There have been claims I’ve read of using these to help turn a baby, and also of pre-birth training with music that will sooth the savage baby after it’s born.
While we can’t tell yet whether the Bellybuds will have long-term effects on our baby 2.0 codenamed “Gus Gus,” it has been used and put through some tests so I’ll tell you what we’ve found and update the review as time goes on, perhaps like the never-ending Britax B-Agile Stroller Review.
To start off, what we received was the Bellybuds Baby Bump Sound System with two pair of medical grade reusable adhesives. You’ll use the adhesive pads if you want to walk around with the buds on your bump, but it’s not required if you’re hanging on the couch catching some Daily Show with the fetus.
The first thing we noticed was the Bellybuds didn’t work with either of our HTC One phones without using the included splitter. Not sure what was up with that, but as there’s a splitter included it was a non-issue other than we thought we had some bad Buds for a moment.
When attached and blasting audio at full volume (which is not particularly loud) you don’t really hear much. If you lift a speaker up, you hear it. All I can figure volume-wise is that the effects are probably akin to someone speaking loudly next to your belly. I don’t think there’s any danger of damaging your baby’s future hearing, I am not a medical professional however.
The audio splitter allows you to rock out with your belly out and listen to what you’re playing for you baby so if you need to jam to some Daft Punk while your baby’s learning that disco never really died, it just changed, you can do that by attaching a wired headset to listen in.
You can be playing music for your captive audience and watch TV or a movie without anyone hearing, or at least I generally don’t hear what’s playing sitting next to ITMama.
The Bellybuds also come with some music and a software to allow you to record your voice and play it for the little one. As I have roughly 15 different audio recording applications I didn’t really play with this much. Spotify or the built in media player with a playlist set up seem to do it for us so we went that route. Baby’s listening to Dolly and light rock instead of orchestras and Bach at the moment, but we might mix that up.
I got to wondering how well the buds actually transmit sound so I envisioned a watermelon test in which I’d drop a microphone into a watermelon, attach the Bellybuds, and see how well that acoustically translated.
It made for some great photos, however a watermelon rhine, I discovered, does not mimic the acoustical properties of human flesh even remotely. It’s like a little cone of silence.
I really needed ballistics gel to properly do a test, unfortunately I’m not near a Mythbusters filming area and don’t know people in my neighborhood who have any on hand, so I settled for a pack of bologna, and a cup with water in it.
Unfortunately after a few tests I have no hard data other than that the Bellybuds direct sound clearer than ambient undirected (yelling “hey baby”,) so there’s that. Audio was more discernible through a ham-based medium than the water, but I may have been imagining that. I’ll see if I can get a spectrum analyzer and a water/ham-proof mic and do some more testing.
Does sound go through? Yup. Can baby understand it? Not sure yet. Let you know how things compare against first baby in about two months, which won’t be scientifically valid as I now have some experience with little baby monsters.,I can tell you if Dolly Parton knocks a newborn out without much scientific bias though.
The Buds themselves are pretty solid feeling. The medical grade adhesive is reusable if you want to walk around with them on, and if the idea behind it works your baby will know your voice and musical tastes after it’s born.
According to the comments you’ll need approximately two pair of Bellybuds adhesives per month, and with hearing beginning at 20 weeks and pregnancy ending about 40, that puts you needing about eight pair of replacement adhesives if you use them throughout the hearing times. The base unit comes with two pair, so you’re looking at an additional purchase of about $15 in adhesive if you want to purchase the Bellybuds branded replacement adhesive.
You can also just play it when you’re sitting around, or duct-tape the buds to your belly. The only thing you do need to do is maintain a seal on the Buds to the belly so sound doesn’t escape.
My advice would be to play it what you like musicwise so whenever you’re attempting to knock the little one out you don’t have to listen to something that will knock you out as well.
Bellybuds are available from Amazon for $45.59 with two pairs of reusable adhesives to secure the buds to the belly. There are other options with more adhesive, but they don’t appear to make financial sense when you can get two pair of replacement adhesives for about $5 unless I’m missing something in the product description.