Diapering requires carework, or the physical and emotional labor needed to care for others. Caregivers who are responsible for diapering their children must make decisions about how to best care for their children’s needs. Poverty presents a barrier to providing ideal carework for caregivers unable to afford an adequate diaper supply. To consider whether cloth diapers could help caregivers overcome diaper need, or a lack of sufficient diapers to keep a child clean and healthy, the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona (DBSA) partnered with the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) at the University of Arizona to evaluate whether cloth diapers could help caregivers mitigate the financial stress of purchasing diapers. In this article, we review the findings of the DBSA-BARA Cloth Diaper Kit Project by exploring the benefits and challenges caregivers encountered when they used cloth diapers. Economic need ultimately drove the majority of these caregivers to use cloth diapers, even while encountering challenges, such as an increased time commitment, a lack of social support, and some discomfort for their children. Caregivers also found that cloth diapers provided important benefits, such as reducing the stress of not having a sufficient diaper supply.
The Carework of Cloth Diapering: Opportunities and Challenges for Mitigating Diaper Need
Sarah Rachelle Renkert, Rachel Filippone; The Carework of Cloth Diapering: Opportunities and Challenges for Mitigating Diaper Need. Human Organization 1 June 2023; 82 (2): 142–152. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525-82.2.142
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