Cradles for Cuddles

Supporting Families through Baby Loss

This fundraising initiative is the passion project of a group of Montreal mothers, including myself, who have experienced baby loss.

Désirée McGraw

There are no words to adequately express how devastating the death of a baby, whether before or shortly after birth, can be for families.

Support for these families can sometimes be scant and uneven. The Cradles for Cuddles fundraising campaign is hoping to be the first step in changing that.  Your donation will help the MUHC Foundation purchase Cuddle Cots,as well as provide families with emotional support and other resources needed to help them cope with the grief and trauma of losing a baby.

The Challenge


Parents who have lost a baby due to stillbirth, miscarriage, pregnancy termination, or after the birth, suffer what is called a perinatal or neonatal loss.  These parents feel the same way about their babies as all other parents; they love their child. Regardless of the death of their baby, they feel an emotional bond with their child. They want to examine their baby’s precious face, or gaze in awe at its tiny fingers and little toes the same way any parent does after waiting so long to meet their child.  Siblings, grandparents, cherished aunties and uncles race to meet this beautiful new baby.  The difference between most births and these ones is that the family must also confront saying goodbye at the same time.  An entire lifetime with their baby is spent in those treasured moments before they must surrender him or her back to the hospital.

As you can imagine, this time with their baby, the only time they will ever have with him or her, has a tremendous impact on their ability to say their goodbyes and grieve for their loss.  However, because of natural decomposition, families currently have limited time to stay with their baby. Sometimes there is not even time for close relatives to arrive at the hospital during the event, and sometimes that time is counted in minutes.  This race against the clock adds a layer of trauma to parents’ and families’ already enormous grief.

The Solution

Fortunately, there exist special cradles that keep a baby’s body cool, allowing families the cherished extra time they need—to say hello and goodbye—which can have a significant impact on healing from this painful experience.  These refrigerated cots are known as a Cuddle Cot, and are internationally recognized as “best practice” in hospitals around the world.  They provide parents and family members the opportunity to acknowledge the reality of their loss and honour the attachment they have with their baby, which are important aspects of the grieving process.  For younger siblings, this has been shown to substantially alleviate some of the anxiety and fear they experience with the suddenness of the loss, and helps them begin to work through the emotional complexity that comes with the death of a baby.

Already, this fundraising initiative has raised enough to purchase the first Cuddle Cot for the MUHC. We hope you will find it in your heart to help us raise even more, thus helping grieving parents honour their children who will never have the chance to lead the lives they were meant to.

How you can help

We are raising $30,000 to support the purchase of Cuddle Cot and to provide counselling for grieving parents.

For more information, please contact, Miguel Burnier, Director of Development, miguel.burnierjr@muhc.mcgill.ca, 514-934-1934, ext. 71205.

You can donate online, download our donation form or call us at 514-843-1543.

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