WHY A LULLABY QUILT?
Toys that play songs have made the sound of baby songs reproduced by electronic devices part of our global culture. But when parents themselves sing, babies show a different response and appreciation. This difference comes from the intent to communicate or ‘communicative intent’ that is transmitted when singing to a baby.
Long before birth, babies growing inside the womb register sounds. They might love certain pieces of music, but above all else they prefer their mothers’ voices that both stimulate and calm them. Now we also know of the developmental benefits that come with the ancient practice of singing lullabies to babies through recent findings from neuroscience and experimental research.
Yet for many new parents, the art of lullabies is unfamiliar. This can change rapidly after learning or remembering just one baby song, and, even better, creating new ones!
Why a quilt?
Quilts go with snuggles, cuddles and lullabies, when babies are wrapped cosy and safe.
They are traditionally made up of square bits of material or knitted patches, sewn together to make a blanket using what is at hand. Often quilt making is a collective activity with different individuals and groups contributing patches. The patches might all be different, but this is part of what makes quilts attractive and homey.
The idea of the Lullaby Quilt is to make a virtual quilt, made up of video-sound patches. These are ‘stitched’ together visually on a webpage, with all the beauty of a home-made quilt and just as familiar and easy to use! On the virtual-quilt, any patch can be clicked on and accessed, as and when you want. Each of the patches connects the singer of that lullaby patch to the person viewing or listening, who might then be inspired to sing that song to another baby! The use of mobile phones, our daily tools of communication, to record lullabies as we sing them to the babies in our lives, makes the creation of the patches simple and easy.
The Birthlight Lullaby Quilt
At Birthlight we are always enriching our repertoire of English lullabies with less known songs and learning new songs from the Birthlight families and teachers all over the world. To make our lullaby quilt, we would like to encourage mums, dads, relatives and friends across the globe to record easy to learn and short songs or bits of songs on their phones.
Birthlight circles have always been inter-cultural and it is a joy to hear parents share lullabies from their countries of origin. Somehow lullabies have traces of their local cultural heritage in their rhythms, tones and moods.
All lullabies are associated with rhythm and body movements. They are both baby calming and self-calming, lulling babies into a sweet sleep.
The words of many traditional lullabies threaten babies who do not sleep with all sorts of exposure to fatal dangers (cradles falling from trees, babies sold for a pound of tea, baby-eating monsters). In today’s world this is difficult to understand, but in the past, there was more dark humour around babies and some frightening songs were actually meant to protect babies!
Do join in!
There are simple step-by-step instructions for recording audio and videos and sending the file to Renata, our Birthlight team member who is collating the songs and stitching the quilt!
Keep it short and simple. Anywhere you are with your mobile phone, you can create a small patch for the Lullaby Quilt. Most of all, do not worry about your voice. It is the voice your baby loves above all. Anyone can sing a lullaby!
The Birthlight Lullaby Quilt, as most of our projects, is done without a budget, drawing on good will to collectively create expanding “circles of joy and wellbeing” around new families. This is a magic quilt to reach hearts.
We hope you will enjoy listening, singing, make up new lullabies with your baby or babies.
This ancient art is vital!