Monday, January 11, 2010

Multimedia Review: Baby’s First Gift

Multimedia Review: Baby’s First Gift
Casscom Media, 2009
2 CD & DVD Set

Reviewed by Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE

For parents who are drawn to the idea of “prenatal education,” the set Baby’s First Gift is a good resource. Containing two CDs and one DVD packaged together, the program is designed to help parents in “forming a positive, loving, teaching relationship with your child before birth.” The information provided is developed specifically for the purposes for prenatal stimulation and communication. There is a Christian overtone to the packaging, but it is very slight and unlikely to make other faith traditions feel uncomfortable.

The first CD in the Baby’s First Gift program consists of instrumental music that would be good for use in birth classes, for relaxation, and for baby-parent bonding. The second CD explains the concept of prenatal education and includes explanations of several different games/exercises to do with baby prenatally—kick game, xylophone game (with three musical notes), and simple words. It also suggests creating your own special song or melody to share with your baby in-utero (great idea for dads). This CD also includes a section about preparing for birth and has a guided relaxation exercise. The DVD presentation is of a pregnant couple demonstrating the prenatal education exercises explained on the CD. Like the first CD, the second half of the DVD is "Prenatal Music for Life," this time set to accompanying waterfall images.

Be aware that both the CD and DVD refer frequently to the book The Prenatal Classroom which is not included as part of the program. The informational CD and DVD are narrated by men with pleasant, soothing, calm voices. The pregnant couple demonstrating exercises on the DVD are also pleasant and contemporary.

My initial reaction to a program like this was a bit of skepticism and that feeling remains after reviewing the program. As I watched the DVD, the games felt stilted and somewhat artificial—my own prenatal experiences are that bonding with, connecting to, and communicating with the baby are spontaneous, intuitive, and arise frequently without need for planned out exercises or games. However, I feel like the program may be an especially good tool to introduce to families at high-risk of child abuse. For the average couple, I think this kind of prenatal connection tends to occurs naturally without training or lessons.

From a mother’s perspective, as the one who carries the baby and is in constant contact and awareness of the baby, the idea of formal “prenatal communication” seems redundant. For fathers-to-be who are perhaps feeling distant or disconnected from the baby and the experience of pregnancy or for high-risk families, Baby’s First Gift could be a helpful tool.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the program for review purposes.

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