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The partial government shutdown created a diaper crisis for many families

Their paychecks may soon be returning, but their kids still need diapers now. Enter: diaper banks.

The partial government shutdown created a diaper crisis for many families

For many American families, diapers and wipes represent a substantial chunk of their monthly grocery budget. That's why a lot of mamas are obsessed with finding the best possible deals on diapers.

But when the paycheck that pays for those diapers doesn't come—and then doesn't come again—even the best sale price may be out of reach. Federal workers who've missed two paychecks due to the partial government shutdown should be getting paid soon, but when your baby needs diapers now, getting paid tomorrow or Friday doesn't help.

Enter: diaper banks. According to a new report from the Washington Post, America's diaper banks have been working overtime to help federal workers who have gone without pay during the shutdown.

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According to the Post, "diaper banks are treating the shutdown as they would a natural disaster," and while the shutdown is now over (at least until February 15), the diaper disaster it created for many families isn't.

As Motherly previously reported, the shutdown had parents who depend on federal pay worried about diapers from the jump. On the first missed payday a mom who was worried about how she was going to pay for her mortgage or buy food for her 8-month-old baby told us she was grateful to have a large cloth diaper stash, and that she was even offering to share her cloth diapers with other families impacted by the shutdown.

That mother is kind and generous, but she is also lucky in some ways. Cloth diapering is not practical for every family. If the only laundry machines you have access to are coin-operated and outside your home, it's hard to make cloth diapering work. Also, the initial investment required to build a collection of cloth diapers is another barrier for many families, and some childcare providers will only do disposables.

In short, cloth diapers are a wonderful solution for many families, but they are not a tenable solution for most of the families impacted by the shutdown.

These families—these parents who work for the Coast Guard, the TSA, and other agencies—need disposables, and they've been getting them thanks to diaper banks across the country.

The people who are packing, transporting and distributing diapers to federal workers in this time of need are heroes. They are standing in the gap for these families and keeping a bad situation from getting worse.

Studies indicate that when mothers don't have the diapers they need for their babies their mental health suffers, but that an "an adequate supply of diapers may prove a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health and development"

Basically, getting fresh diapers onto the butts of babies that need them doesn't just save little ones from the physical problems that can happen when parents reuse diapers, but can also reduce the incredible emotional hardship and guilt weighing on their mothers. And when that weight is lifted, mama and baby are both better off.



The shutdown-induced diaper disaster many families are facing is highlighting the important role diaper banks play in American communities even when the government is running properly.

You can't get diapers through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children ( WIC) and you can't buy diapers with a SNAP card (also known as food stamps). That's because these programs aren't for hygiene supplies, they are meant to fill families' nutritional needs.

But diapers are also a very real need, and in the absence of some kind of federal diaper program to compliment WIC and SNAP, diaper banks are the grassroots solution, and it's probably a good idea for those who can afford to donate to them to do so.

Because as the Washington Post reports, the shutdown has been the equivalent of a natural disaster for these organizations. They are depleting their resources to help working families who've been hit by a financial hurricane, but what happens when a real hurricane (or another shutdown) hits and even more American families need to turn to the diaper banks?

As the Post reports, the need is always there and will be there even when the federal workers get their back pay.

The reality is that every day, families in America—even families where a parent is employed—have trouble paying for diapers. The Diaper Bank of North Carolina reportedly provides diapers to hundreds of military families at Fort Bragg each month, but also helps families in other circumstances, like those displaced by Hurricane Florence.

The shutdown has shown us just how important diaper banks are to American families. The volunteers who are hustling to acquire, pack, transport and distribute diapers are heroes, and we can thank them by donating to the cause.

To donate to a diaper bank, check out the following links:

Donate to the National Diaper Bank Network

Donate to the Greater DC Diaper Bank

Donate to the Diaper Bank of North Carolina

Donate to the Austin Diaper Bank

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Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

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You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

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Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

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Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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