One of my passions in life is advocating for cloth diapers. As much as I love them and know how much better they are all around I’m not blind to the struggles of families who are in positions where cloth diapers are hard, if not impossible, to make work for their situation. In light of a more recent study that found 30% of families struggle to provide clean diapers, bringing awareness to a need most people forget about is important.This week is National Diaper Need Awareness Week and the National Diaper Bank Network is trying to bring more attention to the sad fact that there are babies being left in dirty diapers, disposable diapers being reused, and that there is no safety net for diapers except for diaper banks.
The following is an excerpt from their press release-
“About 180 diaper banks, which operate much like food banks, have opened around the country to help babies stay clean, dry and healthy. People can mark Diaper Need Awareness Week by hosting a diaper drive for their local diaper bank or by getting involved with the National Diaper Bank Network, which supports these community based efforts and raises awareness about diaper need.”
For the families who can and will use cloth diapers- please! let’s help them too! Education and access to diapers are so very important to helping families who are struggling to put food on the table and provide clean diapers. With an inexpensive stash of diapers a family can rest easy knowing they will not have to buy diapers again- just wash them as needed. And we can all agree that there is no rule that says everyone must use cloth diapers 100% of the time. For families who can’t afford anything- using cloth even part-time when they can is enough to help.
It is my hope that more disposable diaper banks will offer cloth diapers as an option for their clients when and if they have them available. If they aren’t able to provide cloth diapers, even just giving them the information that they can be used- and how- is a good step. It is a great thing when people take the time to volunteer and help organize any sort of diaper bank to help keep babies clean and healthy- but disposable diapers “disappear” after one use. Providing cloth diapers is a cure for diaper need to any family willing to use them.
Luckily there are several local cloth diaper banks providing both education and diapers to their local families. You can see if there is one in your area on this map- it covers both Canada and the US. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is the national cloth diaper lending bank. They are going to reopen to national applicants soon. We are in the process of having a new website built to help simplify the application process for clients and volunteers. To help us meet our fundraising goal consider making a donation!
Find a cloth diaper bank.
In honor of this week I’d like to leave you with links to past posts that offer advice and information on cloth diapering on a budget and a few of the Flats Challenge posts as well. The Flats Challenge is a yearly event where hundreds of families all over the world all handwash and use flat cloth diapers as a way to show that anyone can use cloth diapers and can do so without a washing machine if they absolutely have to. You should also watch the embedded video about why cloth diapers can work for any family.
Handwashing Full Time- Sara wrote this article on her experience handwashing and using flats for several years.
Cheap and Easy Cloth Diaper Solutions for the Budget Minded Family– Ways to diaper your baby using found objects. DIY options, and affordable diapers.
Find Cloth Diapers Locally– Find diapers and other accessories in your town. This is good for families who aren’t able to order online but still need to use cloth.
Cloth Diaper Banks– Helping Families in Need, a list of several well known cloth diaper banks and more about how they work.
Data from the 3rd Annual Flats Challenge– this infographic breaks down the experience of the participating families to show what worked and didn’t for handwashing and drying diapers.
Make a DIY Washing Machine for Cloth Diapers with a bucket– Washing diapers is easier is you use a camp style washer which is a 5 gallon bucket ($5) and a plunger.
How to Prep and Handwash Flats– if you don’t have a washer, prepping flats can be faster by boiling them. And a video on how to hand wash cloth diapers as well.