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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Act of Kindness #7: Every Diaper Counts

At the age of twenty-three, I had Laila.  I was still in college, preparing to student teach, and suddenly, or not so suddenly, cast into the role of mom.  I thought I was ready; looking back, I was anything but ready.

I had no idea what a sleepless night was until I was a mom, and believe me, two a.m. looks much different as a mom than as a college student.  I did not know that people actually counted diapers and analyzed baby poo, but they do; I did too.  And when I was in college, I would joke about being broke, but having a baby put my lack of finances into an entirely new light.

Formula and baby food ate away at my bank account.  Baby wipes and butt cream diligently picked my pockets.  Doctor's co-pays: twenty-five dollars ear infection and another twenty-five dollars there.  And diapers, don't even get me started on the outrageous price of diapers.  I was lucky to break even, and to be honest, there were many times I did not.

I can remember not eating lunch during the school day so I had the money to provide Laila with what she needed.    It was not always easy, it was not always enjoyable, but it was worth it in the end.

Mommy and Baby Laila

I was lucky, time moved on and so did I.  Eventually, I found myself with an amazing husband, a financially sound job, a beautiful home, a safe car, and a new baby.  And although I have been forced to experience those financial burdens yet again, they did not seem so demanding nor so limiting this time around.

Finding myself in a new situation with baby #2, I pretty much had forgotten the struggles of raising a baby on a very limited budget.  In fact, it was not until Brent and I did the celebratory no-more-formula dance, that I was reminded of just how difficult providing for a child, especially a baby can be.

Mommy and Baby Ceci

I began researching for ways to help, and I came across "Every Little Bottom," a program set up through Huggies.  In 2011, Huggies began a the "Every Little Bottom" campaign to obtain diapers for babies who are in need.  The first campaign was so successful, that Huggies was able to start the National Diaper Network.  The National Diaper Bank Network is the first national non-profit dedicated to fighting diaper need.

Here are some basic diaper facts:

- Babies need an average of 6 -10 diapers a day
- Diapers can cost an average of $75 a month
-Through age 2 1/2 a baby needs an average of 7,000 diapers

So, what is diaper need?

Diaper need is the struggle to provide babies with an essential need - diapers. Some mothers face having to clean out and reuse soiled diapers or have to choose between diapers and other basic needs like food. In 2010 Huggies® commissioned a study that found 1 in 3 American moms have had to face this choice. (Huggies Website)

-Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large discount store can double or triple the monthly cost.

- For sanitary reasons, coin-operated laundromats often don’t allow customers to wash cloth diapers.

- You can buy candy with food stamps — but, diapers are classified with cigarettes, alcohol and pet food as disallowed purchases.

The consequences of diaper need are astonishing:
-  Babies born into poor or low-income families can spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health risks.
-  Most childcare centers, even free & subsidized facilities, will turn away a child who arrives without a day’s supply of disposable diapers.
- Cloth diapers are not accepted at the vast majority of childcare centers.
-  Many parents can not go to work or school if they can’t leave their babies at childcare.
-  Hence, babies live in home environments with more tension, less nurturing, and their chance to develop cognitive abilities and language skills normally is in jeopardy. (National Diaper Bank Network Website)

So, I did what any mom, especially any mom who has struggled financially would do, I bought a bunch of Huggies items.  I ripped the gold Rewards Code card out of them, and instead of banking those points and using them on myself, I donated them to the "Every Little Bottom" cause.  

My points were able to provide a baby with enough diapers for a day.  A day does not seem like much, but one day less of stress and struggle can certainly bring a welcomed relief.  Why?  because every diaper counts.

Here are the links if you would like to give in some way:

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