Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diaper Drama

I am an honest person, I tell it like I see it, and I'll call my friends out when they're putting on a front and pretending to be someone they're not. I've been writing here (sporadically) for a year now, and I guess it's only fair that I remain honest about myself.

Now that I've put that out there, I'm going to talk about the real reason for this post.

I want to talk about diapers.

I know, boooring...(or groooosss) whatever. I don't want to talk about what goes in them, but about the mothers and families living in poverty who sometimes have to choose between diapers and putting food on their tables.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadian moms have had to choose between clean diapers and putting food on the table? In a study done by Huggies, some mothers admit cleaning out used diapers and putting them back on their children. The Huggies site says:
"Moms struggling against diaper need are more likely to miss work or school, stay home when they need to go out, or keep their babies out of daycare—which usually requires a full day's supply of disposable diapers. Without enough diapers for routine changes, moms feel distressed and find parenting even more difficult."

These nameless, faceless mothers might seem very far away from where you live, but I want to tell you that they are closer than you expect. And I want to tell you about a way that we can help.

Huggies has a program called "Every Little Bottom", and the purpose of this program is to collect diapers for those families who have to choose between diapers and food. This year, "every little bottom" will be sending almost 500,000 diapers to food banks across Canada, and they want to raise awareness about this issue.

This is very personal for me, because last year when my husband enrolled in Teacher's College, we had very carefully budgeted our expenses so that both he and I could go to school. Early in 2010, we learned that a donor who had pledged us $5000 had backed out, and we wouldn't be receiving any more money (we had received $1500 in the fall but were still counting on $3500). This problem meant that I needed to use the food bank for 3 months so that my little son and myself would have food. The food bank was great in that area, but with C being 15 months old, he was still in diapers, and the diapers I received from the food bank lasted us maybe a week if I used them sparingly.
I didn't have money to buy cloth diapers (as I didn't have money for meat or milk) and laundry was done as infrequently as I could because it cost almost $5 to do a full load (wash and dry). This program will help families like ours be able to use the little money they have on other necessities.

I found out about this program through the Yummy Mummy Club, and some of the comments written on their article about every little bottom said that people in need should just use cloth diapers:
"You can cloth diaper a child from newborn to potty training for just a few hundred dollars, and those diapers can be used for subsequent children. Environmental issues aside, disposable diapers are a luxury and i hate to think children are going without food for their parents convenience."

I'm sorry, but for a family who is living from paycheck to paycheck, where is that few hundred dollars supposed to come from? After living like that for a time, I've come to have a lot more respect and compassion for the families who are forced into choices they would rather not make. (such as feeding formula because the mom needs to work, or using disposable diapers, or going to the food bank.)

This comment from ymc_candace put my thoughts perfectly:
"Disposable diapers are not a luxury, they are often a necessity. Most daycares do not allow cloth diapers. Additionally, if you are financially strapped there's a good chance you don't have a washer/dryer at home. Which presents another hurdle...most public laundromats do not allow cloth diapers to be washed for hygenic reasons. Then there are the mothers that are transient, escaping from abusive relationships. These mothers would find it difficult to use cloth diapers. There are countless reasons why cloth is not always practical. Local food banks, shelters and aid agencies could probably name more than I could ever.

There is a time and place for the cloth vs. disposable debate and I don't think this is it. I will say this though, I think that helping people is never wrong...either way.

I appreciate that you'd like to help people in need and I do believe there are many mothers who would love to use cloth instead of disposable if their circumstances permit. I'm sure your local food bank would not refuse a donation of cloth diapers should you be so inspired."

This program was not created to force people to buy more Huggies diapers, it was created to help out families like mine that don't have the ability to choose cloth. Maybe families who receive help now will give help down the road, and maybe some families will be able to choose cloth for their next child (we're hoping to use cloth with our next beans) but right now, let's help people where they have needs.

That's all I'm asking.

Every Little Bottom 2.png


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