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Having to say goodbye to a preemie far too soon is a tragedy that no parent should ever have to face, but sadly loss is a part of the prematurity journey, too. Nothing can ever ease the pain of losing a child but even so, many organizations, websites, and groups exist to help moms and dads cope.
Neonatal death is when a baby dies in the first 28 days of life. If your baby dies this soon after birth, you may have many questions about how and why it happened. Your baby’s health care provider can help you learn as much as possible about your baby’s death. Neonatal death happens in about 4 in 1,000 babies (less than 1 percent) each year in the United States.
COMMON CAUSES OF NEONATAL/INFANT LOSS
The most common causes of neonatal death are:
Before and after your baby passes, you will usually have the choice to spend time alone with your baby. You can find comfort in looking at, touching, and talking to your baby. Most parents find it helpful to make memories of this precious time that will last a lifetime. It is possible to bond with a baby despite passing away. Here are a few ways you can make memories with your baby:
You will be able to spend as much time as you need with your baby, but at some point you will need to say goodbye. This will probably be one of the most challenging things to do because it is so final. Allow yourself to cry; expressing emotion is natural in the grieving process. Having the keepsakes will remind you that a part of your baby will always be with you.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT, RECOMMENDED READING & WEBSITES
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director