With my oldest child being 19 and the youngest recently turning 3, I have witness a revolution in baby gear. I mean who doesn’t love new things that help make life with the littles easier? But I also notice the steady incline of prices for things that have been used by women in cultures all over the world for centuries. Such as breast feeding, baby wearing, cloth diapers, and reusable menstrual products. Suddenly because of a surge people wanting more natural options these items are on top of all the trendy must have list.
Please know that isn’t a frown on people who buy and use these items. In fact, let me take a moment to give you a high five. What I want to do is bring awareness to the fact that millions of women, who if they wanted to make these choices, could not. Let’s take diapering for example. It has been reported the up to 30% of US families can’t afford to buy and adequate supply of diapers for their children. The cheaper natural option to remedy this would be to try cloth diapers, However, most readily available retail options start at about $15-$30 a diaper. That is a hefty start-up fee making it impossible for low income families to choose this option. Not to mention retailers often participate in shaming mothers who choose cheaper unbranded diapers and make false claims regarding their safety.
Another monthly expense mother’s face is sanitary napkins and supplies. And the same scenario repeats itself. There is a healthier natural option, cloth pads and cups, that will ultimately save you money but now that it’s on the up-swing it’s not affordable. One pad can cost $15 and a cup can cost $30. Sure it saves in the long run but if a family is on a budget spending over $100 at one time can be burdensome.
Want a comfortable way to get around town? Wear your baby for $150 or more.
Never mind those old-time depictions poking fun at ethnic women around the world, it’s cool now. If you have money. The same goes for breast pumps, baby food and a number of other natural choices parents have been making for centuries worldwide. Partially due to marketing and corporate greed, our society has been conditioned to turn away from these choices in the name of convenience and innovation. Long time practices and traditions have fallen by the way side and are often times not even recognized by current generations. Thankfully now natural parenting is making a come back but at a much higher cost.
So, what can we do? Educate. Educate. Educate. There are options out there for everyone and every budget. Baby wearing, Breast feeding, Cloth diapering, cloth pads and natural foods can and should be accessible to everyone. I have made it my mission to let every parent know that if they want to make any of these choices, they can. There are DIY options, CO-OPs, lending organizations, and non-profits out here waiting to help you. I have even started my own non-profit to help combat this issue, Drybabies.org. And one last final thought to consider, once your precious littles are too big for their diapers and carriers please consider donating them to families in need.