We are so very sorry your baby has died. Please accept our sincere condolences to you and your family. There are many decisions to be made at this sad time, and one may be that you are considering taking your baby home with you.
This leaflet will explain the choices available to you, how to care for your baby at home, who to contact should you require additional support or information and your legal responsibilities.
Why may I choose to take my baby home?
Families who chose to take their baby home, tell us this is something they are glad they did, and looking back, are thankful for the time they had with their baby.
Reasons families take their baby home include:
Spending more time with their baby in the comfort and privacy of their own home
More time to create memories with their baby and gather keepsakes away from the hospital setting
An opportunity for any siblings, extended family or friends to meet the baby
Time together as a family to say goodbye to their baby
Are there any situations where I will not be able to take my baby home?
Yes, if the situation surrounding your baby’s death is uncertain and your baby’s death has been referred to H.M. Coroner, then you will not be able to take your baby home directly from the hospital. Your midwife or doctor will inform you if this is the case.
If you have given consent for your baby to have a post-mortem examination, it may still be possible for you to take your baby out of hospital before the examination is carried out.
Ideally, a post-mortem should be carried out within 2 to 3 working days of delivery, as the earlier the examination is held, the more likely it will provide useful information.
Leaving the hospital
Before you leave the hospital, you will be asked to sign a form which will confirm you have responsibility for your baby and are taking your baby home. You will be provided with a copy of the form which includes the contact details of someone at the hospital who can, if necessary, confirm your right to take your baby home. The form also contains details of the arrangements for returning your baby to the hospital or into the care of a Funeral Director, if applicable.
It is important your baby is transported home in a safe and dignified manner. You will not be able to take your baby home using public transport. You can transport your baby home in your own car or arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home in their car.
If you wish to take your baby home in a Taxi, we advise you first check with the company that the driver is happy to do so.
You may wish to carry your baby wrapped in a blanket in your arms, use a car seat, or place your baby in a Moses basket, secured by a seat belt. It is important to take into consideration the gestational age of your baby and the fragility of their body when deciding how to transport them home. The midwife caring for you will be able to guide you.
Care at home
Once at home, it is important to keep your baby cool. We do not recommend opening windows or having fresh flowers in the room, to minimise the risk of exposure to insects. We would also advise any pets are kept in a separate room to your baby.
We would encourage you to take one of our Flexmort CuddleCots™ home with you, your midwife will show you how to set up the cool cot before you leave the hospital.
Ideally, your baby should be kept in contact with the cool cot mat as much as possible. It will quietly cool your baby, to slow down the expected physical changes which happen following death. This can include changes to your baby’s skin colour and lips, their skin may become more fragile, and you may notice some pink fluid leaking from their nose, mouth or skin. All these changes are normal.
You may care for your baby as you wish at home including bathing (with cool water) and dressing, however over handling may increase the rate of the changes outlined above. If your baby’s skin is particularly fragile, it may be advisable to place your baby on a pillow and hold the pillow when giving them cuddles.
If you have other children at home, let them be involved as much as they or you think is enough for them. Talking to your children to explain how your baby looks and that they feel cold to touch, can be helpful.
How long can I have my baby home with me?
The length of time your baby is at home with you, will depend on your wishes. You may want to take your baby home for a few hours or a few days. When you are ready, you can arrange for your chosen funeral director to collect your baby from your home.
If you have chosen a hospital arranged funeral, you can return your baby to Central Delivery Suite, or our funeral director can collect your baby from your home. We would recommend these arrangements are in place before leaving the hospital.
If you are bringing your baby back to the hospital, the Flexmort CuddleCot™ can be returned to Central Delivery Suite at the same time, or it can be collected from your home by one of our Community Midwives at a time agreed with you.
If your baby died after 24 complete weeks of pregnancy or was born alive and then died, you are required by law to inform the Registrars at the Registry Office and make arrangements for your baby to be buried or cremated.
The midwife caring for you will provide you with the necessary documents and explain how to do this. Registration must be completed before your baby’s funeral can go ahead.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.