Babies begin to identify language during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, according to this article. Because of this, babies can start deciphering the difference between their mom’s language and foreign languages very soon after birth.
Because babies can hear during pregnancy, sound devices typically called “womb boxes” have been developed to amplify noises in the uterus. You can play music for your baby and also speak to him or her using these devices.
There are many brands on the market for these devices such as Ritmo and Belly Buds ranging from around $40 to $140. Most are compatible with audio devices such as iPods for ease of use.
However, there are mixed feelings among doctors about whether or not sound devices should be utilized.
Proponents of the devices cite the following positives of using sound devices:
- Because parents know their voices are no longer muffled, more baby/parent bonding can occur before birth.
- Devices could help facilitate language development, thus increasing the baby’s intelligence.
- Playing certain types of music like classical or jazz may influence their musical preferences and even make them more musically inclined.
- Retention of music that was played in the womb can occur for up to a year after birth, and music is important to development.
- Some parents that used these devices report that their babies were more alert after birth.
Those who are skeptical of the devices believe the following:
- It’s already noisy in the womb, so the extra noise could disrupt the baby.
- Babies can already hear their mother’s voice naturally as they speak without a device.
- They could negatively affect the baby’s sleep cycle since the womb creates a protected atmosphere, according to a New York post article.
- Some fear that people will take the research too far and play language tapes to teach multiple languages to their unborn babies.
- They think that babies in the womb have developed just fine with their natural environments for centuries, so the addition of sound devices is unnecessary.
There are many differing opinions about how sound devices can impact your baby’s development. Make sure to consult with your physician to discuss how sound will affect your baby during pregnancy and what he or she thinks is the best plan for you.