Guest Author - Nicki Heskin
Those looking for a holiday gift for a breastfeeding mother might consider a nursing necklace. Nursing necklaces serve the function of giving the baby something to do with his or her hands while nursing. For babies with wandering hands, this is a much better option than playing with Mommy’s face, pulling up (or down!) Mommy’s shirt, or pinching or fondling the other breast, especially when out in public! Nursing necklaces can also provide a distraction for worn or carried babies. Moms can help babies learn “breast manners” by redirecting little hands towards the necklace.
Nursing necklaces need to be made with a strong, safe string or cord, and need to be safe to put in the mouth, because babies will inevitably teeth or suck on them as well. Most come with a breakaway safety clasp. Wood or food-grade silicone (the same as pacifiers or bottle nipples) are common materials for necklaces, although fancier versions with stones or crystals are also available. Necklaces made with beads or stones should tie each individually, rather than string the beads, so that in case of breakage, there is not a cascade of choking hazards.
Some women complain that silicone attracts lint from clothing, but silicone cleans easily with a rinse in the sink, which is probably a good idea anyway from time to time! Silicone jewelry does come in a great variety of colors and shapes, from donut pendants to silicone “beads.” Done well, silicone offers the look of stone jewelry. Wooden jewelry offers the opportunity for a variety of colors and styles. Be sure that wooden necklaces are sourced from organic, pesticide free wood, and are coated only with food grade oils or waxes.
Remember that nursing necklaces are meant to be worn by adults, not children. And while babies may play with this jewelry, they should not be left playing with necklaces of any style unattended or unwatched. Left to their own devices, kids could theoretically chew through or break a necklace, choke on a cord taken too far into the mouth or place a cord around their neck or that of another child. This is true of any adult jewelry, not just a nursing necklace. As long as parents remain present and aware, they are not likely to cause any more danger than anything else in the child’s environment.
A nice nursing necklace gives a nursing mother, who has often reduced thinking about her own appearance to have a lovely gift that still serves a functional purpose in her mothering. She can feel dressed up and accessorized, but doesn’t have to worry about her baby wrecking her jewelry, as it is designed to withstand regular handling in a way that other jewelry may not.
Here is an example of two nursing necklaces (with further links to other related colors and styles) that your nursing mother may enjoy: