I wish we knew about Chewelry when Early Bird was shredding shirt sleeves while his new teeth came in. If you’re new to the term like I was, Chewelry is a melding of “chew” and “jewelry.” It’s therapeutic sensory soothing things that can be worn like jewelry but are safe for chewing on. I’ve has some hit or misses with various types so I thought I’d share with you what works for us.
Things that did NOT work for Early Bird: baby chew toys loose, baby chew toys on a necklace around his neck, loose washcloth for chewing on. I tried various DIYs but none of them stayed with him and the sleeves and neck of his shirts were always there so that’s what got chewed on. If I had known that you can buy fabric bands specifically for this purpose, I would have. (Edited to add: I found a good DIY for t-shirt chewing bands linked here!)
After the new teeth came in the shirt shredding stopped. (Yay!) But then it became finger sucking. (At this time we did not yet know he is autistic.) Thankfully around that time I heard, don’t remember where, about Bitesaber from Ark Therapeutic. It was Star Wars themed which was a big bonus because this was when The Force Awakens was coming out so nobody blinked at my son wearing it around his neck. The shape was consistent with his finger, and I got the softest texture possible. It worked! It worked so well that he was done with his finger, but chewed through the entire Bitesaber in less than a month. This made me think a tougher texture was called for; a $25 mistake. Lesson learned: if you find something that works, don’t change it! I got him a second red one that he only uses occasionally now.
I caught Builder Boy a few months ago chewing on Legos. Little Legos inside his mouth. Yes, I freaked out a bit about the potential choke hazard. Thanks to 2 Day Shipping a few days later I had a Lego shaped Chewlery in the hardest texture possible. Luckily that texture happened to be in his preferred color: blue. With this brand they will usually have two colors per texture. It’s really important to chose texture over color.
I have not yet been able to find a Chewelry that Lady Bug enjoys. I think the one I got was too narrow; she likes things that stretch her mouth. But I do hope to find one someday that she likes enough to ease off the pacifier.
If you’re interested in more fidget oriented jewelry, or would especially like to support an autistic adult, Stimtastic was founded and run by an autistic adult. Their site seems very affordable, though we don’t have any personal experience with the products. They even have a cool page to help you figure out which of their products work best with what kind of chewer! The Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of the sale and it doesn’t add to your purchase price. But I share these so that others can know for their kids (or adults!), not to make money off of you, dear reader.
Know of some great Chewelry that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!