Sunday, April 11, 2004
TLC in the View News

Group provides newborns with baby necessities


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," Hayden said.

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