They are also sometimes called teething necklaces. What are they? Starting around 3 months, babies begin to do lots of clutching, poking, scratching and tugging. A nursing necklace gives them something visual, tactile and interesting to play with - saving mom's clothes, hair and jewelry from those adorable but grabby little hands.
A good nursing necklace is super strong, washable and - most importantly - non-toxic and baby safe. Because there will be chomping. There will be drooling. And biting, teething and gumming.
Did you guess where I got the beads? Look!
I buy random baby toys at yard sales, thrift shops and even (when I can find appropriate stuff) at the dollar store. (An important tip for what NOT to buy at the end of this post!) I sanitize the toys, then cut them apart...
...and use the beads to make sweet, silly, indestructible nursing necklaces. Every necklace is different, depending on the particular beads I have harvested.
To string them, I use strong nylon cord or paracord.
Not even baby Chuck Norris is gonna break this super tough jewelry!
Want to DIY? Here's how I put together my far-out Dr. Seuss one.
That's the basic idea - pretty simple, eh? You can add a tassel, make it longer or shorter, fuller of beads or more sparse. Just play around, let the beads with their odd shapes and bright colors do their thing.
Okay, yes: I realize this one's a little bit wild. But as a unique handmade gift for a whimsical mama, an idea to consider!
Here's an example of a more restrained necklace, suitable for the not-quite-so-adventurous madame:
To make that one, I picked out some pretty rounds from a child's building toy.
It's tactile, vibrant and baby friendly, but could be worn with lots of outfits without making quite such a Seussical statement.
So here's my important tip for choosing the baby toys. Ready? It's this: only use items with a logo from a reputable company. (Fisher Price, Playskool, Disney, etc.) Avoid off-brand labels. Eschew vintage items. Reject no-name toys. Even though most everything will be made in China, the major brands have manufacturing standards, and you can be confident the beads are non-toxic and safe for chomping.
Cleaning tips! To sanitize used toys, run them through the dishwasher. Or swish them in a solution of one part bleach to eight parts water, rinse well, then wash again with soap and hot water. For new toys, a good soapy wash in hot water is fine. You can hand wash the finished necklace as often as you like.
One last note. I am not a mom. Got no teething babies on hand at the moment. And yet, I personally wear kooky upcycled baby-toy necklaces all the time! They are very much my esthetic: bright, amusing and cute as a box of Teletubbies.
Who is with me!? Would you wear them? Let me hear you say yeah!
Hee hee. Okie doke, my dears, that's today's upcycle. Thanks for visiting!