With approximately 600,000 women affected by postpartum depression each year, it is now the most commonly experienced complication of childbirth. Hormone changes, sleep deprivation, birth trauma and of course circumstance all contribute to rolling in the storm that is postpartum depression. Research has already shown us that low income mothers are more likely to experience a postpartum mood disorder for many reasons. One thing we can do to reduce the risk or perhaps ease the burden is help with diapers.
Yes, I’m talking about diapers.
Imagine you are exhausted, mentally and physically, and you aren’t able to change your baby’s diapers as needed. Being unable to afford diapers is positively correlated with mental health issues during the postpartum months.
When researchers at Yale surveyed 877 new mothers, 30 percent of these moms reported they were not able to change their baby as frequently as they should because of the cost of diapers. These moms were also more likely to experience postpartum mental health issues.
Presently families are able to get help with food, formula, and breastfeeding through community and state programs, but diapers are a need often not met.
Just 10 diapers per day, for 365 days would cost $915 (based on the cost of generic diapers at my local big box store when purchased in bulk which is often not possible for low-income families). Some families will use cloth diapers to cut cost, but what about families without access to laundering facilities to properly wash cloth diapers?
Parental depression is only one of the effects of being unable to afford diapers. Babies who are not changed often enough are more susceptible to UTIs or other infections. Babies who are not changed often enough experience discomfort, which causes them to cry more frequently, which in turn makes them more likely to suffer abuse at the hands of their caregivers. To add insult to injury, most subsidized daycare centers require a week's worth of disposables, which means families who cannot afford diapers cannot put their child in daycare in order to work so they can afford to buy diapers, just continuing the cycle.
If you want to make a bigger impact on eliminating diapering needs in Tampa Bay, consider being a volunteer donation site coordinator. We’ll supply what you need and even help you promote on social media while you just collect diapers which we will deliver to a local community diaper bank. As a bonus, information on support and resources for postpartum depression and anxiety will be provided with each diaper pack given to families in need.
The Seventh Mom Project, Inc. will be leading a diaper drive, starting September 24 and ending October 31st. You can donate diapers at locations listed here, or contact us to donate directly.
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