How the diaper cost increase is impacting Fort Wayne parents

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Parents of babies and toddlers across the country are grappling with the increase in diaper prices. Fort Wayne’s parents are no exception.

So what’s causing this?

According to Healthier Moms and Babies, the uptick in prices is largely due to higher demands and insufficient supplies. A combination of shipping delays and mass buying from customers has affected the diaper price, which stems from the pandemic.

Back in April, Business Insider reported that Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Pampers, had already raised diaper prices and would be doing so again later this year. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Huggies, also indicated it would be raising prices. In general, diaper prices have hiked up 8.7 % over the 12-month period ending in April.

This has created a headache for some parents of young children who are forced to adjust their budgets to afford more expensive diapers.

This may be especially true for parents who rely on WIC, a government assistance program for parents that does not cover the cost of diapers, explained Executive Director of Healthier Babies & Moms, Paige Wilkins.

“WIC does not supply diapers in our state. So that’s kind of one of the problems is diapers is considered a basic need, but there’s no public funding for diapers.”

WANE 15 spoke with some moms who are trying to adjust to the new prices of diapers. They say the biggest stressor is that they have to factor in child care, basic needs and other responsibilities on top of more expensive diapers.

Lauren Whiteshell is a new mom who just returned to work from maternity leave. She’s working harder than ever to provide for her baby, but she finds it difficult to have money left over.

“We go through eight to ten diapers, a day. So, you know 25 bucks a week or more on diapers. It’s not something that you can just wait and hope that you have the money for it next week. It’s huge when you have things like formula that you need to purchase and you have a mortgage and utility bills and gas with gas prices going up, everything’s getting so expensive and it’s, it can be somewhat discouraging as a parent to look at these things that your child needs, and wonder. Okay, am I going to be able to buy food for myself?”

Mikayla Bailey has a two-year-old daughter and another baby on the way. Her mother, Shelly Bailey, helps her cover some diaper and baby costs. The mother-grandmother duo said that the cost of diapers when the first baby was born is drastically different from what they are paying now, with the new baby due to arrive in just a week and a half.

“When she was first born, we were only paying like six bucks a bag of diapers,” said Shelly Bailey. “Now you pay about 10. And you actually get less diapers.”

Mikayla Bailey said that the price spike affects all brands, “Even the off brands like parents choice or any off brands at any store. They’ve actually raised the prices probably like $4. But like my mom said, you just get less diapers. You can get 100 but it’s gonna cost you 35 bucks. And then 100 diapers last maybe two weeks.”

Another problem these moms are facing is the scarcity of diaper sizes. Mikayla Bailey has been searching for a specific size for weeks.

“I cannot find size six diapers for my daughter. I cannot find her sizes at all. And I’ve been to Walmart three weeks in a row and I still can’t find them on the shelves”

Mikayla Bailey also felt that the pandemic has affected the amount of diapers available in stores.

“I’ve noticed with Walmart, their diaper shelf is just getting smaller and smaller. Like it used to be as long as a big picnic table. It’s probably cut it in half. There are no diapers there anymore. And they only offer like three or four brands now when they offered 10 or 15 before COVID started. So that’s what I’ve noticed. You get like 96 for like 25 bucks.”

Organizations like Healthier Moms and Babies accept diaper donations from the community. Donating any amount of diapers makes a big difference for parents, said Paige Wilkins.

“If anybody wants to donate diapers, I suggest that they come to our office or call our office beforehand to drop them off Monday through Thursday from eight to four. Leadership Fort Wayne, part of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc, is sponsoring a community-wide diaper drive for us the last two weeks of August. And during that time there will be a drop-off sites at Three Rivers Federal Credit Union and the different YMCAs.”

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