Treasured Babies Program
TREASURED BABIES’ PROGRAM
The Treasured Babies’ Program is a free program that supports bereaved parents while they are still in hospital with their baby (or babies in the case of a multiple birth) by providing them with something special to dress their precious baby in, and by providing other support materials.
The Program began in Victoria but is now available to families and hospitals in other states.
How you can help
The Treasured Babies’ Program is in need of volunteers who can sew and knit, and welcomes in-kind donations of fabric, cotton, trimmings, and wool. If you can help, please email Lisa Gelbart at email@example.com.
For further information about the Treasured Babies’ Program download our Treasured Babies’ brochure. Included in each Treasured Babies’ pack is a brochure that has information about the choices that have to be made at such a difficult time. This Decisions brochure is also downloadable.
How does the Treasured Babies’ Program work?
The Treasured Babies’ gifts are supplied to hospitals to give parents something special to dress their precious baby in. Outfits have been designed and developed with input from midwives, social workers and bereaved parents for families who experience the loss of their precious baby prior to full term. The sewn garments open out flat for babies who might be quite fragile, to ensure they are able to be dressed with a minimum of handling.
We work together with participating maternity hospitals to provide a range of support materials that are immediately available when a baby dies. The Treasured Babies’ Program seeks to make sure that all parents receive the best possible grief support.
The Treasured Babies’ Program aims to help hospital staff to support families by having gestation-appropriate Treasured Babies’ gifts on hand to give to newly bereaved parents. These gifts contain specially designed handmade clothing, blankets and relevant literature.
The Treasured Babies’ Program also supplies Angel boxes for burial, Memory boxes in which to keep precious items and Remembrance boxes for early losses.
Dressing their deceased baby can help to “normalise” the bereaved parents’ experience. Parents are more inclined to spend time with their baby when he/she is dressed. The clothes give them silent permission to be a parent. Spending quality time with their baby helps parents to come to terms with their grief in the coming months and gives them some precious memories to treasure. Simple actions such as bathing, dressing and taking photos of their baby are very important to the grieving process. Photos taken become cherished because this is their only opportunity. Having tangible memories will help parents to grieve and they will be able to share these with their support networks.
The literature included in the Treasured Babies’ gifts answers many of the immediate questions that parents have with regard to their newly born child. It also lets them know of the support organisations available within the community that they can access, particularly once they have left the care of the hospital.
The Naming Certificates are a very important way of acknowledging babies under 20 weeks’ gestation as these babies do not receive a Birth Certificate.
Hospitals and parents receive the Treasured Babies’ gifts free of charge. The Treasured Babies’ Program is fully funded by donations and sponsorship and the committee coordinates a network of volunteers who hand make the precious clothes and pack them into Treasured Babies’ gift packs. All materials used have been kindly donated by businesses and individuals.
Why is the Treasured Babies’ Program so important?
When a baby dies in-utero there is often little warning, leaving parents in shock and unable to organise clothing and other items for their baby. Having ready access to appropriately-sized baby clothing, supplied by the Treasured Babies’ Program, can reduce some of the stress for parents at a time that is already very difficult. They are then able to spend as many precious moments with their baby as possible.
A range of items has been developed so that the gift can be adapted to meet different situations including: miscarriage, stillbirth, premature live birth/subsequent death, neonatal death and multiple births.
Parents may want to dress their baby in one outfit for photos and change their baby into another outfit for burial. This way they can treasure the clothes that were actually worn by their child.
Additional clothing from the Treasured Babies’ gift range is made available to parents.
Being able to give newly bereaved parents the opportunity to choose what their baby wears can be empowering to the parents at a time when they have very little control over their situation.