Please accept our deepest condolences if you recently lost a child. We know that you may dread picking out a design for a deceased child.
If you are looking for a unique design, you may start your search at the monument companies in your local area. It’s a good idea to talk to a person face-to-face about the types of headstones allowed in your cemetery of choice.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Headstone Design Ideas for Stillborn Babies
- Religious Infant Headstone Design Ideas
- Non-Religious Infant Headstone Design Ideas
- Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Headstone
We included some unique infant headstone design ideas and trends you may consider for your precious baby.
Headstone Design Ideas for Stillborn Babies
Before choosing a headstone design for your stillborn baby, talk with an employee from the cemetery. Some cemeteries have strict policies regarding the style, size, shape, and type of headstones used on their grounds.
Here are some general design ideas for headstones.
1. Bronze infant headstone
Bronze grave markers are incredibly durable and can be shaped in any way you wish. For this situation, you may want to have it be in the shape of a heart. Many times bronze marker plaques are placed on a granite form.
2. Granite infant headstone
Granite is a beautiful and popular choice. When you use granite, design options are limitless. You can even add a photograph of your child to the stone if you wish.
Granite comes in a variety of colors. Again, talk with a cemetery representative before ordering the monument. Some cemeteries are particular about the headstone’s size or may ask that it lies flat on the ground.
3. Marble infant headstone
Some people prefer the look of marble over granite, but know that marble doesn’t weather as well. It may also be more expensive than other options.
4. Flat infant headstone
Some cemeteries insist that their clients use flat headstones to lower the cost of mowing and trimming. Flat headstones can be made from a variety of materials. You can choose to have a built-in vase (if that is permissible).
5. Slant or pillow infant headstones
Another option for you to consider: slant or pillow infant headstones. Monuments in these shapes are higher in the back than in the front so the words are easier to see from a distance. Like flat headstones, you can purchase them with built-in vases.
Most pillow headstones are rectangular, but the shape looks like an open book.
6. Upright infant headstone
Upright headstones come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. They can be made from a variety of materials. Upright headstones will probably give you the most flexibility in your design, but they may also be the most expensive.
7. Family headstone
Take a moment to consider your own end-of-life plans. If you someday wish to be buried near your child, you will need to buy the adjoining plot to reserve the space.
If this is the case, you may consider purchasing a family headstone. This can be done in a variety of ways.
One option is to buy a headstone where the family surname is prominently displayed. You can then buy a smaller gravestone for your infant.
You may also consider buying one headstone for the child, the mother, and the father. You can add the name of your child to the stone before it is placed. Your name (and your partner’s name) will be added to the stone after you die.
Share your wishes with your family members by making an end-of-life plan.
8. Bench infant headstone
You may consider purchasing a bench in memory of the child you lost. You can place it in a cemetery if you wish to mark the spot of the burial. You may also consider placing the bench in another location, such as in a local school park or playground, if you do not intend to mark the burial spot.
Memorial benches are usually marked with a small plaque that includes information about the child who was lost.
Join Cake's monthly newsletter.
Learn all you need to know about end-of-life.
Religious Infant Headstone Design Ideas
If your religious faith is important in your life, it would make sense that your infant’s headstone has some religious symbolism or wording.
Here are some ideas of how to design an infant headstone to reflect your faith.
9. Religious symbols
One way to reflect your face is to use religious imagery on the headstone of your infant. Consider using a cross, a Star of David, a menorah, a star and crescent, or another symbol that would be easily recognizable to cemetery visitors.
One of the most prevalent symbols on infant headstones is the angel. This comes in a variety of forms. You can get some angels draped mournfully across the upright monument, as if they, too, are heartbroken over the loss of the child. Other times child-like angels are depicted on headstones.
Other parents choose only to use the angel’s wings on the headstone design. A sleeping infant may be depicted in the protective wings of the angel.
Lambs are signs of innocence and often used on the headstones for infants. A lamb is also considered to be a religious symbol, especially in Christianity.
Many people choose to include scripture on the headstones of their infants. The message can be one of comfort or one about the promise of eternal life.
13. Phrases that reference your faith or heaven
If you can’t find a specific scripture that speaks to you, you may want to choose a phrase or poem that implies your belief in eternal life.
A couple of examples: “We will hold you in our hearts until we can hold you in heaven” or “our angel baby.”
Some Christians choose to have an image of Jesus holding a child on an infant’s headstone.
Non-Religious Infant Headstone Design Ideas
Perhaps you would prefer to not have any religious symbolism on your infant’s headstone. In most cases, this is your choice, even though some cemeteries affiliated with specific religious groups may require a religious symbol on the monument.
Here are some headstone designs that have no religious significance.
15. Hand or footprints
Infant hand or footprints are often used on headstones for children. The prints can be the actual ones belonging to the deceased child or a generic image of prints.
16. Teddy bears
Are you looking for a comforting image to put on your baby’s headstone? You may consider using a teddy bear. Some of the designs online show a teddy bear holding balloons or flowers.
17. Blocks, trains, and other toys
Many parents choose to use play blocks or train engines on the headstone for an infant. You may want to choose a toy that the child enjoyed in life, even if it’s only a pacifier.
You may find it too painful to choose a child-like image for the headstone. If you would rather avoid bringing notice that the deceased was a child, you may consider adding something generic to the headstone, such as the engraving of flowers or a vine.
Do you have a photo of your child? You could also use a picture of the baby’s tiny feet or hands. You may consider using those on your child’s headstone.
Some families choose to use the sonogram picture on a headstone if the baby was lost before being born.
Butterflies and dragonflies are popular images used on children’s headstones. You may also consider using the depiction of a hummingbird, cardinal, or dove (even though doves may be seen as a religious symbol as well.)
Some families choose to show marine life on headstones, such as dolphins.
21. Infant shoes
Infant shoes are easily recognizable images that can be used on a headstone.
22. Stars and moon
Another innocent image to consider using for an infant headstone is a scene showing the moon and some stars.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Headstone
The cost of headstones varies dramatically depending on the materials used, the size, and the style. Keep in mind that a headstone doesn’t have to be purchased immediately after the death. Check with the cemetery to see how long you have to put up a permanent grave marker after the deceased is buried.
You may pay other costs associated with a cemetery burial. If you have a graveside service, you must pay the cemetery for providing a tent and seating (and making the area look presentable to those attending).
You will also need to pay to close the grave, for the casket or urn, and for a vault surrounding either the casket or the urn.
Finally, you may have to pay someone to place the headstone at the grave. This could be included in the price of the monument if you work with a local company.