Facing a loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in our lives especially when we lose a baby or child.
At Vines Funerals in Coseley, we are dedicated to helping all our families through their grief and in arranging the funeral of their loved one with dignity and respect.
Due to the delicate nature of a baby or child’s passing, we decided to write this blog to show what we offer and to also signpost you to organisations who can offer you more support.
Arranging the funeral of my baby
By law, any baby born after 24 weeks must be either buried or cremated. However, it is up to you as parents about whether to have a funeral.
There is no rule or law about when your baby’s funeral must happen, but normally it will happen within 2 to 3 weeks of your baby’s death. Take your time and think about what you would like to do. It may help to talk to the people closest to you.
Many hospitals have a maternity bereavement service with specialist midwives who will help and support you as you make decisions about a funeral for your baby. Often hospitals will offer you the option of them arranging a funeral for you or supporting you to arrange a funeral privately.
Don’t feel under pressure to rush any decisions. Unless there are special religious or cultural reasons for holding a funeral quickly, you can take all the time you need to make sure the funeral is arranged as you would like it to be.
Do you do a baby funeral package? Does this cover children’s funerals?
Yes, we do. At Vines funerals we do a free baby funeral package which includes everything you need to arrange the funeral of your baby.
You have the option of one ceremonial vehicle on the day, a choice of either a white, pink or blue baby casket and 10 roses for use at the crematorium or cemetery.
If you request other vehicles, flowers, service sheets, dove release, a different coffin/casket etc there will be an additional fee for these.
Our package covers any baby/child up to the age of 16 years. Dependant on your choices and any costs that we incur from third parties, you may have to pay a small fee. Any fees that you would need to pay, will be itemised for you prior to the funeral. All the information in this blog is applicable to any child up to the age of 16 years. We will be able to advise you of any procedures along the way based on your circumstances.
You can find the full details of our baby package on our website under packages.
What the funeral can include
It can be very small, with just family and your closest friends, or you may decide not to invite anyone at all.
If you’re religious, you may have a set structure to follow.
If you are not religious, you could ask the funeral director, an independent celebrant or a close family member or friend to lead the ceremony. It can be as personal as you want it to be.
Here are some things other parents have had in their ceremonies:
live or recorded music
asking for donations to the hospital that looked after their baby or a baby charity
avoiding black and asking guests to wear bright colours or white instead
having a white coffin and asking family, friends and siblings to write messages on it
encouraging family and friends to write letters to place in the coffin
making an order of service with a picture of their baby, with their name and dates on the front.
Dove Release or Horse drawn Carriage
Choosing the clothes
You can choose what your baby wears in their coffin. For very small or premature babies, some hospitals stock tiny clothes that they may be able to give you. Or you may want to bring some special clothes from home. Some parents keep a copy of the outfit in their memory box. You can also wrap your baby in a special blanket.
There may be other items that you want to include in your baby’s coffin. Some parents say that it’s comforting to know their baby has something with them. You might like to include photos of your family, a special teddy or toy, or a letter you’ve written to them. Siblings could draw a picture or write their own letter to their baby sister or brother.
You may also like to think about transport and who you would like to carry the coffin into the ceremony.
Deciding what to do with your baby’s cremated remains
If you decide on a cremation, you should be contacted when your baby’s ashes are ready to be collected. It’s important to know that sometimes it’s not possible to ensure that there are ashes after the cremation of a very small baby.
There are lots of things you can do with the ashes in memory of your baby. You might want to:
Scatter them in a place that is special to you.
Bury them in a cemetery or memorial garden.
Keep them in a decorative urn or other special container in your home.
Buy a photo frame that has a container for holding the ashes at the back.
Order special jewellery that is made with your baby’s ashes so you can wear them and keep them close to you.
Alternatively, the crematorium can bury or scatter the ashes for you in a special place in the crematorium grounds, possibly with a plaque.
Can you help me arrange a headstone or memorial?
Yes, at Vines Funerals, we work closely with a local stonemason who can help you to design and create a lasting memorial for your baby or child.
Help with funeral costs
The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral. It is not means-tested so what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get. The burial or cremation must take place in England. Support for child funeral costs (Children’s Funeral Fund for England): What it does - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Coping with your grief
This will be a very traumatic time for you. If you're worried that you or your partner are not coping, you may need some extra support.
Some people have feelings of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after a baby dies. Talk to your GP. They can help make sure you have the support you need.
If you would like more support or guidance during the loss of your baby or child, please contact us at Vines Funerals, 70 Summerhill Road, Coseley, Bilston, West Midlands, WV14 8RE, 01902 494778.