Thursday, September 6, 2012

Amber teething necklaces... help or hype?

Ok guys, we have officially hopped on the amber teething necklace bandwagon...

Whether we'll remain on it, or not remains to be seen.

Elliott's been going through some pretty icky teething pain, and if this helps at all- I'm happy to try it.
However...  And that's a big HOWEVER...  Aside from the obvious BEADS ON A BABY red flag flapping angrily in my mommy brain, I'm afflicted with research-to-death-disease and can't just let "try it" happen without a full-blown investigation into the why behind it all.  No subject or product is safe.  Amber teething necklace?    HA!  Bring on the Law of Infinitesimals and oodles of googles.

What is it?
First, you should know that the term "Baltic Amber" is actually a generic reference to Amber found all over the world.  A true Baltic Amber from the Baltic region (careful, lots of SCAMber out there) is also known as Succinite, and dates from the Eocine period (about 44 million years ago).  Baltic Amber contains roughly 8% of Succinic Acid.  Succinic acid had its hey-day in the 1800's when it was often pulverised and used as a topical ailment for aches and pains.



The theory behind it...
The pain-relief aspect of these necklaces is based on "natural analgesic" power of succinic acid as an absorbent.  This is where I'm having some trouble with the whole thing...  You mean that an 8% concentration of succinic acid is concentrated enough to enter the bloodstream through the skin, reach the site of pain, and still have enough potency to make a difference?  In addition, succinic acid is drying and soothing to skin irritations (i.e. DROOLING), and may heal or prevent rashes or chafing caused by teething.

The controversy...
Skeptics are questioning whether the effects of the necklaces are comparable to placebo.  If you've ever sat up with a miserable baby on a particularly grueling night, you're likely at the point of trying anything to give you both a break.  I suppose this is plausible- but it's hard to ignore the glowing heralds and praise bestowed upon these necklaces by literally EVERY mother I know who has tried them.  And then there's the obvious...  beads on a baby?  Come on, even Evelyn asked me if that was a good idea.  Our necklace is individually knotted around each bead, so in case of breakage- Elliott won't be surrounded by bazillions of yummy choking hazards.  It's also short enough not to be any fun for him to pull on.  Is it a choking hazard?  Yes.  But isn't just about everything?  I'm also not leaving it on during naps/bedtime, and he doesn't seem very interested in it anyway.



The look and the stereotype...
I'm not really into baby jewelry in general- but I'm particularly not into it for a baby boy.  What I am into are happy, pain-free babies who sleep well and let their mothers sleep too.  There's no getting around the fact that this is not an invisible necklace, but associations with "crunchy granola" and "dirty hippy" parenting seem completely misguided and (in my experience) totally off-base.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the general presumption of mothers who use amber teething necklaces.  I chose a lighter colored necklace because I hoped that it would not stand out as much against Elliott's skin. A camouflage necklace seemed a little more unisex to me, I guess.  I don't think we got the desired affect... but that was my approach anyway.  The bottom line... does he look like a crunchy hippy in it?  Yes, but only when he's shirtless and wearing his Saltwater sandals.

Does it work?
 I've asked this question a lot.  Moms on instagram, moms on the sidewalk, moms at the coffee shop, and moms in aisles at the grocery store...  Every single woman I've asked has had nothing but rave reviews for the necklaces.  Literally, not one of them had a single warning, misgiving, or doubt that this was the BEST thing ever for a teething babe.  I think that the word of a mother- in the trenches, is kind of magical and outweighs just about any stigma, or skeptical research you put in front of me.  Is it for everyone?  No.  But neither is baby-wearing, co-sleeping, or breastfeeding.  Am I a crunchy granola hippy mom for trying it?  Hang on, lemme finish my York peppermint patty, and do a google image search and get back to you.







4 comments:

  1. Anonymous6/9/12 12:46

    When Rian was teething I gave him these homeopathic teething tablets. They are tiny white round "pills" that worked WONDERS. He was literally up every 45 minutes until I started giving him those tablets. Maybe try them too.

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  2. Well, he certainly looks like he's feeling pretty good!... Such adorable pic's!

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  3. 'I've asked this question a lot. Moms on instagram, moms on the sidewalk, moms at the coffee shop, and moms in aisles at the grocery store... Every single woman I've asked has had nothing but rave reviews for the necklaces. Literally, not one of them had a single warning, misgiving, or doubt that this was the BEST thing ever for a teething babe.'

    look at any teething remedy - it will have cons and pros. And amber teething necklaces do! However choosing between drug remedies and natural - i will go for natural! Even if they are less effective!
    p.s. I bought unpolished necklace from Amber For Babies for my DS and i am very happy i did. It helps a lot.

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  4. My sister swears by them for her children. I have been researching amber teething beads for my LO and found your blog. Great information. Thanks!

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