Children can learn that you can go through sadness and tragedy and become happy again.” Mum

Sands new booklet Supporting children when a baby has died has been written primarily for the parents of children whose baby brother or sister has died at, or around the time of birth.  However, the advice and information it contains is also helpful for supporting other children affected by the death of a baby, such as cousins, friends, surviving children of a multiple birth and children born after a baby has died.

Co-author, Judith Schott, says: ‘The death of a baby during of shortly after birth is a major bereavement for the whole family.  It has a deep and long term impact on every member.  

‘As parents our instinct is to protect our children and telling them that their eagerly awaited baby brother or sister has died, or is going to die, seems unimaginably cruel.  It is something that no parent wants to do but sadly for some parents they have no choice.  Not knowing what or how much to tell children and being unsure of how much to involve them in the short and long term, can add to the burden.  Our new booklet helps parents with essential advice on how to talk about the death of a baby and support children through the sadness.’

Supporting children when a baby has died covers a range to helpful topics including: telling children, dealing with reactions and answering questions, maintaining routines, managing your own feelings and the longer term. It focuses mainly on the needs of younger children but also includes information about older children and teenagers.

The booklet contains information applicable to all sorts of different types of family and includes specific advice on supporting surviving children of a multiple birth and children born after a baby has died.

The thoughts of bereaved parents are also included in the booklet. For example:

I had to tell our son that Mummy would be having the baby but the baby

was already dead...and that Mummy and Daddy would be very sad for a

while, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t love him. If there was ever a time

that I felt my heart was going to break it was then.” Dad

“A couple of weeks after our second son was stillborn, our two-and-a-half-year-old said out of the blue, ‘This house is too sad for me.’ We realised that we needed to get some support and do things differently. We gave him a big hug and said that it was sad, but that we would be happy again soon. After that we tried to ensure that his life went on as

normally as possible.” Mum

“My five-year-old had just started school when the twins were born. One

of them died soon after the birth. He was really sad at home but going to

school gave him a break and allowed him to have fun with his friends. It

also gave me space to grieve. You need to have time for the kids and time

for yourself.” Mum

“My son has always known that he had an elder brother. He is sad that

his brother died but knows that his brother is still an important part of our family.” Mum

The new forty-page booklet replaces our shorter leaflet About the other children. It has been written with the help of bereaved parents and we are very grateful to everyone who has contributed.

Supporting children when a baby has died is available to download from our website www.uk-sands.org/resources. Printed copies can be ordered from our online shop www.uk-sands.org/shop or by phoning 020 7436 7940