First let me begin by saying that I am so sorry for your loss. Funeral services can be hard enough to attend, even harder if you are considering the care of your baby. Before bringing your baby to a funeral or memorial service, think about these points.
Are You a Member of the Immediate Family?
Ultimately, you should take into consideration the needs of the immediate family. If you are not a member of the family or were not exceptionally close to the person who died, try and put yourself in their shoes. Would your baby's presence possibly detract from the funeral service? I would hesitate asking a member of the family if it is okay to bring your baby. This can put unnecessary pressure on them at a time when they need to focus on their grief process. Use your best judgement.
If you are a member of the immediate family, then you need to consider what is necessary for you and your family's grieving process. In some ways, your baby's presence might be a source of joy for your family in an otherwise dark time. Alternatively, it may be harder for you to go through your own grief work while taking care of your baby. Consider the emotional needs for you and your family.
Is Your Baby Able to Be Separated From You During the Funeral?
Next you should consider if it is possible for you to leave your baby in the care of someone else. This may not be an option if you have a newborn, particularly if the mother is establishing breastfeeding. If this is not a concern, make a list of suitable caregivers who could watch him during the service. Alternatively, you might be able to ask someone to attend the funeral with you for the purpose of watching your baby until he requires your attention.
What Is Your Baby's Typical Temperament?
Spend some time thinking about your baby's typical mood at the time the funeral will be held. Is it during one of his peek fussy times or will he likely be sound asleep during the service? If you have a baby prone to fussiness, bringing him to a funeral service may be unwise.
General Advice and Tips for Taking Baby to a Funeral
If you take all this into consideration and decide to bring your baby along, be sure to plan accordingly in order to make sure he is as content as can be. Here are some suggestions.
- Make sure baby is well-fed before the service.
- Pack the diaper bag with all essentials.
- Do not worry so much about what your baby will wear. Consider comfort over formality.
- Request to sit on the end of the row or towards the back just in case you need to slip out during the service.
- Go with the understanding that you may need to leave the service before it is finished.