The loss of a baby

If it becomes clear that your baby's NICU journey seems to be turning away from home, you will need to make decisions about how you and your baby will spend your remaining time together. 

Tell your medical team what you want. You can ask to hold and caress your little one free of tubes and lines. You may want his or her last minutes or hours to be spent peacefully in your arms. You may want to hold your baby skin-to-skin or at your breast. You may want other family members or friends to be with you in your baby's last moments.

These desires to protect and be close to your baby reflect your profound relationship with this child. Remember that, always and forever, you will hold this baby in your heart.

How can NICU staff can help?

The medical staff and social workers can help you plan for your baby's death and make funeral preparations. Ask for support and assistance with coping with your grief. Remember that always and forever, you will hold this baby in your heart.

Are there resources for families that have lost a baby? 

Yes. Join the discussion group "Families Who Have Lost a Baby" in the March of Dimes online community Share Your Story®. Order our resources from grieving families, including the booklet From Hurt to Healing. 

Other resources

  • Centering Corporation. Books and resources on coping with loss for all ages.
  • The Compassionate Friends. Bereavement support group and counseling for families who have lost a child. Local chapters, (877) 969-0010.
  • Lost Lullaby, by Deborah Golden Alecson (University of California Press, 1995).
  • Loving and Letting Go: For Bereaved Parents Who Turned Away from Aggressive Medical Intervention for Their Critically Ill Newborn, by Deborah L. Davis (Centering, 1993)
  • Twinless Twins. Support and resources for those who have lost a twin and for their families. (888) 205-8962.

Last updated: August, 2009