When A Baby Dies: A Guide For Grieving Parents

Posted on: 5 December 2016

Planning a funeral for a loved one is never easy, but when your loved one is an infant, either newborn or in the first few precious months of life, the situation is especially difficult for parents. Many parents do not know where to begin or what to do. These guidelines should help you get an idea of where to start.

Contact someone to help.

The fist thing to do is to contact someone who has experience with memorial services. For some parents, this might be a religious leader, like a bishop or priest. They will often have ideas of where to hold memorial services or which funeral services in the area you can work with. Having another person present to assist with planning can be a great burden lifted. If you are not religious, consider asking a member of your extended family to assist in making plans.

Speak with funeral services. 

If you do not have someone else managing funeral affairs, contact the funeral service company of your choice. You can find one by visiting a site like http://www.hitzemanfuneral.com. Many funeral homes donate their services to grieving parents of infants, helping to offset the unexpected cost of medical and burial expenses. If services are not donated and you have trouble covering the expense, look into programs that assist parents with funeral costs. Contacting the funeral home will help you to set a day early enough that any supporting family members and friends who wish to attend can make plans to travel and arrive. Funeral service companies also help with compiling information for a death certificate. You will need to provide your child's birthdate, birthplace, address, your names, and other personal information. 

Spend time with the finer details.

Leave the large details (like planning the food and spreading the word) to the person you have asked to help you. As parents, you can find more solace in focusing on the small, little things that can remain meaningful to you. As a parent, consider these details of the memorial and graveside service when you are making your plans:

Songs. Many parents find music to be a path for healing, and this can begin early. Choose songs that are meaningful to you, that remind you of the joy you felt as a parent or that recall your baby's sweet personality. If you are holding a memorial service in a church, just remember that some songs may not be permitted there. If you have a song that you love but it cannot be played in church, ask the funeral home to have it played at the graveside service. 

Reading letters, poems, or lyrics. Many parents have mementos that bring a reminder of their infant. For example, if you had a special song you would sing to your baby each night, or if you have letters written to your or your baby as congratulations, these could be read out loud.

Choosing pictures of your baby to show at the service. Having pictures creates a beautiful memory of your baby. Those who were not able to meet him or her will have the chance to "meet" them through photos and videos. 

Contact the burial site.

Once you have contacted a funeral home, the funeral director should be able to put you in touch with other contacts -- namely, the gravesite. They will also likely provide a selection of caskets for you to choose from. The logistical side of funeral planning will mostly mean making decisions -- the director will take care of everything else that seem to be "background noise" in the face of your grief process. Choosing a burial plot, however, is your own decision. You will not just be assigned a spot of ground. The funeral director will present you with several options and take your feedback if there is a specific place you would like to lay your baby to rest. 

Planning a funeral for a baby is a delicate and heartbreaking process, but it is made easier through streamlined, experienced funeral services.