My wife and I became parents last summer. All the clichés are true--our daughter has changed my life, and I can hardly remember what things were like before her.
I also can't remember life before diapers.
It turns out that diapers are a much bigger issue for many parents than I'd realized--a true pain point among the "joyful burdens" of taking care of a baby. That's because the cost of diapers is simply a big deal for people in lower income brackets.
In my day job, I'd heard a bit recently about how some big companies in the "mom and baby market" were working on this issue. Then, the Obama administration recruited them.
To quote a White House press release about the problem:
The lowest-income quintile of families with infants pay 14 percent of their income for diapers alone - an average of $936 for diapers per child each year, while many higher income families pay less than half that amount.
These struggling families may not have access to transportation to the big box store, the credit or capital to buy in bulk at cheaper prices, or the access to [the] Internet or ability to receive packages required for online subscription services. The technology that makes life easier for so many of us just doesn't provide the necessary supports for these families.
That figure is striking--14 percent of their income--and it leads some parents to change their kids' diapers less often, which obviously can lead to health problems. To combat this, the Obama administration teamed up with a couple of private sector companies and nonprofits.
Among the solutions:
Jet, the online megastore that launched last summer, teamed up with diaper brand Cuties (owned by First Quality), to create an entirely new lower cost diaper package. By skipping expensive graphics and cramming more diapers into the box than the regular options, they said they realized they can drop the price per diaper to between 13 and 17 cents. (Disclosure: Jet has an marketing partnership with my company, unrelated to this initiative.)
"The combination of these efforts created the Community Diaper Program, launching today, and available to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States," the White House said in a post on Medium. "Now, any non-profit (whether or not they currently provide diapers to families they serve) will able to purchase diapers as much as 25 percent cheaper than the current available price, with no minimum order and 48 hour shipping.
Additionally, Huggies announced that they were donating 22 million diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network, and will match every donation made to through the Huggies Rewards Program between now and April 10. Separately, the Honest Company will donate up to one million of their diapers to Baby2Baby, among other non-profit organizations.
You can find out more about the programs here.