Written by guest writer, Amy Trogan

When was the last time you had already made it out of the house, before realizing you had forgotten to stock up the diaper bag?  Chances are, it was more recent than you’d like to admit.  Don’t worry, it happens to all moms, and the same thoughts usually run through our minds – “Please don’t poop!  Please don’t poop!  Just wait until we make it home…”

Diapers are essential for some obvious reasons; they keep baby clean, while helping to keep baby happy.  In fact, when your baby starts fussing, the first thing you probably do is check the diaper!  It is a well known fact amongst parents that a clean diaper, makes for a happier baby (and who can blame them!?).

Regrettably though, not all parents can afford the necessary stock of diapers to keep baby clean at all times – none at home, none in the diaper bag, no emergency ones stuffed in the back of the mini-van.  Although there might be two diapers left until the end of the week, they are cheap and leak easily.

This is the unfortunate reality for far too many parents.  In fact, according to a study conducted by Huggies, a number of mothers in the U.S. and Canada have had to cut back on basic essentials, like food, utilities, and child care, in order to afford enough diapers for their children.

In extreme cases, mothers may need to clean, dry, and re-use disposable diapers, so as to save their child from spending countless hours in their soiled diaper.  Children who cannot be changed quickly may face emotional and physical consequences, in that they might cry more often, be more irritable and uncomfortable, or suffer from frequent diaper rash.  Additionally, the idea of not having enough diapers for their child’s daily needs can be extremely stressful for mothers.

While federal law has come to recognize that diapers can be a medical “necessity” for adults and older children with special needs, no federal law supports that point.  While it can cost more than $75 a month to keep a baby in diapers, aside from diaper banks and baby pantries, there is no federal or state program that helps parents buy diapers.

WIC, a federally supported program for Women, Infants, and Children, cannot be used for purchasing diapers, and Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) also fails to provide a line dedicated to the additional expense of diapers.

Diaper need is a real issue in the Bay and Arenac counties.  But there are many ways to help the need in our community, and the Bay Area Women’s Center’s Baby Pantry, located in the downtown United Way building, is doing just that.  Together with the Bay-Arenac Great Start Parent Coalition and Great Lakes Bay Moms, a diaper drive is organized during the entire month of October, including the kick-off Block Party at the Delta Planetarium on September 29th.  Money, packs of diapers (especially size 4 and 5), and even loose diapers, will be accepted as donations.  The Bay Area Women’s Center gives away as much as they can, but there is ALWAYS a need.  As of now, there is only enough of a supply to help parents every three months.  As parents, we know that this is just not enough.