Many moms swear by amber teething necklaces to help soothe pain naturally. But is there any evidence that supports the pain relieving properties of amber teething necklaces?
My son is often mistaken as a girl.
Perhaps it is my refusal to let scissors near his long, beautiful locks. Or maybe it is because he was lucky enough to get his mother’s good looks (wink). Anyhow, the cases of false identify most often occurred when my son was wearing his amber teething necklace. Because boy’s can’t wear necklaces, right (another wink)?
I had heard all of the horror stories about teething. The sleepless nights, rashes, buckets of drool, and inconsolable cries of a baby in pain. As a mother who desired to limit the use of pain medication and remedies with scary ingredients, I saw the Baltic amber teething necklace as an adorable, fairly inexpensive, option worth trying.
In my opinion, I believe our fashion accessory to be a success. While he certainly experienced painful moments, teething was not a huge ordeal for my son. As far as whether or not the necklace was the reason, I may never know for sure, so I decided to do a little research on my own to give any undecided parents out there some additional information.
Here’s What I Found:
The power of the baltic amber necklace lies in the succinic acid (a compound known for pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties). The idea behind wearing the teething necklace is that the succinic acid is released by body heat and absorbed into the skin, making little ones with gummy grins happy all around the world.
Researchers in Australia used infrared spectroscopy to determine the amount of succinic acid in Baltic amber beads, as well as a phosphate-buffered saline to measure succinic acid release. They identified that the beads did indeed contain succinic acid, however, found little evidence that it is actually released while the beads remain intact. The researchers did mention it is possible the succinic acid is released by an action other than the one that was studied.
Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only “evidence-based” information that I found. Even so, many folks swear by the benefits of Baltic amber for treating all types of pain–including arthritis.
I chatted with a few other mamas who at first had some skepticism about the beads, either themselves or from their spouse. One mama found that her teething child’s drool was cut in half a week after wearing the beads, while another mentioned she never had to use any over-the-counter pain medications on her little ones while they were teething. A few others agreed that, when they forgot to put the teething necklace back on their child, they noticed a significant difference in fussiness, sleep patterns, and biting behaviors.
Helpful or Hype? My Key Takeaways:
1. Boys can absolutely wear necklaces!
2. In my case, and for a few other parents surveyed (yes, a VERY small sample size), we found that the necklace seemed to mitigate teething symptoms.
3. More research seems to be needed to support the effectiveness of the Baltic amber teething necklace.
4. Safety is essential!
We NEVER left our little one in the necklace at nap time or at bedtime. If he was at daycare, we left the necklace at home. We also kept a close eye on him when wearing the necklace. Should the necklace break, the beads could be a potential choking hazard. And trust me, they can break!
5. Don’t forget there are other “natural” teething remedies, too!
- Wooden teething necklaces that a caregiver may wear and that baby can safely chew
- Teethers made with organic baby washcloths, dampened, twisted and then frozen
If you’re interested, read more about the “Art of Teething.”
What do you think? Has Baltic amber teething jewelry been helpful for your little ones?
Photo Credit: Shari/Flickr.com