Stories Needed: Have you ever had to choose between diapers and food?

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Nine years ago, armed only with a $30 weekly grocery budget and a WIC check, my family was facing the choice between diapers and food. A generous gift enabled us to begin cloth diapering our newborn son when he was four days old. Eight weeks later, we used $100 to start what is now known today as Cotton Babies. The business has grown extensively since then and, today, is a multi-million dollar company employing around 100 people in Missouri, Colorado and Washington. We manufacture bumGenius, Flip and Econobum; three of the best selling cloth diaper brands in the world.

Because of our family’s history, my passion is enabling needy families to have easy access to diapers. Believing that WIC and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – aka: food stamps) are the ideal way to provide this access, I had several meetings last year with senior-level staffers at both organizations. Everyone has acknowledged the depth of the need, but said that it would take an act of Congress to enable either of these agencies to take any action. Existing legislation confines both agencies to items surrounding nutrition.

According to a recent study, one out of three families is choosing between diapers and food, utilities, or child care.1

I’ve since found a memo written by a team of attorneys. These attorneys were tasked with examining various government programs to find one that could easily respond to the issue of diaper need. Their evaluation uncovered the same issues I’d been finding in my conversations with various agencies. For most agencies, any ability to respond to diaper need would require a major change to legislation and, in some cases, complete restructuring of agencies. This memo did point to one ray of hope though: The Child Care and Development Block Grant. This grant subsidizes childcare for impoverished children.

The DIAPER Act modifies this grant and, without appropriating any additional funds, enables the childcare provider to receive reimbursement for diapers (cloth or disposable) provided to children of parents receiving subsidized childcare through the grant. Currently, women who qualify for subsidized child care may not be able to buy enough diapers to allow their child to take advantage of the subsidy. With this change, they would have the diapers they need to use subsidized child care so they can actually go to school or get a job.

The author of the DIAPER Act, Representative Rosa DeLauro, shares my passion for families experiencing diaper need. Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with her to discuss how we can work together to push her DIAPER Act forward. DeLauro and her team believe passionately in the purpose behind this bill, but, to move it forward, we need your help. The Act is supported by research, statistics, and some legislators. Unfortunately, the information being provided to legislators and the media is missing the human element… stories about people like you. Statistics don’t tell stories. Only you can put a face with those numbers.


I’ll be returning to Washington, D.C. in a few weeks to meet again with her team. I’d like to arrive at that meeting with a stack of your stories in a binder. Your face, your baby’s face, your story, where you live, your desire to help your family be in a better place, and how the need to buy diapers impacts your ability to get that job done. Tell your story through the story collector I’ve put together using Survey Monkey. I’ll use your stories to continue building a case for the DIAPER Act in Washington, D.C. and, with your permission, I’ll share them through this blog.

We also need to build awareness, both in the general public and in Congress. Please use the power of your social network to help build a buzz around this topic.

  • Tweet about this issue. One in three families is choosing between diapers and something essential like food, utilities, or childcare.
  • “LIKE” this page and share it on Facebook.
  • Ask friends to share their story.
  • Blog about this issue.
  • CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS AND TELL THEM ABOUT THIS BILL. Please ask your legislators to co-sponsor the bill. You can find instructions and talking points here: http://diaperdifference.org/archives/category/advocacy
  • Photographers are needed to document the realities faced by families dealing with diaper need. Please reach out to your community, find a family with a story to tell, and tell that family’s story through photos. Select photos and stories may be shared through this blog.
  • Media / Interview requests should to be directed for scheduling to my assistant, Rita Sciaroni.
  • Finally, Help A Mother Out created the petition encouraging members of Congress and the President of The United States to support the DIAPER ACT. They have accumulated over 27,000 signatures to date. Please sign their petition here: Support The DIAPER Act.

Remember, every journey is taken in hard-fought steps. While this step doesn’t take care of every family or every baby, it helps some and, perhaps more importantly, opens an important dialogue about an essential issue.

Every baby deserves to have a clean bottom.

I know that I have an army of moms standing over my shoulder. Thank you for your help. I look forward to working together to take better care of babies by enabling needy families to have access to the diapers they need.

Kindest regards,

Jenn

P.S. For those wondering if this bill allows access to cloth diapers… it does. Each state has health and licensing regulations that may govern the use of cloth diapers in childcare facilities. Where the states allow, cloth diapers will be covered. If your state doesn’t allow the use of cloth diapers in childcare facilities, you may need to begin taking some action of your own to get that situation resolved. Remember, you can bring change too. Research the regulations in your state. If the regulations don’t allow cloth diapers in child care facilities, pick up the phone, and start asking questions. Those regulations were likely written years ago, when the only voice was that of disposable diaper companies. Today, the internet has given you easy access to information and a way to use your voice. Use it.

1http://www.huggies.com/assets/huggies-2010-every-little-bottom-study.PDF

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Comments
41 Responses to “Stories Needed: Have you ever had to choose between diapers and food?”
  1. Charlotte says:

    I love the US. The people in this country are hard working and very rarely complain about their lives. That being said, diapers, oddly enough, is something that makes me angry. I’m originally from Norway, my son was born in Norway. Diapers there are about $5 / packet. But wages are TWICE what they are here in the US. Heck in 2010, there were “diaper wars” in Norway, and packs of diapers were as low as $1 / pack. If diaper companies (Pampers was one of them) can afford to do that in a country with less than 5 million inhabitants, where they have to pay twice the hourly wage, then why not in the US? It is INSANE that a person on minimum wage should have to work one hour to pay for one pack of diapers (or more now that prices have gone up). In the same time in Norway, I could have gotten 3 packs of diapers.

    Gladly, I did not have to spend my money on many diapers. We got 24 Bum Genius diapers, costing us $400. But the local municipality has a “less diaper waste” program, and sponsored $200, so in the end, I paid $200 for 24 BG diapers. It is now 2 1/2 years later, and my son has been potty trained for 6 months+. But the diapers are still in use: Our 8 month old daughter is now wearing them. We still have to use disposables overnight, cloth just can’t handle the ahem, load. And I cringe every time I have to fork over $25 for 52 diapers. The same diapers that would cost at least half of that in a country where wages are twice what they are in the US.

    And ironically enough, Norwegians are really good cloth diaper users.

  2. opie says:

    I am just now hearing about this, and would like to say that my family is now doing fine finacially. But 5 years ago I was working 2 jobs and made too much money to get any assistance becides wic and a local charity that was i was refered to by wic. We were so broke we ended up moving in with my mother in law for 2 years. Before moving, we became over 1,000 dollars behind in rent and as far as diapers go, the chairity gave me points for my wic apointments and prenatal visits and child imunizations. I could use the points to buy disposible diapers or prefold cloth. i did both the disposible i needed for child care while i was working. I had a wonderful friend who babysat for free, but would not use cloth. i was only able to get enough dispoible a week for the babysitting, i could not earn enough points to fully diaper my son that way. At home i used the cloth, but the chairity did not have any covers. for a while i did use any covers, until i came across 2 at goodwill and used them washing them after each poopy diaper and wipping out on the pee diapers. I was hand washing all clothing at the time becuase we could not aford to use the washing machine that cost extra, water was included in our rent. having diaper completely paid for would have been a godsend and maybe we would not have fallen as far behind in rent

  3. Tshirt idea says:

    I love my Bum Genius diapers, but I disagree with the government assisting in this area. There is another resourceful option. Old cotton t-shirts. They work nicely. I know, I have tried it. Just fold and use the t-shirt sleeves to wrap around the sides. If you don’t have old worn out t-shirts in your closet, check out a thrift store. Some thrift stores have days when you can get a paper sack full of t-shirts for one to five dollars, depending on what kind of deal they are running. By the way, there are plenty of blogs out there that show you how it can be done. Lets use our heads ladies, instead of depending on the government to think for us.

  4. Lindsey says:

    When we had our first daughter, my husband had been out of work for 6 months and we were barely able to make rent. We received government assistance and the choice between food and diapers was very real. As much as I’d love to say we used cloth as an environmental choice, it was truly because of cost. We purchased less than $100 worth of prefolds and covers and made it through that first year not having to buy any disposables! Since then, our income has changed for the better, my husband is employed and we are able to make ends meet without assistance. We still use those same prefolds on our 2nd (who will be 2 in a week!). I am now a peer counselor for the WIC program and encourage moms to give cloth diapers a try because it really does make a huge difference in your budget!

  5. caperry5 says:

    I haven’t had to choose… because I chose to use cloth. When we had our first son, my husband was struggling to start a business and we were living on my, quite small, income. Times were hard and sometimes from day to day I didn’t know what we were going to eat, or if we’d have enough gas to get where we needed to go, but because I had chosen to register for cloth diapers, and had a church family that came together to purchase them for me, I had a full stash and never had to worry about buying them. I was SO thankful for cloth diapers during that very hard year!

  6. Katie says:

    I have to be honest, as a social moderate/fiscal conservative, my first reaction was that this would be yet another entitlement program that I and other taxpayers would be footing the bill for while getting no benefit ourselves. My husband and I both work full time outside the home to support our family, which right now is the two of us, our 18 month old daughter, and our dog. He was laid off several times in the first two years of the recession and eventually started his career all over again at entry level at 30 years old. Because of that I am the primary breadwinner but we do need both of our incomes to get by. We earn far too much money to qualify for ANY form of government aid and we live in a higher cost of living area so while on paper things look pretty good, in reality we worry about money constantly. Many families are struggling right now, even those who on paper are middle or upper middle class – like us. We bought all of our cloth diapers ourselves but still need to buy disposables for our daughter to use at daycare. We’re slowly working on building financial reserves and eliminating debt but it’s slow going, and because of that we won’t be able to afford to have a much-wanted second child for a while yet.

    So as I said, my initial reaction was, “Yet another thing that I’ll be paying for via taxes that will never, ever benefit my family in any way. Where the heck are MY free diapers?” It’s tiring to go to work every day and work hard for your family and worry about money, only to read about what seems like yet another entitlement program that your taxes will be raised to pay for.

    Then I read a little more and realized that the DIAPER Act would reallocate existing funds and would be for children in families receiving child care subsidies. It would not be a program to buy diapers for low income families in general; if the parent(s) are not working or going to school, they won’t get the child care subsidy and would not be eligible for subsidized diapers. Because it encourages and enables parents to work to support their families AND does not require any additional taxpayer support, I am OK with this bill. Rep. DeLauro is the Representative for the adjacent Congressional district, so while I’m not one of her constituents I plan to contact her office and indicate my support anyways.

  7. Unfortunately we have been surviving on the kindness of others and wic and food stamps and housing. It feels awful we try and try and try but get know where. We had no gas money to get anywhere, bus trips cost just as much. When we rediscovered cloth for our second child thankfully our oldest is potty trained we saved enough money to have a tank of gas every month. I also stopped crying at every diaper change. My son is horribly allergic to disposables. He bleed, and blistered and cried and screamed even just running water over his bum. Now my stress is releasing, our sons bottom is safe and we have gas to take the kids to the doctor. Cloth is a blessing and I live for the day welfare includes cloth diapers!

  8. My husband and I were recently faced with a very tough time and had to resort to using WIC and food stamps to feed our family. Though I am very glad to say that this was a short lived situation for us, I know that a major factor for us getting through it without any major bill or credit card debt was our decision to cloth diaper our daughter.
    Though we were financially stable during the time that our daughter was born, I convinced my husband to use cloth based on health and environmental reasons (saving more money was just a bonus for us at that point).
    The cost difference in using cloth vs. disposables had allowed us to save more money the past two years, so when both my husband and I were faced with unemployment for 6 months, we had more money saved up in our emergency nest egg to pay bills. Not to mention that we didn’t have to purchase diapers during this unfortunate time… I can only imagine how much 6 months of diapers would have cost us on top of everything else!
    I have always been confident in my choice to use your diapers (and now, your wonderful training pants!) and am even more so now! I am so proud to support such a wonderful company who still finds it a priority to remember where they came from and help those who need it!

  9. Marcela says:

    I am a single mom of 3. My third was an unexpected surprise that came right around the time that my business closed and I found myself with 0 income at the beginning of the economic downturn. The first few months of his life were some of the most difficult times I have yet experienced. The highlight of those times was always having rice and beans ready on the stove and a vegetable garden in the back yard. The low point was having heavy equipment in my back yard ready to tear my house down with everything still in it. I had no money to go anywhere and no money to move my stuff. I had no money to put in the gas tank of my car to even drive away from the scene that was unfolding before me. I did however never once have to worry about my sons bum! I was very fortunate to have been gifted some high value coupons for formula that I would never use and turned them over on ebay for profit. That’s when I found cloth diapers! I got a modest little starter stash and never looked back. Because I was very careful and frugal and worked very hard I was able to pull myself out of those dark times and find the other resources to help my little family survive. I never did find a source for diapers though. I remember thinking that if I hadn’t started off with cloth I would be completely screwed. I am not a statistic. I don’t wallow in my circumstance or expect that anyone should take care of me and my children. I do however know that without the resources that I found that were available to me I would still be fighting to get back on my feet. I am forever grateful to have been able to get a hand up. I know my children are grateful as well. Without those resources we would have certainly ended up on the street. I also know that having saved around $1000 on diapers was a life saver. Had I not been gifted those coupons, or known that I could sell them I wouldn’t have been able to pull together a lot of those small expenses that come up as you pick yourself back up off the floor. I’m pretty sure I would have had to compromise my sons health to make the diapers last that I could get my hands on. When a family is struggling to get ahead any worry that can be removed from the platter (it’s much bigger than a plate when your whole life is a struggle) it one less thing standing in their way to get to a better place. I did manage to save my home. I did get through school. I do have the blessing of a positive bank account and I never had to file bankruptcy. Cloth diapering wasn’t the holy grail that saved everything but it sure did help.

  10. Beth Olmstead, RN BSN says:

    My daughter is now two and we still have problems making ends meet, but when she was first born we had a lot of trouble. I worked as an RN for a small OB/GYN office and the majority of our patients are IDPA card holders. The state was behind on payments to the office and we had not received a raise in two years. Plus, there were times we were sent home because they could not afford to pay the nurses. My husband has also not received a raise over 2% in the last 4-5 years, and that doesn’t even keep up with cost of living.

    I had to return to work at 6 weeks postpartum because I had no vacation time. Regardless if I was working or not, daycare had to be paid ($55/day), diapers had to be purchased, and bills had to be paid. I have $50,000 in student loan debt from doing my Bachelor’s degree. The loans have been on forbearance for two years now as we cannot make payments. Our daycare checks would bounce as they had to be paid on Mondays, and I didn’t get paid until Wednesday. We prayed there would be money in the account when they resubmitted a second time. There were times where nearly half my paycheck would go to NSF charges, because everything would hit the bank before I/my husband would get paid.

    We have received utility shut off notices. We have bill collectors calling, We have been threatened to have our vehicles prepossessed. We are headed to foreclosure on our house. I finally had to leave the job I loved at the OB/GYN to find a higher paying job, only to lose that job 6 months later. I am now unemployed and thank God that we are using cloth diapers. We buy food before paying utilities and then pay just enough to keep the lights on. If we were still buying disposable diapers, we would be even worse off. Even as a toddler, she still uses 6+ diapers a day. The bigger diapers have less per package and cost more per item.

    Cloth diapers hold up and have carried us through what would have been even harder times. Thankfully we have all the diapers we need now. And maybe at some point we will be able to afford the OB and hospital bills and can have another child. We already have the diapers.

  11. mamamolly says:

    We’ve never had to choose between food and diapers but there definitely would have been weeks when we would have been in that position if we didn’t use cloth. There’s something incredibly empowering about having a cloth diapered baby as you know you’ll never been in a spot where you can’t provide diapers for them.

  12. When my oldest was born who is now 13 years old my hyusband and I were actually living in a transitional housing program. We had to sell some of our daughter’s clothes in order to be able to buy diapers. if I would have known about cloth diapers back then I would have done them. I remember bouncing checks in order to be able to buy diapers and Desitin because all 3 of my kids have always had reactions to disposables. We were blessed to be a part of a non profit that provided food for us and we also went to alot of soup kitchens.Back in 1999 when I had 2c kids that were 16 months aprt we were going through 2 cases of diapers that back then cost $30.00 at Sam’s Club. We would actually have to take in Chicago 2 buses and a train to get to the cheap diapers.

  13. Tiffany turley says:

    Ever since baby #2 arrived re realized that diapers would be a big issue. my husband is in the army and because childcare is so outrageous I have had to stay home. Off his income, our bills and utilities we are lucky if we get $100 for groceries to last us 2 weeks. because he is military we do not qualify for food stamps but thankfully my kids get wic which help alot.. We have had to move every single year. When baby #2 was about 4 months old I found out about cloth diapers we were living in Germany at them time. Of course my first reaction was GROSS do I really want to wash them after wards. thankfully a mama near by had a few to let me borrow and I instantly fell in love. after that we had to wait for income tax in order to buy some BG’s for my daughter. This was 3 years ago. Now we have baby #3 which we swore we would wait because financially we can afford it and it’s true. We can’t. i wouldn’t give him away or change anything of course but the sad thing is that I really don’t have much to offer at the moment. I really wish that at times I could afford everything but I can’t. There has been times were I have to sale my items like wedding dress, jewelry, furniture, TV’s just to be able to put food on the table.. And the worse thing is that I can’t really offer healthy nutritional food. Most of our nights consist of pizza and ramen because it’s cheap. I as a mother wish I could provide more for my children. It hurts to see them go through this even though they have no clue what’s going on. I sometimes have to lock myself in my room and cry and wish that I’ll win the lottery. I am 100% for the diaper act and I hope that it gets approved. Thanks to cloth diapers I have been able to save over $5,000 in diapers since we have 2 in diapers and 1 potty trained. If i would have never found BG’s I probably would be going insane and finding all the coupons I can get to afford sposies :)

  14. Jessie Dahl says:

    We waited to get pregnant in the first place, so that the income was steady, jobs secure, life was okay; however, three months into pregnancy, B was laid off. We are so thankful our doula introduced us to cloth diapers and we exclusively breastfed. We bought a couple diapers per paycheck with my income while B tried to find a job. He did, which was huge, but the The Kid cam early, so I had to leave my job (and that includes our insurance). Our savings graces were cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and rent free house. Otherwise we would have had to make more of those tough decisions. It made us tougher and brought us closer together.

    PS: For those of us who have never written a letter or email to our Congressman, do you have a template you can share or suggestions? What kind of information in the letter would be the most effective? There is a lot of information out there and I’m not sure what is legitimate and what is. Thank you!

  15. In the Winter of 2009 my hubby was unemployed, it was a very hard and trying time for our family. We had 3 little ones, 2 in diapers and were in the process of adopting our youngest. Because the adoption was not finalized we were terrified to reach out for any sort of help because we did not want the courts to feel she was a “burden” on us in any way. We made it through that winter thanks to all of those around us who loved us. Diaper Angels frequently left diapers at our door step but because we never knew how/when we would get more and we had 2 we started making our kids sit in their diapers WAY longer than I knew we should. It was not my proudest mommy moment that was for sure. I justified it in that the disposables were so absorbent that they didn’t leak and still felt dry to the touch (most of the time) and no one ever had a diaper rash.
    We began our 2-3 diaper a day rule, it was really more of an unspoken rule. A new diaper was placed on at wake up time (usually 7-8am) and unless a poop occurred that day the diaper was not changed until bedtime (usually 7-8pm). If for some fluke reason we had to use more than 3 diapers we knew we would pay for it and many times we had to just let them go with out for a few days (I was “cool’ and ECing even before I knew what that was I guess haha)

    Thank goodness for a good friend introducing me to cloth. By Summer 2010 we had another baby (very surprised, very unplanned pregnancy that occurred right after our adoption) and even though the Hubs was working by that point we could not afford diapers for 3.
    We are not partiers, we have 0 credit cards, own very old cars with no payments and live within our means, yet diapers are were still unaffordable to us. Think it can’t happen to you, it can, it only takes 1 life changing moment, loss of a job, serious illness or worse, to find yourself in the position of having to choose between, food, a roof over your head and diapers. Diapers get shoved down to the bottom real fast.
    Now we only have 1 left in diapers but it has been nice to not have to worry about where the next diaper was going to come from. There are plenty of places to turn to for food assistance, even utility/housing assistance, but almost none help with diapers.

  16. Candace says:

    When I was 5 months pregnant with my youngest son my older boy was 14 months old. My husband suffered an epileptic induced seizure while driving home from work one night. He crashed into another vehicle at 45 miles per hour, just around the corner from our house. He came out of the accident without any serious injuries. Unfortunately the others in the accident were injured significantly. It was then our struggle began. His hours were cut at work, and had many responsibilities taken away from him. Completely unfair, but more importantly we were having a hard time feeding our baby and, and my pregnant self, and of course my husband. We were struggling to pay every bill we had. One morning my husband called as I was on my way out of the house to go grocery shopping, and told me that we had negative money in our bank account, and wasn’t getting another pay check for almost a week. I was on my way to the store because we didn’t have any food. My heart sank and my eyes cried as I looked at my baby wondering how I was going to feed him. How was I going to buy him diapers? How are we going to have another baby? I almost just lost my husband. Times were bad. Fortunately, we were able to borrow the last of my mothers savings to buy food and diapers. That’s when I found out about cloth diapering, and never looked back. Since then, my husband quit his job and we moved from San Diego,Ca to Canton,Oh to be closer to my husbands family. They have helped us out a great deal, and we are very lucky to have them. We used all of our Christmas money to buy beautiful new diapers. Cloth diapering both of our babies has been nothing but a positive experience for all of us. Thank you Jenn for your amazing products. All of our diapers are the Bumgenius Elementals, and a few Flips.

    P.S- My husband is out at a job interview at this very moment : )

    • Candace says:

      The moral of this story is… everybody’s situation is different. There are some things in life that you simply cannot control. Don’t make families have to choose between food and diapers if they don’t have to. All babies deserve to have a clean butt and a full tummy. -Candace

  17. Heather Craft says:

    I am one of those “low income” moms! I’ve never had a beer in my life, so no, not a party-er! I was an honor student in college and high school. Now I’m a stay at home mom. We applied for assistance only to find that we’re “JUST” above the cutoff.(By less than $100). I have 3 kids, ages 4, 6 and 5 months. Until my oldest was born I worked 2 jobs and so did my husband. We are now a one income, one job family. I worked as a preschool teacher, and know FIRSTHAND how much childcare costs. Its not fiscally feasable for me to work. I wouldnt bring a paycheck home. We’ve looked into this several times. I would have to pay for preschool for 2 children as well as afterschool for my 6 yr old; not counting expsenses to and from work. My husband works 6 days a week/ 12 hrs a day and yet we still scrape by(and sometimes do without things like new shoes). Cloth diapers are a life saver because we WOULD be choosing between FOOD and DIAPERS. I still have times, where I exchanged Christmas gifts for store credit to buy groceries. Am I proud of it? NO. Do we eat that week? Yes. I am all for a program that would educate low income familes and help them however they can. Way to go Jennifer Labit!

  18. Maria says:

    I filled out the survey…although we’ve never qualified for assistance, I probably WOULD have had to choose when my 7-year old was a baby, if it weren’t for the help from my family.

  19. JCKsMomma says:

    I agree with the sentiments of isamom and abc…I love cotton babies, I really do- BUT people don’t ‘choose between diapers and food’ NEARLY as often as 1 in 3. No way. And the resources available to single, young, or impoverished mothers are already quite extensive. The choice isn’t between diapers and food (or tuition or rent, for that matter) its exactly what the poster above said: diapers (or other necessity) vs. Nightclubs, dates, car payment.

    • My husband and I didn’t have a car payment. We never went to night clubs. We didn’t smoke or drink. Our idea of a date was a $2 all you can eat potato bar. We couldn’t afford both diapers and food. One day I’ll share the whole story. It was one of the hardest times we have ever had to live through.

      To be clear, the 1:3 statistic is based on the results of this study (a worthy, eye-opening read):
      http://www.huggies.com/assets/huggies-2010-every-little-bottom-study.PDF

    • Clara M says:

      I highly disagree. Not all poor people are lazy rag-a-muffins. It’s just the ones that are, are very loud. If we weren’t gifted cloth diapers, we would have been forced to make the choice quite often. And we don’t spend money on any of those things. Niether do my friends who are in the same boat as me. Don’t make assumptions about people.

    • Clara M says:

      And I would like to add, that we are 100% debt free, so it’s not like we were crazy partyers that are paying for it now. No debt, no car payments, no nothing, just a really tight budget that is gets tighter every month.

    • This is a horribly judgemental comment and the reason why many do not reach out for help sadly. People assume those who need help are irresponsible, lazy, and apparently partiers. We were NONE of those yet we found ourselves in this exact situation, having to choose between bills, food and even diapers. We had 0 credit cards and my hubby worked hard. He was self employed and the work dried up, since he was self employed we didn’t qualify for unemployment. We made it through those hard months thanks to the kindness of those around us. It was a hard time, the last thing on our minds was going out to party!

      • JCKsmomma says:

        I’m not trying to be judgemental, and of course the alternative expenses I mentioned are slanted towards one group of people, clearly not yourself. But it deserves to be noted (and I DO know what I’m talking about) that there are a great many programs to assist low income families. The responses to my post are the exception and the responders KNOW they are the exception. I am a landlord and own all of my properties in a very low income town. I am not unfair in my rents and treat my tenants with respect. I get paid, many times, by the government subsidizing their rent. I know these programs are out there and they aren’t difficult to approach. As a fiscal conservative I simply disagree that MORE money should be pumped into a system that already costs me (yes, ME, a taxpayer, just like you) money out of my (and your!) pocket. Im not rich nor have I ever been but the programs have to stop somewhere.

      • I’m also a fiscal conservative. I support the DIAPER ACT because the benefits are directly targeted at babies (many of whome are currently suffering because their parents can’t afford to diaper them properly). The DIAPER ACT doesn’t ask for more money. It uses funds that are already assigned to fund subsidized child care. The inability to purchase diapers keeps moms from being able to go to work and school. By providing diapers to moms who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them, it also gets moms back to work (or in school) where they can work to correct the situation. Every job filled actually helps our economy and works to get families off of subsidies.

      • JCKsmomma says:

        I understand that this would ideally funnel money already alotted to subsidies to diapers rather than asking formore funding, and that could be a reasonable request. What will likely happen, however, is that when such funds are allocated to diapers (a worthy cause of course), the advocates for whatever the money is CURRENTLY funding will ask for more for their cause, saying that its been left short due to the diaper needs. Its a cycle of lobbyists putting their cause first. None of the causes themselves are unreasonable, yours included. Its a noble pursuit and a worthwhile endeavor. But it, like all subsidies, will cost taxpayers money.

    • It’s not just single, young mothers though… what many do not know is that there are MANY families who have jobs, but they still have to make the decision to buy food or diapers because, in order to get many of the “extensive” resources available out there, you have to be making practically nothing.

      There have been several times in the seven years that my husband and I have been together that we REALLY needed assistance, but we “made too much money”.
      I won’t say how much, but my husband’s job pays well and has excellent insurance. This is all these organizations look at though.

      ….what they don’t look at is the fact that we cannot always afford decent food for our family or even our own place to live because we both have huge student loans. My husband and I both have our BFA’s and my husband has his master’s degree – the monthly payments on these loans alone, take up almost half of my husband’s paycheck. On top of that, we still have all of our regular bills: car loan payments (almost gone though, yay!), auto insurance, gas money, health insurance, phone bills, internet (which is essential for my husband’s job, but not covered by the company), and so on.

      We only drink on special occasions, do not smoke, do not have cable, we have the cheapest, crappiest cell phones available and do not even shell out the extra $5 for a texting plan, only have date nights when we can get grandma to babysit and have “2 for 1″ entree coupons… not to mention that we haven’t had new clothes in EONS. I don’t even buy make-up, soda or chips.

      The best we can get right now is WIC, which really isn’t much: $16 a month for produce and a bunch of very specific “healthy” foods like whole grain bread or tortillas, milk (which we actually don’t take because they only offer cow or soy milk and we can only have Almond), a random brick of cheese and a choice of either dry beans or lentils, either cheerios or frosted mini wheat cereal, eggs and peanut butter.

      That’s it… and we actually only get it for two more months now because we “make too much money”.
      Very much appreciated, because even this little bit helps. But when this is sometimes the only food you have in your house, you try to come up with a good variety of meal options for the week!

      Now I’m not sure what the requirements would be to get on this diaper program, but I HOPE HOPE HOPE they are not as blind as the food stamp and WIC requirements. I know for a fact that many families who “make too much money” are very much in need!

      • Lindsey says:

        I agree with JCKsmomma in that fact that there are mom’s out there that no matter how much food, assistance, advice you throw out at them, they will still use their limited income and/or education in an irresponsible way. Welfare was meant to help those in need for a brief period of time, but unfortunately it has been lengthened and abused to the point of being able to get away with laziness and lack of responsibility. I am a Peer Counselor for the WIC program and daily I see where help is offered but they are just there for their benefits and to get out the door. There is no change in lifestyle behavior. I am not saying this is the majority by any means, but it is one of the downfalls of the welfare system. I see this same thing happening with the Diaper Act, but the one huge benefit is that it is changing the system to something that creates responsibility. Cloth diapering takes thought and preparation to clean, dry, and reuse. Just like WIC offers healthy food options, it should offer healthy diaper options. I don’t see it so much as a “hand out” but an education to those less informed.

  20. Graciesmommy says:

    We didn’t because we planned ahead before my baby was born. Although we definately qualified for assistance until my husband started a new job last week, we don’t believe in using those programs. We chose for me to stay at home; we chose to have the loan debt that severely limits our spending money; we chose to have a baby… we chose to pay our own way, even when it was so tight. I’m really not certain that adding ANOTHER hand-out to low income people that will involve more taxes without instilling the desire for self-sufficiency will benefit anyone in the long run. Instead, is there a way you can inspire and maybe assist families like mine: those who truly want to be independant, even when the finances are hard? (PS This is why I love, use, and frequently suggest the Econobum line. I love it, and it’s message!)

  21. Alanna says:

    My husband and I decided to cloth diaper our first child and bought a stash of pre-folds and vinyl pants for around $60.00. A week before our baby was born, my husband was laid off and did not get a full time job until a year later. During that time we were buying groceries with couch change…literally! I spent about $5 on the average shopping trip. I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like for us if we didn’t cloth diaper, we wouldn’t have been able to pay our mortgage. I hope that parents (especially those on limited incomes) truly consider cloth diapering. There are so many myths out there that are definitely not true. We decided to continue to cloth diaper with our second child and would not have it any other way. Disposables are such a waste…in the landfills and of money.

  22. Isamom says:

    We are one if the few cultures that relies heavily on diapers. Many cultures are smarter and use communication elimination where they learn to read their child’s signals and place them over the toilet. I don’t see why more people don’t try this especially if they are “choosing between food and diapers” even if parents caught a few poops and pees a day it would make a big difference. My large family survived at below poverty level because my mother used this method and very very cheap cloth diaper alternatives and this was never an issue. I think families need to get smarter instead of asking someone to give them the easy way out

    • abc says:

      I agree when do all these freebies end? I also raised a family below poverty. the article says they employ “around 100″ yet it does not mention how many jobs they outsource?
      just another way to get freebies while not helping the american workforce.
      20 plus years ago I chose food & diapers & an extra job over cigarettes, car payments, nightclubs, foodstamps etc

      • We employ more people in the United States now than we do overseas. Before you start criticizing someone you clearly know nothing about, read the bill. Read the linked memo. Consider about the economic impact of moms being able to work or go to school. Then react.

    • Clara M says:

      I just want to say that we totally did this on the days when we couldn’t get to the laundry mat to wash the diapers in time. Naked baby time!!! We would put old shirts under our daughter and just remove one at a time when she peed.

    • brenda says:

      This brings back images of my little brother being diapered in old towels, lol all different colors, some were bright yellow with flowers. My mom would fold and pin them on. All of us were potty trained well before our 2nd birthdays because she used these two methods. I don’t recall seeing a disposable diaper in the house ever. There were four of us….I also remember dunking them out in the toilet for her when I was about 8, it was my job…..and when I was dunking all the poop in the toilet and leaning over the bowl, gagging from the smell I swore I would NEVER do it that way when I grew up. I didn’t.

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  1. [...] to cloth diapers (cloth and disposable).  Jenn Labit, creator of bumGenius, explains it best in her post.  Sign this [...]

  2. [...] to cloth diapers (cloth and disposable).  Jenn Labit, creator of bumGenius, explains it best in her post.  Sign this [...]

  3. [...] to cloth diapers (cloth and disposable).  Jenn Labit, creator of bumGenius, explains it best in her post.  Sign this [...]

  4. [...] I had never even heard of The DIAPER Act until this past week. It’s a shame it’s not been put out there more so more people can advocate & push for it. The DIAPER Act would provide diapers to families who qualify for a childcare subsidy. It’s very supportive of cloth diapering, allowing for laundering expenses if necessarily. Rush Limbaugh of course has criticized the legislation as “Pampering the Poor” but he’s a dumbass so let’s ignore him (or yell at him, if it makes you feel better). Jennifer Labit has some great blog posts about needy families and diapering. If you’ve ever had to choose between food and diapers, you can tell your story. [...]

  5. [...] Jennifer Labit, the founder and owner of bumGenius and the Cotton Babies line of products met with Congresswoman Rosas DeLauro this week in Washington, DC to discuss the DiaperACT and what steps we can all take to ensure that cloth diapers are included in this legislation.  Watch Jenn’s blog for a follow up post soon with additional information about her visit and follow her on Facebook for real time updates.  << Updated post has been published about how you can Share Your Story to Help Support the DiaperACT. [...]



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