I became an auntie at the age of eight. I loved- still love- being an aunt. Loving my sister’s children taught me to be a mother: I learned to change diapers, give baths, burp and soothe. I lived in a different state to my brother so I never knew his children as well. His son was born a week or so before I moved to the UK so I never got time with him growing up outside the rare visit.
The birth of my sister’s youngest daughter (the cute little one up the front) taught me much much more than simple life lessons. I was 15 when she was due to be born and my sister wanted me to be her birth partner- I suspect- only because my brother-in-law didn’t fancy the gooeyness of the birthing room again. It changed my life and influenced my adult career: I would never have gotten onto the hugely competitive UK Midwifery program without my experiences with my big sister and tiny niece.
Since my niece became a mother herself I have been amazed by her interest in my own interests. My own dear Auntie is a midwife and delivered almost all her own grandchildren, I am a midwife and my niece is progressing toward her own goals helping women with their childbirth and breastfeeding experiences. It is funny how families can repeat events over and over.
When we visited her this summer in Tennessee she was looking for a nursing necklace. There are some claims that a nursing necklace can help to encourage breastfed babies to be more settled at the breast, feed longer and continue till they are older. Being a very well trained Midwife I don’t buy into all the claims because I actually haven’t been able to find any research to validate these claims. Regardless nursing necklaces do have one genuine use and that is to distract antsy feeders with stimulating shapes and textures to touch and look at rather than grabbing at, pinching, pulling or thumping at momma while feeding.
The key with making anything baby may come in contact with is non-toxic materials and safety- anything baby pulls at for long enough can break. There are a lot of laws about baby toys and anything an infant might chew on (for obvious reasons) and a lot of nursing necklaces are not recommended for babies to chew on or use as a toy. I would recommend the same: never leave a baby unattended with any product that may pose a choking risk. I personally had to save K. twice using the “upside-down back blows” method from choking on food when she was almost a year old and a little over. Its terrifying to see your tiny love going blue. Its not something you forget.
What you will need for this project- make sure its non-toxic:
Unvarnished or painted wood beads in multiple sizes
Stone or wood ring
2.5 or 3 mm Crochet hook
1: Covering the Large Beads (6)
Create an adjustable ring (the link is a nice little tutorial for the ring method- I just kinda like the opening music…)
Single Crochet (SC) 6 into ring and tighten don’t join (6 stitches)
2 SC into each SC around (12)
repeat 3 times around then place wooden bead into crochet cover
SC 2 together around (6)
SC 2 together around (3)
Slip 3 stitches together bind off and hide thread end securely- trim excess thread
2: Thread Beads
loop the leather cord through the central ring and adjust it so that it hangs very evenly
thread beads onto leather. If you want the necklace to double as a teeth-er you can make it baby safe by threading each bead then looping the cord around the outside of the bead and knotting the cord at the bottom before threading back up through the bead eye and knotting the cord at the top of each bead like so:
secure the final bead on each side as shown above
3: Fasten off
knot each end of the cord around the opposing length so that the knots can slide and shorten or lengthen the necklace as needed. Like so: