Baltic Amber: the hippie cure for teething
Teething can be some of the toughest times for babies and caregivers to go through. It comes with a lot of pain and gum inflammation which can lead to irritability, trouble sleeping, and decreased appetite and is sometimes accompanied with diarrhea and a low grade fever. Unfortunately there is no escaping it, but the havoc it wreaks can be greatly diminished.
Since teething is a part of every baby’s life there are many products on the market to help ease the pain. The most conventional products, besides things to chew on, are acetaminophen and topical numbing gels. Many popular brands of acetaminophen contain corn syrup to mask the taste, and topical numbing gels may contain benzocaine. According to the FDA benzocaine can cause a rare but serious disease called methemoglobinemia which causes a decrease in the amount of oxygen being carried through the bloodstream and should not be used in children under the age of 2. Always read the ingredient list before using any medication.
Baltic amber necklaces are becoming an increasingly popular choice to help babies and toddlers ease teething pain. Amber has been used as a natural remedy in Europe throughout history for its healing qualities. This amazing stone contains succinic acid, an oil which is absorbed into the body when warmed to body temperature. Succinic acid has natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the pain and inflammation that comes with teething. Baltic amber has some of the highest concentrations of succinic acid found in nature. Since the acid first has to be absorbed by the body it may take a day or two to notice the succinic acid working to reduce pain and inflammation and control drooling. .
When choosing a necklace, color and craftsmanship are important. Each piece of amber should be individually knotted to prevent small pieces of amber to scatter if it happens to break. Clasps with a screw thread are the safest option and they should fit snuggly around the neck as to not reach the mouth. Once the amber is warmed to body temperature you can’t feel the necklace on your skin which is why they are typically left alone by the babies wearing them. The lighter the color of the stone the more succinic acid it contains and raw amber tends be more beneficial than polished amber.
Since Baltic amber necklaces are the most effective the longer they are worn against the skin make they always lay flat on the skin and are worn for as long as possible. For safety reasons necklaces should be removed from the neck when the child sleeps but many parents choose to double wrap it around the ankle and place a sock over it to keep it stationary while sleeping. Lukewarm water and a soft cloth can be used for cleaning and the amber should stay out of chlorinated water and the shower to avoid soapy residue that can affect its ability to release the succinic acid.
Many caregivers have found Baltic amber teething necklaces to be a wonderful tool to avoid using over the counter medication or at the very least cut down on frequency. During more painful teething, such as the appearance of molars, doubling up with two necklaces can make a world of difference. Signs that the Baltic amber is working include less drooling, redness, irritability and more peaceful sleep for everyone.