An alarming number of mothers struggle to keep an adequate diaper supply for their babies, a new study reveals. While there’s government assistance available to provide food and housing for low income families, diaper assistance is hard to come by.
In a study of 877 low-income pregnant women and mothers in urban areas, 30 percent reported having diaper needs. The research appeared in the journal Pediatrics online on July 29.
Furthermore, the study’s researchers from Yale and the National Diaper Bank Network found that these mothers are stressed, which can lead to problems for their baby’s health and development.
“This study supports this premise with the suggestion that an adequate supply of diapers may prove a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health development,” researchers wrote.
Women who reported needing help supplying diapers said they’d ask to borrow money or diapers from friends, get diapers from an agency or stretch the diapers they had when confronted with the problem.
Not changing diapers frequently can lead to urinary tract infections and diaper rash, which often accompany trips to the doctor or emergency room.
According to government standards, 20 percent of Americans are living in poverty. There is significant help available for low-income families, including the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but diapers are not included.
Researchers estimate it costs $18 a week to adequately diaper one child. While cloth diapers are a good alternative, many low-income families don’t own washers and dryers and many Laundromats don’t allow people to wash diapers there.
The authors point out that pediatric providers have potential to find out if parents need diapers and can refer them to diaper distribution outlets to help reduce their stress.
The National Diaper Bank Network has donated more than 15 million diapers to 99 diaper banks in 33 states. Individuals can contact the network to find a nearby diaper bank, or get in touch with organizations such as United Way.
If you want to help mothers get diapers, consider hosting a diaper drive in your community.