As many new parents may take for granted, diapers and wipes are extremely costly. But, diapers and wipes are critically important to a baby's health, as well as helping to mitigate against postpartum depression, as was recently reported in the Huffington Post:
Changing diapers regularly is crucial to keeping babies comfortable, happy and ideally not crying. It’s also a health issue. A wet diaper can increase an infant’s risk of dermatitis and urinary tract infections ― which in turn can force parents to miss work for doctor visits. Not being able to change a baby’s diapers often enough also stresses the parents, which can affect the whole family. Multiple studies have shown that children of stressed parents are at greater risk of developing emotional, social and behavioral problems.
“Diaper need was the most predictive of postpartum depressive symptoms, above and beyond food insecurity, housing instability, other demographic variables like race and ethnicity,” said Megan Smith, an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the 2013 study, which was conducted in New Haven, Connecticut.
The average infant will use at least 3,000 diapers in the first year of life according to an estimate by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The average price of diapers is at least $0.20 per diaper, costing at least $600 per year, which is a very conservative estimate. Other estimates indicate that diapers alone cost more like $1,500 per year, in addition to wipes which are hundreds of dollars per year. Diapers and wipes, however, are generally not covered by Medicaid. The Federal Poverty Level in 2018 for a family of four is $25,100. To qualify for Medicaid in Colorado, a family of four's income cannot exceed 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $33,333. Therefore, to the extent a family of four must spend $2,500 per year to keep a baby in dry diapers and clean with wipes, that is over 13% of the family's annual income, an untenable amount.
In one small step to help make diapers and wipes more accessible to lower income families, Amazon this month unveiled a new program which provides Prime memberships to the 68 million Medicaid recipients (over half of which are adults) for a discounted price of $5.99 per month (less than half the $12.99 per month). This is of particular benefit because Amazon Prime members can receive up to 20% off diapers and wipes.
BabiesNow! Foundation remains committed to helping babies and their families struggling with difficult circumstances through its mission: to provide diapers and wipes to Denver-area nonprofit organizations to be used as incentives for families in need to participate in programs that benefit babies.