Mama Beans Chewelry: The Jewelry You Chew On
For those of you who have not yet heard of the “Chewelry” invention, you’re either living under a rock or you don’t have kids. Chewely, or rather, “jewelry you chew on,” is a rather new concept, but it’s not what I initially thought it was. Originally, I thought this was something made specifically for teething babies, so I was surprised to see some of the smaller items offered, but then I realized that it’s not for babies at all, really. In fact, Mama Beans Chewelry is even better than that. I was excited to review some pieces!
As a child, I had what later became termed as an “oral fixation.” An oral fixation (in modern times – not Freudian times), is when a child, mostly between the ages of 10 months to 5 years, has an incessant need to constantly have something in their mouths. I won’t go into the causes or theories around this, but I will say that over 70% of children, at some point, have an oral fixation. Myself, I sucked my thumb until I was 7, so I can tell you first-hand that having something in your mouth, whether it’s sucking or chewing, is a comfort thing. Whenever I felt uneasy, insecure, or anxious my thumb went in my mouth. It helped soothe me and helped me feel better about whatever situation I was in – like Lionel had a blanket, I had my thumb. After I finally outgrew the thumb-sucking, I went on to sucking on the top corner of my jacket or my necklace, and as I got older moved onto chewing on the end of my pen or biting my lip. And although these flavor-of-the-week fidget spinners can be helpful for those who can’t stop fidgeting in class, they don’t necessarily help those who are looking for comfort– fidgeting is the need to move, chewing/sucking is the need for comfort – a form of self-soothing.
I was given 4 pieces of Chewlery to test by Mama Beans Chewelry – a Mommy Necklace, a kid’s beaded necklace, a kid’s basic necklace, and a zipper pull. I then got 4 different kids to try them all out (don’t worry – I sanitized them between uses): My son (6) who is not a chewer, a mom with two small kids – one who is breast fed and one who is obsessed with constantly having something in her mouth – and another child (8) who tends to suck on the corners of his jackets and the cuffs of his sleeve.
The Mama Necklace
The idea behind the Mama Necklace is to give a child who is either breastfeeding or being held often, something to play with other than pulling mommy’s hair or ripping off her jewelry, plus, the necklace I received was very cute, and I would totally wear it to work! However, I did find the beads to be pretty hard, not gum-like as the others were (yes, I tried to chew on it – I originally thought that was its intended purpose!), but when I gave it to my friend while she was breastfeeding her son, the 8 month old looked up and grabbed hold of it, holding on and fiddling with the little beads while he ate. Mom said it was the first time she hadn’t been scratched in 8 months.
The Kid’s Necklace
My son, who was given the child’s beaded necklace, actually really liked it, even though he doesn’t normally chew. He liked the size of the beads and he liked that it felt a little bit like gum (texture-wise). He kept it on while he did homework and watched TV and I caught him a few times with it hanging out of his mouth.
The Basic Necklace
I gave the kid’s basic necklace to my friend’s daughter who has an extreme version of an oral fixation, and she basically had it in her mouth the entire time – while she played, while she watched TV, even while attempting to talk. The only issue we found was that because it was a donut shape, her drool would compile in the middle hole and would then randomly drip – but it’s a small price to pay for not having her chewing on things she found on the ground. She also said she liked it because it was “pretty.”
The Zipper Pull
And finally, the zipper pull, I gave to the older boy who has a minor oral fixation. I attached it to his zipper on his jacket while we went out. I caught him a few times with it in his mouth and asked how he felt about it. He said he liked it better than sucking on his coat because then his chin and neck didn’t get all wet from the wet fabric because when he took it out of his mouth, it would just dangle on his zipper, not touching his skin at all. At one point, when he and my son seemed to be getting a little tired of each other, he pulled at it and shoved it in his mouth, almost as if he was shoving in a soother. He chewed it for a good while, as if he was chewing gum, and then he ate his lunch. After that, the boys seemed to get along better and enjoyed the rest of their afternoon together.
As a mother, the first thing I thought of when I looked at the chewelry was whether or not they would come apart. The child’s beaded necklace had numerous different sized beads and I was worried the latch at the back would come apart and a small child may be able to get one of the beads in his or her mouth. But when I tried to open the latch, I had to put one hand on each side and pull straight out, pretty hard, before I was able to get it apart. So unless the child is wearing the necklace while rough housing, I really don’t see a 2 or 3 year old being able to get that off. Also, it’s made with food-grade silicone which doesn’t contain BPA, lead, mercury and all that yucky stuff, and also doesn’t harbor mold or bacteria growth – it’s the perfect material for non-stop chewing.
All in all, I thought the products were really well made, were colorful enough to get the kids to wear them, weren’t obnoxiously bulky, and looked nice even when they weren’t in the kids’ mouths. I received positive feedback from everyone who used them – from a child who never chews to a child who is obsessed, and they all liked it. My friend whose child sucks on the cuffs of his sleeves also enjoyed the fact that he came home dry for once and didn’t stretch out his cuffs. But, to me, the best part about these products is that they offer the comfort and safety children, in this panic-ridden society, look for and that’s enough reason for me to be able to recommend this product to anyone (I may even get one myself!)
If you would like more information on how this can help your child or to browse more styles, check out Mama Bean Chewlery on their Facebook page!