The Last Feed by Carlee Wilson
The last feed
Today is a very significant day. Today is the day I officially, nervously, reluctantly, excitedly say goodbye to breastfeeding. Being such a personal and important experience for me I share this with the hope that other mums also making this transition for the first time find a sense of comradery and strength. You are not alone.
Knowing that I would return to work full time when Abel was 11 months, I made the decision to reduce breast feeds and slowly introduce formula. My thinking was that this would provide a few months of adjustment time. At 5 ½ months Abel was comfortable taking expressed breast milk from a bottle and was experimenting with fruit and vegetables. My decision was greatly made with the confidence that he leads and expresses what he wants.
What I was greatly un-prepared for was how quickly and easily both of us adapted to this new feeding regime.
After returning from a holiday to Bali, Abel and I were only sharing one breast feed at night. And within another week this was eliminated as he slept through. The process that was supposed to take me a few months was complete within 3 weeks.
It wasn’t until after a few family members and girlfriends asked me how I felt about it that I stopped to consider ‘How do I actually feel?’ And the answer is this. I feel terrified, excited, nervous, happy, free, sad, overwhelmed, concerned, independent and a whole other magnitude of emotions. I am blissfully joyous at the prospect of wearing clothes and underwear that require no consideration to feeding. I am excited at the freedom that bottle feeding allows. I am proud of my son for his independence and adaptability and incredibly sad at this loss of personal time together. In fact when I tried to initiate a breast feed during the day Abel was not interested. He was telling me loud and clear ‘Mummy we’ve moved on’.
In order to reconcile my feelings and officially farewell this remarkable period in my life I wrote a letter that I read out aloud to my son during our last breast feed today. I found this such a profoundly healing and loving way to say goodbye and I would encourage other mamas at this stage to consider doing the same.
So here it is:
‘I want to thank the Universe, my beautiful son Abel and my wonderfully intuitive an adaptable body for making breastfeeding such an intimate, loving process and for the easy transition into bottle formula feeding and solids.
To my body- WELL DONE!!! You instinctively and successfully nourished another human being whilst having the remarkable ability to still consider yourself. You are strong, wise and beautiful and I thank you and all the inner processes that happened daily. A huge shout out to my boobs for their perseverance, strength, nourishment and commitment. We can now dig out all the wonderful lacy, structured, sexy, coloured push up bras we both have missed!
To my darling son Abel. We began this journey together and now we enter the next phase..together. I am so proud of the effortless way you transition and the independent and inquisitive nature that you continuously demonstrate. You have guided me through pregnancy and motherhood with such confidence and ease. I am forever grateful for the time spent breastfeeding with you. I believe it has created an intimate, loving and connected relationship that will continue to evolve throughout our lives.
As we move through the next phase together know with certainty that I love you. I love you just as you are. You are my greatest achievement. Should you miss our feeds together, know that we will find new ways to connect on other levels. Please continue to guide me with all you need to become the truest most authentic version of yourself and know that I will do all I can to honour this.
I love you, mummy.’
Carlee is a wife and co-sleeping baby wearing mama to two, Abel 2.5 and Vada 2 months as well as her fur children Labradors Arloh & Zulih. She is a vegetarian, hike loving, ocean dwelling visual merchandiser from Adelaide. Her spiritual go to would be Louise Hay particularly in terms of the manifestation of illness in the body through emotions.