Have you ever seen a baby wearing a light yellow or multicolored yellow necklace? Chances are, that baby’s mama is not making a fashion statement. When our oldest child started teething, I looked into options to reduce drool, lessen his discomfort, and get better sleep (for both of us!). One of my favorite parenting sites, mothering.com, had lots of suggestions for amber teething necklaces. I was confused – So, the baby chews on beads? I read on…no, the baby just wears this necklace all day. We ordered one and put it right on. It took a few days, but I saw a decrease in drool for sure. It also seemed like he was sleeping more peacefully – waking up still, but not crying when he woke. The amber necklace made teething a much less stressful experience! Enter drool-machine baby sister. By two months she had her very own amber necklace, and I got to stop changing her shirt three times a day! No teeth for baby girl yet, but I am happy to have this natural pain reliever for when those first teeth do come! So what exactly is Baltic amber, and how does it work?
Baltic amber is a fossil resin formed by pine trees that grew in Europe 40-45 million years ago. Baltic amber has been used for hundreds of years, especially in Europe, as a natural remedy and pain reliever. Baltic amber contains 3-8% succinic acid, the main constituent allowing for the common effects of wearing amber.
Baltic amber is typically used in the form of jewelry. Adults, children, and babies wear necklaces with amber beads for an extended period of time. Oils and heat from the body allow for trace amounts of the amber’s constituents, namely succinic acid, to be released and absorbed by the wearer.
Succinic acid acts an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cell membranes by eliminating free radicals, which cause inflammation on the cellular level. Succinic acid is considered to act as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
Baltic amber is commonly used for babies and toddlers for teething pain. The properties of the amber promote reduced inflammation in the gums, as well as act as a natural pain reliever. Signs of this include less drooling, redness, irritability, and restless sleep. Amber is also widely used for joint pain and arthritic complaints. Because Baltic amber acts as an antioxidant at the cellular level, it is able to boost the body’s overall wellness.
Teething can be a tough time for babies and parents. Inflammation, pain, and disrupted sleep can make for irritable babies and tired parents! It is normal for parents to seek help for this tough period, but our culture is bombarded with solutions that are not very healthy for our families. The negative affects of acetaminophen and common topical analgesics are widely known, but parents may feel that they have no alternatives. Amber necklaces are a holistic, inexpensive option for helping baby cope with teething.
When choosing an amber necklace for your child, select a style that fits close to the neck and cannot reach the mouth. Necklaces should also have individually knotted beads and screw clasps for ideal safety. Babies should not wear the jewelry without adult supervision. Amber is also not recommended to be worn in the bath or shower, as residue from soaps can affect the absorption. Amber varies in its levels of succinic acid – the highest levels of succinic acid are found in lighter colors and less polished forms, though darker varieties of true Baltic amber have high levels of succinic acid.
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