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Amber Teething Necklaces: Helpful or Hype?

Jan21

by

Amber Teething Necklace

Advice Smackdown ArchivesHey, woman! Just found your site and am loving it. (OMG HOW DOES ANYONE NURSE WITHOUT A SMARTPHONE?! Needless to say, I’ve now read, like, half your posts ever since the baby is having a growth spurt and eating constantly.)

Anyhow, you and I seem to be a similar degree of granola-crunchy but not dirty-hippy, so here goes. I’m a cloth diapering, clothesline-using, breastfeeding, Ergo-wearing, organic container-gardening, babyfood making, composting AND worm farm type of gal. Dear lord I can’t believe I just typed that. (Oh crap, maybe I *am* a dirty hippy.)

I like going the natural route if possible, but on the other hand I’m a scientist by trade and I HEART FACTS! So a lot of this magnetic-bracelet/aura healing crystals/green tea detoxifying foot patches, etc. just PISSES ME OFF.

SO, onnnnn to the question! Amber teething necklaces. Do they work? I get that they contain succinic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory, but… ya know… really? And do the possible benefits outweigh putting BEADS on your BABY!? (I think my baby is making NOM NOM NOM noises just thinking about ripping such a thing off and devouring it.) Uh, choking hazard much?

So what do you think?

Signed,
Skeptical Dirty Hippy Scientist

Did you steal my brain? Were we separated at the birthin’ place many many years ago? Because like you, I feel like the most curmudgeonly skeptical hippy in the world sometimes. Yes, we cloth diaper and baby-wear and make our own baby food and grow vegetables and compost and shun anything processed and artificial and recycle and all of that, but…well, I chose my green/natural initiatives after reading, you know, FACTS that changed my mind and laid out the benefits clearly and objectively. I am not the moron from the pro-HFCS commercials who just says “oh, that’s bad for you!” because I maybe heard it from somebody somewhere and then stares blankly when asked to elaborate. Ask ME why we don’t consume HFCS and you’ll get a damn lecture with Powerpoint, at the end of which you will probably run away screaming and swear to never talk to me again, because ANNOYING.

But…amber teething necklaces. Yeah. I’ve never owned one. Never really thought about owning one. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this wives’ tale gone mainstream: Baltic amber contains a “natural analgesic” that can, in theory, be absorbed through your skin to relieve pain. Here’s the wiki on succinic acid, where there is indeed a passing mention of it being historically used to relieve aches and pains — though just how far back in history isn’t mentioned. Today, you’ll often see amber advertised for back pain and arthritis, but also for teething pain. Mothering message boards are chock full of parents who SWEAR the necklaces work, or at least helped, though there are usually a couple people who say the opposite, or admit that it’s little more than a placebo effect for exhausted parents. He’s not crying at this particular moment! He slept better last night! Well, yes, teething pain does come and go, and sometimes we misdiagnose all sorts of other crankiness/discomfort as ongoing “teething”…but he’s wearing the necklace! That HAS TO BE IT.

I have two problems with the necklaces, even if we do buy into the idea that succinic acid is strong and concentrated enough in the jewelry to be absorbed THROUGH YOUR SKIN, INTO YOUR BLOODSTREAM and STILL be strong enough to make it to the source of pain — better than or equal to, say, a straight liquid analgesic like Tylenol or Motrin, or teething tablets inserted directly by the gums:

1) A lot of what’s sold as “amber” these days is actually mostly resin OR has been treated artificially to look pretty and sparkly and sun-kissed. There’s a very high scammy quotient among products being specifically sold as “healing” amber. Basically, if you decide to buy a cheap one just to see if it works at all, you’re probably still getting ripped off with stones that don’t really contain much of the magic acid in the first place. (True Baltic amber contains about an 8% concentration of the stuff.) I’m sure there are reputable places selling the real deal, but be prepared to do some research first and educate yourself on how to spot real Baltic amber before buying the first necklace you see because it looks cute.

2) Beaded jewelry on a baby. Around their NECK, even. I just…yeah. I have a hard time being not nervous about that part. I just came from a message board where MULTIPLE PEOPLE admitted that they NEVER took the necklaces off — even at night. And others simply wrapped it around their baby’s wrist or ankle at night, convinced that it was the reason their fussy baby was sleeping better, and that the baby wouldn’t be able to figure out how get it of since it was under their clothes or something. People: I don’t care how sturdy the construction is or how safe the clasp claims to be, or what ancient cultures used to let their babies wear, please please please don’t put your infants in a crib unsupervised with beaded jewelry wrapped around their necks or limbs, okay?

Personally, after the amount of research I’ve done just on the topic of pregnancy and TOPICAL chemicals, oils, and other ingredients in health and beauty products, I remain incredibly skeptical of the idea that enough of the acid inside a stone could really enter a baby’s bloodstream in amounts that would have a real, profound effect on pain. I mean, think of all the crazy nasty stuff in hair dye, and the relatively insignificant amount that actually gets through your scalp. (I guess that’s the justification for letting babies wear the necklaces 24/7?)

However, there’s obviously a pretty decent and vocal population out there who swear the necklaces worked, or were even their own personal teething lifesaver. You know? Good for you. I’m glad you found something that worked. If you want to give them away as shower presents because they worked so great, that’s really no different than any parent praising their own favorite baby product to the skies. Replace “amber teething necklaces” with Miracle Blankets/obscure pacifier brands/gripe water or whatever One Thing we all have that in our minds, is the Greatest Thing Ever because it worked well for our particular baby.

And seriously, I get that I am technically knocking something I have not tried. The most obnoxious thing ever, right? Personally, teething was all over the place for us. Both of my boys were early teethers, and prone to getting teeth rapid-fire, one right after another. Sometimes they’d just wake up with a tooth, like it was no big deal at all…and then the next tooth involved a protracted period of misery and drool and crankiness. I used Tylenol and Motrin sparingly — never in amounts I felt were excessive, but whenever it was undeniable that they were seriously in pain. I used Hyland’s teething tablets, which HA HA IRONY, have now been brought under scrutiny by the FDA. I always thought they did a great job, but — again, HA HA — other parents find them completely useless. (And I imagine the increased popularity of the amber jewelry could go hand in hand with parents trying to find an alternative to the tablets, now that even THOSE have been flagged as worrisome. We cannot win.)

Other than that, we survived teething (including molars!) just fine, with chewy rings and toys and letting them chew on cold washcloths. Ezra liked to gum on nice cold pickles or carrots — supervised, always, while Noah preferred those tried-and-true plain old plastic teething beads. I did own one piece of teething jewelry…for myself. I wore a Smart Mom Teething Bling necklace for Ezra to grab and pull and gnaw on to his heart’s content. We got an amazing amount of traction and entertainment out of that pendant. It was awesome, with no quasi-science involved other than babies like to pull and chew on Mama’s necklaces more than anything already, so why not just wear something kind of cool-looking that makes it okay?

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If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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51 Responses to “Amber Teething Necklaces: Helpful or Hype?”

  1. JCF Jan 22 at 12:30 pm Reply Reply

    Okay, usually I agree with Amy, but I’m going with the cliche “don’t knock it till you’ve tried” it line this time.

    I didn’t use a teething necklace on my first baby, mostly because I was skeptical and didn’t want to shell out $20 or so for something that wouldn’t work. He was a horrendous teether, and we gave him tons of Motrin and Tylenol, which I felt terrible about, but the kid was miserable. My second baby got her first tooth, was miserable, and I broke down and bought one. She never suffered through getting a tooth after that, except for once when the necklace got lost, we had a terrible night up with her while she screamed about a tooth that was breaking through, and I broke down and ordered another. My third baby is currently wearing a teething necklace, and it has seemed to work for him as well. Saying that the parents are just claiming that it works to make themselves feel better is like saying the exact same thing about Tylenol. You’ll know if it is working.

    Some things to know:
    1. I got my necklaces from a company called Inspired by Finn, which is a reputable company that sells real Baltic Amber
    2. The darker colors of amber have a higher concentration of succinic acid, so at least pick one with multiple colors of beads (dark and light), rather than just light.
    3. Look for strands that have knots in between each bead, so should the necklace break, your baby won’t be surrounded by tons of loose beads.
    4. Some places sell magnetic clasps, so that the necklace will pop off if pressure is applied. Others have regular screw type clasps.
    5. The cords are apparently not made to withstand a ton of force, so if the baby gets caught by the necklace, it would break rather than choke the baby. We’ve never had a chance to test this, so I can’t personally confirm it.
    6. I tuck the necklace under the baby’s clothes so they’re not getting ahold of it to chew/pull/get caught. It has never really been a problem. They don’t really even notice that it is on.

    Baltic amber necklaces are extremely common in Europe for teething babies. My dad is from France, and none of his relatives bat an eye when they see the necklaces. They’re sold all over the place there, and everyone seems to know what they are and accept that they really do work.

    I hope teething goes smoothly regardless of what you choose!

    • Shawna Aug 03 at 1:58 pm Reply Reply

      I got my daughter’s necklace there, too.  It worked very well.

      I never let her sleep in it because I don’t like to sleep in jewelry, so its removal was about comfort, not so much about safety.  

      She is six now and we still have the necklace.  She doesn’t wear it only because it is too small now.  We bought her a 12″ necklace when she was teething.  It fits her like a choker these days and she says it’s too snug, so it has not been worn in three years or so.

      I swear by teething necklaces.  My child went from crying fits and restless sleep to being more mellow and not needing any medication of any type to help her teeth come in.  They all popped in quite peacefully.  

      I’m actually surprised more moms don’t take a chance on them.  Even if they don’t work for all kids, the babies get a cute piece of baby jewelry to wear.

  2. BB Jan 22 at 1:29 pm Reply Reply

    This could not be more timely for me. I was just reading posts about someone using them on a message board the other day, and was wondering what the heck they were talking about. I totally agree with you about the placebo effect, Amy. But I think I was cut from the same cloth as you and the OP.

  3. Chris Jan 23 at 12:20 am Reply Reply

    Wow, there are a bunch of us out there! I’m actually a scientist (I’m a biologist/toxicologist)/ dirty hippy mom too.

    I’d like to chime in that I absolutely agree- it’ seems very unlikely that a baby would be getting succinic acid in therapeutic doses by chewing on amber. I’m skeptical, also, about if there actually is any analgesic effect of succinic acid- I did a quick search of the scientific literature, and nothing seems to be jumping out documenting its use as a pain-killer, it looks like it’s more used in the synthesis of other drugs. And honestly, the choking risk really seems to outweigh the hypothetical benefit, in my opinion, even if it does work.

    I know moms want to go with a ‘natural’ solution to problems, but you have to be careful. Not only is the delivery method potentially a choking hazard, but you do have to remember that even natural chemicals are CHEMICALS, so there’s potential for them to have adverse effects within the body, just like synthetic chemicals.

  4. Hello I am not a dirty hippy, but do just about all the things that you do for your kids. I come from a family with engineers, doctors and other very logically minded people, not to mention that one side of the family is French and thinks that half of what I do is because I am a crazy Californian. I don’t get on too many bandwagons.

    So here is our story about how we were won over by the amber necklace. Our baby boy had an awful case of skin rash on his neck from incessant drooling. I kept his neck clean and dry and also tried some creams but nothing worked. One day I took him to the doctor for a check-up and the pediatrician (who had always given me very good advice) recommended that he wear an amber necklace. I immediately replied with a ‘you gotta be kidding me?!’ She told me that the calming teething pain part of amber necklace is an old wives tale that comes from the fact that in many cultures babies were given necklaces to wear while teething. They were not given the necklaces, however, to calm the pain, but to alleviate skin irritations from drooling. The succinic acid is drying and soothing to the skin’s surface. I immediately went and bought one from a high quality source. My entire family laughed at me when they saw it… but they were not laughing one week after when our boy’s rash was gone and never came back!

    I took it off of him at night, because I was scared of choking. He chewed on it for a bit in the beginning, but then he forgot about it. It was of course a high quality child safe necklace. Each bead was knotted.

    If your kid has neck rash… I highly recommend this product.

  5. Olivia Jan 24 at 8:46 am Reply Reply

    Haven’t tried the amber necklace because my daughter didn’t seem to have too much trouble teething. The Hylands Teething Tablets worked most of the time (I stalked up and will be using them with the next babe), and when she was really in pain we gave tylenol. We only had to give her that a few times.

  6. Bethany Jan 24 at 12:00 pm Reply Reply

    I tried one of the teething necklaces, and it did absolutely nothing for my daughter (except look cute). I took the necklace back to the store and exchanged it for some cloth diapers, which are actually useful. :)

  7. Kim Jan 24 at 12:54 pm Reply Reply

    Huh, the neck rash thing. That makes sense. The soothing powers, not so much. But Hyland’s didn’t make sense to me, either. The expensive trendy teething thingy that did? Sophie the Giraffe, or as she’s known around here – Chompers. Bought it for the Big when she was working on molars, because you can work the legs all the way back into the mouth, and the Little just chews on her all the time. Motrin, Orajel, and washcloths filll in the rest.

  8. Caitlyn Jan 24 at 1:12 pm Reply Reply

    I’m a engineer/skeptic/hippy mommy too, which is why I love reading this blog!  So nice to find someone who seems sane on these issues.

    I’ve always been thoroughly skeptical of amber teething necklaces (the facts just weren’t adding up) and I’ve been pretty skeptical of teething tablets as well, so I’m glad the FDA is looking into them.  The basic “laws” of homeopathy don’t make any sense (look up “law of similars” and “law of infinitesimals” if you’re curious) so I’m disinclined to trust anything made using those laws.  (A few homeopathic products do work, but it’s by coincidence rather than by principle.)

    By the way, could you give me a couple links to start reading up on HFCS?  I should probably read what’s out there, and I don’t feel like wading through the fearmonger sites.

  9. JCF Jan 24 at 2:20 pm Reply Reply

    @Cassandra–Interesting to hear about the rash! I hadn’t ever heard that particular use of amber, but I’m glad to hear that works. My son had a terrible rash on his cheeks from teething. I wonder if that would have helped, or if it would have needed to be against the actual skin affected.

    @Chris–The necklaces aren’t supposed to be chewed on. They are supposed to rest against the skin, and the succinic acid is absorbed by the skin.

    • dori Aug 05 at 6:10 pm Reply Reply

      “…I don’t feel like wading through the fearmonger sites.”

      why not? you actually trust the FDA. 

  10. professormama Jan 24 at 4:53 pm Reply Reply

    So we’ve never done the amber necklace thing, but both our kids have worn beaded necklaces since shortly after birth.  They slept in them, wore them int eh bath, never took them off, they were not long necklaces, and we never worried or had cause to worry, but the kids slept next to us until they’re almost 3 years old.  I wouldn’t leave a baby alone in a crib with a necklace on, but then again I wouldn’t do it without the necklace. I think cultural practices go together, like for example baby jewelry and co-sleeping.

  11. Sarah Jan 25 at 12:25 am Reply Reply

    Amalah, I love ya, but you sound a little hypocritical here. Didn’t you tell us all not to put anything lavender on boys skin because of phytoestrogen?And don’t you also avoid parabens and other yucky additives if possible when it comes to skin care? So you obviously believe chemicals CAN be absorbed through the skin, maybe because they are hard beads and not a oil or water base you think they probably don’t work? I have never used them, considering it for child-on-the way. The necklace thing is kinda scary, I don’t think I would leave the babe unsupervised while wearing it…

  12. Sherri Jan 25 at 3:01 am Reply Reply

    ^Not exactly hippy-ish… Love my Ergo & cloth diaper when I feel like it… Prefer vitamins & herbs to big pharma, but when I’m really sick-o I head straight for the Doc… ;-)

    Baltic Amber has worked for us!

    I didn’t discover amber until my 3rd came along… her terrible teething started @ 4 mos. & within about 3 days of initially putting her Amber on her drooling was cut down by 90%, her mood was much more even-keeled & her sleeping was MUCh more restful.

    I got pregnant with #4 when #3 was only 5 mos. old & my pubic symphysis diastasis kicked in earlier than it had with pregnancy 2 OR 3… & thinking back to the wonderful results we’d had with Amber for my #3’s teething, I bought some for myself! Within a week of initially wearing my Amber, my constant hip pain was nearly GONE! (I say nearly, because I did still suffer flare ups when I over-exerted myself…)

    Purchasing high-quality, handcrafted necklaces or bracelets from a reputable dealer is your best bet. It is VITALLY important to get the PROPER size so that it won’t be a choking hazard. All 4 of my kiddos (8, 5, 17 mos. & 3 mos.) wear Amber 24/7! :-)

  13. DBV Jan 25 at 6:10 am Reply Reply

    I’m a pediatric registered nurse, crunchy momma of two little boys. My first boy was a pretty good teether & the occasional Tylenol/Motrin did the job. The second boy not so much & NOTHING worked!!! After weeks of night waking every 2 hours, daytime fussiness & horrible drool rash, I caved & bought an amber necklace. Best purchase ever. Pretty sure it’s not the placebo effect as all the aforementioned symptoms return if we happen to take the necklace off for an extended period of time. Please don’t form opinions if you haven’t even tried it yet. I was highly skeptical but when you run out of options (you can’t give Tylenol/Motrin every night & Orajel didn’t help), perhaps you might change your stance. It seems to me the ‘amber haters’ in this discussion have easier teethers & maybe haven’t reached the point of desperation we mammas of difficult teethers have. . .

    • Hannah Jun 17 at 6:36 pm Reply Reply

      Hi Sherri,
      Where did you purchase your necklaces? My son is 4 months. What size should I get for him? Thanks!

  14. Sarah Jan 25 at 10:53 pm Reply Reply

    Another fan of Amber here! Our son will ask for his necklace when his teeth are bothering. We don’t give him medication for his pain so I was glad to find something that seemed to help.
    When first purchased we thought it was cute but probably wouldn’t work. However you can tell when he has it off just how much it HAS been working!

    His rashes clear up, less drool, sleeps better (we also co-sleep) and longer and is in much less discomfort.

    knocking a product before trying it and then knocking it publicly? Lame.

  15. Emily Jan 27 at 9:09 am Reply Reply

    I’m tempted to try it just for the drooling help! I know I’m going to have to get over my ick of drooling and other messy things.. but I’m not there yet. Speaking of countries with baby jewelry – anyone ever use baby rings? A lot of people with French ancestry responded above. My husband’s side is French and they gave me his mothers and his grandmother’s baby rings. I don’t know when to use them and sorta afraid she’ll lose them or swallow them.

  16. Susan Jan 27 at 2:55 pm Reply Reply

    I bought a teething necklace for Snackbox when he was about 8 months old and it appeared all of his teeth were going to come in at once. I never left it on him during naps or at night, and once he discovered he could pull it out from under his shirt and chew on it (~10 months) I stopped putting it on him. I think it helped somewhat, but so did dosing him with Tylenol EVERYSINGLENIGHT.

    Oh, and Orajel? That stuff is horrible – it numbs Baby’s throat so they can’t swallow very well – talk about a choking hazard.

  17. Anna Feb 24 at 2:07 pm Reply Reply

    We using amber necklace for last 4 months and difference is huge, finally we can get some sleep. It works for our son (11 months), don’t know if it will work for everybody, but have to try at least.
    P.S. I got from ambercraftstore.com, but there is more stores course, but they ship for free and tax is included.

  18. Jen Mar 06 at 1:03 pm Reply Reply

    @JCF: actually, I’ve heard the lighter colors of amber have the highest concentration of succinic acid or that color doesn’t really matter. The raw amber is what has the highest concentration of succinic acid and what I would recommend since polished amber is easier to fake.

  19. Renee Mar 22 at 12:48 pm Reply Reply

    I used a small amount of clove oil on my teeth when I had my wisdom teeth removed as a teenager. It worked wonderfully. I forgot about it until I stumbled on a blog post on a herbal blog I follow recommending it for teething babies. I plan on using clove oil when my little one starts teething.
    Here is the link, hope this helps! http://www.growingupherbal.com/2013/01/the-best-essential-oil-for-teeth/

    • Jamie Oct 03 at 12:55 am Reply Reply

      Clove oil is dangerous for small children and babies. It is definitely not recommended. Please research negative reactions before you give your child any essential oils. They can have negative side effects just like big pharma meds.

  20. Ande Spenser Apr 18 at 4:15 am Reply Reply

    I heard about these necklaces a couple days ago when my employee told me about them. I’m like, uh, are you serious? But today a customer called and asked if we had amber baby teething necklaces, so I thought I’d do a little research.

    It just sounds like new age woo-woo to me. I am a qualified expert in new age woo-woo. I own and run a metaphysical shop where we deal in woo-woo all day long. But we have a definite line we will not cross when it comes to medical issues such as pain relief.

    Are there any scientific studies on this issue? any blood/drool/urine tests that show whether or not this succinic acid actually makes it into the bloodstream? I’m serious – I want to know so that I can disclose this to the customers. If there’s some maybes on it, scientifically speaking, that’s interesting. But if it’s just an old wives’ tale, I’d like to let them know that we don’t really think it will work, but that it’s a nice little bauble for the kid anyway.

    That said…

    Copal resin has been used, and is still sometimes used, in South America today when dentistry is unavailable, for helping with the pain of cavities and loose teeth. Amber is a resin from a very similar tree, so theoretically amber might contain some of the same types of chemicals.

    Here’s the thing, though: the copal is actually put in the mouth, rubbed on the area and reapplied as necessary, not worn. That is medicine, an herbal remedy. Nobody is saying “hey, wear this copal, it’ll make your cavities stop hurting.”

    Amber is a fossil. A bioplastic. It has completely transformed from being tree sap to being basically a rock, if you will. Two million year old copal from Columbia is still in the process of changing, and is known as “copal amber”. but it is not quite yet stable and will go sticky if rubbed with alcohol or acetone. Proper amber, including the baltic variety, doesn’t do that.

    Some minerals will indeed leach into the skin, such as cinnabar causing mercury poisoning. So yes, some kinds of rocks can cause a physical change in the body, over time. And we all know what can happen when you drink water from lead pipes over a long period of time.

    But to endorse wearing amber as a pain remedy would be like saying a person with mood swings would benefit from wearing lepidolite because it contains lithium mica. Or that copper is good for arthritis. A lot of people say it is but there are no studies that show it to be true; in fact, repeated testing has shown that copper jewelry is merely a placebo.

    But is it the wearing of the amber that causes teething pain to disappear? Or is it that each individual tooth has a different timeline for its eruption and the pain seems to lessen when the necklace is worn simply because the pain was going to lessen as the tooth got closer to coming through the gums anyway?

    Clinical studies are needed before you can definitely say yes or no to the amber necklaces. I would be more concerned about the safety of them, but that is something each parent is going to have to decide. I’m not going to tell someone how to raise their kid.

    Are there any known cases where someone’s kid did strangle to death from a teething necklace? or is that just an unfounded fear as well? Lots of people sleep in necklaces and you never hear about them choking to death. I would be more worried about an unattended kiddo getting caught somehow. but then, their shirt collars could do that too, and we don’t get paranoid about putting them to sleep in clothing, so… yeah.

    So, I am not going to go as far as to recommend teething necklaces to my customers. However, I am thinking of making a few, maybe some micro-macrame in the hippie hemp style. A little new age woo-woo isn’t going to hurt the kid in this case (teething is just part of life, and while it’s no fun, it’s not lethal), so if they don’t work, what the heck, no harm done, and if they might work, way to go me, I’ve got a happy customer and a little extra money in my till.

    I would like to point out that the page on them from amber artisans (I think that’s them, sorry I lost the tab) states that the teething necklaces are not meant for children under 36 months. Fat lot of good it would do a 3 year old, huh.

    FWIW I just used orajel on my kids, along with those teething beads you stick in the freezer. And my mom used teeny dabs of a concoction made of whiskey, honey, and clove oil on me. We turned out okay without any fancy necklaces. But back in those days, you know, people were tougher, and you just took the teething phase as part of the job of parenting.

  21. Lisa-Jayne Jones Apr 25 at 6:44 pm Reply Reply

    Hi there!
    I know your post regarding teething beads is over two years old, but I’ve only jut come across it and just had to respond.
    My daughter is turning one in a few days and so far, only has two bottom teeth through. The first one was awful! She was so upset, her sleep (and mine) was disturbed, she was drooling like a Bulldog; you know, the usual story. Like all other mums I tried everything; gels: granules: toys to chew on: cloths to suck on: nothing relieved her symptoms enough to improve out quality of life. Finally, as a last resort, I asked for advice from other mums and dads by posting a plea on a social networking site and I received a very interesting response, with a high percentage of parents suggesting I try amber teething beads. I was at the stage when I was open to anything and besides, I’m a believer in crystal healing and always prefer natural remedies so show me where to buy them!
    I managed to buy the beads locally and I have to say I cannot believe the difference they have made. The second tooth came through without us even noticing! My daughters appetite increased, the nappy rash ceased, as did the drooling and we get a good nights sleep now. Maybe it’s just coincidence, only time will tell, but the difference seems a little too extreme to be purely coincidence.
    I only take the beads of her for bathing as they really need to be worn all the time for full benefit. The beads are obviously specifically designed with babies in mind, so they are strung on cotton that is strong enough for normal daily wear and tear, but weak enough that it will break if tension is put on it. Each bead is individually knotted so if they do break, only one will fall off and they are small enough and smooth enough to be swallowed without being a choking hazard and will just come out the other end… Or at least that’s what I was told.
    Willow has been wearing her beads for five months now and she’s never attempted to pull them or play with them, in fact I don’t think she even realises they’re there. Unlike a stone, amber is very light and warm so it doesn’t feel foreign against the skin.
    Anyway, I’m not saying that they definitely work for everyone but the do work for us, and lets face it, the placebo affect doesn’t work with a baby. I would highly recommend buying them and trying them, they don’t cost the earth and who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised. (Sorry for any typos but on a phone) :)

  22. John Jun 23 at 1:00 am Reply Reply

    I have used this for my 15 month old daughter since since she started teething and this product is a god send. We were recommended by a friend so we bought it with a lot of doubt. After a while we didn’t notice our daughter being bothered by her teething so we took the necklace off and she cried blue murder so we put it back on and she was fine. We did this on numerous occasions to see if she was just attached to necklace or if it actually helped. A couple days of not wearing it, her gums were swollen, she had rosy cheeks and was really upset all the time, we put it back on and all the symptoms went away. She accidentally broke her necklace and it is made in a way that all the beads have knots between them so one came off. I highly recommend this product to anyone with child teething. Thanks for taking the time to read my post

  23. wastatemom Jun 25 at 10:06 am Reply Reply

    my cousin used frozen blueberries with his girls. I plan to. my guy is 3 months. no teeth yet. plus I am waiting til 6 months for solids. but I have infant Tylenol to give if he really really needs it…

  24. kristy Nov 21 at 11:07 am Reply Reply

    I don’t know if I quite believe in the necklaces myself but why should we believe in what you just said over what the makers of real amber necklaces say? Your obviously really biased about this when you have no experience on the matter. Just trying to do my own research.

  25. Ruby Nov 21 at 11:17 pm Reply Reply

    I was a skeptic. But my baby was having a HORRIBLE time with teething, and none of the things I was trying were helping. Not. One. Bit. So I figured I didn’t have a whole lot to lose by trying something else. I borrowed an amber teething necklace from a friend – just to try it out. And it helped! *insert happy mama sigh here*

    First time my mother saw Baby Girl after I had put the amber necklace on her, she commented “Man, she’s so mellow today!” (And my mom had no way of knowing she had a teething necklace on, since it was under her clothes.)

    So. Here I am. Signing in as Skeptic Turned Major Fan.

    I’m actually getting to sleep at night now. It’s wonderful. *lol*

  26. Kristie Jan 15 at 2:05 am Reply Reply

    Hey there,

    A comment on the Scientific Process. Just a reminder on what IS the Scientific Process.
    1. Ask a Question-  Hmmm. What could help in teething?
    2. Do Background Research- Many options; Tylenol, Amber necklaces, magnets, etc.
    3. Construct a Hypothesis- So many moms are having “sucsess” with the Amber Necklaces… it’s worth a try.
    4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment- Let’s put one on Jr when he’s experiencing heightened teething symptoms, or leave it off, put it on again, leave it on for an extended period of teething, and see if the teething difficulties resume in a period of time. Maybe even try it on a difficult set of teeth, etc.
    5. Ananlyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion- Hey, this really works, or… Hmmm, didn’t see much of a difference.
    6. Communicate your results. (notice, the results don’t have to be publish in a Scientific Journal to be credible)

    Now I’ve seen lot’s of moms going through this “scientific” process, and I’ve heard many of them coming to the same conclusions- they mostly seem to say the Amber is useful. You don’t have to know every WHY to be able to draw an accurate conclusion- you just observe the evidence, and draw a conclusion. Yet many “scientific minds” here aren’t able to follow the procedure, because…???

    It’s been clearly communicated. Most have followed the basic Procedure, yet in the end they are written off by people who have NOT TESTED THE HYPOTHESIS BY DOING AN EXPERIMENT. Now that’s not scientific. Throwing out belittling catch phrases like “wive’s tale” is not scientific, and not fair minded either.  Believing only folks with a PHD or some other “qualification”, and writing off people who have spent “time in the trenches” is a little biased. Only a “scientist” can draw acurate conclusions? Everyday experiences are confirmed and rejected by observation- not just the observations the happen in a lab.

    Try this (I’ve never used an Amber necklace by the way) if the necklaces are only “placebo”, all in the mind, then YOU try having that kind of “mind control” over a teething infant, and if you’re sucessful, I would rightly regard you as a guru. I’d say pure Mind Control like that would be no small feat! In fact, if you could bottle that up, I dare say many parents of two’s and teens would buy some. And by all means, if you got it for a mere $20 in the form of an Amber necklace, I’d say that’s far more powerful than a painkiller of any kind!

    Myself, I have used a simple magnet necklace (yes, you heard right- a knit fabric tube with a magnet, tied around the neck- about two fingers width from the child’s neck- close so that it CAN’T be put in the mouth) with 4 children now, after my first 3 (yep, that makes seven total) suffered through teething with bits of Ora gel and the occasional Tylenol (which is not good for your child, by the way). In fact, my children just pretty much wear them non-stop (yep, through sleeping, etc. If some hook type thing gets close enough to my child’s neck to get up under that necklace, I have a much larger problem than the necklace. We don’t play with metal hooks, or plastic hooks with our babies. I don’t recommend it with or without a necklace.) Anyway, I can’t tell you HOW it works. I suspect it has something to do with circulation. Maybe most of that PAIN exists primarily because of the pressure of inflamation, etc… but that is ONLY speculation! I do know though, that we put it on at the first sign of teething, and dont’ take it off except when it gets grimy (if it ever looks worn or like the magnet would have any chance of coming through, they get a new one) and we pretty much don’t know they are teething until we see the pearly whites! Not sure if it will work for others, but it sure works for us! We heard about this method from our midwife who does a lot of work in Fiji. Very common there. Unheard of here.

    Very scientific process. Results have been observed repeatedly over the course of six years or so now in a “fair” test- having changed only one variable and keeping all other conditions the same. Hope you all find beneficial methods that really work! And my hats off to you if you’ve done it only by the power of your mind!

  27. Megan Stork Jan 15 at 5:38 am Reply Reply

    I’m not a dirty hippy, but was raised by them lol. I’m expecting my third and looking into the Amber teething necklaces. I was pretty shocked to see that they weren’t to chew on and even more shocked that the baby was to wear them 24/7. I liked the teething tablets and loved the frozen washcloth. Guess I will be sticking with the old standbys. 

    • DSB Mar 06 at 2:51 pm Reply Reply

      I think you might want to rethink your definition of “scientific process.” You have completed oversimplified it. I’m not going to go into concepts like controls, validity, repeatability, etc. As the vast majority of women posting here don’t care about reliable evidence. Suffice it to say, the plural of anecdote is not data. Wrapping beads around an infant’s neck based on dubious claims of benefit is just…I can’t even find a polite way to put it. UGH!

  28. Sommer Jan 18 at 4:29 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve been considering trying one of these. I don’t think they are a choking hazard since the beads are so small (I know some people who have these for their children) and there are typically knots in between each bead to prevent more than one bead from coming off in case of breakage. I am reading conflicting messages about the benefits, and then criticism such as yours and this article: http://autismum.com/2012/10/29/amber-teething-necklaces/
    I do agree that there is some concern about strangulation, though I am admittedly a worrywart. My 4 1/2 month old baby, our third child, is starting to drool a ton (I actually bought some bibs because we had none and he was soaking his clothes) and he has been very fussy. Our older two had very little issues with teething and never drooled or fussed much at all. We may be borrowing one from a friend to try despite all the criticism! :)

  29. Cara Feb 02 at 4:32 pm Reply Reply

    Great writing here. Most parents don’t understand how to draw a scientific conclusion (the previous comments prove that.) Instead they’re more willing to go with anecdotal and personal experiences without realizing that everything from “this thing on me distracted me…” could be mitigating their baby’s teething experience to just the ups and downs of teething. No, it’s not as simple as ‘try it, oh, it seemed to help, conclusion, this helps!” It’s as complicated as sample size, control groups, making sure they’re all in the same sort of teething pain, fake amber necklaces the parents are not told are fake with ‘dark’ ones and ‘light’ ones, and denying pain relief to some of them. Considering my youngest is nearly 14 months now and still has only 2 teeth, but she has a friend a month younger who has 12, that’s impossible to do.

    What we can test very easily is “do babies swallow beads and get hurt? Yes? So we know putting beads on a baby is dangerous.” That’s been done for centuries now. “But they’re safety knotted!” Yeah, so why aren’t there a bunch of ‘safety knotted’ baby necklaces being sold if that works? The fact is it doesn’t. I’ve made necklaces in the past… knotting each bead does not work to keep the beads from falling off, it may slow it down but not stop it.

    Reality? Some mom has teething problems with her baby. She buys an amber necklace, reputable source, it costs her $20 at least and everyone laughs and says she’s being foolish. It arrives, baby’s teething has all but passed though, so when she puts it on baby stops having ‘teething’ pain. What pain he DOES have is distracted by the strange bead thing on him that he can touch and move around, so he’s able to self-soothe in a way. If he DOES have any crying spells, mom counts it to being cranky or sick. Mom rejects the idea that the necklace is not helping because that would mean she was a gullible fool who plunked $20 on a piece of worthless jewelry. In order to support her foolish purchase and make sure that she feels like she wasn’t foolish, she talks to other mothers who all pat her hand and say they did the same and it worked for them too. It’s rare you’ll find the mom who will admit to plunking down $20 or more and finding it didn’t help at all because that would mark them as taking an unnecessary risk to follow ridiculous and science-disproven hype. No one wants to admit to being that silly.

  30. jenny Feb 10 at 4:22 pm Reply Reply

    Ive been reading a lot of different blogs/ sites on these beads but have yet to try them..however given how upset my baby is at the minute id definitely give them a try. The topic is one which seems to invoke extreme reactions in some people. I can understand if people don’t want to try them everyone has their own reason for or against however obnoxious posts like the one above from Cara really dont help. .they just make u look snide and judgemental.

  31. Heather Apr 16 at 11:33 pm Reply Reply

    I really don’t give a hoot about the scientific process – too many scientists don’t get published until some political agenda has been fulfilled. Cynical? Perhaps. Also, I’m crunchy, but not dirty. I guess I am a pragmatist as my first 2 daughters suffered very extensively with teething and my 3rd daughter was given an amber necklace and has only suffered when it was lost at the in-laws for 4 days. She wears it constantly and I am never worried about it being a suffocation issue.That is enough of a experiential testimonial for me to be searching Google for a decent supplier of amber for the newborn I expect next month.

  32. Zach Apr 24 at 11:02 am Reply Reply

    Hello.
    Stay at home dad here, not a hippie, I have a 3 month old almost 4 months. Up until a week ago my son was very screamy, wanted to chew on bottles and pacifiers not just suck, wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t nap, wouldn’t eat normal amounts. I’m very skeptical of non-scientific, non-medical for religious reasons. I struggled with the thought of putting some form of stone with “magical healing powers” on my son. But, like any parent who loves their kid, and would like a break from screaming and crying we gave it a try. After a week, the result is a different kid! I’m still not 100% saying it is soly because of the necklace, but something is different! Now we made sure the clasp was easy to undo so if he pulls it or it gets caught it will pop off. Also, we do not have him wear it at night. I want to make sure that nothing is even accidentally going in his mouth when I’m not attentive. I hope this review helps thanks for all the other comments on here.

  33. Carrie Apr 24 at 9:39 pm Reply Reply

    I am a preschool teacher in an infant room and was doing some research on this subject and came across this page. A mother came in and insisted her daughter needed this amber necklace and it was not for looks and the school NEEDED to let her use it. Thank goodness I had at least heard of this amber neckace thing because my co-teachers thought this lady was off her rocker and had no idea what she was talking about. 
    My hands are tied in some ways because I cannot allow anything that goes against state licensing in my classroom, which I am pretty sure having an infant wear a necklace is against the rules, but, I also have to accommodate some hot button issues such as the vaccine stuff. 
    My state licenser never answered me directly about the necklace issue so I agreed to let the girl wear it when she was supervised. 
    Amazingly I saw improvement. 
    She was eating very little and if I put the necklace on she would eat more. She was less fussy. She was easier to calm at drop off times. 
    Personally I am not sure if it was a security item for her (like a lovey, pacifier or blankey would be) or if it really was the amber. 
    Either way, I was completely ready to call crap on this necklace thing and my mind was changed.

  34. Lisette Riveira May 21 at 9:19 am Reply Reply

    All these well meaning people really miss the point! Who would knowingly put their child in danger? Besides the fact that peolle selling these beads are breaking THE LAW! By law any baby or child product must be tested and comply with minimum standards. These do not! There are other ways to deal with teething. If you cannot take the heat of being a parent on this one thing then don’t!

  35. lalaty Jun 02 at 10:01 pm Reply Reply

    I came upon this post seeking some sort of discussion on WHY the necklace my 3 year old is wearing has worked. Because it has. Dramatically so.
    In brief I am the same kind of mum as the mum who asked the initial question, and you too, Amalah. A conscientious, fact-seeking, natural living parenting type. So I have read this post with great interest and have had to add my own anecdotal evidence here (my ‘two cents’!).
    My son is a 3 year old with sleep apnoea, due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids (a genetic ‘gift!). He is on a waiting list for their removal, but his ENT is happier with him being older for the surgery, so wait we will. In the meantime his sleep apnoea has recently gotten much worse now that we are in our Southern hemisphere winter.
    I have an amber necklace. It is very child safe, responsibly made version with tumbled, small dark amber chips, that was gifted to us from a friend who found great success with her own.
    I NEVER used the necklace when he was teething, due to my own concerns with it. I then came across it on a cupboard clean out last week. My son is now suffering very badly from his disrupted, restless sleep and I have requested a sleep study from his ENT specialist. As we are waiting for that I thought ‘hmmm, let’s try this necklace’.
    My husband and I have been SHOCKED by the results.
    Our son has now had 7 nights of solid, 11+ hour sleep since that day! Quality, REM-filled sleep, that he has not had since last September. No crying, snorting, gasping or snoring at all! 
    The only thing in our external or inside environment that changed in any way was the wearing of the amber necklace. 
    The properties of the amber must do SOMETHING internally to effect this kind of change. 
    Yes he sleeps in it.
    Yes I get up a few times due to strangulation paranoia.
    So far there is no way I have seen or felt that this could happen, in our style of necklace.
    Amber, in our case, does seem to have very beneficial, anti-inflammatory and/or soothing properties.
    I thought this information could be useful as we are not comparing comparing the effect of amber on ‘teething’ symptoms, but on a diagnosed case of toddler sleep apnoea that has given my son disrupted sleep, every night, for the past 8 months.
    Until last week. :)
    I would love to see a study on the effect on the human body of the properties of amber! 

  36. Meagan Jun 04 at 11:45 am Reply Reply

    FYI — your link to the Teething Bling on Amazon now redirects to amber necklaces, because of the search terms. How’s THAT for irony?

  37. tasha b Jun 15 at 11:56 am Reply Reply

    I don’t put them around my babys necks till about 6 months.. before that I use it around the ankle. My son used to get terrible rashes on his neck and face. He started using a genuine RAW baltic amber necklace around his neck at 6 months old and within a week his rashes went away. and have stayed away since. So it works for us. I have also noticed that his “chicken skin” has really diminished as well. Not all the way.. but it’s better than it ever has been.  And about the placebo effect….. a baby has no idea what the necklace is for.. and doesn’t even know it’s on him.. so him feeling better or any clearing of rashes, is no placebo. I know some of you were talking about placebo for adults.. but hey- I say, If you see a difference and it helps your sanity as a mom.. then hell- GO FOR IT! Just make sure you get one that is knotted after every bead. 
    I do believe that it helps. IN MANY WAYS. :D We have been using them in our family for centuries. Like someone else said they are very popular in other countries. We are new to America, so it’s funny to see kids not wearing them. I have a necklace from the 1800’s that was my great great grandmas. <3 Obviously we don't wear it- because I would be so upset if something ever happened to it. 

  38. Jessica Jun 20 at 11:04 am Reply Reply

    Ok guys, I’ve been researching the bejeezus out of this. I can’t find one single documented incident of a necklace related death or injury. Everyone I know that has tried them swears by them. My (dramatic, intense, fussy) daughter doesn’t even know she’s wearing a necklace but her rashes and flushed cheeks went away after she started wearing it. Drooling is still epic. The boutique I bought from recommended sizing so that while on it can’t get to her mouth, taking it off for naps, baths, and at night, and a safety release clasp. Good luck!

  39. bud flux Jul 09 at 1:47 am Reply Reply

    Faithless naysayers look for the negative. Placebo or not, if it works, it works. Go ahead and listen to the profit driven pharmaceutical companies and like sheep obey. Thousands of years of successful and safe use show that it is more than placebo.

  40. Kazu Jul 09 at 12:16 pm Reply Reply

    Get a grip. Necklaces are not choking hazards. Should babies also wear a straight jacket and crash helmets 24/7?

  41. Shawna Aug 03 at 2:11 pm Reply Reply

    What’s with all the comments about being crunchy, being a hippie, being a dirty hippie, not being a dirty hippie, etc.?  Why does it matter?  A person’s opinion of something should be considered as long as the person has experience. 

    I have tried these, and they work.  I even have one of my own that I bought when I bought my daughter’s.  They were purchased from Inspired by Finn six years ago.  Hopefully she is still in business.  She makes a good product.  I found her on a cloth diapering forum.

    Anyway, our backgrounds should not matter.  The necklaces either work for us, or they don’t, and they seem to work for most people.

  42. Jcor Sep 21 at 9:06 pm Reply Reply

    I like to hear both the positive and negative side to anything new when it comes to baby products. You have a lot of great information and I enjoyed reading it. But you just sound angry.

    I got lucky with my son, he never drooled, never acted like he was in pain and he got multiple teeth at a time. My daughter? Now she’s different. She’s only 3 months and she is drooling so much we have to change her bibs almost every half hour. I don’t always believe in Tylenol and teething tablets are a joke. Seeing as how there was a recall awhile back on them. I do believe on cool teethers and such. But that increases the drool. So I’m trying the beads, because it’s another option.

    I will be back to read your site more. I find it full of interesting/useful information.

  43. Rebecca C Oct 23 at 2:12 pm Reply Reply

    Whatever you believe about amber (I think it is pretty, but not medicine), the argument that you can’t have an opinion about it until you try it is hilariously flawed. I mean, seriously, do all of you experiment on your children with EVERYTHING before you decide you don’t believe in something? All that awful advice that we all get from well-meaning grandmothers or rude strangers, you try it all? You never dismiss something, even the most ridiculous of things, out of hand because it makes zero sense? I feel for your kids…

  44. rebecca Nov 21 at 9:53 pm Reply Reply

    Give the baby a beaded necklace and you will have the same effect. The beads most likely feel good on the gums as it gives a messaging motion.

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  1. Amber necklaces and teething babies | Science or not? - Mar 15

    […] and have been convinced they are effective (here and here); others have the opposite opinion (here). Needless to say, such anecdotal evidence is worthless, and both of the examples described in the […]

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