Do’s & Dont’s


Discuss the wishes of the parents before giving birth

Do they want to see baby right away, right on the chest, who cuts the umbilical cord, etc? Make sure there is enough room to decide otherwise after the delivery. Stay in close contact with both mother and father during and after the delivery. Situations may still change, or things may feel different than they had expected. Previously made choices may feel less suitable now. Thus, it is essential to keep checking whether the way things are is OK for the parents.

Do the same things as you would do for a living baby

Measurement/weighing/carrying in your arms/wigging/talking.

Recognising and naming fulfilled needs

  • love
  • proud
  • heat
  • becoming a mommy and daddy
  • making memories
  • birth
  • pregnancy

Recognising and naming unfulfilled needs

  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • remorse

Making sure parents make the right choice

Give them all the information they need to make the right choices, but don’t force anything. Every parent has their story and their history and, based on that, they don’t or don’t want to do things.

Parents have completely lost control of their lives. Give them back control where (medically) possible. For example, let them think about the date of the birth. Some want to wait a bit longer to arrange things, others want to give birth as soon as possible. 

Share your own story

This can sometimes be very helpful when the parent feels less alone, or allows them to make the right choices based on your experience.

Live / pretend: 

When parents are anxious, instead of just talking, it can help to pretend by holding the baby, talking to him or lovingly caring for him. If you are open to parents taking over, you will see that this often happens. Give them space.


Some parents like this, otherwise parents want the intended intention but in other words, instead of congratulations, say for example how beautiful the baby is and instead of condolences you can say how sorry you are. Do what works for you. 

Make a difference between medical and non-medical information

Many parents want the medical information to be concrete, clear, honest and to the point. Indicate clearly why certain things go the way they go and what the medical reason is. That often provides understanding. If there is a choice, let parents choose. Where possible, give parents back control over their lives. 

Deviate from protocols that apply to live babies

For example, if a father wants to take his deceased baby to his wife who is lying in the recovery ward, he does not necessarily have to carry the baby in a crib, you can give father the baby in his arms. 


Trying to ‘justify’ things or improve the mood:

  • Fortunately, you have other children. 
  • You’re still young.
  • He wouldn’t have had a good life with this condition anyway.
  • Luckily, he hasn’t lived.
  • Luckily, you haven’t been able to get attached yet.
  • I don’t have any children of my own.

‘Fill in’ for the parents

Don’t make decisions for parents. Let them choose for themselves. Don’t just put on a hat because the head isn’t pretty, don’t dress the baby yourself because it looks nicer. Don’t cut the umbilical cord yourself because it is more convenient. 


This point is at the do’s but also at the don’ts. Some parents don’t like it at all and even find it painful to be congratulated. But almost every parent likes to hear how beautiful the baby is. Instead of condolences, you can say how sorry you are. Do what’s right for you. 

Share your own story 

This is not useful if you only share the story in order to process or determine something yourself. It is possible, in that case, that the parent feels that your story makes them feel unheard. It is only possible if it is functional.