Losing a child can be a harrowing and painful experience that’s difficult to understand and process. This is particularly true if the child did not have much time to live or was a stillborn baby. Though losing a child can be emotionally overwhelming, there are still decisions to be made and parents will often have to make funeral arrangements during this difficult time.

 

In order to provide greater insight into what needs to be done in the wake of such a devastating loss, we take look at how to go about arranging a funeral for a baby, what help is available and who you can turn to for advice and assistance.

 

 

Legal requirements

Though this isn’t a great time to be thinking about legalities and administrative tasks, there are some legal requirements and procedures parents should be aware of. Any baby born after 24 weeks, including stillborn babies, needs to be formally cremated or buried. However, a funeral is not legally required.

 

It’s also necessary to register all stillborn babies born after this 24 week period. While this may seem like an unnecessary and painful step to some people, for others it helps begin the healing process – many people appreciate being able to name their child and have them officially recognised, regardless of how long they lived.

 

Funeral

A funeral is by no means necessary or legally required, but many parents want to celebrate and remember their child. However, it’s important not to rush into anything. Take your time to think about what you want and don’t feel pressured into making a decision.

 

You may find it helps how you’re feeling at this time to have a memorial service, you may also find it detrimental to the grief that you’re experiencing. If you’d like a memorial service, you might want to speak to a funeral celebrant as they can help you to shape a meaningful service.

 

Often, the hospital will offer to make funeral arrangements for your child. You do not not need to give an immediate response and your baby will be kept safely until you make your decision. In many cases, the hospital will not charge for such a funeral.

 

Funeral Directors

If you prefer to organise a funeral with a private funeral directors, there is nothing preventing you from doing so. While some funeral directors will waive many of the fees for a small child or angel baby, they may ask you to pay for flower arrangements, the casket or vehicle hire.

 

They may also be able to team up with a church or burial site to reduce the cost of the burial plot. This can be a great help to those parents in the horrible position of having to bury their child and can minimise the amount of stress they’re exposed to. Simply let them know that you are arranging a funeral for a baby and they’ll be able to help.

 

You can use Beyond to find your local, independent funeral director.

 

Benefits and financial assistance

Whether your baby was lost a few years into life, a couple of weeks, mere hours or was sadly stillborn, you are entitled to some paternity benefits. All parents are entitled to paternity leave if their child was born after the 24th week of pregnancy and there are a range of means tested benefits, such as Maternity Allowance, Income Support and various tax credits that you can apply for. There are also a number of charities that assist those struggling to meet the financial demands of a child’s funeral, the most prominent of which is the Child Funeral Charity.

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