Many parents cherish the time they were able to spend with their baby, and keepsakes can play a vital role in the grieving process following baby loss as most parents find making memories and having such reminders afterwards a great comfort. You can help parents create precious memories in the following ways:
- A copy of the mother’s antenatal notes with scan photo’s and pregnancy charts. Parents like to remember their baby when they were alive and well.
- Washing and dressing the baby. You can ask parents whether they would like to do this themselves. Parents really value their baby being treated as if they were alive.
Some parents like to purchase two identical outfits for their baby. One for their baby to wear and one for them to keep in their memory box.
These can be chosen by the parents. Ideas for contents include a lock of the baby’s hair, the baby’s shawl and teddy bear they were with in their cot and mother and baby’s hospital bands. Charities that supply memory boxes free of charge include:
Taking beautiful hand and foot prints in ink. Inkless kits can be purchased from Milestone Designs.
Taking special photographs. Many parents regret not taking photographs after they have left the hospital. If parents feel unable to take photo’s themselves, you could suggest taking some yourself for the parents to view at a later date if they so wish. Ask your local Sands group if they can provide your hospital with memory cards. If you can, try and take photo’s of the baby from different angles and with different lighting (i.e with and without flash, with and without the curtains drawn). You may also like to capture all the family together in the same shot. Some Sands groups also run baby bereavement photography training for midwives. If mum is yet to deliver their baby or the baby is still in the hospital, waiting to be transported for a post mortem, it may not be too late for a professional photographer to take photo’s if requested by the parents.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Remember My Baby provide a free professional photography service for stillborn babies which you may wish to tell parents about. If a photographer is available, they will visit the family in hospital and take professional photographs with specialist equipment. This may not always be possible due to time constraints so it is still worth training your own maternity team in taking the best photographs you possibly can.
Taking Baby Home
Some parents long to be able to share special places with their baby and they are entitled to take their baby home if they wish to do so. Ask your head of midwifery whether your hospital has access to a cold cot to enable the parents to keep their baby cool. If not, you can contact your local Sands group to inquire whether they are in a position to provide your trust one or Finley’s Footprints may be able to let the parents hire one.
Having Baby Blessed
Even if the parents are not religious, they may seek comfort in witnessing their baby being blessed by the hospital chaplain.