How to Plan an Infant Funeral
Planning a funeral for an infant is a task that no parent wants to undertake. Unfortunately because of stillbirth, early infant demise, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or any number of other reasons, you may find yourself doing just that. Take the time that you need to grieve, and enlist as much help as possible as you plan a funeral that gives your baby the proper memorial and honor as a member of your family and a part of your life.
Grieve for your loss. Although you may want to jump into funeral planning as soon as possible, you should take your time and ask for help when you need it. Losing a baby is a traumatizing experience, so give yourself and your partner time to mourn the loss privately. Once you feel ready, you can contact a funeral home or begin the memorial planning.
Talk to your spouse or the baby's father and decide what type of burial and service you'd like for your baby. Cremation is available as a service from most hospitals, notes the Ohio State University Medical Center. A traditional burial service is also available through funeral homes. Your family may already have a burial plot available for you to use. Consider your own personal beliefs, your comfort level and your religious beliefs as you choose the type of burial.
Ask your family members and friends to attend the funeral service. Some families choose a full funeral, while others will opt for a graveside memorial service. It's important that your family come to support you and mourn the loss of your child. Consider asking them to bring stuffed animals in lieu of flowers to donate to a local charity, or donate money to a hospital in your child's name, suggests the MISS Foundation.
Incorporate your religious beliefs into the ceremony, eulogy and service, notes National SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc. This can bring comfort as you mourn the loss of your child. Reading scripture, offering prayers and asking a member of the clergy to come speak at the funeral can help you find solace in your religion.
Prepare tributes to your baby to be completed by friends and family members as part of the service. You could release balloons, depending on the laws in your area, release butterflies, write a letter, listen to a special song or have a moment of silence. Make your own traditions depending on your comfort level and personal beliefs. In the years to come, the tribute will become a touching reminder of the funeral service and the support of friends and family members who cared for and loved your baby.