Should you bring your baby to a funeral? 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? Try to avoid asking a member of the family if it is OK 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 judgment.
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 of you and your family.
Can Your Baby 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 you're a breastfeeding mother. If this is not a concern, make a list of suitable caregivers who could watch the baby 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 you need to attend to the child.
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 the child's peak fussy times or is it during naptime? If you have a baby prone to fussiness, bringing the child to a funeral service may be unwise.
General Advice and Tips
If you take all this into consideration and decide to bring your baby along, be sure to plan accordingly in order to make sure the child is as content as can be. Here are some suggestions:
- Make sure that the 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 toward 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.