Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Adventures in teething

I'll be honest with you. I don't remember what it feels like to have teeth coming in. I also don't really remember what a contraction feels like, what it feels like to push a baby out of my lady parts, or what it feels like to live with a newborn, but I do remember that those last three sucked were life-changing.

And based on what Charlie tells me, so it is with molars.

Sure, she'll have a beautiful smile and the ability to chew carrots, but for now, it bites.

And thus we officially begin our... DUN-DUN-DUH-DUN (read that like a superhero intro, please)... Adventures in Teething!

I think I've made it fairly clear to anyone willing to listen to me (or read this) that I border on obstinate when it comes to medication. OK, I am obstinate. I border on belligerent. I don't like it. I will try all things homeopathic, herbal, and otherwise natural first. We've been big fans of Hyland's Teething Tablets, which are homeopathic, but there's one small problem: there's been a temporary halt in their availability while Hyland's revises their production methods. We have one partial bottle left, and I dole the tiny pellets out to my fussy toddler as often as I can. They seem to help her a bit, so hurray for temporary relief!

These molars, though? This is heavyweight teething we're dealing with now.

So, some Googling and blog-reading and instinct-following later, we are now the proud owners of one Baltic Amber Teething Necklace, shipped straight from Lithuania.

According to my frantic scanning of poorly-translated copy copious online research, these necklaces are what every good mommy in Eastern Europe uses to soothe their grumbling babies. And even if that's not true, who cares? It's pretty!

Seriously, though, here's what it's supposed to do:
     Amber is associated with sunlight and warmth and reputed to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and accelerate healing: perfect help for babies and toddlers who wear it when they are teething.

     When a baby is wearing an amber teething necklace, the skin's warmth releases healing oils from the amber (a resin) which are absorbed. Amber is known to reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach and to fight inflammation, infections and respiratory disease. A natural analgesic, amber will help calm a baby without resorting to drugs. Its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are even recognized by allopathic medicine.

Does that make me sound crazy? Is it a bunch of hooey? Does this blog make my butt look big?

Last week, before it arrived, I was lamenting the fact that I hadn't ordered one earlier. I really wanted to give it a try before I resorted to other methods. Worst case scenario? It did nothing but look nice, and we'd end up with a new accessory. Either way, I felt like a mean mom watching Charlie shove her hands in her mouth, gnawing on dirty fingertips, whining and whimpering through her day. 

But Saturday the necklace arrived and Operation Got Nuthin' to Lose began. I slipped that thing on her as fast as I could get the envelop open, and after a few seconds of distracting her from the fact that it was on, we went on with our day. She's worn it every day since, taking it off just for bedtime, and I have to say that I think it's working. There hasn't been a single incident of the hands-in-mouth, woe-is-me, these-teeth-are-trying-to-ruin-my-life since.

That's the screw clasp in the front. The individual beads have knots tied between them, so in the event that a little hand gave it a hard enough yank to break it, the whole thing isn't going to fall apart into candy-sized bites.
If the necklace was around my neck, you could say it was the placebo effect. It's not my neck, though, and I find it hard to believe that you could convince a 15-month-old that her gums don't hurt anymore just because you've put a necklace on her. It doesn't work that way. (At least not in my experience... if you know otherwise, please tell me how to work your magic!)

Sure, it's been less than a week, which means I guess we'll have to wait and see if anything changes as these big, bad molars pop through. (Based on the way Charlie had been complaining, I'm pretty sure she's going to have bicuspids the size of my fist.) In the meantime, though, we have a pretty necklace and a contented toddler.

And now we wait...


  1. Great pictures! The necklace is really pretty, might have to give it a try. It takes soooo long for those molars to come in! Interestingly, I do sort of remember the discomfort of teething because I got my last wisdom tooth in when Lila was a newborn. Though even that is a vague memory!

  2. I wonder if the necklace has the same soothing effects for adults? Hmmm...

    Btw, frozen fruit helps too (and it's yummy)!

  3. You know, I was listening to a podcast about the Amber Room (a room literally covered in amber built for a castle in then Prussia-in 1701). Anyway, it vanished in WW1 then was rebuilt. Tourists who visit often remark on the warmth of the room as though it gives off electricity. Who knows? If it works, it WORKS!

    I can't remember teething either, but got DRASTIC gum replacement surgery last year. It was really painful. I kinda wish I had amber on while healing!!

  4. Did you see Nella wears one too? If that fails, don't forget just plain belladonna. Worked wonders for Ave, and ended up being her constitutional remedy, so it works for lots of things for her today.

  5. My niece bought one for her little girl and she loves it....last I heard!

  6. girl, your blog looks fab-u-lust. you have sold me on the amber necklace. seriously. photos are beautiful. you should get the gig for marketing amber necklaces. i want one. now. p.s. we jumped to hyland's chamomile pellets when the teething tab stash ran out. i've been pleased and have even used them myself at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and mama has on her cranky pants.

  7. Wow! Someone other than my mother commented! (Love you, Mom!)

    @Megan - I know! I keep thinking her molars have finally broken through so I bravely (OK, stupidly) stick my finger in Charlie's mouth to check things out only to find nothing. Well, nothing other than surprisingly sharp front teeth. Sigh.

    @Ashley - Yes, they do make them for adults! I guess people use amber for things like arthritis, too. Arm bands, bracelets, anklets, etc... who knew! Oh, and Charlie likes just plain old ice. Even asks for it :-)

    @Daniele - That. Is. Awesome. And makes me feel a little less crazy.

    @Missy - Yes, I did see that Nella is sporting an amber necklace, too! That's actually what tipped the scales for me. I'd seen them a few months ago with our first round of teething, but I ended up not doing anything about it. Seeing amber again on that blog made me want to do my own experiment. Fortunately, Charlie is a fantastic guinea pig!

    @Brenda - Excellent! I did all sorts of web searching for reviews of amber necklaces... I wonder if I read one from your niece :-)

    @Kimberly - Thank you! I think I want one for myself, too. I mean, it's so cute on Charlie, surely it would be just as adorable on Mommy, right? :-) And thank you for the chamomile tip! We haven't tried that one yet, but I might just have to add it to our repertoire!


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