Creating Baby Loss Memories
“Those we have held in our arms for a little while,
we hold in our hearts forever”
We would highly recommend that you create as many tangible memories as possible as these will help greatly in the days, weeks, months and years to come. We have not heard a parent say they regret making memories but regularly hear parents say they regret not making any/enough.
Our Care Bags are given to families whose baby dies from 12 weeks gestation - a year following full term. They include an Inkless hand/footprint kit, Footprint candle, ‘In Loving Memory Of ‘ card, 2 teddy bears, ‘Special Memories’ booklet, Tissues, Certificate of life, Memory box, Butterfly, Angel Key ring, Footprint ribbon pin, Pepe Ngaro, Angel charm seed card and bookmark.
Our Early Loss Packs are available for parents whose baby dies any time up to 12 weeks gestation. These include a teddy bear, an angel pin ring, bubbles, candle, key ring and wristband.
Sometimes it is known beforehand that a baby will die so we have included some memory making ideas for this time as well as after baby is born.
A body cast – this is a fairly inexpensive way to create an exact mould of your pregnant tummy.
Scan pictures – the first photos of your baby. These can be 2D, 3D or 4D and can also be made into a DVD
A special trip – you can take your baby to the beach, a waterfall, watch a sunset, lie under the stars, visit the zoo, attend a concert or show etc. Remember to take photos of your self as a reminder of some special times spent while your baby is still alive inside.
A Journal – this can be written in as a daily diary or letters to your baby. Anything you would like to write down – feelings, messages, wants and wishes. Photos can be added with descriptions of where you are, who you are with etc.
Once baby is born
Photos – these can be taken during labour as well as after birth. Try to get as many pictures as possible. Take pictures of your baby’s features – a nose, lips, hands, feet, bottom, back, tummy, hair etc. Take photos of your baby dressed as well as undressed and if it feels right to you, have family members hold your baby and take pictures of this. Maybe you would like to have photos taken of you bathing your baby. These next few days are the only time you have to create your photo album that you can look at for years to come. It is better to have too many photos than not enough. We can help here if you would like us to by taking photos for you and placing them onto a USB at no charge. Simply call us on 0800 726374 or 0278726901 and ask for Sarah.
Hand and foot prints – Inside our Care Bags you will find an inkless hand and footprint kit for taking these special prints. Hospital staff or one of our volunteers if you have called us, can help you with this should you wish. Again, many hand/foot prints can be taken or alternatively, the originals can be photocopied for use in memory booklets, photo albums etc.
Casts – we want all parents to have the opportunity to hold something tangible. One of our services is the Active Parenting and Tangible Memory Making Service (see Every Moment Counts). This service includes castings, prints and photos at no charge. This service is currently available for families coming through Middlemore Hospital. We hope to extend this to all areas eventually. Simply ring us 0800 726374 or 0278726901 and ask for Sarah who will then arrange a time. The best time for casts to be taken is soon after birth so we encourage you to contact us to arrange a time as soon as possible. Babies as young as 8 weeks gestation have been cast, so please do not hesitate to contact us whatever age your baby is.
Baby items to keep – anything that has come into contact with your baby can be something to treasure and keep in your memory box. Things like cutting a lock of hair, your baby’s hospital name band, cot card, umbilical cord clamp, any clothes your baby may have worn, a nappy or a blanket.
Teddy bear – our care bags contain 2 teddy bears identical to each other. One teddy can be placed with baby during the time before the funeral and the other can be carried round by mum, touching her skin. When baby is placed in the casket for burial, you can swap over the teddy bears so mum has the teddy which has been close to baby and vice versa.
A Locket – having a locket with two pieces that fit together means that your baby can wear one half and you can wear the other.
A name plaque – Glover Memorials provide free plaques for families whose baby has died. These are a beautiful keepsake with your baby’s name and date inscribed. Click on ‘community Care’ and then on ‘Sands’ for more details and pictures of some already donated to families.
Certificates – our care bags contain a certificate of life for you to frame. If your baby was born after 20 completed weeks of life or weighed more than 400g or was born alive, you can apply for a birth certificate from Births Deaths & Marriages
Keepsakes - there are many businesses dedicated to creating personalised items for your baby, things from stones to jewellery and everything in between. Some we like are:
Huggable Hearts - a free service that provides grieving families who have lost a baby with a fabric heart made to their angels birth weight.
In years to come
Plant a tree – when choosing a tree for your baby it may be worth thinking ahead if there is a chance you may move house. If you would want your tree to always be with you you can choose something that can be potted in the garden. That way it is always moveable.
Mark anniversaries – birth, death and due dates can be difficult times for parents. Marking these dates can help you to feel connected to your baby. A birthday cake, releasing a balloon, a butterfly release, naming a star, or a trip to somewhere special you went when you were still pregnant are some ways in which you can mark the day.
Hold a memorial service – this can be held at any time, for a baby of any age. If your baby died in early pregnancy or even years ago, maybe you may like to think about what you would have wanted to share with your baby whether this be a favorite song or a letter to your baby. You may like to make a capsule and place special mementos for your baby and bury this in your garden. Be led by your heart and do what feels right for you.
Baby Loss Awareness Month runs throughOctober every year. This is another time when parents can come together to remember their baby – release balloons, attend a baby loss memorial service and other events put on by Baby Loss NZ.