The great diaper debate


Asubstantial number of poor mothers have difficulty affording disposable diapers for their babies, according to a study reported on Monday by The Times. The article spotlighted a disabled, out-of-work single mother who said buying diapers for her 11-month-old son was a financial hardship.

The reaction from readers? Sympathy for low-income moms and their children?


Of the two-dozen letters responding to the article, all but two had stern words for the single mother and anyone else who uses disposable diapers. One such letter — one of the nicer ones — was published Wednesday, but there were many more.


Here is a selection of those responses.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

Clark Woodford of Los Angeles says if you can’t afford diapers, you can’t afford a baby:

“Here’s a solution to people who can’t afford diapers for their babies: Quit having babies.

“Having children should be a well-thought-out process and should be done when one is a position to do it without public assistance.

“Can’t afford your rent? Don’t have a baby. Can’t afford food? Don’t have a baby. Can’t afford diapers? Don’t have a baby.”

Playa del Rey resident Maureen Doherty pines for the day when disposable diapers will get the plastic bag-ban treatment:

“It’s really a pity that folks need to go without food to have money for disposable diapers. I have absolutely no sympathy for this mind-set. Disposable diapers are not only expensive, they are filling up our landfills at an alarming rate.

“Those of us who raised children before the 1970s used cloth diapers, which are inexpensive and can be reused. Sure, it’s a little more work to wash them, but it would be a big step toward providing our children a healthier planet, which matters to most parents.

“I’m looking forward to the day when cities begin to disallow disposable diapers in the same manner they are beginning to ban plastic bags and Styrofoam.”

Jeanette Fratto of Laguna Niguel says washing reusable cloth diapers can’t be that much of a burden:

“Disposable diapers, while convenient, are a waste to the environment and expensive. It wasn’t so long ago that cloth diapers were all that were available to women, regardless of income.

“In a time when conservation and going green are constantly promoted, why are cloth diapers so easily dismissed because they require ‘frequent and expensive trips to the laundromat’? Surely two or three trips to the laundromat each week can’t cost more than the $18 on average that is spent weekly on disposables. Most likely, washing cloth diapers actually costs less.

“Assuming that mothers are going to the laundromat anyway, the cost for washing these diapers would be negligible and result in saving money. Is it too politically incorrect to tell struggling mothers that they can eliminate one of their money problems by using and reusing cloth diapers?”


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