According to HealthDay News on Monday, a new survey of low-income moms has found that many struggle to afford to enough diapers to regularly change their babies.
The study, published online July 29 and in the August print issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that one in 12 low-income moms stretches diaper supplies by leaving their babies and toddlers in in them after they’ve been soiled, a practice which can lead to skin and urinary tract infections.
Study author Megan Smith, a Yale psychiatrist who also directs the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers Partnership, says there are cases where moms are taking off a diaper, scooping what in it, and putting it back on a child.
Beyond the immediate health impacts of those practice, Smith says diaper needs appears to have other important ripple effects, as well. Most of the time, mothers are expected to bring their own diapers to daycare, but if they can’t, they have to miss out on school and work.
Government assistance programs like food stamps and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) help families afford some grocery and food supplies, but they don’t cover diapers.
For the study, Smith and her team surveyed 900 low-income women pregnant women and mothers in the New Haven area. Along with questions about mental health, health care use and basic needs like food and housing, researchers asked the women that if they had children in diapers, if they ever feel they can’t change them as often as they would like due to financial reasons and having to make them stretch.
Around 30 percent of women who had children in diapers reported that they didn’t always have enough. Of those, 10 percent relied on donations from family and friends, 10 percent sought diapers from an agency or diaper bank, and another three percent turned to other sources, such as a church, for help.
An expert who was not involved in the research called the study “fascinating and eye-opening” and said there may be time for the government to look at the programs it offers and readdress what it offers and evaluate what low-income families need.
There are other options available, such as renting out cloth diapers, but they aren’t widely available and for families without access to a washer and dryer, they may not be a logical option.
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to receive (spam free) email notifications for top news articles.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
Got something to say? Say it on Examiner by following this link to sign up.
©2013 Emily M. Sutherlin. All Rights Reserved.