At what age should a new baby be baptised?
At what age should a new baby be baptised?
As soon as possible after birth. That is as far as the Church has decreed on the matter. What exact age this means for you will depend on your particular circumstances. Most people around here seem to interpret it as within about 3 months. There are plenty of babies being baptised older than that, but at least in the churches where I’ve been a regular, they’re mostly from non-practising families.
I waited until my daughter was 2 months old because that was Easter Sunday, I wouldn’t have wanted to have it much later but equally I couldn’t have had it much earlier (even though I had prepared everything beforehand with the parish priest) as we had a difficult labour and birth then she was ill then I was ill.
Talk to your priest and try to see whether you can go through all the baptism prep before the birth (believe me, it’s much easier to conentrate when you don’t have the baby there to look after!), then get organising a date and planning! It’s really not that much extra work to plan on top of all the stuff you’ll be doing to get ready for the baby anyway. Good luck!
Actually, what Canon #867 says is: Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first hew weeks.
The “as soon as possible after the birth” refers to something else -
As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.
It has, traditionally, been taken that babies should be baptized within two - three weeks after their birth.
Our first two were baptized by 3 weeks old, our youngest by 4-5 weeks. It probably took us a little more time to get organized for the last one because having kids seems to make everything take just a little more time. For example, I used to be 10-15 minutes early for everything before I had kids. Now, I arrive with only a minute to spare or right on time. :)Or, it could be that that is just when our Church scheduled baptisms. All mine are January babies and we wanted each baby baptized before Lent began, otherwise it would be way too long to wait for baptism, so maybe that it just how the schedule went. I really don’t remember.
Thank you for your help.
I don’t really see how it would be possible to get the baby baptised a few weeks after the birth, as that would mean planning the date before the birth, and the baby could come up to two weeks after the due date. But I really don’t want to wait too long.
Yes, that is correct, you would plan the date before birth. Just go to the required class a few months before the baby is due. Then plan to have the baby baptized within a couple of weeks after the due date. If the baby is late, change your plans and just go with his/her schedule instead.
as soon as possible, call your parish to make arrangments, and take preparation classes if required. These classes can be taken before the child is born so parents and godparents, take note.
Talk with your Pastor or the person at the parish charged with scheduling baptisms. If your parish does baptisms within the context of mass like mine does, they might want to schedule multiple baptisms for the same Mass. Just my 2 cents, but if you have this opportunity, take it. Having your child initiated into the community of faith is so much nicer when the community is present!
Also, since this is Lent, your parish/priest might want to hold off until the Easter season.
My daughter is pregnant with my granddaughter. Our deacon suggested she and her husband go to the baptism class before the baby is born because after she is born they will be tired and busy with visiting doctors and family and resting. So they are doing the prep work, filling out forms etc this weekend. The baby is due on July 12. I don’t know the date of the baptism yet, but yes, you can schedule it ahead of time. Just like we are planning a baby shower for June.
But this would be impossible to organise. The God parents will have organised the day off work (all of the people I am close to, like me, work in health care and hence work weekends). I wouldn’t be able to get them to change their rota at such short notice.
Thank you all so much for your help and advice.
I see your difficulty now, though you might still be able to pick the weekend 2-3 weeks after the due date and tentatively plan for that date. Then, if the baby doesn’t arrive on his/her due date (or on nearby dates), you could work from there, perhaps? (I don’t know about scheduling in the healthcare field, how far out or near one can make schedule changes without problems, etc., so maybe I am all wet with that suggestion.) At the very least, classses could be attended and paperwork completed at Church prior to the birth.
Thank you. I think though that I may go a bit further in the future and pick say a weekend 6 weeks beyond the due date - that way, baby will definitely be here!
That is a very good plan, indeed sometimes parishes make it difficult to get the baptism done 2-3 weeks after the birth. My first was baptized 3-4 weeks old and the second more like 5 weeks old because he came 11 days early and we had already picked a date because godparents had to fly in. (FYI most doctors won’t let you go much more than a week overdue so you could probably safely schedule it for 4 weeks out and then it wouldn’t be so late if the baby came early, and still 3 weeks out if the baby comes late).
You could have proxies stand for the baby if the godparents were not able to get the day off. I was a proxy for a godparent at a baptism because the baby’s aunt could not get there in time. No problem.
Do whatever you need to get the baby baptized as soon as possible. Your parish will help you if you have any problems.
Thank you all for your help.
I think that it is really important for the relationship between the baby and the Godparents that the Godparents actually attend.
Delivering up to 2 weeks past the due date does the baby no harm, and I wouldn’t agree to be induced until I was at least 42 weeks. And I am a doctor.