Blaby is Ideal for Naive New Hipster Parents

Photo of a black elastic belt on a pregnant belly with labeling somewhat resembling an iPod music player.

The Blaby is an elastic wrap for a pregnant mother’s belly that has three speakers for blasting music at an unborn child… with an MP3 player.

Why would you ever do such a thing? Well, first, the inventor is an industrial design university student and this thing is in prototype phase, but he’s looking for a company to take interest.

I wonder if an infamous piece of research known as “the Mozart Effect.” is responsible.

In short, college students who listened to a sonata by Mozart for 10 minutes directly prior to taking a standard test on abstract spatial reasoning scored 8 to 9 points higher than college students who listened to repetitive relaxation music or no music at all. This effect did not extend beyond the 15 minutes they were tested.

It sounds like classical music had a calming or meditative effect on adults that helped them focus just prior to being tested. Or maybe the sonata was a fast and uplifting piece that altered mood. No surprises there.

But today companies market the Mozart Effect as a wonder trick for raising little Einsteins. Maybe you own a few CDs or DVDs from a certain other company that every parent knows the name of? Yeah, I bought a 5-CD pack my first go-around. I wish I’d bought real symphony recordings instead of classical xylophone. Oh well.

So, why do companies sell this stuff? Because parents want to believe.

Show me a single piece of research published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal that indicates there’s something to playing music for unborn babies.

The best I’ve heard is a guess that music can relax babies in the womb. Wait, what? I thought the womb was a wonderland and once born we play hearbeat “womb music” to soothe crying babies.

Ohhhh, you just want your unborn baby to stop kicking you. Hey ladies, suck it up and take it like a mother. The kid needs his exercise because coming out of you will be no small feat.

The Blaby isn’t the first in-the-womb sound machine to come along. Greg at Daddytypes has written prolifically about a competing product. My sentiments are best summed up by quoting him on womb boomboxes:

“…a near-perfect example of using totally unsupported, pseudo-scientific claptrap to sell bogus-yet-hopefully-harmless, overpriced pieces of crap to unsuspecting, well-intentioned expectant parents.” –Greg @ DT

This is your blog litmus test. When you see products like this one mentioned elsewhere, are they praised, plainly reported or skeptically questioned? Count me as an unbeliever.

Comments

9 Responses to “Blaby is Ideal for Naive New Hipster Parents”

  1. Amy Kraft says:

    I was sure this was another April Fool’s post.

    April 20th, 2009 at 7:25 am

  2. Andrew says:

    Somebody gave us a baby einstein cd. I listened to 1 or 2 tracks and thought, “why would i listen to this synthesized garbage.” I then got a recording of the top 100 classical songs recorded by real orchestras.

    I’m not sure why the people who produce baby einstein think children would rather listen to synthesized revisions of classic songs. I guess it is a way to market the cds as cutesy songs that parents will want to buy. I can assure you though, that the real songs are much better than the baby einstein versions. Some of them have opera singing too, which my son really enjoys.

    April 20th, 2009 at 9:00 am

  3. Stephanie says:

    My daughter hated Baby Einstein 30 seconds into the DVD (it was a gift). So, I think the whole Baby Einstein thing is a bunch of hoo-ha. But I thought this would be a great April Fool’s post. Do parents really want to believe that badly?

    April 20th, 2009 at 10:34 am

  4. KGS says:

    My daughter did seem to respond to certain types of music coming out of my laptop in utero. Of course, by “respond” I mean move more or move less– she responded to a lot of other stuff too! I guess if you really want to subject your baby to music without hearing it yourself (like classical xylophones), this makes sense. Listening to bad synthesizer music over and over for 9 months with no possibility of escape sounds like an elaborate form of torture to me, though. Maybe they should market this as a labor-inducing device instead!

    April 20th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

  5. Nadia says:

    I saw some of a baby einstein (or something similar) dvd once. It had random video footage of bunnies and balloons and the such alternating every 2 seconds or so, and everyone seemed amazed that the kids couldn’t keep their eyes off it. I got a headache after about a minute, so you have to feel sorry for the poor kids.

    April 20th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

  6. Rex says:

    I believe this is meant to drown out the mother’s constant whining and complaining about how this baby is ruining her figure and making her ankles swell. Meaning, it’s for a particular type of mom-to-be I’m sure we’ve all known.

    April 21st, 2009 at 12:36 pm

  7. Rian says:

    I think this is a great way to get our unborn child into Coldplay as soon as possible :)

    April 21st, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  8. Paul says:

    This device brings Mr. Holland’s Opus to mind, where the composer/father played music to his son in the womb using large headphones … the son ended up deaf (they didn’t specifically point to it as the cause). Great movie, but also points out that actions can sometimes have the opposite effect.

    April 22nd, 2009 at 5:36 am

  9. Magda says:

    My husband sings opera and chants Byzantine liturgical music whether I want him to or not. I don’t think I need much more. Oh, and we received one of those Baby Composer things with everything replaced by marimba and other percussion instruments, and it was terrifically disappointing. We listened to it once for politeness, and are hoping not to get asked about it.

    April 22nd, 2009 at 4:58 pm

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