by Sarah Lepird
Amber necklaces for teething – plenty of parents use them for their healing qualities and analgesic effect. The baby’s body triggers the release of the Baltic amber, which contains succinic acid. The succinic acid, which actually occurs naturally in the body, has an analgesic effect for the baby’s sore gums. This allows the baby some relief from the pains of teething.
The child is not supposed to chew on the necklace so it is meant to be snug enough for the baby to not pull it up to his or her mouth. It also needs to be snug enough so the baby cannot get arms or legs stuck in it. Each bead is strung and tied separately, so if the necklace were to break, the baby wouldn’t be able to swallow the beads individually.
Some parents use them to reduce drooling and rashes that the teething causes the baby – it seems to calm the baby down. Some parents have even said that when they take the necklace off of their baby, the drooling and rash comes back and their baby’s overall wellbeing decreases.
On the topic of the baby being calmer – is it possible that the necklace promotes a placebo effect? Are the parents calmer because they believe the amber is working and their child therefore senses their calm and copies this?
This is a placebo effect. The amber couldn’t possibly be released just by baby’s body temperature – there is no evidence that this happens. This article explains more: https://scienceornot.net/2012/10/30/amber-necklaces-and-teething-babies/. From a scientific standpoint, this seems unrealistic.
However, my biggest argument against these amber necklaces actually has nothing to do with the amber, the succinic acid, teething, or anything else. It has to do with the choking and strangulation hazard this necklace poses. Even if the amber necklaces did work, I still wouldn’t put a necklace on my baby. I wouldn’t even tie that necklace around my baby’s wrist or ankle. It is common knowledge and common sense to not put jewelry on your baby. Especially unsupervised.
Some parents do use the necklaces during supervised times, when nursing or bottle-feeding. And still, I have trouble believing these work. The argument in favor of these necklaces is: “nothing bad has happened yet, so it’s fine”. Well, to be fair, this was also said about smoking. Just because you haven’t seen any negative side effects to this necklace doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Keeping the necklace on your baby all day could be introducing way too much oil. It’s impossible to dose this oil, as we don’t know how it works. It may be the most effective and safe way to treat teething babies, but we don’t know that.
And, again, to be fair: DISCLAIMER* I am not a parent. I have not tried this necklace. If it worked for you and your child, then I am very glad for you. I know how hard teething can be, I went through it with the little one I nanny. It’s frustrating and you feel helpless, but I’m not willing to use something that hasn’t been effectively studied. This is yet another article that emphasizes the fact that these necklaces have had slim – no studies done on it: https://scepticon.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/amber-teething-beads-a-few-points-to-consider/.
Whether or not the amber works, putting a necklace on your baby is a terrible idea. It is extremely dangerous, even if your baby doesn’t notice and even if you are supervising the time they spend in it. Again, I am not a parent and haven’t tried this. So if it works for you, I am thankful it has helped your baby. But to me, the risk is not worth the reward in this case.
What do you think? Have you heard of these necklaces? Used them? Did they work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!