Research shows that new moms can’t afford enough diapers for their children. The first years of childhood are laden with stress for many moms. They worry when their children will sleep through the night, if they are doing okay as mothers and if their kids are getting enough nutrition, but many mothers are now finding that they simply cannot afford enough diapers for their children.
A study that was published on Monday in Pediatrics has found that almost 30 percent of women have a need for diapers for their babies. Additionally, eight percent of the survey participants reported that they needed to stretch the number of diapers so they can last, which means that they aren’t changing their children’s diapers as frequently as health guidelines suggest.
Some mothers have even been forced to leave diapers on too long, or re-use diapers. This practice can cause diaper rash and urinary tract infections in babies. The authors of the study say that these effects aren’t just bad for children, but mothers suffer, too. According to research, 30 percent of the survey participants reported that they experience some type of emotional worry, stress or depression about diapers, and this stress can have an effect on children.
Joanne Goldblum, with the National Diaper Bank Network, and one of the study authors has said that stress and depression in mothers can affect a child’s development. When parents are stressed and can’t spend essential time reading, talking and playing with their children, this causes stress, which provides an immediate link between child development and stress.
Two of the other study authors are also affiliated with the National Diaper Bank Network, which is sponsored in part by Huggies.
Goldblum has reported that she wasn’t surprised at all by the study results. She says that when she started the diaper bank, it was as a social worker. She saw that families were re-using diapers. She saw families that would remove the diaper, get rid of the solids and re-use the diaper. Another common technique, she says, was to hang the diaper and air it so they could re-use it later.
It might be surprising to some, but when people consider that the average weekly supply of diapers runs about $18, which adds up to about $936 a year. A single mother that works full time making minimum wage might make about $15,000 a year, which means that diapers take up over six percent of her yearly income.
Goldblum has said that inability to afford diapers doesn’t just affect the very poor. Many people often have more than one child that is diapers at a time. Sometimes, it can cost as much as $80 a month for one child. When this is multiplied by two and even three, the cost can be pretty high and this adds stress to many families.
Without enough essential supplies, working moms face even more problems because day cares will most often require that parents send the children with diapers. Cloth diapers might be an option for some families, but for many they are out of the question because many day care providers do not allow them, and laundromats don’t let people wash cloth diapers in their machines.
According to the study results, Hispanic women are almost two times as likely as African-American woment to report a need for diapers. Although the study didn’t consider why, Goldblum has said that it’s a group of people that is undocumented, and that makes them less likely to look for help, because of the lack of documentation.
Additionally, women that were over 45, and likely grandparents that were raising their children’s babies, were found to have the highest need for diapers. Grandparents may not be working as much and they didn’t expect that they would have children, which means that they weren’t ready for them. It is even possible that they have less money available to spend on these things.
For those in need of diapers, or those that want to donate diapers, the National Diaper Bank Network can help parents to locate their nearest diaper bank.