Sunday, April 11, 2004
TLC in the View News
THE LULLABY CONNECTION: Swaddling clothes
Group provides newborns with baby necessities
By ANGIE PARKINSON
VIEW STAFF WRITER
An organization that seeks to help infants get a fresh start in life
recently moved into a fresh new building. Henderson resident Darla
Hayden, now executive director of The Lullaby Connection, was
volunteering at UMC when she first learned about newborn babies who
leave the hospital with nothing. "I saw a mom taking a baby home in
her sweater and thought, 'oh my gosh,' " said Hayden. The births of
her own four daughters were among the most joyous moments of her
life. "I never even brought one of them home in their sister's
clothes," Hayden said. She set out to make sure all babies have
something new to go home with by starting a nonprofit organization,
The Lullaby Connection, out of her garage. She mobilized church and
civic groups to make and donate blankets, clothing and other baby
supplies. "Exactly five years later, this is where we're at. Who
would have thought?" said Hayden.
The organization, known also as TLC, moved into a 6,000-square-foot
office and warehouse building at 769 Middlegate Road in February.
She and the all-volunteer staff are loving the elbow room. At an
open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 16, guests were able
to put together a layette kit with a new sleeper, booties and cap,
and put their name on it. Each kit was given away to nurses, who
would then be able to distribute them to new mothers. Hayden said
she likes to have donors put their names on what they give.
Recipients can ask for contact information if they want to
personally thank the donors. Even though contributors are not
seeking recognition, it is sometimes nice to get a thank you, Hayden
said. She said some of her volunteers are senior citizens who
handcraft booties and blankets for the babies of underprivileged
parents. They are thrilled to hear what their work has meant to a
new mom. "They will call me and say they got a thank you letter,"
Recipients must be referred by a health care professional who has
identified the need. Early on, Hayden and her volunteers delivered
supplies to the hospitals but now they are encouraging nurses to
come by to pick up blankets, clothing and other items for newborns
in need. "We've never had to turn away anyone," Hayden said. Only
new items are dispersed at TLC. There are many other organizations
that already fill the need for gently used items, she said. Hayden
also offers burial clothing for newborns. "You don't prepare to not
take your baby home," Hayden said.
When it does happen, it is so devastating that family members do not
want to have to think about what the baby will wear for burial.
Hayden once received a letter from a grandmother whose grandchild
was buried in TLC clothing. Her grandchild had been carried almost
to term and there was no indication anything was wrong, but the baby
died at the hospital. The grandmother wrote years later that having
something respectful to put her in for burial was a comfort. "Her
eternal home is in that outfit," Hayden said. Sharon George, manager
of Family to Family Connection, a UMC program, said she can always
count on TLC. "The Lullaby Connection is a great connection," said
George. George deals with new mothers on a regular basis, many of
whom have absolutely no supplies for their babies. "The Lullaby
Connection has been there for us from the beginning," George said.
The Lullaby Connection shares its new building with Clark County
Wholesale, owned by Darla's husband, Michael Hayden. Darla and
Michael own the land and the building. Church and civic groups are
welcome to set up packing nights with Hayden, when they can put
together layette kits at TLC, and donations are always welcome.
For more information, call 521-1061 or visit
Originally Printed in The View
News - Green Valley/Henderson on 4/11/06