Teething jewellery has seen a huge surge in popularity over the last 5 years or so. When I first started making and selling it through my brand HexNex, most people had never heard of it and I had a fair amount of explaining to do about exactly what it was! But now as the concept catches on and more and more mums are realising the benefits of these small but mightly little creations, it’s rare to see a group of mums where at least one of them ISN’T wearing a teething necklace. But just why are they so popular, and what are the real benefits of them? We’ve listed out our top ten favourite things about teething jewellery, so you’ll be totally in the know!
1. HYGIENE - The silicone used in teething necklaces is the same as that used in baby bottle teats and dummies. It is specifically designed NOT to allow the growth or spread of bacteria, even if your little one likes to slobber on it all day long! A lot of traditional teething toys have received bad press recently for hidden mould growing inside the hollow spaces. Teething jewellery doesn’t have this problem, plus they are super easy to clean using just hot soapy water or a steriliser wipe.
2. MOTOR SKILLS - Remember those wooden tables with beads on wires that you always see in doctor's waiting rooms or airport lounges? Those kind of toys are designed to help your little one develop fine motor skills, such as pinching and grabbing small objects. Teething jewellery works in just the same way, only on a much smaller, more portable level. Little fingers will find their way around the beads (opt for a design with different shapes and sizes of beads for extra interest) and as they start to use it for teething, it will help them develop vital hand-eye coordination skills that will be super handy later when it comes to feeding themselves.
3. FOCUS - One of the biggest problems reported by mums who breastfeed is that their baby loses focus and is easily distracted by other things going on around them, meaning they turn their head and pull away. It’s often then very difficult to get their attention back to where it should be, and finish the feed in full. By wearing a bright piece of teething jewellery, cleverly made to just the right length and sitting right above their eye line when they feed, you can offer baby something to hold their attention and focus exactly where it should be - on your boobs! Even before they are old enough to start reaching for it and playing with it, you’ll see their eyes focus in on the bright colours and follow any movements it makes.
4. BONDING - We all know that feeding time is a vital part of developing that unique mother and baby bond. Reardless of whether you breast or bottle feed, holding your baby close and providing them with all the nourishment and nutrients they need is one of the most special times we experience as new parents. If you wear your teething jewellery from the very first days after baby is born, they will quickly come to associate it with you, and search for it as soon as you bring them close. Knowing the jewellery means Mum is close by brings them a sense of calm and comfort and really helps develop that strong bond that we all treasure so much as parents.
5. STYLE - Teething Jewellery has come a long way since it’s humble first beginnings, where it did quite simply look like you’d taken a ghastly rubber toy and tied it on a string around your neck! Necklaces are now designed with mums in mind, as a way for them to maintain their own sense of style and self (which can be tricky in the early days of motherhood!) Designs are available in all colours, shapes and sizes and can be tailored to suit whatever taste you might have. I often get told my designs look as though they belong in an Oliver Bonas store…which is just about the biggest compliment anyone can give me! The great thing about teething jewellery these days is that it DOESN'T have to look like teething jewellery, meaning it doubles up as a great everyday accessory, even when you might get a rare day off without baby in tow!
6. SAFETY - As soon as you put on anything pretty, either around your neck or in your ears, you can guarantee baby will make a beeline for it, just ask ANY mum! The bright colours, interesting shapes and little moving parts are simply irresistible to their inquisitive little hands and more often than not, it will end up in their mouths too. Traditional jewellery poses so many risks - many contain nasty metals that you wouldn’t want your baby ingesting, and then of course there’s the risk of the jewellery breaking and the small parts becoming a choking hazard. I’ve even spoken to one grandma, who’s grandson ripped her earring straight out through her earlobe…OUCH!
Teething jewellery solves all these problems in one. The silicone is tested to EU standards to ensure it contains no nasty or dangerous chemicals, including BPA, meaning it is food grade and safe to put in your baby’s mouth. The strong nylon cord won’t snap or break, so you won’t have little beads popping off in all directions, and the breakaway clasp at the back means if they do tug with a little too much enthusiasm, the clasp simply pops apart to save you feeling like you’re being tugged around like a dog on a leash!
7. PRACTICAL - There is something so beautifully simple about the idea of a teething necklace. It goes everywhere with you, it looks great on, and it provides baby with hours of endless entertainment, distraction and teething relief! You can pop one around your neck in the morning, without even giving it too much thought, so that later when your little one is getting a bit grumbly on the bus, or needs an unexpected feed in the middle of the park, or just wants some cuddle time with you, then bingo! You have it there and ready for them to play with and to keep them distracted. They also make wonderful and unique gifts for new mums and baby showers. We are often inundated with vests, baby grows, bubble baths and newborn socks (which, SPOILER ALERT: NEVER STAY ON!), but giving a teething necklace as a gift is thoughtful, practical and something which mum can enjoy, just as much as baby!
8. SUPPORT - Many of the teething jewellery companies available on the market today are mumma-run enterprises. Mumprenuers, starting out on a journey to build their own brand and business and create something they are proud of. I can certainly say that HexNex started out this way, from very humble beginnings with me making the necklaces on a spare corner of my dining room table! But by choosing to support these small businesses, you are supporting a dream. You are helping a mum pay the next food bill, or putting towards another afternoon for her kids at nursery. The creative community is a wonderful one, and by us all supporting it in some small way, we are contributing to a much bigger cause!
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as many of the retail giants are now cottoning on to the popularity of teething jewellery and have started to produce their own ranges. So if you are keen to specifically support a small business, I just suggest doing your research first. And of course, you need to make sure whoever you are buying from, be it a big brand or a fledgling start up, that they have covered off all the necessary safety aspects and are adhering to the industry standards.
9. STOP THE SCRATCH! - As mums, we’ve all felt the pain of the pinch or the tug of the hair pull, as our little ones seem intent on clinging to us in the most extreme of ways. Particularly for breastfeeding mums, who have lots of skin exposed during feeding times, or mums who carry their little ones in a sling a lot, you may find those little nails scratch like razors and leave marks that have some questioning if you’ve been attacked by your neighbours cat. By wearing a teething necklace, you can offer your baby a welcome alternative to scratching your skin or pulling your hair, as their little hands can be kept busy by holding on to and playing with the beads instead.
10. TEETHING - and so FINALLY, after all that, we get to the teething part! “Teething Jewellery” is the handy name that’s caught on for silicone jewellery, but it’s a bit misleading really, when actually it has SO many other uses! But rest assured, when those pesky toothy pegs do start to pop through, your necklace will come into its own yet again! It seems almost innate in babies that they know what to do with the jewellery, and often as soon as a mum puts on a necklace for the first time, it will go straight into baby’s mouth! The tactile silicone is incredibly soothing for them to chew on, and will help massage their gums and bring the new teeth through. You can also place your jewellery in the fridge, to cool it down, and to use as a soothing aid for angry, red gums.
So there you have it! Ten great reasons why a teething necklace is probably the most handy baby buy under £10 that you’ll ever come across! You can check out the full range of our designs, or find out how to design your own unique piece of teething jewellery, over on our website www.hexnex.co.uk