When your baby dies

If you have any other children consider allowing them to see and to hold their baby brother or sister. 
In the hours and days following the loss of a baby, parents, shocked and grief-stricken as they are, have to make a number of important decisions concerning the baby. With so much emotion and fatigue and so little time before you must say goodbye to your baby, it is hard to make decisions and to think of all that you might like to do.

Sadly, in this situation, there are no second chances. Listed below are a few suggestions made by bereaved parents for bereaved parents which hopefully will help you to make decisions which you may not have thought of and leave you with no regrets:

  1. Ask to see and to hold your baby. Set aside some time for yourself and your partner to be alone with your baby. If you have chosen something special for your baby to wear, you may wish to consider dressing the baby yourself and even putting on a nappy, some parents like to bath their baby and brush their hair etc.
  2. If you have any other children consider allowing them to see and to hold their baby brother or sister.
  3. Ask for some keepsakes, eg. baby’s identification bracelet, lock of hair, hand and footprints.
  4. PHOTOGRAPHS – You may not feel comfortable taking photographs of a dead baby, but remember, it is better to have a photograph that you don’t want, than to want a photograph which you can’t have. Consider photographs of you and your partner holding the baby, also other family members – eg. brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
  5. Take time in deciding what sort of funeral service you would like. Remember that you do not have to rush into a funeral – you may wish to wait until you are feeling fit enough to attend the funeral yourself (specially if the baby was delivered by Caesarian section). Some hospitals offer a little service or you may organise your own funeral in conjunction with your own priest.
  6. You may want to place something in the coffin with the baby, eg. a teddy bear, a letter or a family photograph. Older brothers and sisters may wish to give a drawing to the baby.
  7. Remember that you can spend as much time as you wish with your baby, prior to the funeral and when the time comes for you to say the final goodbye, make sure that you are happy you have done everything you wanted to do.
  8. Only do what you feel comfortable with, don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t feel comfortable with, but please remember it will be the only chance you get to do this things.