The moment you decide to expand your family, your mentality transforms. You are no longer thinking singularly. You begin thinking like a mother. Everything becomes about what is best for your family, and what is best for your hopeful, soon-to-be baby. And when you finally see that faint second line of a positive pregnancy test, your whole world changes in the happiest way. There is nothing you wouldn’t do to protect your growing child.
But then there are devastatingly heartbreaking times when a mother loses a baby–during pregnancy or afterward. Her world changes yet again, but this time she feels like she’s been swallowed whole and spit back out. She wonders how her heart is still beating because it feels like it has shattered into a million tiny pieces. And with time, if those families decide to try again for another baby, how scary it must be. But also, how strong and brave they are. This next baby will be one they will cherish, worry over, and appreciate forever.
What is a rainbow baby?
A rainbow baby is a term coined for a child born to a family who has previously lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or other death during infancy. These subsequent pregnancies and births bring very strong mixed emotions of fear, anxiety, worry, and guilt, but also immense joy, hope, reflection, and healing. These babies are looked at as beautiful rainbows after suffering through a terrible storm.
Why rainbow baby parents need support.
There is nothing worse for a parent than losing a child. Whether during pregnancy or after, losing a dream, a life, and what could have been, is something that no parent wishes on anyone. But when it happens, these parents need immense support. They need to be held, heard, and loved. Even though it may be uncomfortable for you as an outsider, and you may not know the right thing to do or say, imagine how difficult it is for the suffering parents. Imagine how alone they must feel. And then realize how incredibly brave they are if they decide to try again in hopes for another chance of a healthy baby. These parents have suffered the unimaginable and they deserve every bit of love and support we have to give.
The importance of talking about pregnancy and infant loss.
In our recent history, difficult conversations like these were swept under the rug and were considered taboo. Too painful and too uncomfortable to discuss. But when families are unable to express their grief and pain, they are also unable to heal and grow. This is why we’re grateful that care culture is shifting, encouraging families to share their stories of loss. Their babies should never feel forgotten. And it’s important to let grieving parents know that the babies they carry in their hearts are just as cherished as the ones they carry in their arms. By encouraging them to share their stories and opening up these conversations, we are also helping to create a more supportive culture for families who will experience a loss in the future.
Celebrating the rainbow after the storm.
Families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss have said that their rainbow babies feel like the biggest miracles. They feel as if they have been holding their breath ever since their loss, through their entire pregnancy. Some felt as though they couldn’t fully celebrate this new child until they held their crying baby in their arms. A rainbow after a storm is the perfect metaphor for these babies. And a rainbow is a beautiful way to honor the loss of a child, but also celebrate the new one.
A brand that I have loved for years, Love to Dream™, is beautifully celebrating Rainbow Babies. Not only do I recommend Love to Dream™ products to my clients, but we also used their swaddles nightly for my own son when he was a baby. Love to Dream™ has recently released a limited edition Rainbow SWADDLE UP, which was designed to help parents celebrate their Rainbow Babies.
The Love to Dream™ Swaddle UP
Wrapping baby in a traditional swaddle is often difficult for new parents. They struggle with making the swaddle too tight (ouch) or too loose (not useful!). Traditional swaddle blankets can also be confusing to parents who have never used them before, especially as they struggle to calm a crying baby in the middle of the night. Love to Dream™ has revolutionized swaddling so that every parent can swaddle correctly, every time, ensuring that baby will consistently have safer, more comfortable sleep. Love to Dream™ creates one-of-a-kind sleep products for every chapter of a young child’s life. I used all of their swaddles with my son, and I can attest that they really are easy, helpful, and do work to create better nights.
Their new, limited edition Rainbow SWADDLE UP has the same features that we love about their original swaddle design:
- Unique patented wings allow natural ARMS UP™ position
- The only zip-up swaddle that allows baby to sleep in a more natural position with arms UP. ARMS UP™ allows true SELF-SOOTHING™ = more sleep
- Swaddle in seconds with no breakouts
- Wings prevent face-scratching and may reduce the risk of your baby accidentally rolling onto their belly
- Snug fit makes your baby feel secure and helps to calm their natural startle reflex
- Single-layer of fabric to reduce the risk of overheating
- Certified ‘hip-healthy’ design allows the recommended flexion for hips & legs
- Genius two-way zipper for easy diaper changes — great for nighttime diaper changes!
- No excess loose fabric in the crib or layers to kick off during sleep
- Available in 3 sizes: Newborn (5-8.5 lbs), Small (8-13 lbs) & Medium (13-19 lbs)
- Easy care: machine wash on gentle, tumble dry on low
Love to Dream™’s Commitment to Safe Sleep
Along with creating safe sleep products that ease parents’ worries and make nighttime parenting easier, Love to Dream™ is committed to continued education on safe sleep practices. Every baby, and especially our Rainbow Babies, is loved and cherished. Safe sleep habits help to consistently keep babies safe so that the entire family can get some much-needed rest. Parent education is included with each product, and the Love to Dream™ website has a host of information and resources for parents on safe sleep practices. They remind parents that safe sleep consists of:
- Newborns near to parents, in the beginning, sharing a room, but not a bed or sleeping space
- In a safety-certified overnight sleep space
- On a firm mattress with a fitted sheet, without any loose blankets, pillows, or toys
- Away from cords, window coverings, or electronics that could one day be reached
- Not exposed to any cigarette smoke
- In a well ventilated and temperature-controlled room
- Put on his or her back to sleep
- Dressed in clothing that fits snuggly, never loose
- Not overdressed or with blankets too thick, if it is cold, an extra layer should be added underneath the swaddle
- Swaddled safely in the SWADDLED UP for all sleep, even naps
- A pacifier can further help to prevent SIDS, especially if baby hasn’t found his hands yet
The Rainbow SWADDLE UP
August 22 is National Rainbow Baby Day. This day of celebration and remembrance offers mothers a chance to share their experiences, grieve, reflect, and celebrate the joy for their rainbow babies. Love to Dream™ is doing its part to celebrate with these families. For every Rainbow SWADDLE UP purchase, $5 will be donated to First Candle, a charity providing support for families struggling through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. What a beautiful way to celebrate the rainbow babies in the world with better nights and safe sleep, as well as to give back to the families who are suffering from loss. Whether you’re celebrating your own sweet rainbow baby this year or walking along the side of a friend who’s experienced a loss, let us all do our part to support these families who are in the thick of a horrific storm, hoping to see their rainbow on the other side.