Sometimes I read something interesting and it sticks with me, nagging me to act. This article from Kveller (Mayim Bialik’s blog) has been doing just that. The author discusses how she overheard women at the store discussing how WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) covers the cost of SOME formula, but not enough to keep their babies full, so they were going to start supplementing cereal to make up the difference. This quote really stuck with me:
And then I began to feel angry: with myself, for living complacently in a place where a working mother with government assistance is still unable to adequately feed her child; with the state, for sustaining this impossible scenario; and, frankly, with other mothers, for wasting time (so much time!) judging rather than helping, with challenges rather than solutions.
When did feeding your baby become a privilege? Mikey going hungry has never crossed my mind because 1) S. and I would go hungry first, 2) we have the resources to find a solution, 3) we have family who can help us whenever and however. We realize (especially after 2 layoffs since I was pregnant with Mike) that not everyone is as lucky as we are and while we worry about finances like everyone else, we don’t have to worry about anything regarding Mike. Nor will we ever have to.
I’ve been looking at a half used box of diapers that didn’t work for Mike and I finally got around to trying to find a place to donate them. I have found something else that is unacceptable to me.
Food stamps can’t be used to buy diapers.
I’ll say it again.
Food stamps can’t be used to buy diapers.
It’s 9AM and Mike has already gone through 2 diapers. I just packed up his required daycare bin with a large stock of diapers. If we were taking advantage of free or subsidized childcare and couldn’t afford disposable diapers, Mike couldn’t go. Imagine waiting for a paycheck to buy diapers, but not being able to send your kid to daycare until you do. You would miss MORE work resulting in a smaller paycheck. All because of a pack of diapers.
I did some research on an infant’s diaper habits and found an average infant goes through 12 diapers a day and a toddler uses about 8. Let’s say Mike uses 12 a day. We order our diapers from Amazon because we have access to a credit card and the internet. I shopped around just now and found Pampers Swaddlers (his usual) in a size 4 for $44.00 with free 2 day shipping because we are Prime members. It’s a 144 pack, which means that’s enough diapers for about 12 days assuming he doesn’t have any blow outs. 31 days in March, so to be safe we would need to order 3 boxes. Do the math – $132 for enough diapers for 1 month. This obviously doesn’t include the cost of wipes or diaper rash cream.
Now imagine not having the resources to ‘shop around’. I looked at our local Walgreens circular because it is walking distance from our apartment. The same pack of diapers are a few dollars more ($50), but without a car I am bundling Mike up, putting him in the stroller and walking across 3 busy roads. And I doubt I would have $150 a month handy, so I would be making this trip 3 times a month.
So what are these low income families doing? Making those diapers last as long as possible by ‘scooping out the waste’ and reusing the diaper or leaving a diaper on as long as possible. Any parent knows what leaving a wet diaper on a baby does – diaper rash and discomfort. This is totally and completely unacceptable.
I found that there is a thriving diaper bank in the DC Metro area where I live. They have lots of drop off points and volunteers. I grew up in rural Maryland (Delmarva Peninsula) and asked my Facebook friends if there was a resources like a diaper bank and there were a few options, but nothing specifically for diapers.
So what’s up with this long rambling post? I have a nagging feeling to do something about this diaper situation. I turn 31 next month and want to collect 3,100 diapers (get it?) for low income families by March 31st and I need your help. Click the tab at the top of the page titled 12 4 1 to find out how you can help me reach my goal.
Guys? Clean diapers are not a privilege and a parent shouldn’t worry about how to make a pack of diapers last until payday.