A Useless and Stupid Product for Expectant Mothers

Posted on June 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Children should be exposed to music as early and as often as possible and there is nothing wrong with pregnant women doing the best they can to surround themselves with soothing and beautiful sounds for their own benefit and the baby’s. But this new product, Sound Beginnings and its competitors are simply idiotic. They are belts for a pregnant woman to strap to her belly so that she can pipe music and other sounds directly to the baby from her own MP3 player.
Research does show that babies hear in utero. But that does not mean that they need some contraption to provide more benefit more than they get from what is going on around their mothers as they conduct their lives. If you want the baby to hear music, play some. If you want the baby to hear voices, talk. There is no data to show that the baby, surrounded by amniotic fluid inside the uterus, can hear any better via a belly strap than via the ambient environment as conducted through the mother’s skeletal system. There is no evidence to support any benefit whatsoever from this product other than for the companies prying more money away from expectant parents and their families and giving them even more anxiety and homework.
Additional stupidities: “The speakers are made to keep the total sound output at a low level for babies with the loudest it can go at 85 decibels. Furthermore, the speakers are encased in padded vinyl which almost eliminates the vibrations making it even safer for little ears.” Again, no data whatever to support this claim of what is or is not safe “for little ears” or at what stage of development the ears are functional. And it comes in three colors, black, white, and a pinkish they call “nude” — an offensive use of this term in a world where pregnant women and their babies have many different skin tones.
The people who sell this junk should be ashamed of themselves, as should the bogus organizations that have given it “awards:” Disney’s Iparenting media award, Mom’s Best Award, and the Parent Tested Parent Approved Media Award. All three of these “organizations” are money-making semi-scams that charge fees from products submitted for “awards.” Note that there are no awards from any educational, obstetric, or pediatric associations.
I remember a visit to my obstetrician when I was pregnant with our first child. The doctor said that the baby would recognize our voices when he was born from hearing them so frequently in utero. “Well,” my husband said, “the baby will probably recognize Cary Grant’s voice, too. She watches a lot of movies!” To this day, our son will tease me when he hears Cary Grant’s voice by saying, “Why does that sound so familiar?” And just think, even without a belly strap that protected his little ears.

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