little bottoms, big planet: thoughts on diaper charity

miss blueberry in her adorable cloth diaper cover

The other day Ellen Pompeo was on Ellen (two of my favorite Ellens) talking about Huggies new charity Every Little Bottom which aims to help diaper children in poverty.

According to Huggies:

“Some mothers face having to reuse soiled diapers or have to choose between diapers and other fundamental needs like food. HUGGIES® conducted a recent study that found that 1 in 3 American moms have had to face this choice.”

Huggies also states that through the age 2 1/2, most babies need approximately 7,000 diapers (based on 8 diapers a day), which costs approximately $75 a month if you are buying disposables. If you buy specially marked packages of Huggies diapers, Huggies promises to donate up to 22.5 million diapers to children in need. They also offer a place for you to donate diapers directly.

Now on the surface, I think we can all agree this is a good thing. Every baby should have a clean bottom, I don’t think anyone can deny that. But why “specially marked packages”? Despite being a good thing, I don’t think Huggies can deny this is partly an advertising scheme. They could just donate the diapers – but instead they ask us to play a part, only donating an amount that corresponds to their sales. Maybe that’s just how it has to be, but it seems to me they could do more.

Then I pictured those 22.5 million diapers… in a landfill later. And it made me sick to my stomach. As some of you might know, I diaper Miss Blueberry at least 95% of the time (we use disposables when going out – probably 5-10 diapers a week as we don’t get out much! haha). I know this is not feasible for everyone – and I know that at some point a kid just needs to be diapered, but I do think that cloth diapering is easier than many people think.

Some may see cloth diapering as more expensive, and starting out – it surely is. But in the long run, I find it to be cheaper and easier. No more night time runs to the store because we’ve run out of diapers. No more spending $75 a month for diapers. Plus – they are adorable.

cutest little bottom ever

The only real money we spend now is for laundry detergent and water to clean the diapers and every few months I buy disposable liners ($11 for a two pack) to ease my clean up. The liners can be flushed or thrown away and are biodegradable. The intial start up cost is really what you make of it – do you want all-in-ones, prefolds, hybrids? We went the cheap route and spent about $200 I’d guess for covers and prefoldable diapers initially. Yes children grow – that will mean probably another $200 spent before all is said and done. So $400 maybe total. Plus $11 for liners about 6 times a year. $60 approximately.

By age 2 1/2 we’ll have spent approximately $520. The average disposable diaper family will have spent $2,250 (if my math is correct). And let’s be honest – 2 and a half is pretty early to call a child potty trained. Let’s say I spend $260 annually to diaper my child (although I think as she ages, the price will be less) with cloth diapers – the disposable diapers will run closer to $900 a year – and even though the amount of diapers you use will be less, diaper manufacturers have worked pretty hard to make sure the price stays the same anyway.

Still, for a needy family, that $260 would still be daunting. Why aren’t there charities out there donating cloth diapers to families in need????

Oh wait. There are. If you or someone you need is struggling to diaper a baby – check out the following great resources for help going the cloth diaper route (some links also offer additional services):

If you have other resources, please mention them in the comments section below!

If you want to cloth diaper but have questions / don’t know where to start, I highly recommend reading this series of articles on cloth diapers at Simple Mom. It was hugely helpful when we were getting started last year – everything you need to know to pick which diapers to use, how to clean them, where to buy them and what accessories are worth it.

7 thoughts on “little bottoms, big planet: thoughts on diaper charity

  1. Well said! We use Miracle Diapers organization to cloth diaper our little guy when we were in grad school and had very low income. It was an AMAZING org….they sent us brand new gDiapers to use for an entire year + and tons of handmade inserts.


  2. what a great post!!! and a good reminder to me because i have some cloth diapers in need of a good home – need to get them on craigslist. and most parents have tunnel vision and can’t wait to get their kids potty trained – statistically, children raised in cloth diapers are potty learned earlier so there is yet another reason not to buy or use disposables 🙂


  3. Great post and great question! It seems like perfect sense that there should be some kind of charity that helps with educating people specially those in poverty how this way is cheaper and provide them with the materials aka cloth diapers to do it.


  4. I really want to try to cloth diaper #3. We are spending a fortune on diapers now. I just have to get daycare on the right track with me. But, really, what is it to bring 5 diapers to school everyday (and a couple disposables for backup).


  5. I say “just try” – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Get about half your supply to try it out and give it a month (or a week, you know, whatev). Because if it works, the money you will save and the eco-benefits just can’t be beat. And if it doesn’t work, you will know and be able to put it behind you rather than deal with the “what ifs”.


  6. I understand your statements about cloth diapers. Your points are very valid, but do you expect some mothers who maybe high school students etc, to really put cloth diapers on their kids.


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