Baby at funeral

(62 Posts)
nillynoon Thu 13-Dec-12 11:11:10

Not sure what to do. A close family relative passed away this week, and the funeral will be next week. I am ebf my 6 week old baby and haven't expressed or tried a bottle of ebm.

The funeral will be a couple of hours away, so a fair bit of travelling.

I want to go, but am worried about the logistics of it all, and whether taking such a young baby is correct etiquette. I could feasibly just attend the wake rather than the full church service and interment.

So not so much aibu, rather more looking for advice/other people's experiences of babies and funerals so I can plan what's going to be best for everyone involved

RedHelenB Thu 13-Dec-12 11:13:57

I took my youngest as a baby to his great Grandads funeral & it was fine. Was sad that he didn't get to see him though.

MerryChristmasEverybody Thu 13-Dec-12 11:14:14

I would go, take baby, but sit right at the back so if baby starts to cry, you can exit without causing too much problem.

KatAndKit Thu 13-Dec-12 11:15:20

I would take the baby with you - hopefully the baby will just sleep or breastfeed throughout the service and you can always sit at the back so that you can slip out easily if required. Taking a newborn isn't the same as taking toddlers and young children who would not understand what is going on and not be able to sit quietly.
Perhaps you could ask the immediate family though and see if they are happy for the baby to come? It isn't like you could leave the baby though with a journey that length.

Selks Thu 13-Dec-12 11:16:40

My friend too her baby to the funeral of my partner (years ago). It was nice to have a baby there actually...kind of a reminder of life.

Viviennemary Thu 13-Dec-12 11:18:14

I agree with Selks. You should take the baby.

pELFicFloorClenchReminder Thu 13-Dec-12 11:18:30

So sorry for your loss.

I would take the baby as others have said, with the option of nipping out if things get fractious. I took my DS to my mum's funeral (had no choice!) and he was fine - nobody minded and there were no problems.

HairyGrotter Thu 13-Dec-12 11:18:37

Take the baby with you! I often think it's nice to have a 'new life' there to remind us all that it is a cycle.

As Merry said, sit at the back if you're worried so you can nip out (no pun intended) if needs be.

LadyBeagleBaublesandBells Thu 13-Dec-12 11:19:21

My dn brought her 18m old and her baby to my mum's (her grandmother's) funeral in May.
Her partner took them out when they got noisy but it was so lovely to see them, and my mum would have been smiling from above.
So yes, I'd do it.

DeckTheHallsWithBartimaeus Thu 13-Dec-12 11:19:50

Will your DP be going with you? Could you sit near the back of the church and if necessary DP can take the baby out? I'm sure no-one would mind you BF during the service if necessary.

I personally wouldn't mind such a young baby attending, so long as the baby was taken out if crying.

beingginger Thu 13-Dec-12 11:20:32

i took my 5 month old ebf ds1 to my grandads funeral. i'm in england and he's in ireland so an over night trip, it was fine.
he was well behaved and it was nice for the rest of the family to have a baby around and make all the old ladies smile!

EnjoyResponsibly Thu 13-Dec-12 11:20:42

I agree, sit right at the back and leave promptly if the baby wakes.

Unlike the parent at this mornings nativity who's two yo was front row and screamed for a whole song angry

BadDayAtTheOrifice Thu 13-Dec-12 11:20:59

I was at a funeral yesterday and there was a baby at the service and 2 at the wake. It was a nice distraction for everyone.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 13-Dec-12 11:21:11

I agree, take the baby and sit at back on aisle so you can go outside if baby is very unsettled.

I'm sorry for your loss thanks

GordonsAlive Thu 13-Dec-12 11:22:52

My 5 month old ds has already been to 2 funerals. 1st one I had to step out of to feed him, but he was fine for the 2nd.

Feed as close as possible to the start of the funeral, so that sleep is more likely, have them in a pram or sling so it's easier to keep them happy/sleeping. And yes, sit near the back.

Everyone was very happy to have him there as he was a bright point in an otherwise sad day.

Sorry for your loss x

takataka Thu 13-Dec-12 11:27:19

i took my baby dd1 to a friends funeral. it was a huge catholic affair with lots of people as he died young. I was a bit apprehensive but was encouraged by friends and family to go and take baby.

It is a really good destratction for people and alot of people came to talk to me and say it was good to have a baby there to remind everyone about the circle of life (crying now). thats what it is all about huh

I did go out towards the end of the service as baby dd needed feeding and nappy change. But didnt feel I was causing any disruption or shouldnt have been there at all

Tamisara Thu 13-Dec-12 11:31:37

I think for an adult funeral it is fine.

For a very young child/baby's funeral, then no, it would be insensitive.

SarahWarahWoo Thu 13-Dec-12 11:32:32


addictedismoving Thu 13-Dec-12 11:37:16

I took my dds (2 and 9months) to my grandads funeral. Dh took them out when they got fractious meaning I could stay.
My grandmother loved having all her great grandchildren there, it made her feel better.

Saying that, my other nan specifically stated no children at my pas funeral it ment my mum had to leave her 2 week old baby to attend shock

I would ask whoevers organising (or someone close if its the widdow/er) if it was ok.

doublecakeplease Thu 13-Dec-12 11:37:25

I took mine to his Great Gran's and it was fine. Not something I'd have agreed with before but my MIL asked us to (was her Mum's funeral) and he was a nice distraction. I'd ask the permission of the Next of Kim though.

SarahWarahWoo Thu 13-Dec-12 11:37:29

I took my 7 week old baby to my friends fathers funeral on Friday, she slept through but I was poised (like a sprinter in blocks!) to take baby out if she cried during service, then for burial my hubby took baby back to the car allowing me to go to the grave side, my friend was touched that we made the effort to go and I made sure that the family got to have a hold of baby before we left, (they did want to).

My tip would be to have someone with you, I was very relieved that hubby took the baby back to the car as we had been lucky that she had slept that long but also because it was so cold, wrap you and baby up well,

nillynoon Thu 13-Dec-12 11:40:18

Thanks everyone, its one of my grandparents that has passed. Might travel up the day before to make things easier

BerryChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 11:43:07

Go by all means, but please don't do what my cousin did - she let her baby scream all throughout my Dad's funeral.

My Godson's great grandmother died when he was little. His mom, my friend, wasn't sure what to do.

I went with her and stayed all day to look after my Godson. It meant she was able to attend the funeral and look after her son when he needed her, but also that she was able to sit through the entire service and catch up with family and have time to grieve because I just took him off for a walk, or a play and let her get on with it.

I don't think it should be a problem at all. In fact I know a lot of people found it a comfort and delight that he was there on such on occasion.

Go. Take him. Excuse yourself if he starts to interrupt the service etc. And if you have a friend who would be happy to go along and help you then ask. I know I was more than happy to do it for my friend and would do it again in a second, to support someone.

autumnmum Thu 13-Dec-12 11:45:21

Take your baby. There were babies at my dad's funeral and we didn't mind a bit. My youngest who was 20 months didn't go because he was too old to be easily distracted and too young to understand what was going on, and I needed to support my Mum. All the other grandkids were there though, including a little baby. It's a lovely distraction and a reminder that life really does go on.

quesadilla Thu 13-Dec-12 11:50:59

I took my dd to my step-grandmother's funeral at 3 months and it was OK but I made a point of checking with the organized (my aunt) that it was OK and also arrived early enough to position myself next to the door so I was able to step outside when she started grizzling. It just needs a bit of logistical planning and thought.

ToriaHosannaHeadacheChelsea Thu 13-Dec-12 12:07:11

We took my DS to my nana's funeral a few days after his first birthday. For some reason the verger insisted we sit as far from the door as possible but he slept through it all thankfully.

Feed as close as you can to the start of the service and sit somewhere you can leave if need be, but do go.

babybythesea Thu 13-Dec-12 12:08:00

I took my three month old DD to my god-fathers funeral.

We didn't live in the UK and had booked a flight home so the family could meet DD. He died a few days before we arrived - no extra flight costs to attend funeral but he missed meeting her by days (and for a lot of the family, the funeral was the first time they saw her which was a bit weird).

She slept the whole way through it, then got passed around at the wake and it was fine - people seemed to enjoy having something else to think about. Even his widow wanted to hold the baby and commented on how nice it was to have something so positive to think about on a difficult day.

EssexGurl Thu 13-Dec-12 12:56:58

We had exactly the same situation when DS was about 6 weeks, ebf and it was DH's grans funeral. I sat at the end of a pew in case I needed to get out - which I did about 5 mins before the end. He wasn't crying just a bit restless (he had colic so I was always on edge about this) and I felt it easier for me if I nipped out. DH's cousin was also outside with her 7 mo son! DH's aunt said she felt it was lovely that DS was there - celebrating one new life as well as mourning the end of another. It did break the ice at the wake as lots of DHs relatives got to meet him when they wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

I also took 7 yo and 3yo to my mum's funeral. They were both fine - I felt it important that 7yo esp went to say goodbye. Again, lovely for lots of old friends/relatives to catch up with them.

Please take him - you will feel better about going, baby will be fine and everyone will be delighted to coo over him.

catgirl1976geesealaying Thu 13-Dec-12 12:58:49

I took mine to my cousins

He was about 5 months I think and BF. It was a five hour train journey each way, most of which he slept through.

I think babies at a funeral are nice in a "circle of life" sort of way

Sorry for your loss

scuzy Thu 13-Dec-12 13:00:03

i would take them.

though i remember a funeral where a woman had hung herself while 6 months pregnant with twins and there was a new born (knew from the cry) at the funeral. was in very bad taste. i ended up leaving myself as was too upset and others remarked also. in that situation leaving the baby at home would have been better.

lustybusty Thu 13-Dec-12 13:03:40

At my grandma' funeral my then 18 month old cousin (no relation to grandma) was amazing to have around. To be fair, my gma loved him, he loved her (tho only met him once) and the only people who disapproved of him being happy at the crem were those who'd ignored her request of no black.... Id take the little one, sit at the back, and pass baby round (if you're happy with that) to cheer everyone up at the end....!!

Startail Thu 13-Dec-12 13:04:12

I've BF DD2 through a funeral and had DD1, who was 2.5 colour all over the order of service at DMILs.

BFing was fine, forgetting to find something for DD1 to do in the service was less fine.

All the people I knew at that end if the country were, of course, friends of the family and at the funeral.

She did lighten the mood which Granny would have approved of.

ABikeWithBellsOn Thu 13-Dec-12 13:06:04

My DD (3) came to my mom's funeral, and some of our friends also came with their young babies, who where absolutely fine.

TBH DD was the most disruptive (creid the whole way through) but that's because it was the first time she'd seen the coffin, and I think the reality of what we'd been explaining to her finally hit her.

I'm really sorry for your loss.

NannyEggn0gg Thu 13-Dec-12 13:08:07

Different opinion here.
Take the baby to the wake. It's a lovely thing to remind of new life whilst mourning the one who's passed and it does help to cheer people up.
But if you take to the funeral, even if prepared to leave if they start to cry, they've already disturbed the proceedings.
so personally, I don't like it.

AnitaBlake Thu 13-Dec-12 13:10:10

I took DD1 to my great aunts funeral when she was around six months, but MIL asked me not to take her to two other funerals around the same time. She started crying halfway through, and I latched her on, I'm sure the vicar winked at me at that point. It was lovely for everyone to meet her, and everyone was fighting over the baby to cuddle at the wake.

My cousin also took her three week old to her dads funeral.

I think unless they are at the stage whew they can't sit nicely for the duration of the service, children should be encouraged to attend, unless its a sensitive situation.

Pozzled Thu 13-Dec-12 13:12:56

Sorry for your loss.

Both my DDs were taken to funerals when babies- DD1 at about 9 months, DD2 at 9 months and 17 months. Each time it was no problem at all, they were all family occasions and provided a welcome distraction afterwards. And also a reminder of how much the deceased had been family-oriented.

I agree with sitting at the back and making sure you can leave easily if necessary, also try to feed them just before if possible.

MrsLyman Thu 13-Dec-12 13:13:46

DH's cousin brought her exbf baby to her Gramdad's funeral no one batted an eyelid. We also took our 18 month old DS to his great granny's funeral, he sat at the back with Great Aunt from otherwise of the family so they could take him out if required, everyone seemed to enjoy seeing him unless they were just being too polite to say.

I think a baby at an old person's funeral (of course provided you take them out if they grizzle) it rather lovely.

A baby at a baby's funeral is perhaps too cruel to the grieving family - but an old person's funeral, I think it's lovely actually.

Pippinintherain Thu 13-Dec-12 13:25:56

Take him.

My DS attended 4 funerals before he was 5 months old.

FryOneFatChristmasTurkey Thu 13-Dec-12 13:33:58

A few years ago I took mum to the funeral of a dear person, and had my 8 week old DS who was still EBF. Was poised ready to go outside in case, but he was fine and as others have said, a baby is often a nice distraction.

Previously DP and I took our then 11 mth old DD to his dad's funeral, and she sat happily and quietly on his knee throughout. His mum had wanted DD there, although DP's BIL had questioned her right to be there (MIL put him firmly into his place, it was what she wanted). My parents would have had her if it had been decided that she wasn't to go.

My son behaved himself at my mums funeral, slept all the way through, woke up for the wake and got a lot of positive attention. He only let out a little wimper, and no one noticed/was too bothered about it.
My aunt on the otherhand forgot to turn her mobile phone off, and got a rather loud text message in the middle of the reading. [Grin]

BlingBubbles Thu 13-Dec-12 13:56:18

Someone brought their baby to my MIL's funeral last year and then let her scream through out the last bit, it was absolutely awful and I had to stop my very distraught Dh from making a scene.... So if you take baby please leave if they start kicking up a fuss!

nillynoon Thu 13-Dec-12 14:45:02

I can't believe people would let their babies cry during a funeral service, there's just no excuse for it.

Ds3 7 months came to ds4s funeral, obviously it was different as my baby so my choice. I know that other people were glad he was there though. As it gave them something to focus on.

reastie Thu 13-Dec-12 15:22:57

I would take the baby, but, like others have said, sit somewhere with a quick get away if they wake up and cry. At a family funereal a couple of years ago I'll never forget a distant relative to the deceased turned up with a just crawling baby and let her moan and crawl all over the church the whole time - she was wailing so much we couldn't hear half of the eulogy angry . I don't think there's any problem with babies at funerals as long as they are taken out when appropriate. We've taken DD as a baby to 3 funerals but DH took her out of one when she made a little noise and we sat at the back. Most people didn't even realise until afterwards that she was there! I think other people like to have children/babies at these things in general, especially afterwards - it gives them something happy to look at and concentrate on.

Welovecouscous Thu 13-Dec-12 15:28:15

I generally wouldn't take a small baby in to the funeral but would take them into the wake.

I recently went to a funeral where a two month old became very unsettled - there was a lot of disruption as baby was carried out. For my great uncles funeral DH looked after DS and DS then came to the wake.

BUT for very close family as in this case and with a tiny ebf baby I would take baby to the funeral and just leave if necessary.

ENormaSnob Thu 13-Dec-12 15:39:22

I really don't like babies and young children at funerals tbh.

Teafairy Thu 13-Dec-12 15:45:27

I took my 5 week old EBF baby to my best friends funeral, it was fine. She was asleep for a lot of it and then just sat and looked around for the rest (apart from the enormous burp she did, that echoed around the church!!). I purposely sat at the back, near the door so I could make an exit if needs be, but luckily it didn't come to that. Everyone was fine with her being there and both my best friends Mum and BF said the burp was brilliant and my best friend would have been proud (really, she would). I think it's important to go and say goodbye, just be prepared to leave if the baby isn't happy or settled.

complexnumber Thu 13-Dec-12 15:54:39

I went to a funeral of a very much loved cousin last year.

The church backed onto the primary school she went to as a young girl in the 1950's, I found it really moving and reassuring to hear the children play as we were saying our last farewells.

Librarina Thu 13-Dec-12 15:57:42

My nephew was only a few weeks old at my FIL's funeral, it was lovely having a little baby there to remind us that amidst the sadness there was new life, and FIL loved being a Granddad even though it was only for a short time and we were glad to be reminded of that.

I think be prepared to unobtrusively leave the service at the gristles and grumbles and possibly be prepared for lots of passing around of your baby as newborn cuddles can be very comforting.

Slightly on an aside, I went to a lot of funerals as a child when I was quite aware of what was going on (Grandparents and beloved Aunts and Uncles) and I think it is good for children to both say goodbye to people they loved too, and to learn about death and its rituals. However I was also taken to church weekly so knew how to behave in quite a formal environment which is possibly a hard thing to learn as a one off. I do think that attending funerals as a child made coping with the myriad of funerals I was faced with in my early 20s much less daunting.

dinkystinky Thu 13-Dec-12 16:00:14

FIL died when DS1 was 7 weeks old. DS1 was EBF. MIL wanted us all at the wedding for support - we stayed with her for a week while all was being organised, DS1 came to the service and the wake - he slept most of the time in his car seat and everyone was fine with him being there. If he got grotty, DH or I or MIL would take him for a walk/jiggle and I bf him as and when needed. We left the wake early as he was getting grizzly but DH stayed with MIL and SIL.

I think its fine - but would suggest checking with the family members hosting the funeral if its ok.

cowardlylionhere Thu 13-Dec-12 16:05:36

I can't see it being a problem. I took ds to my grandma's funeral when he was 9 weeks old and he was in a wrap sling and slept the whole time. A lot of people said it was nice to see a baby there. I think it'd be more difficult with toddlers or preschoolers, and I had to leave my older 2 dc with a friend to go to my grandad's funeral last year. Speaking of which, GordonsAlive, seeing your name on this thread did make me smile as my first thought was, err, no he's not...
Sorry for your loss OP. I sat right at the front with my family, but I made sure the funeral directors knew I had a pram with me too, they stashed it away at the back and just said to let myself out the side door if needs be.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Thu 13-Dec-12 16:11:27

I think it depends entirely on your relationship to the deceased and immediate family. My dad passed away a few months ago and someone brought a baby along and it screamed throughout my brother's eulogy. I couldn't hear what he was saying. I was so angry I wanted to stand up and tell them to get out. It was one of my dad's neighbours who was babysitting her grandkid. Totally not acceptable. On the other hand, my sister brought her 3 little ones because she needed them there to say goodbye to granddad (and so did my mum). They could have run riot if they wanted and it would have been fine. They were as good as gold though.

drownangels Thu 13-Dec-12 16:12:28

How are you likely to be at the funeral though.
It's ok everyone saying sit at the back but it is a close relative. Are you likely to get upset and started crying a lot? I wouldn't want to be holding my baby if I was feeling too emotional and I wouldn't want to be sat at the back ready to leave at a close relatives funeral but with the rest of my family.

nillynoon Thu 13-Dec-12 16:21:37

I'm likely to be quite tearful - haven't managed a conversation with my mum without tears since he was admitted to hospital last week.

I recently took my baby (then 6 months old) to my Nanna's funeral. I sat at the back, so if I needed to escape quickly because of crying etc I could. One of the ladies showed me a room I could BF in if I wanted to.

I carried him in a sling, and retreated to the BF room a couple of times to feed. Then he fell asleep, and didn't wake up again until everyone was leaving. The service lasted about an hour. After that, we went to the wake, where he gobbled up most of the buffet. I did end up BF in the loo, and then in a quiet corner, because the pub where we were having the wake was full of blokes I didn't know, and he's not great at BF in public! Then he was passed around pretty much everyone in the pub till he fell asleep again!

Oh, and I cried a lot while at the funeral too. She was my gorgeous Nanna, and he is her first great-grandchild, and she never got to see him.

WeWilsonAMerryChristmas Thu 13-Dec-12 16:54:15

In theory I think it's a lovely idea, but if you get upset it's likely the baby will get upset, and then you're going to have to get up and leave - while still being upset. I think that's very hard on you. Is your P going to be there with you? Maybe he could be in charge of baby-wrangling, or someone else has suggested a friend could step in.

HollyBerryBush Thu 13-Dec-12 17:32:53

People like babies - funerals are about the celebration of life - what better way then arminder that everyone lives on through the next generations genes?

Take the baby, everyone will want to see him/her and he/she will put a smile on everyones face.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 13-Dec-12 17:37:59

I'm another one that says, take your baby with you! I took DS when he was 6 months old to my father-in-law's funeral. He was a welcome distraction and of course lots of family members got to see him.

Take him and it will be fine!

PessaryPam Thu 13-Dec-12 17:41:01

catgirl1976geesealaying YY I think babies make funerals less funereal if you get my drift. Less bleak.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now