What is a Sunshine Baby?

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 11, 2021

There is nothing like the anticipation of welcoming a newborn into your family. Sadly, sometimes this excitement is cut short by a sudden loss of life. 

"Angel Baby," "Sunshine Baby," and "Rainbow Baby" are terms that refer to babies born just before or after another baby is lost due to a variety of reasons. They help immediate family members move through the grieving process and find meaning in the loss.

The "sunshine" symbol is often used to refer to calm moments before a storm. In the same way, a sunshine baby is one born before you encounter a loss. This loss may result from: 

  • Miscarriage: the loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 to 24 weeks
  • Stillbirth: a baby who is born without any signs of life at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy 
  • Ectopic pregnancy: a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus
  • Early infant death
  • Abortion

It can be easy to lose yourself in grief following the loss of a baby. It's easy to forget what you were able to do in the past. When you lose a baby to a miscarriage, a sunshine baby gives you a way to recollect how you were able, at one point, to bring a miracle into the world. 

A sunshine baby represents hope. They help you to believe that you can conceive a baby successfully. Your sunshine baby is a reminder that you are fully capable of keeping and delivering a healthy baby. 

Differences between Sunshine and Rainbow Baby

A rainbow baby is a baby that you have after the loss of a child. They act as a symbol of renewal and hope. The rainbow stands as a symbol of excitement.

Sunshine babies are kids born before a loss. They can bring light and happiness during your dark moments as a mother. Rainbow babies, on the other hand, can put you in a different set of mind as you look forward to hopeful renewal and the affirmation of new life.

When you lose a baby, you develop a permanent psychological scar. It is often difficult to imagine that you can have another baby. As a parent, the hope represented by a rainbow baby can help you confront and overcome the scar caused by your loss. 

Coping With Grief After Losing Your Baby

Discussing how you feel after your loss can be comforting. You can talk to your partner, family, and friends. Consider consulting a professional to talk with them about how you feel.

Different types of trained professionals are here to help you cope.  

Your health provider. Your doctor or other health provider is essential in helping you to understand the cause of your baby's death. They can also help you find professionals like social workers and grief counselors. Your doctor will be there to support you as you prepare for another pregnancy. They can also help you receive proper treatment if you have depression. 

A social worker. This is a mental health specialist who will help you to improve your psychological well-being. A social worker will enable you to deal with grief as they help you deal with the underlying medical, funeral, and insurance fees that the loss of your child generated.

A spiritual leader. You can talk to your spiritual leader about your loss. The leader will comfort you and offer you hope in your grief to improve your spiritual outlook.

Talk about the loss with your young children. Children who are too young to understand death may want to know why, as a parent, you are distressed. Explain to them in an age-appropriate manner what happened. This allows children to develop a sense of the situation in a healthy way by integrating your lost baby into their understanding of family.

Life After Having Your Sunshine Baby

Losing a baby can change your dreams and hopes for the future as a parent. Some people recommend that you should get "over it," which is not helpful advice for a bereaved parent. The overwhelming feelings you experience are normal. They will lessen as time passes.

Talk with friends, relatives, and advisors who can help you to cope as you move forward. When you feel low, you should talk with people. Emotional support from close relatives and loving friends can be a short-term means to help you through your grief.

Show Sources



Saying Goodbye: “Medical Terms around Baby Loss.”

SleepBaby: “What Is a Rainbow Baby? Everything to Know”, “What Is a Sunshine Baby?”

The Lullaby Trust: “Grieving and common feelings after a baby’s death.”

Walk In Sunshine: “Five Things You Should Know About Rainbow Babies.”

ZERO TO THREE: “Coping With Loss During Pregnancy or Soon After Birth.”

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