Losing a child is never easy. Needing to take the steps to plan a funeral and burial for your baby is likely one of the most traumatic things any parent will ever have to go through.
While this is undoubtedly a painful, challenging time, understanding the practical requirements and costs of the funeral and burial ensures you can give your child an honorable, respectable farewell.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Much Does an Infant or Stillborn Baby’s Funeral Cost?
- Who Usually Pays for an Infant or Stillborn Baby’s Funeral?
- Charitable Organizations and Burial Assistance for an Infant’s Funeral
If you lose your baby after 24 weeks or soon after birth, you’re required by law to have their body buried or cremated. Whether or not you choose to hold a funeral or memorial is entirely up to you. In this guide, we’ll share a simplified guide to infant of stillbirth funeral costs and burial assistance.
Though this is information no parent ever wants to need, practical advice and steps are key to keeping this process moving. The arrangements you make are a very personal choice, and they’re a powerful form of legacy and remembrance. For more guidance and tips, check out our post-loss checklist.
How Much Does an Infant or Stillborn Baby’s Funeral Cost?
The cost of a funeral can be surprisingly steep, especially if you’re caught off guard. The average cost of a funeral for an infant or stillborn baby starts at $3,000. The average cost of a burial is between $900 to $1,500.
The entire cost depends on these factors below:
- Insurance: Do you have a life insurance policy for your child?
- Burial vs. cremation: A burial is more expensive since you’ll need to cover the cost of the burial vault or plot, casket, and so on. Cremation is a more affordable choice.
- Funeral size: Would you prefer a large or small funeral or memorial service? There is no correct choice, but a larger service requires more resources.
- Grave or plot: For stillborn babies, you often have the choice of an individual or shared grave. A shared grave can be a less expensive choice.
- Hospital funeral: If your child passes in the hospital, there might be the choice of a hospital burial, cremation, or funeral that can assist with costs.
- Outside organizations: Lastly, many organizations exist to assist with these costs to reduce the burden placed on grieving parents.
Because a funeral for an infant or stillborn baby can cost upwards of several thousands of dollars, it’s normal to look for outside resources. You might reach out to local religious groups or programs like the Children’s Burial Association nonprofit.
Who Usually Pays for an Infant or Stillborn Baby’s Funeral?
The cost of an infant or stillborn baby’s funeral generally falls upon the family. The family could ask for assistance from friends, family, and co-workers, or they might utilize savings to cover these costs.
Remember, a funeral is not required after the death of a child. After the burial or cremation, the family might choose to grieve at home or in a more intimate setting. There are a number of inspiring baby memorial ideas that serve a similar purpose to assist with healing after a loss.
Who arranges an infant or stillborn baby’s funeral?
There are two different ways these funerals are planned. While some families prefer to take charge of this process to customize the experience to their child, others appreciate someone else taking over the decision-making.
These are the two options for most infant or stillborn deaths:
- Hospital funeral: A hospital funeral is arranged by the hospital for a small fee. These ceremonies may be shared, and they’re typically held by hospital chaplains or social workers. They sometimes can provide individual ceremonies if requested. These are held in the hospital’s chapel, but you’re free to invite friends and family.
- Individual funeral: You’re also free to organize the funeral yourself or with a funeral director. This gives you more freedom with the burial, cremation, and ceremony, but it’s also more expensive.
It’s important to create a ceremony that feels right to you. That being said, you shouldn’t overextend yourself or your resources. This is an important part of your grief journey, but it’s not the only factor. Do what you must to find your own peace.
COVID-19 Tip: Another option today is a virtual funeral, which you can arrange using a service like GatheringUs. A virtual funeral or memorial service is a way to bring your loved ones together in memory of your child, even when gathering in person isn't an option.
Seeking free or discounted options
Aside from charitable organizations, it’s possible to find low-cost or even free options for your infant’s funeral. Your hospital can guide you in the right direction, many of which offer free or low-cost funerals. They can also assist with finding affordable infant caskets or urns.
In addition, many funeral homes have discounts for the youngest members of society. While you’ll likely still need to pay for the funeral service, many funeral homes have free or discounted burial caskets. They might also have other services available at no added cost.
Family and friends likely want to support you during this time, but they may not know how. They might wonder if they should send flowers, food, or sympathy cards and what the best way to help you would be.
Memorial fundraising can give your loved ones a clear way that they can help and support you. You can ask for donations in lieu of flowers or gifts and use these donations to cover the cost of a funeral and burial or cremation.
Cake's online memorial pages are a great option for this because they're simple and streamlined, and they don't require you to pay a percentage of the donations you receive. Creating a memorial page with a fundraiser is completely free.
Charitable Organizations and Burial Assistance for an Infant’s Funeral
The most important thing to remember after the loss of an infant is that you’re not alone. Though brief, their life mattered and held infinite meaning. You don’t need to figure out each and every next step on your own.
There are a number of nonprofits that help with funeral costs specifically for stillborn and infant funerals. Because everyone, no matter how small, deserves a funeral and a respectful final sendoff, these organizations below are designed to help parents through these difficult times.
Final Farewell provides financial assistance so they can afford a decent funeral for their beloved child. They’re mainly funded by private donations, government grants, and fundraisers. They also receive contributions from funeral homes and cemeteries.
They primarily assist families located in the Philadelphia area, but they also work on a national scale. Families who meet their Charity Policy might be eligible for full funeral services and burial at no cost.
The Tears Foundation
The Tears Foundation seeks to lift the financial burden from families who lost a child by assisting with burial and funeral costs. They also provide ongoing bereavement care with support groups and peer companions.
The Tears Foundation offers as much as $500 towards funeral costs for babies between 20 weeks gestation up to a year old. They partner with a variety of funeral homes to become “approved” providers who assist with this process.
Children’s Burial Assistance
The Children’s Burial Assistance is a nonprofit that provides families with donated burial plots. These plots are available to any children between the ages of 1 to 17 years of age. Help is based on availability, and it’s possible to apply online.
Rebecca’s Reason exists to provide emotional and financial support after the loss of a child. Created to honor the founder’s daughter Rebecca Anne who passed soon after death, this nonprofit assists with medical and end-of-life expenses for infants and stillborn babies.
Since its founding in 2016, Rebecca’s Reason has paid nearly $74,000 for funerals and medical expenses for families in the United States. This program helps with expenses for children under the age of 13.
Hayden’s Helping Hands
Hayden’s Helping Hands is an organization dedicated to financially helping parents with the cost of medical expenses after the birth of a stillborn baby. They assist any families that lose the baby after 20 weeks, and they pay up to $1,000 per application.
Over the past ten years, Hayden’s Helping Hands has grown to help families across the country in some of their darkest moments. Through the memory of the founder’s daughter, Hayden’s legacy stays alive and well with each donation and act of kindness.
Skylar’s Gift Foundation
When Tiffany and Stephen Bowen discovered they were expecting twins, they were ready to welcome them into the world. Unfortunately, Tiffany went into labor at 24 weeks pregnant and both babies were rushed to the NICU. Both babies fought hard, but Skylar didn’t make it.
Vowing to help others through this heartbreaking experience, Skylar’s Gift Foundation was formed to honor their baby’s legacy. Skylar’s Gift Foundation helps provide counseling and mental health services to bereaved parents as well as financial assistance for funeral and cremations for premature babies.
Afford Arrangements After a Loss
The decisions you make after the loss of an infant or stillborn baby are some of the hardest you’ll ever encounter. It’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Thousands have been in your same footsteps, and there’s an ocean of resources and help available.
No parent wants to plan their child’s funeral, but this is a real way to take one step toward healing. Every life is worthy of a funeral, no matter how brief. These organizations are here to help cover the cost, no matter how you’d like to say your goodbyes.