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Baby and infant funerals

The death of a loved one is hard to understand at any time but, for many, the loss of a child is incomprehensible. Yet this loss is experienced by hundreds of families. For those families, the stillbirth or death of their child is something that will affect them, and their families, for the rest of their lives.

With the loss of their child, many parents feel the loss of their hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Following the death of your child, you may be left shocked and devastated, having thought that this would never happen to you. Suddenly your expectations for the future are shattered. Your feelings are likely to be intense as you search for reasons why your child died. To feel sad, empty and bewildered at this time is understandable. These feelings are all part of grief and are common responses to loss. During the days, weeks and months that follow, you may often feel alone in your grief.

The death of a child will be the most distressing event that has ever happened to a family and, perhaps, it is the first time that you are involved in arranging a funeral. Some of us look back at this time and wish that we had known, then, the choices available to us; with hindsight, we might have done things differently. Planning the funeral service can become the final act of caring for your child, and will enable you to feel that you have some element of control in your life.

At Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd, we believe that if at all possible, both parents should be involved in planning the funeral service of their precious child. Often relatives and friends may offer to fulfill the role of arranging the funeral in order to save the parents from the pain. It is going to be difficult, yet it is also a critical step in the healing process. In our experience, parents who were not involved in the planning process, often say they felt uncomfortable with the choices made on their behalf for their child’s service.

“It is your child who has died and it is important that in planning the funeral you are able to express the loving relationship you had with your child in a way that is meaningful for you.”


If your baby is live born or stillborn after 26 weeks of gestation, it is a legal requirement to make funeral arrangements for either a burial or cremation. If your baby was stillborn and below 26 weeks of gestation, it may become important to you to arrange a service and cremation/burial. In terms of current legislation, it is illegal in South Africa for a Medical Practitioner to sign a Notification of Death (BI1663), Death Certificate and/or Cremation Schedule B, in this instance. Please contact us if you wish to have a funeral service for your little one born still pre-26 weeks.
Many parents find comfort in planning some type of memorial in honour of their baby. It can be a way of letting others know how much the baby is loved. By doing so, many parents find it easier to accept the baby’s death, and they begin working through their grief. Other parents find that the funeral marks the time when they say goodbye to their baby – the moment when they truly understand that their baby has died. It can be a very distressing and painful experience, but it can also be a time to acknowledge your baby’s importance and to share and express your grief and your love with others. Many parents talk of the funeral as a valued memory and something they needed to go through. A funeral service can mark the life and death of your baby in a special way. As such it can be a significant early step towards helping the pieces of your life to begin to come together again. For some the funeral service may follow other rituals such as baptism, blessing, naming or anointing, depending upon your faith needs; for others it will be an important way of integrating the need to physically let go and say goodbye. A funeral can help acknowledge the reality of your baby’s life and death and provide a formal opportunity for Mommy and Daddy to say goodbye to your baby. It also gives your family and friends the opportunity to say goodbye and to demonstrate their love, support and compassion for you. Whichever way we approach it, these can be valuable “rites of passage” signifying the mystery of the brief journey your baby had amongst us. Planning for a special service such as a funeral may also include other important options in the days following the birth such as:
  • Spending time with your baby
  • Dressing your baby in special clothes you have chosen
Click here for a Preview of some of our Baby Range of Coffins & Caskets.
As with all aspects of funeral planning, choosing a funeral director is a very personal and important decision and one which needs to be well-considered. If you are touched by the death of a baby or child, it may be helpful to compare what is available, to ensure you are satisfied with the final arrangements. At Sonja Smith Funeral Group, (Pty) Ltd we have a special Nursery (Room), at some of our offices, for babies & young children, where you can spend as much time as you want with your little one. Make use of our facility, where you can bath & dress your child (should you so wish), hold the child, take photographs & create memories. You may choose a funeral director other than the one who took your baby to the mortuary. The advice of a minister, priest or other informed person may help you. It is a good idea to have some initial plans in mind regarding your child’s funeral before contacting a funeral director. Matters such as where you would like the service to be held, whether you prefer cremation or burial and what other inclusions you may need, will assist the funeral director to respond appropriately. Funeral Programme Form At Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd, children are very close to our hearts. We will take care of your little one. Please phone and speak to one of our Funeral Planners. Be sure to tell them that you have just lost a child. Our staff is well trained and they will be sensitive to your needs as a bereaved parent. We will be gentle with your child. You will also be in good hands and treated with velvet gloves… Our level of awareness and sensitivity distinguishes us from others. That is why we are known as the elite of Funeral Homes. We invite you to visit one of our branches to consider the options that we have available to you, including important issues such as location, flexibility of service options, coordination options with churches and the cemetery you have chosen, and payment arrangements. We will help you with something that nobody ever expected to have to arrange – the funeral of your child. We want to encourage you to think carefully about different ways of preparing the funeral so that it will have a lasting significance for you and your family in saying farewell to your son or daughter. You should take as much time as you need over making these choices, without feeling hurried or under pressure: the decisions you make now will be with you forever. Be sure to make your memorial desires clear to us so that we are able to coordinate the schedule and other arrangements according to your wishes. Contact us. One of our consultants will be able to meet with you either in hospital, on your return home, or at one of our branches. Sonja Smith Funeral Group (Pty) Ltd is well known for our creative and unique presentations of infant and child funeral services. We create a meaningful funeral experience that will be remembered, empowering families to celebrate and acknowledge the life of their child, no matter how brief their life may have been. You have many choices in arranging the funeral. Arrangements for babies and children may be quite different from the way adult funerals are conducted. If you have lost a child, you have become a member of the most exclusive club in the world. You are not invited to join this club, neither do you want to be a member… Reach out, share your story with other parents who are new on this journey and keep your child’s memory alive. Sonja Smith has made it her Cause to address & change legislation in South Africa with regards to stillborn children who die before 26 weeks of gestation. If you wish to support her in her Cause, please send an e-mail to (At present, all fetuses stillborn before 26 weeks of gestation, is treated as medical waste and thrown away in red, anatomical containers together with amputated limbs, organs, etc., whereafter they are being incinerated at the medical waste plant). Click here to listen to Sonja’s Radio Talks on Baby Loss. Click here to watch Sonja’s Television Programmes on Baby Loss.

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After Care

Sonja Smith  Bereavement Care offers help and advice to those coming to terms with the death of a loved one as part of our funeral policy benefits. People deal with death and bereavement in many different ways. Sonja Smith Bereavement Care is there to care for the bereaved and to help those who have suffered the death of a friend or family member to understand their grief and cope with their loss.

Support Groups offer help and understanding to all bereaved parents who suffered the loss of a child/children irrespective of age, race or denomination.

The Support Group provides free support, information and advice, as well as training services.

We have a full range of CD’s Conversations on Grief by Braam Klopper available at all our branches.

Call 24/7 - 079 895 4414