So, Did BabyPlus REALLY Work?

It was about a year and half ago (or maybe more) when my wife started using this prenatal education device called BabyPlus.  We were both highly skeptical that a machine that really adds up to no more than a drum machine could give an infant such a intellectual head start in life.  But we bought it and my wife used it almost every single day and night for over 18 weeks until just before Haruka was born.

The claims that the company makes about the product is quite incredible.  And it seems that no matter which review you read, it was nothing but glowing raves about how the product produced such a perfect, well-behaved, and intelligent baby.  The amount of euphemistic reviews of the product often makes you wonder if there’s some kind of BabyPlus cult out there and that this device actually served to brain wash little babies into becoming cabbage worshipers when they become adults.  Either that, or these people were being paid to write hundreds of positive reviews on several internet sites using various aliases.  Or perhaps the product actually DOES work?  My personal assessment?  Well I will save that for the end, but first let’s look at the claims:

  • Babies are born more alert; often with very little crying.
  • Babies sleep better, and many will often sleep through the night in just a few weeks
  • Ability to self-soothe and put him/herself to sleep
  • ability to develop language quickly
  • meet milestones faster
  • larger vocabulary at an earlier

and so on and so forth.  Well, for those who have been following this site from its beginnings, you’d already know that Haruka wasn’t an easy baby to care for shortly after birth.  She was colicky (cried often without cause, and difficult to calm down).  She didn’t take to baby formula right away and often spit up.  So right out of the starting block, BabyPlus didn’t seem to be living up to its claims.

However, after a couple months, we did notice some changes.  At only 8 weeks, not only were we able to carry Haruka upright, she often wanted to stand up (of course with support).  That was the first sign that she was developing more quickly than the other babies of the same age.  Additionally, we noticed that she was cooing and making noises much earlier than most milestone calenders indicated.

However, although her physical development seemed to be coming along nicely, she was still quite difficult. Getting her to bed every night needed a minimum of an hour.  She could quite literally cry for several hours before she tired out and went to sleep.  Her colic persisted until about the fourth or fifth month, after which it died down quite dramatically.

At four months old, she was able to roll over in both directions, and sometimes even drag herself a few inches.  She was finally able to sleep through the night through a set routine of feeding, wrapping, and swinging, but still cried often and could not go to sleep on her own unless she was in a car or on her swing.

At about four and a half months old, Haruka was able to sit upright unassisted.  This was quite a surprise to everyone because she showed no prior signs or hints that she was even about to sit up on her on her own.  It was as if someone turned on a switch and she was sitting.

At five and have months old, she was able to grab a piece of furniture and stood up on her own for the first time.  At this point, she still had yet to learn to crawl, and was still dragging herself around the room.  A few days later, she was cruising around the room swinging from furniture to furniture.  It wasn’t until six months when she finally was able to learn to crawl properly.

After a short period of being able to crawl rapidly to get from point A to point B, Haruka was able to stand up unassisted at 8 months old, and it only took a week and a half until she was taking her first steps.  Three weeks later, she was running around the living room.

At this point, it seemed as if her physical milestones came far ealier than her intellectual milestones, until one day she was able to wave her hand and say bye bye.  Although not too clear at times, she does mumble the words.  She does say it while waving, and when she or someone else is leaving, which means she understands the context of the words and when to use them, as opposed to just repeating what we say to her.

Between ten and eleven months old, Haruka became a very skilled walker and a fast runner.   She even managed to crawl up some stairs on her own.  She has a pretty good understanding of what we are telling her, and responds to commands.  For example, she knows to claspe her hands together  before and after eating (a Japanese custom).  She also knows to bow to a person whom she’s meeting (a Japanese greeting).  However, she has yet to learn to self-soothe nor can she consistently sleep throughout the night.  She doesn’t cry like she use to; she cries only if she wants something, sleepy, or hungry…or obviously when she hurts herself.

At a year old now, she still has trouble staying asleep at night, often waking up several times a night.  Not too sure what’s going on here, but then again, Haruka has never been a very sound sleeper.  She is still unable to put herself to sleep, and requires one of us to hold her until she falls asleep.

So, Did BabyPlus REALLY Work?  In my opinion, Haruka would have probably turned out the same regardless of whether or not we used it.  I believe that all of her traits (both negative and positive) are purely genetic, and I think there’s more scientific evidence to support my theory than the claims BabyPlus makes about their product.  If you have a history of colic or difficult infants in your family, changes are pretty good that your infant will carry on those traits, and no amount of BabyPlus’ing is going to change that.  Any so-called benefits accheived from using baby plus is coincidental.

BabyPlus developed a very good money making product, because it successfully appeals to the emotions and hopes of the parent to be.  EVERY parent wants their child to be intelligent, and $120 is just cheap enough to be in reach of most household incomes, and yet pricey enough so that it’s not easily discredited  as  being just a gimmick or a toy.

Unless there was a way of cloning a fetus and raising them in two different wombs, one exposed to BabyPlus and the other unexposed, there is no way to prove or disprove the results or there lack of, achieved by this product.    Each baby is a different individual with different personalities, so there is no way to conduct a controlled experiment since the factors vary so greatly.  So unless there is conclusive scientific evidence to definitively prove the validity of the claims made by this company, there is no way really know for sure if it works or not.  If the baby displays even the slightest bit of intelligence, I wouldn’t automatically assume that its the result of the nightly drum concert the baby receives, and due more to good genetics.  Like-wise I wouldn’t blame a difficult infant, or an infant who meets milestones relatively slower than others on BabyPlus either.  I sincerely think that all this product serves to do is make noise, maybe at the very most, help put the baby in the womb asleep, or maybe keep it awake.

Would I recommend it?  Short answer is no.  That is to say not unless BabyPlus can produce more credible evidence to suggest that it does work, rather than just an internet forum flooded with testimonials from overly proud parents boasting of great results, whom I  suspect got some leading from BabyPlus.  My suggestion is to use the $120 to buy some books and maybe even Mozart and get the baby off to heardstart by playing music and reading to them while still in the womb.

Haruka at the park

Another pic…

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12 Months with Haruka

As a reflection back through the last nine months with Haru, I’ve compiled a series a pictures from the last 12 months.  Some are pictures that have never been posted before.

A few hours old

1 month old

2 months old

3 months old

4 months old

5 months old

6 months old

7 months old

8 months old

9 months old

10 months old

11 months old

1 year old

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Let Crying Babies Lye

Today is Haruka’s fourth day of life outside of the womb. Her problem with feeding seemed to have gone away, because she drank her milk without a fuss today. Her appearance is also improving , as more of her puffyness has gone away. She has lost some weight (about a 100 grams less than her birth weight.) This is normal, and the nurses told us in advanced that this would happen. Later on, as she continues to feed, she will gain back that weight and start increasing in baby fat.

Haruka cries A LOT. But she’s easy to rock back to sleep, or at least for me it is. It takes my wife a bit longer and I can tell that it’s starting to stress her out a bit. But both Haruka and my wife will come home tomorrow, along with my mother-in-law, who will be staying with us for a few weeks to help us out. She advised us not to pick Haruka up too much when she cries, because she will then get use to it and expect it everytime she cries. It makes sense, but for now, I think I will just rock her back to sleep, because I kind of enjoy it.

Anyways, here are some more pictures from my visit to the hospital today:

less puffy eyes

Haruka’s and her double-edged eyelids as she squints

more sleep

Sleep sleep and more sleep

Future girl racer

Racing seat for the future girl racer

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Thanks Everyone!

First, I just wanted to take time out to thank everyone for the emails, calls, cards, visits, blog comments, presents. and flowers we received in the past couple of days. It’s deeply appreciated

Haruka is just over 3 days old now. Her skin condition has improved a lot, and is no longer dry and peeling. However, in the last couple of days, it seems that she has had some problems feeding, so they kept her in the care area, so that the nurses can be sure that she feeds properly. It takes her about an hour to drink 40ml of baby formula which isn’t good, but her feeding is improving. I tried feeding her for the first time tonight and surprisingly she took to me pretty quickly, and finished about 80% of her bottle. She then fell asleep shortly afterwards. My wife had to wake her up several times to get her to finish the rest of the bottle, and ultimately it did take an hour or so.

It seems that many babies have this problem and so its nothing to be too concerned about. Eventually she will learn to feed properly. Appearance-wise, she is getting less puffy every day and some of her facial features are becoming somewhat defined. I noticed that she has my eyebrows, although a lot lighter than mine. And I think she has the nose I use to have when I was a baby.

Haruka sleep

3 days old

Haruka’s name in calligraphy, that my wife’s friend made for us 🙂

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Meet Haruka Victoria Hayashi

Hello everyone.

She’s finally here!  Haruka Victoria Hayashi was born on November 27th, 2007 at 3:47PM at a healthy 2706 grams (approximately 6lbs and 0 ounces) and 51 cm (approximately 20.1 inches).

Being 10 days late, she was born a bit puffy and her skin was a bit chapped from her extended stay in her mother’s womb, but is expected lose some of her puffyness in the next few days.

I will post her birth story later on this week. For now, I need sleep!!!


 Haruka at 1 day old, still looking somewhat puffy and bloated.  She seemingly looked at the camera and gave us a wave.


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Update: nothing yet.

The wife has been in labor for the last 9 and half hours now, but still nothing yet.  The labor contractions are now 2 minutes apart, but they are induced contractions (by means of medication) so it looks as if we still have a while to go.  The doctor hinted that it may either happen later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Although uncomfortable from the contrations, and sometimes in real pain, my wife is in good spirits and doing well.  The baby’s heart rate is strong and at the proper rate, so no worries there.

I am at home now feeding the dogs, and then I will head back to the hospital tonight.   Will update again later.

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Wheels are in Motion

Today, the induction process has begun. At about 6AM this morning, my wife was given some medication (possibly something called oxytocin  which helps induce labor. The OB said that labor usually begins about 10 hours after the medication is taken, so if things go well, the baby could be born as early as this afternoon (fingers crossed).  In some cases, oxytocin has very little or no effect.  In such cases, birth has to happen the hard way, which is a Caesarean section, or c-section .  I say “hard way” because, because birth then no longer is a natural procedure, and becomes a surgical procedure, which although routine in most repects, carries its share of risks. In actuality, a Caesarean section is the easy way to go.  It’s less taumatic for both mother and child, and since the mother is sedated during the procedure, there is far less pain involved.

Anyways, I am headed off to the hospital to check the progress.  Will check back later. 

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Today is the 41st week.  We are one week overdue and yet there are still no signs of labor.  Even the baby that was in the count down meter to the right of the screen has gone away.  I guess that means that the baby should be born by now.

 Last Tuesday, my wife was told that the amniotic fluid level is quite low which could cause complications if the baby decides to stay in the womb too long. We went to the hospital to make sure that both the mother and baby are okay, and again the doctor said that the baby is still showing no signs of wanting to be born.  The [[cervix]] is only dialated 1cm.  To give birth, the cervix should be dialated about 10cm, so we aren’t even close.   However, the doctor did say that the uterus is fully expanded and so my wife could go into labor any minute.

The doctors also said that with the being 41 weeks and having very low level of amniotic fluid left, there is some cause for concern, so the doctor recommended  that my wife be hospitalized so that they can monitor both the baby and the mother more closely.  So today, they prepared the private room we reserved months ago for my wife to stay in.

If my wife doesn’t go into labor, or show some signs of going into labor by Monday, the labor will be induced.  So it is very possible that by this time on Monday, we will finally have our little girl. 

The private room was small but adequetely comfortable.  It’s equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, TV, VCR, and DVD player, so all of the ammenities are there for her to use.  She didn’t have a computer, so I will take one of my laptops with me tomorrow for her to use.

The bed  

The bed

The room

The room

The nurse used a machine to measure the length between contractions and the baby’s heartbeat.  Although the heartbeat was normal, the contracts (or there lack of) was quite irregular for the 41st week of pregnancy.

the monitor

the heartbeat/contraction monitor

The average heartbeat for a fetus is about 130 to 190 so the monitor indicated a good heart rate.  The average for the contractions should be much higher than the number indicated in this photo.  For a person this late in their pregnancy, the numbers should be well about 50 if not higher.  My wife peaked at around 47 a couple of times, but averaged in the high teens or low 20’s.

hospital food

hospital food for the wife

The hospital looked pretty good for hospital food.  Everything looked pretty healthy.  But my wife was craving for some junk food, so I guess I will take her something tomorrow.  As for myself, I got a bit hungry after I saw my wife’s dinner, so I left at dinner time.   When I got home, I had a plate of nachos that I prepared myself. 

my dinner 

My dinner

Lastly, here is the sonogram that was taken last week.  I used Photoshop to enhance it a bit so that the picture appears more clearly.

Haruka's face

A Photoshop enhanced sonogram

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