleep. For, to be within a breath’s distance of his twinkling brown eyes, dimpled cheeks, and perfect giggles, was a gift from heaven. His frustrations when the milk would run out, his joy when he’d head over to the “other side,” his droopy eyes when the milky melatonin consumed his energy – never will I forget. I am in awe of what my body was able to do for two entire years.
Mainstream convention attributes weaning our children to “getting our bodies back.” But I disagree. Nursing my child has been the most expansive experience of reaching the full embodiment of my body. My body is, indeed, different now. We joke about saggy boobs, the fat in all the wrong places, and oh, the stretch marks and dimples and all of the body image self-defecation we’ve slammed ourselves with since labor. But the reality is, damn… our bodies are MIRACULOUS! To give life to a human and to keep him alive with the essence of the elixir that these brilliant boobs create, is the deepest devotion we can offer as females who have chosen the maternal path.
And so, the only constant in this world is change… transformation. And I knew this bitter-sweet day would come eventually. The only way I know how to handle these paradoxical moments of deep grief and ecstatic bliss is through ritual. I’ve been blessed to know the power of ritual from an experiential place through great lineage holders of spiritual devotion (shout out to all of my teachers). And it is through this process that I can move intentionally across a threshold into a different frequency of being… and teach my son to do the same. So I planned a very intentional weaning path. Having been scheduled to travel for work in September, I wanted to give us at least two months to wean gradually, in case it was harder than expected. Over the last year we had gotten down to 3 mu-mush sessions/day and so the idea was to omit the post daycare feed for a week, then the morning feed for a week, and finally the bedtime feed. I chose to wean him during the waning phase of the Cancer moon – a soft, sensitive, yet climatic eclipse time of the moon cycle, a time of dissolution and letting go. When we align our actions with the rhythms of the Universe, I find that life (and all of the emotions that come with it) is so much easier and more fluid. The nature of dissolution and transformation become more acceptable and even necessary to move forward.
A month before we started weaning, I designed a personalized storybook called “Bye Bye Mu-Mush” for Tre to commemorate our two years together and prepare him for what was to come. I truly believe that was the key ingredient to success. Children’s minds are more brilliant and absorptive than we assume. The weaning weeks went by, with fussing and crying here and there but I repeatedly reminded him that while mu-mush was going away, the snuggles and cuddles would stay. He clearly began to grasp the concept and at random moments he’d look at me and softly say “bye bye mu-mush.” Heart. Melted.
So this morning we gave him a balance bike (from Oma and Opa) that would signify a big transition into this new brave era (which he was utterly stoked about). And this evening we celebrated with a “Bye Bye Mu-Mush” Mama/Tre date out in Denver. I picked him up from daycare and we rode bike’n’trailer down to the Platte river, where we splashed and played and he put sand all over mama’s toesies. We watched a kayaker maneuvering in the water, playing and splashing and doing tricks. Tre was enamored with it as he’d never seen one in real life before… “Kayak! Kayak!” he shouted. We perched ourselves on a rock near the rapids and conducted a special mu-mush ceremony to honor his rite of passage with sacredness. We called in Great Spirit, the
four directions, the elements of air, fire, water and earth to protect us and support us through the threshold. We offered feathers, palo santo, a special egg-shaped rock, and the rest of my remaining pumped breastmilk to the earth. With a joyful and mournful tint in our eyes, we witnessed its consumption back into the Great Mother, absorbing our tears and prayers and renewing our sacred bond into a new form. We shouted to the sky, “Bye byyyyyye mu-mushhhhhh!” Tears.
We shared a pizza and a special key lime pie downtown and Tre got to see all of his favorite things — fire trucks, motos, buses, ambulances, scooters, all things with wheels. We rode back home and headed into bedtime routine and alas, into our nursing chair next to our dragonfly lamp for our final session of mu-mush. I should note that previously that morning as I was preparing the bikes, an iridescent pair of dragonfly wings was sitting right on my porch, as if to signify that today was a transformational and most aligned day to wean. Everytime I receive those signs from nature, I am affirmed that I am on the right path and moving forward is that much easier.
As we sat in the chair, I am certain Tre knew it was the last time. He nursed for at least an hour, which is unheard of for him. I let him rest his tender warm belly against mine and I massaged his sweet little body with coconut oil. He suckled and held me tight and looked up at me with those wise brown eyes. I sobbed. And I sobbed. “Mommy sad,” he said. I nodded. I wanted to feel his little lips around me forever. In that moment I realized not only was he getting nourishment and security from nursing, but so was I. I didn’t want it to end, but I knew it would. I held him, rocked him, snuggled him, cherished him. And remembered the several thousand times he laid on my chest as I nursed him before bed.
He let go. I sat him up to light our ceremonial white candle to bring our journey to a close. He reached over to the other nipple one last time and suckled. I sobbed again. And… for the final time ever… he let go. Barely able to get the candle lit, I turned off the light and we watched the flame together. I let more tears go. He looked at the flame sweetly. And as if to completely and gracefully shift me from grief to ecstasy, he turned to me and whispered… “Kayak!”
And so goes the tale of Mu-Mush. On this night, I offer all of myself as a mother. All of my devotion, all of my tired sleepless nights, all of my full sacrifice, the fullness of my miraculous body, for two whole years. 734 days to be exact. I offer and release any feelings of guilt, grief, resentment, loneliness, lack or sadness… and anything else that may come up in the days, weeks and months ahead. I step fully into this new phase of motherhood, of freedom, of joy and of ecstasy. I step fully into what this freedom will offer me as I engage with my lover, my friends, my family, and my colleagues in a new way. I revel fully in the magic thatbreastfeeding my child has given me and the lifelong nourishment I will forever feel as a result of this devotion. I offer it into the Cancer waters of love and receive the golden gifts of transformation from the Leo fire. I do all of this in the name of all the Great Ones. So mote it be.
Tre’s Weaning Storybook:
We began this journey just you and me
Tre and mommy, plus daddy makes three!
You grew in my belly oh so round
While listening to my deep womb sound.
Then out you came in such pure joy
Our precious, beautiful baby boy.
To my chest you clinged, oh so tight
To cuddle and suckle and snoogle all night.
You gulped and chugged and kicked and whined
Mommy looked for all the help she could find.
Gas drops, herbs, no garlic, no cheese
Cut out the wine and call the doc please!
But mommy loved you more than life
So she nursed and nursed and nursed all night.
When you were teething or feeling ill
Mommy still offered you mommy milk.
The first two years were all for Tre
For love and growth and joy and play.
Alas your starting to sleep till dawn
And you don’t need mu-mush to carry on.
You’re eating all kinds of tasty food
And pea and almond milk taste so good!
You’re getting taller and bigger and stronger
And now you won’t need mu-mush any longer.
You’ll be so brave, like a warrior in the night
With his sword so high, and heart so bright.
You’ll explore with daddy and have so much fun
You’ll hike with mommy under the summer sun!
And mommy will get to travel for work on a plane
To do what she loves and go teach again!
She’ll be more fulfilled and excited to be
A better mommy for Tre and wife to daddy.
We’ll do snoogles and rubbies, kisses and hugs
Books and songs, prayers and snugs!
We’ll play games and giggle and laugh all day
And you’ll never know that mu-mush went away.
The love is unlimited and it doesn’t stop here
Let’s cross this threshold into a new year!
Bye Bye Mu-Mush!