Justin Bieber-Proof Your Baby

Fear the day your child will listen to the likes of Justin Bieber? Start shaping his or her preference for good music early—really early

No pregnant woman wants to draw more attention to her belly, but I’d make an exception with the Nuvo Ritmo Advanced Sound System. The device is essentially a speaker system for your growing bundle of joy, allowing the baby to listen along to the tunes playing on your iPod.

I took the Ritmo out for a test drive when I was pregnant with my daughter Nora. Basically, you strap a stretchy, lightweight belt with four speakers embedded in it across your belly. Each of the speakers sits over a different quadrant of your tummy with the Ritmo control and your iPod stashed in pockets on either side. You control the volume for yourself on your iPod, and Ritmo’s Safe & Sound Technology adjusts the volume on the speaker so it’s not blowing out your baby’s delicate, newly formed eardrums.

OK, so I know you’re supposed to play your child classical music in the womb to guarantee a 1600 on his or her SATs, but I was more intrigued about shaping my kid’s musical tastes at the earliest possible age. (I live in fear of the day that Justin Bieber, or his replacement 10 years from now, blares from my daughter’s room.) I introduced our baby to everything from Bruce Springsteen to the Violent Femmes to Snoop Dogg and Feist. It became somewhat of a game, trying to predict what the baby would respond to—I was sure she would go nuts with Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion,” but neither inspired movement. She went nuts, however, at Trik Turner’s “Black Sheep,” balling up under one of the speakers.

I guess what I really like about the Ritmo is the bonding experience I felt with the baby. Listening to music also helped me slow down, take it easy and just relax—extremely important at the end of your pregnancy, but a difficult prescription for my type-A personality to swallow—and just focus on the baby. Sometimes cranking up the beat and listening to music with Nora was the perfect cure to a cranky mood in those last few months when I was the size of a supertanker. And this is purely anecdotal, but when I sing to Nora, now 3 months old, she responds to it way more than my son ever did. (Of course, her vocal expectations could be lower than his—I did play her Guns N’ Roses.)

Sure, the belt looks a little strange on, but it’s stylish enough for a trip to the gym or a walk around the block. And, let’s face it, when you’re pregnant, you can get away with a lot more (you get a fashion pass once you can no longer see your feet). So, if you are looking for the perfect gift for the pregnant lady in your life, I suggest the Ritmo—because, you know, it’s never too early to introduce your child to gangster rap.

The Nuvo Ritmo Advanced Sound System retails for $149.99, but is currently on sale for $100.96 at Amazon.com.

Anne Taulane is a mother of two, and the editor of Pennsylvania’s Wine & Spirits Quarterly. When she’s not thinking about wine and spirits, she writes about family, health, and pregnancy.