This story was shared with permission as part of our effort to document the issue of diaper need and what it means to American families. To protect the family’s privacy, identifying information has not been disclosed. The baby in the photo is from the family below.
How many children do you have? What are their ages?
We have five of our own plus an extra. Their ages are 8, 6, 4, 2, 6 months and our extra is 1 yr 4 months.
Why is your family experiencing diaper need?
I started cloth diapering 8 years ago with our first child. By getting used cloth diapers with what was given to me at our baby shower. We are now on baby #5 and we have taken in an “extra” because his mother (who I’ve known since I was a teenager) is not able to care for him. So that leaves me with three children (ages 2, 1, and 6 months) in cloth diapers. My stash consists of about half econo bum that I have bought over the last 4 months 1 at a time each paycheck and the rest is made up of the mixed varieties of used diapers bought w/ my first child. These diapers have been through 5 children and they were used when I bought them. Most of them have just about reached the end of their lifespan, and we are struggling with the choice of washing diapers twice a day to scrap by and have enough or to try to skimp on the bills to buy disposables to fill in the gaps. Most paychecks I buy either a cover or a pack of prefolds to replace one of the worn out cloth diapers we have and try to keep up with laundry. At this rate we should have a reasonable number of cloth diapers for all three kids by next year if we’re lucky. When I have to buy disposables I juggle bills, skipping trash one check, electric the next so that I can pay trash and so on.
Are you experiencing diaper need? We are working to raise awareness about this issue and would like to hear your story. If you are in St. Louis, Missouri, you may also qualify for assistance with cloth diapers through the Share The Love cloth diaper bank.
Why would access to diapers (cloth or disposable) help you?
If I had help getting diapers my electric bill would go down, It would be so much less stressful (and really when you’re changing three diapers at a time less stress is needed). And we wouldn’t have to buy disposables at all anymore.
How are you currently paying for diapers?
I’m paying for diapers by not paying for other things.
Are you now or have you ever had to choose between buying diapers and any of the following:
Answer: Utility Bills
Diaper need is a serious issue facing as many as one in three families with a baby wearing diapers. Recent studies showed that 1 in 20 disposable diapers is reused and that families facing diaper need are often choosing between diapers and essentials like food, utilities, or child care. Some readers may want to help the family profiled in this blog post. If that’s you, please respond appropriately in the comments below. Thank you.