Melodies for Mums

Culturally diverse songs to encourage bonding with the baby and engagement with others

Melodies for Mums is a ground-breaking singing service for mothers with postnatal depression.

Experience the joy of group singing and music-making to help improve health and emotional wellbeing. Join one of our FREE 6-week online programmes, designed to support new mothers who may be experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and social isolation.

As well as reducing symptoms, Melodies for Mums was found to increase mothers’ confidence, reduce feelings of loneliness and help them bond with their babies.

It’s a simple solution to a complex problem. No medication, no lengthy programmes of therapy. Just getting together with a group of other women who’re experiencing similar difficulties and sharing something joyful.

 

Songs range from folk to gospel, in a number of different languages and sung in three-part harmonies, and workshops are led by a specialist arts and health musician.

Due to COVID-19, everything’s a little different right now and classes are currently online, but participants still report a meaningful boost to their wellbeing.

We are accepting registrations for the following programmes:

SHAPER Research Study Programme | For new mums based in London (also accepting applications from across the UK).

Forthcoming session dates:

  • Mondays between 11:15 and 12:15, commencing 26th April
  • Thursdays between 10:00 and 11:00, commencing 29th April

Bexley, Bromley & Greenwich Programme | For new mums based in these three boroughs of London.

Forthcoming sessions:

  • Monday mornings between 10:00 and 11:00, commencing 10th May
  • Thursday mornings between 11:15 and 12:15, commencing 13th May

Cumbria Programme | For new mums based in and around North & West Cumbria. Sessions are now full but to register an interest in future programmes please contact mary@breatheahr.org.

Nationwide Programme | For new mums based across England, this programme was delivered online between January and end of March 2021 thanks to vital support from the National Lottery Community Fund, reaching over 60 women. To register an interest in future Nationwide or regional programmes please contact mary@breatheahr.org.

A wonderfully uplifting experience for my baby and me.

Participant

What happens at the programme?

A trained musician leads two hour-long weekly sessions, over 6-10 weeks, with around 10-12 women in each session. Sessions typically consist of learning a variety of culturally diverse songs focusing on the women. They encourage bonding with the baby, and engagement with each other.

Participation is free which makes the service available to women of all socio-economic backgrounds. Music and singing also provide a culturally inclusive environment for mothers for whom English is not their first language. The weekly meetings allow mums to establish a structure to their week and have a positive experience to focus on.

A fun and relaxed way to bond with my baby.

Participant

How can a singing group for new mums improve mental and physical health?

Postnatal depression affects at least 13% of new mothers. Symptoms include persistent low mood, fatigue, insomnia, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, and anxiety about the baby.

Although psychosocial and psychological interventions can be effective treatment options, there are significant problems with each. For example the compliance with taking antidepressants or concern around the stigma of disclosing mental health problems with a new baby can inhibit women from seeking help. With this in mind, we developed an alternative creative intervention model.

Research found weekly engagement in singing and music-making classes for women with PND:

  • Reduces stress and enhances wellbeing.
  • Helps women to meet others, reducing social isolation and enhancing social support networks. This is significant in that most treatment pathways generally serve women individually.
  • Supports mother-infant bonding, which can be adversely affected by PND. The negative impact can otherwise be detrimental long-term to the health of both mother and child.
  • Increases self-esteem and confidence in mothers through learning of a new skill.
  • Provides singing ‘tools’ for calming babies that help mothers feel more in control and capable.
  • Results show participation in such an intervention can lead to a 41% reduction in symptoms of PND and a recovery in 73% of mothers who take part.

Meeting new people built up my confidence.

Participant

The project is transformative in how care and support can be delivered to service users. A close working relationship with a range of partners such as health visitors, community midwives, Children’s Centres, GP practices, and mental health and local family support services enables us to readily identify eligible mothers.

Breathe Arts Health Research visits baby-weigh clinics, mother and baby groups and health teams. We share information about the project with professionals and individual mothers allowing them to self-select as potential candidates. Using established clinical screening methods, eligible we then invite women to take part.

Our 2017 Lambeth-based programme was the first ever translation from research into practice, making it truly innovative. The pilot in Lambeth engaged 100 women with 28 women identified as eligible and invited to participate in the first programme, hosted at Larkhall Children’s Centre.

Breathe’s close working relationships with teams across the borough meant that meaningful partnerships were at the heart of this programme, and following the success of this pilot other London boroughs, and partnerships across the UK are now also seeking to offer the service.

Check out Melodies for Mums in the news:

The Guardian