What do you think of when you hear the term “diaper need”? Not having enough diapers for the day, week or month? Did you know, that 1 in 3 U.S. families struggle to provide clean diapers for their baby? And of those, 3 out of 5 are more likely to miss work or school because of diaper need. That’s because parents often can’t drop off their babies at daycare without providing an adequate amount of diapers. Besides the physical need of struggling to provide a basic necessity for a baby, the emotional stress weighs heavily on parents, too.
The National Diaper Bank Network and founding sponsor Huggies recently announced a study, Diaper Need and Its Impact on U.S. Families, revealing that 1 in 3 U.S. families (36%) continue to struggle with diaper need – the struggle to provide enough diapers to keep a baby or toddler clean, dry and healthy. The study also found that roughly 3 in 4 of all families (73%) feel they’re not being good parents when their children are left too long in a dirty diaper, while 1 in 3 households in need experience feeling stressed or overwhelmed by diapering always or often. Daycare facilities require that parents supply disposable diapers and wipes for their children.
A common misconception is that the struggle for diaper need only affects those that are using government assistance. However, the reality is that with 1 in 3 families struggling with diaper need, that means your neighbors, family and friends might also be impacted. The appearance of having the basic requirements of shelter, food and clothing can mask the struggle of diaper need existing in that home. As part of a national mothers group with a local chapter, I was able to recently inquire a small group of moms if diaper need had affected them. The mothers come from various social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The following are few of their experiences with diaper need:
“It was really jarring to me to realize that we were running out of diapers while we were in between paychecks. I’m a stay-at-home mom to a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 6-month-old and my husband worked as a construction foreman. Though we had a nice home, two cars, healthy children, and my husband received a steady paycheck, we were still struggling. He would get paid twice a month—15th and 30th—so after our monthly expenses like the mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc. were paid, it left us a small amount to cover for food and basic supplies like diapers. We would purchase the big diaper boxes that contained more diapers, but babies can go through them quickly. The simple fact was that sometimes we ran out of diapers while we were waiting for my husband’s next paycheck, and sometimes that could be over a week. We would end up asking my parents or in-laws to purchase diapers (and any other basic supplies we were needing) to hold us over until the next paycheck. It was always an embarrassing and stressful situation to be in every few months.” Allison, 35, Oregon
“I’m a single mom to 3 children, one of them being a 10-month-old. I’m college educated and have a good job as legal secretary. However, the recent divorce from the father of my children, really hit our family hard. In the midst of our divorce, my ex-husband was laid off from his job. Going from a two income household to one income was very difficult and life-changing. We had to quickly sell our home (at a loss) because without my ex-husband’s income, we could no longer afford the mortgage. The savings we had accumulated together during our marriage, was now being used for moving expenses and so the kids and I could move into an apartment that was still located within their school district. My ex-husband moved back in with his parents and I was forced to now try to pay for everything on my own. There were times when I didn’t have enough money to stretch until I got paid next. Being with my company for a long time, they were understanding and offered me advances on my paychecks. Yet, there were still times when I couldn’t make funds stretch anymore and I would need help with diapers and groceries. It was in those times that I would contact a local food bank warehouse. They had partnerships with local businesses, religious organizations and a diaper bank so I was able to get food supplies, diapers and wipes directly from the food bank. I felt ashamed walking in there because I thought I was taking supplies from those less fortunate then myself. But everytime I went, I noticed that most people were like me…single moms, 2 working parents, elderly…we were all in the same boat…just needing some help to get by.” Regina, 29, Michigan
“No one wants to admit that they need help with anything related to their household or the care of their children. If you are middle-class, have a house, a car, a spouse and some kids, I feel like you want to keep up appearances. We are the ones that coordinate food drives, give to charities, donate to families experiencing a loss, and we are the ones that give to others. It’s gut-wrenching to know that you are living paycheck to paycheck and that you can’t maintain a high balance in your savings account because you often need to use it for monthly incidentals. From diapers to needing gas in the car, the struggle that can occur monthly for families is very real and can feel very disheartening.” Maria, 25, Florida
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Diaper banks are a great resource for families in need. It costs approximately $936.00 per year to provide diapers for a newborn baby. As the founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network since 2011, Huggies No Baby Unhugged has provided ongoing support for the organization and has donated more than 200 million diapers and baby wipes, including critical donations during times of crisis.
- Choose any of the ways to give back via the National Diaper Bank Network at http://nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/ways-to-give/
- Donate your Huggies Rewards Points to the National Diaper Bank Network by visiting Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged
- Host and sponsor an event (baby shower, diaper drive, food drive, back to school)
- Fundraise or volunteer at a local diaper bank
- Sponsor a local family in need
- Support the National Diaper Bank Network by making a monetary contribution at nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org
The fight against diaper need to keep children clean, dry and healthy affects us all. The widespread struggle impacts finances, schools, jobs and the family structure. Regardless of background or income, its our responsibility to help our local communities and families, who are struggling with this necessity. Together we can all truly make a difference!
Huggies – the fastest growing diaper brand in U.S. hospitals – believes deeply in the Power of Hugs, which is why every diaper and wipe is inspired by a parent’s embrace. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged program helps ensure all babies get the hugs they need to thrive by supporting hugging programs in hospitals and donating diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network that supports diaper banks across the country. Learn how you can help at Huggies.com/NoBabyUnhugged. #HuggiesCouncil #ad