Friday, October 26, 2012


I've decided that Penelope is one of those chronic teethers. She had her first episodes of teething pain back in July (at four months old), but we knew that she was nowhere near pushing those chompers out.  At almost 8 months old, she has finally sprouted her first pearlies (post to come soon!). A few months ago, my parents visited our family in Poland and the main item I asked for them to bring back was a teething amber necklace for Penny.

Although I have personally grown up with amber all around me, when I became a part of the Natural Parenting community I read about many parents using amber during a baby's teething phase to help ease the pain naturally. I began to wonder how does a stone help with that?

Well for starters, amber is petrified resin, not a stone. It warms to the touch fairly quickly and is comfortable to wear for babies, which might be a part of the reason why they don't mind wearing it so much. Amber has been used as a medicinal property for as long as history has been recorded. Peoples from around the world have used amber in various ways, all to cure ailments of the body.

I personally have grown up around amber because of my Polish heritage. Baltic amber is lauded to be the best in the world and the Poles use a lot of amber in their jewelry and art. My mother's house has several gorgeous vases which present Polish amber wrapped in curvaceous silver. Her jewelry chest also features amber of varying colors and designs, from the common knotted rope to large stones in broaches (yes, she has broaches) and rings.

Amber presents itself in different colors based on several factors, including what kind of resin it is made from, degree of oxidation, inclusions inside and how it has weathered over the few million years. Different shades of amber depict their healing power and therefore quality. If you're not looking to use amber medicinally, then you've got a broad range of amber colors to choose from - ranging from yellow to sage green, to even black. Most commonly it is light or dark brown in color, clear to fully opaque. It can have flecks of organic material (read: fossils!) inside.

Part of the amber color range -  source
One of my favorite birthday gifts from Adam is a little necklace with a droplet of honey amber, which looks like milky honey. It has a little honey bee and flower charm. My niece, Pammy, who is five, once asked me "Auntie B, why is there a bee on your necklace?" She's so damn cute.

Although there are several hundred different variations of amber cataloged in the world, Baltic amber is considered to be the most valuable.  Baltic amber is sought after the most for medicinal use due to its high concentration of succinic acid. Our bodies naturally produce succinic acid in the Krebs Cycle (I'm not even going to pretend to completely understand how the Krebs Cycle works, or attempt to explain it - read about it here.) which is a part of our metabolism. However, the little bit of succinic acid that we produce is automatically used for daily function. Adding a little bit of extra succinic acid into our systems has been linked to many health benefits, such as pain relief. The FDA has approved succinic acid in foods as an additive or supplement, preservatives, cosmetics, you name it. However, second to producing succinic acid ourselves, absorbing it via amber is the most natural way to get additional succinic acid.

Like I mentioned before, Penny had a few unhappy episodes prior to wearing the necklace full time.  Overall she is a happy and very easy going baby, so when she cries or fusses I know that there is something really bothering her. With the amber necklace, she has shown almost no signs of discomfort related to teething.  Adam and I were sort of reserved about it, figured "hey, if it works it works!" But lately, now that Penny is in full teething mode - I am a 100% believer.  There have been two times where at the end of the day, I look back and think "wow, she was really fussy today.." and realize that her amber necklace wasn't put on after bath time the night before. I really can't say that it's coincidence.

What do you think, does wearing amber really make teething better? 
Does/did your baby wear amber?

1 comment:

  1. I havr to ask my mum to bring me some amber when they come over from Poland! You're already the third person that blogged about it recently, and I'm tempted to try it on little Mr, who's teething again and being a real pain.



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