I was recently asked about weaning a toddler from breastfeeding and if there was a GNM approach. While there are no resources as such to draw upon, it got me thinking about how I now approach similar things in life and how that would relate.
As the Biological Laws are a fundamental understanding of what is, it is not really necessary to be told what to do. Once you know the Laws, it is just a matter of approaching things with this new awareness.
Understanding the biological laws, my approach with anything in life now is to look at how best to avoid conflicts for anyone involved, and that includes you!
On this particular occasion, the lady (who we will name Mary) was breastfeeding her soon-to-be 3 year old son, and she was thinking it was time she stopped, but her son became distressed at being refused to breastfeed, making her feel guilty when her son became distressed, and this was causing her stress. So she was looking for ways in which she could approach it. The information below is based upon my reply to her, and hopefully it will help to understand the whole process of giving something up, whether it is weaning onto solids or giving up a comforting breastfeed or other comforter. It may even be helpful in parts for other areas of life.
Firstly, we need to be happy with our decision, or our part in it. For example, in the breastfeeding situation, Mary needs to remind herself that she has given over and above what the majority of mums do, and now it is time to move on. And stand firm in that, so there is no guilt, blame or negative emotions involved which could lead to a conflict for her if her son takes it badly on occasions.
At almost 3 years old, Mary’s son is using the breastfeeding as more of a comforter now, so if it was stopped suddenly this could cause a conflict for him. So I’d certainly recommend taking it in stages. this will downgrade the ‘giving up’ and would hopefully avoid or at least greatly reduce the intensity of a DHS. And if there are clear boundaries set, possibly with explanations if this is appropriate, then this would help him understand and accept the gradual reduction, even if it is hard at times.
Having had 3 children and 1 grandson, I know a bit about giving things up and weaning and have tried many different things and what works will depend on the circumstances and the child. In this case, Mary could tell him that he needs to stop soon as Mummy’s milk is slowing down because he is going to be a big boy when he is 3, and that he can have a feed once a day before bed for now. Or maybe, she could not tell him anything but just distract him at the time so he is unaware he is being weaned off, maybe with a little white lie such as “I’m sorry, lovely, but there’s no milk there at the moment”. But all-the-while Mary needs to take care of her feelings with this, making sure she is not anxious or upset herself, as her son will pick them up, so she needs to be happy on all levels that this is the right decision for both of them. She also needs to have the matter-of-fact approach that it is not something big, or built up into something big. Finding a substitution that her son would love, or has been wanting may also help.
My grandson giving up his dummy
My grandson recently gave up his dummy and we found it successful by doing it in stages and giving explanations at each stage, and it minimised the tantrums and upset.
So first we said dummies are only for sleeping so there was 1 in the car, and we took one out in case he wanted to nap.
Then next stage, the dummies had to stay in his bedroom because they are not allowed in the house or car as they “keep getting lost”. He would ask for a nap in his bedroom just to have a suck on his dummy, and then want to play, but then we started distracting him with activities he liked and bought him some new colouring things and books.
Then when he was completely happy with leaving his dummy in his bedroom, which probably took about a month, we said that we had to give them to the poor children who didn’t have dummies because he was a big boy now. As he’d always been asking for coffee, and had been told no as it’s a ‘grown up drink’, we bought him a grown up mug and mixed a bit of chocolate powder into some milk and called it ‘Kylo’s coffee’, so now he’s a big boy he can have coffee. We made a big fuss of him being a big boy as much as we could because we had used the excuse that dummies are for little babies and he’s a big boy now. I suppose it fed his ego a little!
As the boundaries of each stage were stuck to, it didn’t take long to adapt to each stage, though some stages did take longer. The key is to wait until that stage is a normal fact of life and he was totally used to it, and even promoted it – for example, one time I went to get him after his nap and I picked him up to take him downstairs and he still had his dummy. He said ‘Oh No! Dummy in bedroom!’ and insisted I took him straight back up so he could put it back! Of course this was met with LOTS of praise, and was a great sign that he would soon be ready to move to the next stage!
There have been tantrums and upset, but it could have been a lot worse! At these times we were just offering comfort and saying things like ‘I’m sorry we can’t, because it’ll get lost’, or ‘You’re too big now’ – just reaffirming the current excuse and saying sorry like we didn’t have any choice. We’d also make light of it saying things like ‘did you forget you’re a big boy, silly billy!’
He did have a little separation conflict as he had a rash around his mouth, but it cleared up in a few days so that was fine and I think it it was given up cold turkey, it would have been a whole lot worse!