I don't think jewelry belongs on babies. There, I said it. No earrings, no necklaces, no bracelets, certainly no rings. I saw a baby in a grocery store once decked out in a gold necklace that said "BABY" on the charm (ya think?), a gold ring, a gold chain bracelet, and one earring. This boy also had Puma shoes on, and his parents were equally decked out. It was obvious that personal appearance was of the utmost important to them, including bling for babies, but all I could think of was: Choking hazard! Strangulation hazard!
So when women on the Internet started showing pictures of their kids' necklaces, all I could think was, "What the heck?" I noticed too that all the necklaces looked similar. So I asked, and it turns out there was an answer I didn't expect:
The amber teething necklaces were to help with teething pain and other discomfort. And no, I don't mean a necklace they chew on, but just the presence of the necklace itself.
Rowan was an easy teether -- in fact, he barely noticed. Aurora on the other hand really struggled, and I don't do teething tablets or Orajel, but I thought this sounded interesting. You can get them on Etsy's Inspired by Finn. Before I bought into it, or spent my money on a necklace for a baby, I wanted to learn a little about them.
First, I learned it can't just be any amber, but it needs to be baltic amber. This particular amber resin has the highest concentration of succinic acid, and the lighter, milkier the amber, the higher concentration of the acid as well. This acid is naturally found in plants and animals, and plays a large role in the Krebs cycle (aka the citric acid cycle) in the body -- the system that processes oxygen for everything that requires it, in extremely simplified terms. This acid in solid form is a colorless crystalline powder or solid, and is what is present in these teething necklaces.
So, how does it help? The idea is that against the skin, the acids are absorbed into the body (so the necklace is meant to be worn under clothes, not over for looks), and these acids help the baby deal with teething pain or other aches, and it even works for adults. Scientifically speaking, succinic acid is used in medications as an anti-inflammatory, fever reducer, anti-spasmer, and even a sedative.
We know that the skin absorbs as much, if not more, than the digestive tract. So, honestly, it's not that far fetched of an idea that this acid that already exists in your body and is scientifically proven to help reduce discomfort could be absorbed by the body and aid in teething pain.
Pretty cool, huh? I caught an awesome sale on Inspired by Finn's Facebook page and got Aurora a teething necklace. I was still seriously concerned about choking, but the necklaces are all made so that they would break under pressure, and they also have an individual knot between each bead so that if the necklace did break, only one bead would come off. They're small enough too that if she did pick up and swallow the bead, it's entirely harmless ... they're about 1/2 to 1/3 the size of a pea, so choking isn't even possible really either. As far as strangulation, knowing it's made to break helps, and I take it off when she sleeps. Sometimes I've forgotten or she's napping on me and I don't bother, and I have to say, my friends were right ... seeing it on her makes me more comfortable with it because it's never ever gotten tight around her throat, certainly not enough to concern me.
The burning question: Does it work?
Honestly? I'm not sure. It could be sheer coincidence, but I actually think it does. In fact, on fussy days if we forget to put her necklace on, we'll go find it and get it on her right away. The scientific evidence definitely leans in favor of the necklaces, and next time she has a big sale, I'm buying one for me (my son wants one as well), and I'll be a little bit better of a judge of effectiveness, though many adults swear by the benefits as well. Plenty of moms love them, as reviews of the necklaces make crystal clear.
There are plenty of skeptics, though, who call it stupid, dangerous, and a crock. Then again, there are skeptics for everything, even scientifically accepted facts.
So now, my baby wears a necklace. No earrings or rings for years though ... no, not even if they made amber ones.
Have you tried an amber teething necklace for your baby? Do you think it works?