We provide diapers to more than 1,350 babies in need every month, which is still only 3% of diaper need for babies living in poverty.

More and more families experience diaper need every day. We have made a small dent, but have miles to go in eradicating the diaper gap.

Without diapers, babies cannot go to childcare or participate in early childhood education. Without much-needed childcare, many parents cannot go to work or school. This causes homes with more tension, less nurturing and possible abuse.

An uncomfortable baby cries more, which can lead to mistreatment and neglect. We want to ensure that every baby in Nashville has enough diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy.



We collect diapers and distribute them through our community partners. By being intermediaries, we limit duplication of services, reduce administration expenses and work collaboratively to solve a basic human need at the community level. If struggling families need diapers, they often have other needs as well, which are best addressed through our partner agencies and their full continuum of care. Nashville Diaper Connection is a growing community of support.

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An adequate supply of clean, dry diapers is a preventative approach to infections, neglect, abuse, unnecessary tension and physical and emotional stress. Experiences in the first years of life are extremely important for a child’s healthy development and lifelong learning. The brain grows to 90% of its adult size by age 3.

Emotional, language and motor skill development is delayed or damaged by environmental stressors and other risk factors. Infants and toddlers raised in lower stress environments have better outcomes as adults. Babies who participate in early childhood education are 2.5 times more likely to go on to higher education.

Even free and subsidized childcare centers will turn away a child whose caretaker can’t provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers (most childcare centers do not accept cloth diapers). Barriers to employment and education are a leading cause of chronic stress in families. Babies born into poverty may spend a day or more in one diaper. Sitting in a wet diaper without being changed enough can cause diaper rash, which can lead to secondary infections with fever, blisters, boils, fever, a rash beyond the diaper area, pus and weeping discharge.

Average income for a family of two at poverty threshold:

$1,350 per month

Average cost of diapers for one baby:

$85 per month

Families often have to choose between food and diapers.

At this time, we only provide disposable diapers because most commercial laundries and apartment laundry facilities prohibit washing dirty cloth diapers. Also, according to the Sierra Club’s “Green Home,” reusable diapers washed separately at 140 degrees or higher and then dried have a 75% worse environmental impact than disposable diapers.

Many of our families benefit from this service. Although some families receive federal assistance, there is no assistance specifically to cover the cost of diapers.
— TaBoya Holman, Martha O'Bryan Center