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- » Deciding about a funeral
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Deciding about a funeral
If your baby was stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, or was born alive at any stage of pregnancy and then died, he or she must, by law, be formally buried or cremated. A baby who was born dead before 24 weeks can also have a funeral but this is not required by law.
Most hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland offer to arrange and pay for a funeral for a baby. Alternatively you can arrange the funeral yourself. Your midwife or nurse can explain what your options are, and what the hospital offers. You don’t have to decide what you want straightaway. However in some hospitals the staff will need to know what you have decided before you go home.
Whichever sort of funeral you decide on, there are choices you can make. You may want to have your baby dressed in a particular outfit or wrapped in a special shawl. You may also want to ask the funeral director to put special items into your baby’s coffin, such as a soft toy, a letter or a poem. Some parents keep an identical outfit, a shawl, a toy, a letter or a poem as a memento.
However, if your baby is going to be cremated and you want to put some personal items in the coffin, choose items made from natural materials such as wood, cotton or wool. Plastics and other man-made materials cause emissions that can harm the environment. If you have questions about what to put in your baby's coffin , you could contact the crematorium for information and advice.
If you want to hold your baby's funeral as soon as possible, please see Urgent funerals