The Truth About Amber Teething Necklaces

Somewhere in between my daughter's sixth and seventh month, she turned from my perfectly sweet, angelically beautiful, chubby-cheeked cherub baby into a raving lunatic. 

Suddenly, she refused to sleep, refused to let me put her down, and refused to be anything other than a Little Miss Cranky Pants. 

She went from kind-of, sort-of sleeping at night to absolutely never sleeping at night unless she was literally attached to my boob or sleeping on top of me in the rocking chair. And even then, a lot of nights, she was screaming, restless, and miserable. 

And she wasn't the only one. 

Like many mothers before me, I, of course, pinpointed teething as the culprit behind my child's horrendous behavior, and after a few weeks of torture, I was desperate to come up with a solution. 

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Infant medications didn't seem to touch her discomfort, homeopathic teething tablets appeared to be no better than air, and aside from letting her suck down her big sisters' popsicles, I couldn't keep anything truly cold and comforting in her mouth long enough for it to help. 

I was at my wits' end, so even though I am at heart a skeptic, I decided to give one of the amber teething necklaces a try. I picked one up at a health store, told my husband that desperate times called for desperate measures, and debuted it on her (much to her siblings' delight) one night after dinner. 

Image via Flickr/ lkonstanski

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But, of course, being the nurse and skeptic I am, I had to do my research on them. I was absolutely petrified that the necklace would somehow choke her in her sleep, so I was not going to slap that thing on her without very good reason. 

I put out my Facebook feelers to start because, of course, I rely on my mom friends who know where it's at, and immediately got a ton of positive affirmations for the teething necklaces. The overwhelming majority of moms swore by them, would never have believed the difference they made, noticed immediately when the child wasn't wearing it, etc., etc. so I was definitely intrigued. 

What my research uncovered, however, was not as promising:

  • Even holistic websites admit that they have no clue why the things work. 
  • Teething desperation is real. One study showed that parents just don't care if the necklaces work or are dangerous. They will still have their babies wear them. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the use of teething necklaces. 
  • Science-Based Medicine gave a nice breakdown, dispelling the different theories of how the necklaces work, from theories on their magnetic properties to the supposed content of succinct acid as a natural pain-relief agent. 

In short, there is no real, scientific proof or explanation for how and if amber teething necklaces can work. But for many moms — and I know this feeling all too well — if there's any glimmer of hope that it will work, it's worth a shot. Science only goes so far, in my opinion, and there's a lot we don't know. 

For us, I made a compromise with myself to only allow my daughter to wear the necklace when she was awake and being supervised, which, as you can imagine, proved too hard for me to keep up on. I will say, though, that a few days after I bought it, we flew on a family trip to Disney World with all four kids, and with her in the carrier with me, she was happy as a clam the entire time. 

But then I lost the necklace during our trip, so my experiment was short lived, and I am back to toughing our teething sessions out. I'll never know for sure if it would have worked for us, but in the end, the necklace wasn't a good choice for our family. 

What do you think? Do amber teething necklaces work? 

Disclaimer: Obviously you should speak with your child's care provider before using an amber teething necklace, and please be aware that any small objects, such as the stones used in the necklace, can pose a choking hazard.

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The Truth About Amber Teething Necklaces

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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