Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Love Swaddle aims to promote healthy families, communities

A portrait of Goode
Shaban Athuman
VPM News
Artist Sunny Goode is photographed in front of her blanket on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at the VPM News office in Richmond, Virginia.

Sunny Goode says her blankets have swaddled thousands of newborns.

Sunny Goode is the creator of a project that provides swaddle blankets to newborns — and relationship resources for their families. The Richmond artist is aiming to raise awareness of what she calls “relationship health.”

VPM Morning Edition Host Phil Liles recently spoke with Goode about the Love Swaddle.

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Phil Liles: Sunny, your organization has counted 43,000 newborn babies that have been wrapped in your swaddle blankets. Can you describe for our listeners what these blankets look like?

Sunny Goode: Absolutely, Phil. The blankets are organic cotton muslin. They’re very colorful. It’s layers of these “Love” squares. And it’s just, visually, really uplifting and brings a lot of joy to any viewer.

Aside from swaddling babies, what is the purpose of the Love Swaddle?

The Love Swaddle is a mission that I created during COVID. I had listened to a World Health Organization town hall meeting on Zoom. I just thought it was interesting because it was talking about domestic violence in the world. I was listening to all of the leaders — incredible minds working on this issue that affects one in three relationships globally.

This light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, “What if you wrapped every baby in love at birth in the hospital with the parents? What if you gave those parents a visual reminder connected to an emotional experience for them to take home with support and resources for healthy relationships?”

I believe every person that delivers a baby has all the intentions of being a great parent. And I think life gets really hard when you get home. I think there are so many changes that we socially expect women to completely fall into naturally — and that’s not the case.

You’re an artist here in Richmond, and you partnered with hospitals?

Yes, the health care system is a big nut to crack.

The first hospital actually wasn’t. I got a meeting, very serendipitously, during COVID in July of 2020 with the hospital where I delivered my three children, [HCA Healthcare]. The [Chief Nursing Officer] met with me, and I gave her the basic facts of relationship health, child abuse, domestic violence, the ripple effects of domestic violence in our communities, all the way up to a statistic that we spend over $428 billion a year on the ripple effects of childhood trauma.

I kept thinking to myself, “We’re not waiting for a cure. We are the cure.” We need to collectively prioritize relationship health in our country. That’s where I started in health care, and we’ve been adding hospitals ever since.

What have you heard from the families that have gotten these swaddle blankets?

Oh, gosh, that’s just my favorite part. We get incredible emails. People call and text and send pictures of their grandchildren wrapped in love: “Oh my gosh, we just got our swaddle.”

When Children’s Hospital of Richmond joined last year, I was down there picking up some paperwork, and the gal behind the desk said, “Oh my gosh, I have one of these swaddle blankets in my car from my son’s birth two years ago. It’s the only thing from the day of birth that’s still with me every day.” And so when I hear things like that, it just keeps me going.


Phil Liles is VPM's morning news host.
Kelley Libby is interim features editor at VPM News. She has worked in public radio in Virginia for more than a decade.
Related Stories