Meet Babypod, colloquially known as "the musical tampon," arguably one of the dumbest things you can buy while you're waiting out your pregnancy. Non-colloquially, and according to the website where you can buy one of these bad boys for a very reasonable $133, it's known as "a small intravaginal device that stimulates neural development in unborn babies through music ... Babypod gives [babies] their first musical and learning experience."
You may recall that there was a concert not long ago where Babypod made its sort-of debut onstage with Soraya Arnelas as she sang popular Christmas carols. She was joined by a couple of pregnant ladies, ostensibly with Babypods crammed up their bits, so that's a fun thought to ruminate on.
You might be asking, "Why?" Because really, aren't we all?
There actually is an excuse for this thing, however tenuous, because a Spanish study not long ago developed a kind of prototype of what we now know as the Babypod to test the effects of music on babies in the womb. They found that 85 percent of babies responded to intravaginally delivered tunes — as opposed to external music delivery systems like headphones — by moving their mouths and tongues, realized that this was the result of brain stimulation, and voilà, more crap for you to buy was born.
And why not? We are already inundated with all kinds of tech that's supposed to make our lives way easier in regard to our babies and our bodies, like little paranoia-enabling breathing monitors and smart onesies and dubious crap like smart diapers and something called Bellybuds, which serves pretty much the same function as Babypod, except you don't have to insert it anywhere and the Kardashians apparently pimped it on their show.
None of these things actually makes your baby that much smarter or your life that much easier (yay, more stuff to keep track of/charged/set up alerts for!), but they are packaged nicely, which is why they do have one thing in common: being super expensive and existing, apparently, for that purpose alone.
This isn't even new. There was the whole Baby Einstein thing, remember? Where parents shelled out lots of money for videos of creepy puppets that would supposedly ensure their babies would grow up to help them win the annual family newsletter competition by attending Ivy League schools or whatever.
It seems that every time there is even the smallest iota of evidence that something might be good for a baby, there's someone more than willing to capitalize on the anxiety of expectant parents by marketing it with that slight undertone that says, "Good parents do this. Don't you want to be a good parent?"
It allows parents to think they're accomplishing something without much effort, when the truth of the matter is that all these devices and strategies are just little blips in your kid's life. They definitely won't remember them, and they certainly won't turn out to be a subpar little human if you don't run out to purchase an app that analyzes their poo or syncs up to their brain waves in utero.
Of course, there's no harm in buying one of these doodads if you can afford it, but there's no reason to feel your kid is missing out if you don't. For centuries children chilled out in the womb with nary a pink-hued, scary-looking earbud-thing in sight, and they managed to grow up to do stuff like discover penicillin and get women voting.
If you've got the money and the spare time, go for it. But see it for what it is: a neat gadget that ultimately won't affect the outcome (your kid). There's no substitute for good parenting, and if you're the type of person who thinks, "Well, why not?" when you see things like the Babypod, you're probably already well on your way.
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