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AGES 9-36+ MONTHS
AGES 0 - 8 MONTHS
April 05, 2021 4 min read
At DockATot we love giving back! Each month we choose a different family-focused organisation to support by donating $5 from every DockATot sold during the month.
We are delighted to be donating to The Nappy Collective for the month of April. They collect and distribute nappies to families in crisis or in need.
They have kindly put together this piece that talks about what nappy stress is, how the community can help and the impact this has on families in need.
Imagine having a young baby and not being able to afford to buy enough nappies to keep them clean and healthy every day.
Pat* was a single mum with a 12-week-old baby. She had been experiencing periods of sleeping rough, staying at friends’ houses and storing belongings in her car. Once bills, food and baby formula were deducted from her Centrelink payments, she had little money left to purchase nappies. Pat worried constantly about whether she would have enough nappies to keep her baby clean.
Pat and her baby are one of the 150,000 young Australian families who experience what we call ‘nappy stress’. Nappy stress is the experience of families not having enough nappies to change their children as often as they need to. They may have to choose between buying food or nappies, make a nappy last longer by lining it with paper or or even use a towel or t-shirt instead of a nappy.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
On average, young babies need 6 - 8 nappies every day to stay clean and healthy. For families living on the poverty line from week to week, nappies can cost 2-3 times more than for a family who can afford to buy nappies in bulk. Families experiencing extreme nappy stress may need to spend as much as 9% of their weekly disposable income just on nappies.
There are a number of drivers behind nappy stress, mainly lack of income and the high cost of living. It can be especially severe during times of crisis, like when a mother may be seeking refuge from family violence, experiencing homelessness or seeking asylum. The experience of nappy stress can lead to a number of issues for families. Children are more likely to experience dermatitis and be unsettled, which can be associated with maternal mental health problems. Children can also miss out on attending childcare if the provider does not provide nappies, meaning parents cannot work continuing the cycle of disadvantage.
Thankfully there is a straightforward way that as a community we can help tackle nappy stress. Our mission at The Nappy Collective is simple: to take the stress out of nappies by redistributing leftover, unused nappies to families in need.
The Nappy Collective has collection points set up so that families can donate their leftover unused nappies (that their baby has grown out of, that don’t quite fit or that they find in the back of the cupboard long after their child has grown). We partner with local service providers to collect these nappies and distribute them to families in crisis or in need. Collectively these handfuls of nappies from individual families come together to make a big difference to families doing it tough.
Since 2013, we’ve redistributed over 4.2 million nappies to more than 140,000 babies and children experiencing nappy stress. As the only Australian charity dedicated to redistributing nappies to families in need, we’re now relied on by hundreds of organisations to supply nappies. And since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve experienced an increased demand for nappies.
Donating nappies really does make a difference. We know that when parents have the nappies they need their children are changed more often and are more settled. Parents report feeling more calm about having the nappies they need, which allows them to afford to pay for other essential items, such as food and bills. Parents also report feeling more emotionally supported, which can help them to engage more with support services.
Through her service provider, The Nappy Collective was able to provide Pat with a fortnight’s worth of nappies, so she didn’t have to continually worry about how to find the money to buy more. The service provider was also able to help her with referrals to health services and for baby clothing and equipment. Pat said that the nappies were such a great help and that receiving them made her feel much freer.
We collect nappies in twice yearly campaigns in May and September, and are also starting to build year round collections. People with nappies to donate can find their closest collection point on our website.
We are so grateful for DockATot’s support of The Nappy Collective.
Find out more about The Nappy Collective on our website.
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