It is inconceivable that you have to think about your baby’s funeral when you have just become (re)parents. Still, this is the reality and there are choices that have to be made in the short term. We will tell you here about the different choices you can make and what possibilities there are. This help card gives an overview of what you could think of.
Days until the funeral
It is stipulated by law that there may be six working days between the death and the funeral. Here you can see what the day before the funeral is. You can only fill in the days up to the funeral once and it is important that you make full use of these days to welcome your child and get to know him or her. On this page we give tips about this and we have a help card.
The days until the funeral your baby can lie in his bed, but for the funeral or cremation you will have to choose a basket, box or wade. There are many organisations that make baby baskets and crates, but you can also make something yourself or buy something yourself. Each shell is good if the contours of the body are not visible. So you can also wrap your baby in a cloth.
You can rent an auditorium at the cemetery or crematorium where you can hold a service, but you can also choose a more intimate setting. This depends entirely on the number of people. Most cemeteries and crematoria have family rooms or living room auditoriums that are much smaller and more intimate than an auditorium. You can also choose to hold the meeting at home or in a nice location nearby (church, café, beach club, community centre, sports canteen, farewell home).
Arrangement of chairs
In many auditoriums, the chairs are arranged in rows which doesn’t really suit a baby. Many parents like to sit in a circle around their child or put the chairs in a horseshoe shape. Ask about the possibilities. In some auditoriums there are extra costs for this, but also think about who sits where. Who do you want close to you so that they can support you? And who better not sit next to each other? Because, unfortunately, there are some disturbed family relationships and it would be very annoying if they overshadow your child’s goodbye.
Dress up the room nicely
You can make the room beautiful with candles, flowers, cuddles and other things that suit you. Keep in mind the booked aulat time. You can often not be in the auditorium very long in advance and everything has to be cleaned up within the time.
During the service the parents can speak, but you can also ask friends or family to say something. This can be a piece written by yourself, but you can also read a poem or a story.
We’ve included a special link here with music to suit your baby’s goodbye.
Flower pieces come in all shapes and sizes. For children florists often have special flower arrangements such as a heart, star or butterfly. You can order flowers from a funeral florist, but you can also ask the florist on the corner to make something for you or you can make something yourself. Think about the size of the basket when choosing the flowers. It is best to order small flower arrangements that are not larger than the basket. You can also choose to have all guests take one flower with them to make a beautiful bouquet.
There is often a book of condolence at a funeral. Many parents find this inappropriate for a baby and choose a reminder book with blank pages in which all guests can write something or the children present can draw something.
You have so few memories that it is important to have pictures of everything, including the funeral. You can do this yourself, ask family/friends or hire a farewell photographer. If you opt for specialised baby funeral services, the funeral director will take the photos. They always offer this and have a lot of experience with it.
Moving images and sound are also very important. You want to remember everything and with video you can easily retrieve the images. In most auditoriums there is the possibility to have the service recorded. This is done with cameras in the ceiling that hardly stand out. The quality is good but not excellent. You can also choose to put your own video camera on a tripod or you can hire someone to make a professional farewell video.
If you want to have something to eat with your guests, you can think of biscuits with mice to celebrate the birth of your baby. If you opt for a gathering at home, you can even make or bake something. If you choose to hold a meeting in the auditorium of a crematorium or cemetery, this is often not allowed and you have to make use of the catering facilities they offer. There are often rate lists of these on the website or your funeral director can help you.
Of course, letting go of your baby is impossible. That’s why it’s nice to let go with a ritual. You can think of balloons, bubbles or butterflies. You can also give your baby ribbons in his hand that you let hang out of the basket. At the moment of the final goodbye, you cut the ribbons and half will stay with your baby and half with you.
Give your baby something
Many parents like to give their baby something. This can be a cuddly toy, or a photo, but also a drawing or a piece of jewellery. Choose something that means something to you.
Maybe you have a cemetery in mind? There are cemeteries of various orders and sizes. Most cemeteries have a separate children’s section. Often this is a brightly decorated piece, where many parents create a warm and cozy place for their child. When you decide to bury your baby, it is always a good idea to go and have a look together, or possibly with family and friends, and choose a place that feels good. Take your time for this.
When your child is buried, you can slowly lower the basket or casket into the grave after the farewell service. In many cemeteries they make an entrance tomb for children. One of the parents can then step into the grave and the other parent can indicate the basket or box.
When you decide to cremate, your baby will be burnt to a fine ashes in its box or basket. You can keep this ash at home, bury it or scatter it. Some parents like to have the urn at home and set up a special place where you can burn a candle.
Another option is to spread the ashes in a place that is meaningful to you. Here you can separate a little bit of ash to be used in a piece of jewelry, for example.
You can bury the ashes, too. Most cemeteries have such a special field of urns, but not all of them. So check with the cemetery.
There is a statutory waiting period of four weeks before the ashes can be collected from the crematorium. In exceptional cases (e.g. departure abroad), the funeral director can request the public prosecutor to collect your baby’s ashes earlier. In the event of a death under 24 weeks and if there is no leave to cremate, this period does not apply and you can often collect your baby’s ashes the very next day.
Every baby is given his or her personal identification number in the form of a fireproof stone. This stone always stays with the ashes and therefore ensures that there is no exchange of ashes and that you always get the right ashes to take home with you.
Specialised funeral organisations
Many parents want specialist care. The death of a newborn baby requires a different approach and there are different options and possibilities than with a deceased adult. In the Netherlands, there are specialised funeral organisations that focus specifically on deceased children and two organisations that focus specifically on welcoming and saying goodbye to babies who have died during pregnancy or around birth.
We advise you to contact specialised farewell care because they only guide parents who are in the same situation as you and therefore know what it is like to lose a baby. Besides saying goodbye, they also pay a lot of attention to welcoming and getting to know your baby. It is also nice that they do not work with packages and you only pay for the services you purchase.
They also have a lot of practical information about e.g. cooling, baskets, music, texts and books, but also photo books that might help you a bit on your way.
Contrary to what some funeral insurances say, you are always free to choose your own funeral director.
Specialized baby funeral care
ima farewell care
has been working since 2014 and specialises in guiding parents in welcoming and saying goodbye to their (newborn) baby. They have farewell coaches in the Amsterdam, Utrecht, Veluwe, Brabant and Limburg region and therefore work nationwide.
Steady funeral home
has been working throughout Flanders since June 2019
Specialized children’s funeral care
Kitty van Dijk has been working in the Rotterdam region since 2010 and provides baby and children’s funerals.
Telephone number: 06-12620598
Watch Kitty here in the broadcast Doodgewoon (2017)
Soft children’s funerals
Chris Beekman works together with Annefleur Visscher in the region North Holland, South Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland. They take care of children’s funerals and have the miniature hearse.
Funeral guidance Merel Westermann
Since 2007 in the Amsterdam region, previously working in maternity care.
Charon Funeral Guidance, Gijsje Teunissen, North Holland region
De Wending, Utrecht region
Iris Uitvaartzorg, Gelderland region
Jeannet Admiral, Drenthe Region
Carla van der Burg children’s funerals, Groningen region
Erna Jansen Uitvaartzorg, Friesland region
Marea Funeral Guidance, region Zeeland
Valé Uitvaartzorg, region North Holland, Flevoland and Gelderland
Memento Funeral Home, Overijssel region. André and Nelleke Groenink attentively supervise the funeral of babies and children.
You are always free to choose a funeral home that suits you, even if you have funeral insurance with another organization. The choice of a specialist, in the field of infant and child mortality, can be an extra addition.