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STUDY: Poor Families Have Trouble Buying Diapers

bright picture of crawling baby boy in diaper
Photograph by Getty Images

When it comes to the Pampers or Huggies debate, some moms are left out of the discussion entirely.

For women who struggle to afford diapers, it's not the brand that matters—it's having enough to regularly change their baby.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed that almost 30 percent of low-income women expressed serious diaper need. The study's authors gathered data by approaching 877 pregnant and parenting women in New Haven, Conn., and had them fill out surveys that covered "mental health, basic needs, and health care use," according to the report.

What the authors found was that moms and parenting women had trouble changing their kids as often as they'd like, turning "to social service agencies, friends or family for help or had 'stretched' the diapers they had," according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Stretched," meaning dumping solid waste and placing the same diaper back on their tot.

The cost of diapers certainly adds up, with the average price tag coming in at about $18 per week, according to the Times. A single mother earning $15,080 per year in a minimum-wage job would need to allocate roughly 6 percent of her income just for diapers, the paper reports.

Women who had difficulty with "stress, sadness or trauma" were nearly twice as likely to report diaper need as the other women in the survey, study co-author Megan Smith told the Times.

Interestingly, men were not included as part of the survey.

While government-subsidized benefits don't cover diapers, there are organizations around the country such as the northern California-based Help a Mother Out, which accepts and donates diapers.

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