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Memories of the baby

Preparing for the hospital stay

When we lose a person with whom we have lived for many years, the moments we shared together can help mitigate our sorrow. In the case of a newborn, there are few memories and the only ones you have become very precious. We encourage you to keep as many mementos of your baby as possible, even if you feel like you don’t want them right now. They might help you move through your grief as you get some distance from this traumatic event.

Some parents ask to listen to the heart of their baby one last time. It is even sometimes possible to save it on your phone.

Examples of mementos

Here are some examples of mementos you can keep of your baby if you wish:

  • Hospital bracelet
  • Birth certificate
  • Stamp of their tiny hands and feet in ink
  • Lock of hair (if possible)
  • Pictures of your baby with your family
  • Cord clip
  • Tape measure with the inscription of their size

If you wish...

If you wish, you will also be able to keep the clothes your baby wore and/or the blanket that they were wrapped in. Just ask your nurse for them before you leave the hospital.

When you are discharged from the hospital, your nurse will give you the mementos of your baby in a nice box. You can look at them when you are ready.

Many parents are reluctant to keep the mementos. To avoid having any regrets, we recommend that you keep them at home. If they upset you, find a place where you won’t see them unless you go looking for them; perhaps one day you will want to go through them. You might even find it cathartic and come to treasure them.

If you do not want to recover the mementos of your baby, we will respect your wishes. If this is what you request, be aware that we will only keep the photographs at the hospital. If you change your mind, you can always contact the nurse clinician in perinatal bereavement assessment to retrieve your baby’s pictures.

Juliette’s Gift

In some cases, it is also possible to make an impression of the baby’s feet and hands. This sweet memento is from Juliette’s Gift and here is her story:

 “On March 26, 2014, Hélène gave birth at 35 weeks to her baby girl Juliette, born stillborn. To help her with her grief, she hoped to make impressions of her daughter’s hand and foot, which she managed to do with the help of the nurses of CHU Sainte-Justine.

These wonderful imprints were a great help to Hélène. Being able to touch the hand and foot of her child was comforting. They became the embodiment of Juliette, a tangible item that attested to the fact that Juliette had existed.

Two years later, Hélène and her husband James decided to create the Juliette’s Gift foundation to give the same gift to other parents who, like them, lost their child after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy.”

For more information, please visit her website


Questions addressed in this video:

  • How important are memories?
  • Why take pictures of the baby?
  • What is the Fondation Portraits d’Étincelles?
  • How do you request the services of Portraits d’Étincelles?

About this page
Updated on 11/26/2019
Created on 11/7/2019
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