First off, 12 changes a day is a huge outlier - even for a newborn. 8 would be a more reasonable number, and it drops down to the 4-6 range in the first year, and by now we’re at 3 if we don’t go swimming.
Second item that sounds waaay off is $1000/yr for diapers. Again, that has to be an outlier based on the worst possible set of assumptions. A box of 168 diapers lasts about a month and costs ~$40. That doesn’t add up...
And finally, many of the charities I work with will hand out diapers or cards for free diapers to anyone who asks. If you’re really in a bind, call a local church, women’s shelter, or commissary! We really do want to help, but we have to know you need it.
Unit cost of a diaper is about $0.25-0.30 when bought in bulk (even with your example), so $1000/year = ~3200-4000 diapers = ~10 changes/day. Change your assumptions on diaper use and everything else lines up.
Now, that's just you being n00b :-). Source: father of 3.5 years old and 4 month old kids. And yes, I also think 12 is too many. 8-9 diapers a day was max for a newborn, now 4 months later it's around 6-7.
Two kids from an identical environment and sharing the same ancestors are hardly a significant sample.
6-7 diaper daily changes. Normal.
8-10 diaper daily changes. Normal.
FWIW, we're changing diapers roughly every 3-4 hours. I can pretty much put my clock on it (a blue strip shows if she's pee'd). Every 2 hours is overkill. The strip wouldn't be full blue yet.
There's also (washable) cloth diapers which are better for the environment and wallet though they're also an investment. We're planning on switching to them, but it is too early for now.
We do this - we've got 20 or so cut-up facecloths we use for this purpose. They are usually the limiting factor on how quickly we do laundry. It's not uncommon to go through 3/day; it's like having a set of cloth diapers we use just for diaper changes. Plus, he's gotten pretty good at avoiding the cloth and pissing out the bottom, or choosing that moment right when I take the cloth off and put the diaper on to unload, or shitting all over his penis (!!) so that I have to clean that first and getting me in the face while I'm bent over him with a wet-wipe.
Someday he's going to win a lot of pissing contests.
Newborns pee so little and diapers absorb so much that one diaper would be enough for the whole day. But with the strip, people switch them every few hours :)
Buying in bulk (200 pack or so) easily gets you at 0.16/diaper or below. And even lower if you look out for deals.
And assuming you need them now and don't have money for bulk buy, a 27 pack at walmart for off-brand is $5.41 at the moment. ( ~0.20/unit )
Therefore, the cost of diapers is probably quite a bit less than $1000/year even in the worst case.
We've also invested in decent reusable cloth diapers. To buy "enough" of them so we aren't running out or doing laundry on a small set of them every few hours, we spent around $600 or $700 for a good bunch of them. These are reusable for years, and even across children. There's even a decent resale market for them if you can believe it. By far they are the cheapest means of diapering children, especially multiple children over time. However, the downside is quite an increased amount of laundry logistics. And, in some cases, it doesn't obviate the need for disposable diapers. For example, if you're going somewhere for the whole day, it might be easier to use disposables since you don't have to carry around soiled cloth diapers. Or if the kids visit other family... sometimes just simpler to rely on disposables.
Are these silken luxury diapers? I just bought diapers and they were $0.16/each for Costco brand and that's not on sale. A quick search on amazon shows 0.14 - 0.17 for any bulk buy of brand name diapers and that is not considering the cheaper rate you could get if you subscribe or the frequent coupons and deals that show up.
The only option I see for diapers in the 0.25-0.30 range are a small pack of 29 diapers shipped for $7.97
Plus even ignoring heavy metal content, in some areas there might be micro-organisms in tap water (since it is sourced from a natural well or similar), so you'd need to be boiling tap water or risk making a newborn sick (even if your body could easily cope with similar water).
> Talk to your baby’s pediatrician and ask what kind of water you should use when mixing infant formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends boiling water to remove impurities and kill germs. While most municipal and public drinking water supplies are required to follow strict regulatory guidelines to be safe, pediatricians generally still suggest using boiled water to mix infant formula, at least for the first three or four months. Since there is no evidence that bottled water is safer than municipal water sources, the AAP says that while parents can use bottled water to mix formula, it needs to be boiled first. You can also use distilled water that has already been purified or ready-to-use formulas, which do not need to be mixed with water.
>Can I use flouridated tap water to mix formula?
"Yes, you can use fluoridated water for preparing infant formula. However, if your child is only consuming infant formula mixed with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance for mild dental fluorosis. To lessen this chance, parents can use low-fluoride bottled water some of the time to mix infant formula; these bottled waters are labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled, and without any fluoride added after purification treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the label to indicate when fluoride is added."
So even if ten thousand of me said this a hundred thousand times, people would still buy the "special" bottled water with a picture of a baby on the label. You have to either just let them do it, or start bottling water and printing reassuring labels. They might wise up by the second or third kid.
Or were you trying to say 'distilled water'?
Distilled water is deionized, but deionized has not necessarily been distilled.
In practice, however, both are overkill for baby formula.
Filtered water is fine unless you live in an area with lead problems.
And what obscene cost for bottles? We have exactly 4 bottles so far for our 4 month old and they were less than $5 each. And new nipples are about $2 each when we needed to change the flow.
Now that’s a good racket.
Diaper pricing is dependent on how many you buy at once, I buy giant boxes so my unit cost is low. If you don’t have $40 to buy the giant box, but only $10 to buy a small package. You are paying twice the unit cost.
I haven't calculated the savings over the last 6-7 years, but it has to be a lot, compared to shaving daily and going to the hairdresser.
All beards look scraggly as they grow at first, you need to give it time to properly fill in before you give up. If you can, let it grow wild for a month, resist the urge to cut or trim. Then you can start adjusting it.
The most important tips I got were to set the bottom edge right above your Adam's apple, make it mostly a straight line and feather it out, so you don't have a hard edge. Feather in the sideburns as well. For the cheeks, I prefer to keep them natural or just lightly trimmed, but it depends on how hirsute you are.
I buzz my head without the guard, to the shortest possible setting. I did shave my head for a while, but I decided it isn't really worth it.
It also takes the right genetics. Some of us will not have a real "beard" regardless of how much time we give it.
I still have about 150 blades left. The pack cost me <20USD including shipping from US->EU.
There's lots of discussion on shaving forums about exactly why they're called "labs", but as far as I know they're just regular double-edge blades.
I also prefer Feather. They cost about twice as much, but work much better on my tough stubble.
That razor recently broke, so it’s off to eBay again to find a replacement, since I have a box of blades. I refuse to pay for rip-off blades.
Someone told me that mid-rich people often group together to have a grocery accountant who will do their bulk shopping for them and it ends up costing them less than a supermarket prices for superior products.
Our groceries are the freshest, localist, most responsibily sourced and affordable in NYC 20-50% off other stores.
Drop by for a tour and say hey if you do.
That's 19 boxes of these, which probably fit in a shoe box.
You can start potty training a kid at around one year's age though, which will decrease the need for diapers. That age depends on a kid of course, in my family it has started around when the kids learn to walk so age of 1-1.5.
Worked quite well. I added in audio cues after reading some Elimination Communication (EC) info.
3rd child, 2½ yo, will now poo & wee in potty a couple of times a day, and can tell us when he needs it. A good strong feedback loop, positive praise, no negativity about lack of "production".
Cloth nappies seem to accelerate potty training too (we've done cloth and compostable, solely the latter with current child), I think they can feel they wet themselves more easily, better feedback. If the nappy is so "good" they don't feel wet then there's no intrinsic incentive and no feedback.
As we did our version of baby sign (with parallel vocalisation) from c.6 months our eldest was able to tell us he needed the potty before he could talk.
Breastfeeding seems to make a positive difference with nappies and potty training too, I think the child has a healthier bowel and so perhaps more control, less gas, etc.
Modern diapers are so good that they're counter productive to potty training. The innards whick all the moisture so the child's bottom remains completely dry until it gets extremely saturated.
That is absurd. I wonder if the diaper companies wrote them?
We did something like 18 months which is far less impressive than yours but was not rocket science or anything. Maybe cheap diapers helped, as they don't feel as dry?
I suspect you may be right on both questions.
That being said, it's nearly impossible if you don't have a parent doing full time caregiving. No daycare will do it. My wife used to do it as a nanny, where she learned about it, but that's an outlier. Really not easy to navigate between you and your family or friends who have similar age kids!
It's certainly interesting to see the difference between countries in all baby things, e.g. UK, US, Italy, France and Japan.
- How long kids are in nappys.
- How much food you are recommended to eat when pregnant.
- What foods to avoid when pregnant.
- What foods to give to babies and when.
These all vary massively from country to country.
The Chinese use elimination training, or "potty on demand." You place the kid over the potty, make a specific sound they associate with going potty (you created the association previously) and they go. You then repeat this enough times in a day to eliminate the need for diapers.
I don't think elimination training is potty training. In potty training you're teaching the kid to tell YOU when they need to go, in elimination you are telling THEM when to go. Plus in potty training they're doing "active holding" whereas in elimination you're aiming for things to never get to that stage by going "potty on demand" enough throughout a day.
I think elimination training is very interesting and some parents have had great success mixing elimination with diapers to reduce the amount of accidents/cost. But even if they're trained on the elimination technique, they'd still need to be potty trained later, it just might be easier (since, again, you're asking them to tell you, rather than you tell them).
> we change him probably 6 times a day at least
Does not compute... 6 times a day is not 12 times a day.
The price of diapers also have a very large range from a few cent to a several dollar per diaper. So it's worth checking several markets. Poor people usually don't have much free time though. Especially when you have 3-5 small kids to take care of. Taking the buss around the city with all your kids is very impractical. Add the sleep deprecation and you wont have much patience either, and make stupid decisions. It is really hard to imagine the life of a poor family mother/father when you have a nanny that takes care of dressing, feeding, diapers, cleaning, washing, etc. It's basically a full time job.
I don't think she was complaining here, rather sharing vulnerably the truth of what life is like for her.
How far did society have to fail for us to have to encourage the use of loan sharks so our children can take a shit, seriously?
Edit: in an attempt to lighten the conversation which has suddenly became a class dividing conversation on economics and privilege.
My most highly rated comment on Hacker News is now about shit. Brilliant.
2nd edit: Two people didn't approve and have either removed an upvote, or I've been downvoted.
More drama than a soap box here today.
'Let Them Eat Xultation' - Marie Antoinette, probably.
If I pay $5 every other day for 10 diapers, then I'm paying ~$75/month for 150 diapers. $0.50/diaper, $2.50/day.
If I take a pay day loan of $30 for a 200 pack of diapers, then I've just brought a 40 day supply of diapers. $0.15/diaper, $0.75/day.
After 16 days I've recouped my original investment of a $30 loan + $10 fee. By the time day 40 rolls around and I run out of diapers, I've saved $60. I can now afford to buy bulk diapers in perpetuity. For every subsequent month, I'll be spending $52.5 less on diapers.
I can only speak from the fees here in Australia but here, for a small loan. You're looking at a minimum fee of 200-300% and that's assuming you pay on time.
This is why legal loan sharks exist, and if this method actually did work as you intended it, why do legal loan sharks still exist? Couldn't you apply your macroeconomics to everything?
Food? Nappies? Water? Bulk buy all of your items on legal loan sharks just once and you're ahead.
1) Get a small loan
2) Buy all the small disposable/consumables you require in bulk and reap the savings
3) Pay off the loan with 200-300% in fees on top, assuming you pay it off in time
As somebody who grew up in abject poverty, and who lived in poverty for the first portion of their adult life, better planning will absolutely make situations like this instantaneouly better. When I was poor as hell I put a huge amount of effort into buying in bulk and doing various other things to avoid all of the blindingly obvious poverty traps that exist. It took some hardship to get everything established properly, but my whole life was hardship, so big deal...
Most people in the west could get away with living a sustainable (although shitty) lifestyle in poverty. It’s only proper planning and effort that will pull them out of it.
I'm from a poor working background too. You can look through my comment history, topics of poverty, drug abuse and macroeconomics are some of the many topics that typically interest me enough to contribute to the conversation here on Hacker News.
Your logic is absolutely sound, but in the event or period where you've taken the loan and have to pay it off in 1-2 weeks. What happens when said parents child gets sick and requires more nappies that day?
Perhaps they need medication.
Maybe they lost some cash walking to the grocery store.
They lost a days work.
There's no room for error and when or if that occurs. The entire benefit goes backwards and you end up losing so much more than you hoped to gain.
There's a whole myriad of reasons that could contribute to this loan going backwards when you have 0 disposable income.
But if you're borrowing $30 for nappies, it would not take much to then push you outside of that fortnightly budget so you are not able to meet your legal loan sharks contractual payments and that, by definition, is a financial slippery slope.
The financial industry relies on people like this, I would assume for every credit card owner that has 55 interest days free or a 0% balance transfer. There's another 9 who don't pay off in time and will incur interest charges and fees and make the entire business venture profitable.
Legal Loan sharks are profit driven, they are not providers of care, and they are not their to help you get ahead so you do not need to use their services again. Their business model is the exact opposite. They assume you will need to go back, and go back repeatedly.
You'd do well to watch Episode 2 of Dirty Money on Netflix - Payday. The entire episode is essentially a business case for why Loan Sharks should be avoided at all costs.
But the thing is, your maths is _correct_. So instead why can't we loan this person who lives in poverty from non-profits and similar who want to _help_ if it's so logically sound that allowing those in poverty to buy in bulk, will allow them to get ahead?
It’s harder to break out of a poverty trap than it is to live with one, but it’s much easier to stay out of one than it is to live with it. My point is that with the correct effort, people can generally break free of most of the poverty traps they find themselves in.
To speak to your last point, there generally are non-profits around who help with these sort of things, and I used some of them myself in the past. The thing that non-profits can provide so simply is the motivation and discipline required to maintain a well planned budget. Each small thing that you improve, like buying diapers in bulk, is a step towards escaping poverty, and everybody has the capacity to do those things.
I find 'correct effort' to rather deceptive term, because part of the problem is defining what that would be (and your example failed as a 'correct' one).
Furthermore, I'd say a cursory glance at history shows that what you're saying is not true. Slaves did not just free themselves, the working class did not just obtain the many rights all enjoy by themselves, women did not just gain voting rights and all that jazz by themselves, and all this applies to gays and the mentally disabled too.
I'm not arguing against 'correct effort', clearly many poor, slaves, women and gays fought hard. The crucial bit here is that they did so collectively, that they needed a lot of help from those who were not in their situation, and that a big part of this involved effecting political change.
I've never heard a convincing argument that somehow we're now in a completely different situation, and that somehow now the steps one can take as an individual are 'correct action', even if of course they can't hurt.
It strikes me that this focus on the individual is somehow a problem on both ends of the political spectrum. The one side devolves into perhaps too much identity politics, and the other too much into the "we'd all be fine if we just worked harder on ourselves".
Both sides, meanwhile, seem to prefer to paint the other side as being will-fully <insert shitty ism>, when I think we're all really mostly equally shitty and good, probably partly right, and really we should just be mad at the immense inequality that has left us mis-directing our anger at each other.
Broadly speaking, anyways.
The correct effort is simply whatever a person can do to make incremental improvements to their lives. It’s going to be different for everybody. Psychologically, part of the reason that poverty traps are so easy to fall into is because people in poverty don’t have the luxury of indulging in much long term decision making. However some opportunity always exists, and finding an exploiting those opportunities is the only way out.
The reason there is any focus on the individual is because you can’t simply subsidize out of poverty. If you want people to get out of poverty and to stay out of poverty, then those people need to take responsibility for their own destiny. Arguably society could do a better job of giving people the tools to do that, but that doesn’t change the dynamics of the problem. The truth is that if I was in that persons shoes, I’d be living a better life than they are. Because I was, and I managed to, and those skills eventually got me completely out of poverty all together.
Reality is that minorities get charged more harshly for the same crime than Whites and once you have a criminal record, it's harder to get a job.
Studies have also shown that all other things being equal, when a person has a resume that signals "blackness", they get fewer calls back.
Not to mention that because of overzealous prosecutions, poorly funded public defenders offices, and the prominence of plea deals, poor people don't get the same breaks as someone who can afford their own lawyer.
Then let's not even mention the poor state of some school districts since schools are funded by property taxes leading to a cycle of poor schools.
As far as just because you were able to come out of poverty means anyone can is just like saying that because I won the lottery, why can't anyone? Statistically, income mobility is rare.
It doesn't take much time to put together a budget and if you lack the knowledge i am sure you can find free community classes to get basic budgeting skills. I signed up to volunteer at one but they had too many volunteers.
People need to get out this learned helplessness and make effort to improve their lives.
Surely you see the problem here?
Items like chest freezers that cost more electricity to run, but allow me to buy more food and freeze it. At the cost of larger electricity bills.
It's having enough money for fuel so I can drive 80km to Costco.
It's having /time/ so I can just do the baths of all the above because I'm not working 60 hour weeks to feed the family.
However, it really IS helpful to make a larger purchase. You can think of convenience-purchase-pricing of things you use regularly at home like loan-sharking at exorbitant rates. It hits those least capable of affording it.
The flip side is you get a huge benefit from scrounging for the money/time to get the bulk package. It's like an small investment that returns 200%.
My wife makes fun of me, but I often buy a large amount/quantity of a few items at the grocery store, i.e. ones that we already use regularly, that I know the usual price of, so I know when a "sale price" (or bulk price) is actually a good deal. This only really works well for things that are shelf-stable, of course.
Diapers are definitely one of the things you should try to buy in large packages when the prices are low. It genuinely is hard for a single mother to do this, but there's a significant payback in both money AND time.
That said, we have a 4-month old, and she still needs 12-15 changes a day (it's only gone down a little since birth) to be happy. She starts crying the moment she wets her diaper, and that and being hungry are just about the only reasons she cries, so it really is important to change her often, and those 168-diaper boxes last more like 2 weeks. For us buying bulk packages at about the same ~$0.25 each price you are, it does cost like of $80/month i.e. $1000/year. My friends tell me the rate of diaper use goes down at about the same rate that the size of the diapers go up (so a box of constant size lasts about a constant duration); I haven't researched the price for larger diapers, but wouldn't be surprised if companies price the larger diapers to keep a constant dollars/month rate.
This is also something that varies a lot more based on the kid than anything else. We have a friend whose kid was born the same week who never cries due to diapers and they have to set a schedule of checking to avoid her kid getting a rash, since the kid never asks for a change.
So I think certainly $80/month is the right number to think about from a policy perspective, since that's what they cost for a significant portion of families (even if you buy in bulk as we do). If some families (like our friends with the kid who doesn't complain about wet diapers) get away with less, that's great for them, but not much comfort to a poor family for whom this is a hardship.
And the articles does say “as many as 12, though older kids need fewer.” So, that seems spot-on.
The costs of everything you need to raise a child come as a surprise to most middle-class people. How would they not to the poor. Common sense says that people raise kids in developing countries and they have nothing, so it can't take money, right? But in a western society with a western standard of living, that common sense is wrong.
Edit: Or for other people's ethical reasons, manifested as laws against abortion.
Yeah, they wail and wail about murdering children and then are all too pleased to scorn and segregate the mothers (but not so much the fathers) of these children so they have the worst possible chances.
I'm not religious at all but it seems to me that, at least tangentially, most religious believes are rooted in philosophical unknowns and feeling of uncertainty. Religious people then resort to their faith of choice as a way to find answers.
Then again, since, as you say, being against abortion for religious reasons is idiotic, do we have an all encompassing
scientific and philosophical answer about when, why and how it is "not idiotic" to perform an abortion?
If we don't, because as far as I know we don't, then why is it idiotic to decide based on your inability to understand a situation for which other people do not have answers?
As I said, I'm not religious and agree that religion is certainly not the only compass some people should lead their lives by. Nevertheless, your remark rubbed me the wrong way. "Idiotic," how can you be so judgmental if you to don't have answers to all the questions I listed above?
That is to say, there is no single moment when those got a definitive definition. There is human rights and yet we have not a single definition of what human mean. I still recall reading discussions if a dead person has human rights or not, which implies some amount of uncertainty that goes beyond even life itself.
Calling people idiotic is never the right move and it does rub people in the wrong way, but I disagree to the claim that you need to have all the answers. I do not have a encompassing scientific and philosophical answer when human life start, what makes it human, and when it ends, but I still perceive human rights to be essential and those who object to human rights to be fundamentally wrong. If the discussion is to be moved forward I feel like demanding answers to those question will just lead into an impassable domain.
There is an argument that conception is the cutoff. But on the other hand, the relationship of mother and fetus is rather unique. So arguably she can evict a fetus, whenever she wishes. After all, there is otherwise no obligation for one person to save the life of another.
So anyway, it's not just about religion.
But religion played and still plays a large role in forming these discussions because of its supposedly unique position as a "moral compass" for many cultures over the course of history.
Imho this is especially evident if you take a look cloning and stem-cell research in general. While most of the West is still busy trying to figure out how to make it compatible with Christian ideals of life, China, in their usual pragmatism, just goes ahead and does it because they don't have a comparable lobby stopping them from doing it.
In that regard, it is pretty much religion that put a stop sign there and even tho this debate is anything but new, I'm not really sure we've actually progressed at all with said debate, it rather feels like decades of stalemate.
A mother 'evicting' a fetus at 24 weeks without the abortion would result in a very tiny, but likely healthy baby (at least in the US, where premature baby care is generally outstanding). Source - held one in my hands this fall when our friends adopted him.
Really? In 2018, given the myriad of ways you can cost-effectively prevent pregnancy, I hardly accept "because it happened" as an answer.
Yes, birth control sometimes fails. That statistic alone cannot explain the quantity of individuals having children, who simply shouldn't be. People can down vote me all they want, but what I am saying is true: Having children when you cannot afford to take care of them is reckless and incredibly selfish.
But yes, sometimes people have kids, realizing that they have no clue how they'll afford them. Call it desperation, if you will. Or rebellion against an unjust society.
Or maybe they don't really think it through. Much of the time, I suspect.
First, this seems incredibly heartless -- poor people should just give their kids up to adoption -- and second, it only makes "logical" sense if you assume that adoption is a better outcome for the kids than growing up poor. But if, as stated, some kids are going to end up in "they system" for years or decades, instead of magically getting adopted into some rich family, then putting them up for adoption may well end up much worse.
There are many reasons that it fails, although missing a dose is the largest reason. Other reasons can be improper storage, using certain drugs (prescription or otherwise), or even consuming an unusual amount of some foods or supplements. Even if you do everything right there's a small chance that it will happen anyway.
Now, people like to claim that if you skip a dose or mess up taking it at the wrong time of the day it's your fault, but it can be complicated due to the different types of pills available, and if you get switched to a different brand, it can be easy to mess up. Typically pills come in a 28 pack. The first 21 or 24 of those will have the hormones used to prevent pregnancy, and then either 7 or 4 will be placebos. But some schemes only give you 21 pills and then you go a week without taking any before starting up the next set. There's also now larger packages and the hormone concentrations and days without taking them vary as well.
Condoms have certain advantages, but they break. And other forms of birth control tend to be more expensive and out of the reach of people living in poverty.
You can see the various options and pregnancy rates (both based on the typical use and the perfect use case) for the first year: http://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Quick-Referen...
Personally, rates like these makes me glad to be a gay male.
Citation needed, and good luck finding one considering the long list of pills side effects.
Also all your previous objections to birth control are invalid in the case of IUD.
And although the various safety measures rock climbers use sometimes fail, there is a method of rock-climbing safety that's 100% effective: not going rock-climbing in the first place.
And I have a perfectly safe car: that is, I never leave my house.
I take it you can see how ridiculous these are. The point (well, one point) of cooking is to be able to eat food and not get food poisoning. The point of all the ropes and things is to be able to climb rocks and not fall to your death. The point of seatbelts and crumple zones and antilock braking is to be able to drive from place to place and not get killed in a car crash.
Not having sex -- which I assume is what you are referring to here -- isn't a form of birth control, because it doesn't accomplish the objective of having sex and not making babies.
It might still be a good idea, of course. Just as it might be a good idea never to go rock climbing (maybe it's just too dangerous to be really worth it for anyone who's thinking clearly) or never to drive a car (it's bad for the environment in lots of ways, after all). But that's a separate argument, and the case needs to be made honestly (cost/benefit on failure rates, appeals to alleged rules handed down by alleged gods, etc.) rather than by snarky one-liners like the one above.
You don't need to have sex. Abstinence is a form of birth control as much as being bald is a hairstyle.
I know that this may sound strange, and I don't share this trait myself, but for many people sex is a critical part of forming a romantic bond with their partner. Without sex, they feel unloved and invalidated in the relationship. That's just part of their emotional needs. So for some people sex is indeed a psychological need.
But a large fraction of people would find their lives made much, much worse if they were unable to eat solid food, to leave their house, or to drive a car.
Exactly the same goes for sex.
Brief reminder of the context for this discussion: the person the OP is about had a child despite not having much money, various people here said you shouldn't be having children if you're too short of money, others pointed out that not having children is sometimes difficult, and that is when user rubidium suggested that total abstinence from sex might be the answer.
So we're talking here about whether it's reasonable to say that poor people should just never have sex.
I guess opinions on that might vary. My opinion is: duh, no, what an absolutely terrible idea. You don't literally have to have sex any more than you literally have to have friends or holidays or music, but just like any of those it's a hell of a thing to say whole classes of people should just do without.
Your entire comment is incredibly entitled and condescending. Have a look through the other comments on this thread for some reasonable discourse on the subject, plenty of people have commented on how the issue is far more nuanced than you make it out to be.
This issue is incredibly nuanced, but people like you (and the authors of the article) never want to talk about one side of it: Personal responsibility.
The second we bring it up, we're denounced as callous, entitled, naïve, etc. etc.
It's surprising to me how often those pronouncing the complexity and nuance of an issue are almost always just fierce defenders of ONE side - the other side - of the issue.
Life just happens, as nice as it would be for all children to be born planned into stable circumstances, afaik the reality is often quite a bit more unpredictable than that.
Failed contraception is a thing.
Lack of access to contraception or abortion is a thing.
Middle class: "That people who work all the time and never spend time with their kids are allowed to have children will always blow my mind. What is the point of having a child if you never see them."
Rich: "That people who will rob their kids of their self reliance, by buying them everything they want, are allowed to have children will always blow my mind. What is the point of having child if they just end up leeching on their parents."
I mean we can come with all sorts of irrational and judgmental comments.
Seriously, why don't we leave the decision of who should be allowed to have kids out of the conversation and we as a society buck up and help take care of the ones who need help?
$1000/yr for diapers is definitely possible. You and I may have the luxury of purchasing diapers in bulk, but for many people (such as the young woman in the article), 32 diapers for 10 bucks is reality.
Even when they start using less the older kid pack costs the same for fewer diapers... plus night diapers etc.
Add wipes etc and you hit over $1000 easily.
The Costco diapers (and formula actually) are the same mfgr as the name brands, at a significant discount.
People buying small packs as needed will end up spending significantly more than those who can afford to stock up at places like Costco.
I also use Costco diapers, and I basically only buy them when they're on sale at $8 off per pack, which is a 20%-25% discount, depending on diaper size.
To do this you have to:
- be educated about looking at unit prices and be able to think through these issues
- afford a Costco membership in the first place. Yes — it "pays for itself", but you have to afford it in the first place and have the self-control to not spend more than you should.
- afford and plan accordingly to stock up by buying multiple boxes of diapers at a time when they're on sale. You have to buy enough that you don't need any for the 3-4 month gap between sales.
Besides Costco, I've found that the Target brand is priced rather reasonably, even at the smaller quantities.
The difference between buying newborn diapers at Costco sale prices vs a normal-sized Pampers box is $0.11/unit vs $0.28/unit. It's huge, and remains high as sizes go up ($0.21 vs $0.40 for size 5).
Right, and “afford” doesn't just mean the price of buying the diapers in one shot (which is simply the discipline of saving for intermittent purchased) but also affording adequate storage space for the stockpile (including after all applying a similar strategy to any other productd for which it provides a higher return.
The “cheaper if you buy bulk packs at Costco, and cheaper still if you buy multiple of those when they are on sale” thing is true, but is equivalent to “cheaper if you have a big chunk of storage space you can devote to it, and cheaper still if you have a giant chunk of storage space.”
There is an 'ick' factor but liners and a toilet sprayer take care of 99% of that.
We have also noticed, like you mentioned, that cloth diapers are easier on the babies' skin and makes potty training significantly easier.
For anyone who is reading this and may be interested in cloth diapering: Get some quality covers and then buy a ton of flour sack towels. They make the best inserts. Super absorbent, cheap, and unfolds to a single layer, which means they get cleaner and dry faster.
Maybe not for twins, but "one kid at-a-time" is more than doable and the second kid is where the real money savings come in.
And of course cloth diapers are probably a good idea for twins too, but I just couldn't handle it. There comes a point where you'll give almost anything to get five minutes of free time every now and then.
Worth pointing out that just because you use disposables doesn't mean you can't rinse it out / dump into a toilet. We used cloth for 8 months and then transitioned to a daycare that wouldn't let us use them. I still dump all solids into the toilet because I don't want my baby's room to smell like poop 24/7.
Also, if you read the box, most diapers will instruct you that you are supposed to do this, as human waste doesn't belong in landfills.
Our twins are currently just breastfed, which means their poop is basically yogurt. So nothing to dump in the toilet yet. I remember we would dump the harder poops out before we threw the diapers away if we were out of town and using disposables.
How do you rinse it? What drain?
> Get some quality covers and then buy a ton of flour sack towels. They make the best inserts. Super absorbent, cheap, and unfolds to a single layer, which means they get cleaner and dry faster.
Don't understand this whole paragraph.
Taking care of a baby requires specific education. You should not expect to know everything about the topic if you have not researched it.
It is rude to express your confusion this way. As written it implies that the author did not express things well, when it appears instead to be that you are ignorant of the topic and don't feel like doing the research. I'm often that way, but since no one else cares, I don't comment about it.
How is it that you did not think to do, say, a DDG search for "diaper insert", or even better, "diaper insert flour sack"? The first hit for the latter is http://mamanloupsden.com/2014/10/29/whats-deal-flour-sack-to... , which seems quite relevant.
Reminds me of many tech articles here where obscure acronyms are never explained.
Also putting feces down the sink doesn’t sound like a great idea, though maybe it’s fine. No explanation given either way.
Obviously when the baby is old enough to have well-formed poops, you dump that in the toilet. Otherwise we just rinse them in the sink, put them in a 5 gallon pail, and then wash them in the washing machine every day or two. (More often because of twins)
For example: https://www.amazon.com/Thirsties-Wrap-Cloth-Diaper-Cover/dp/...
Flour sack towels are thin kitchen towels, I assume named how they are because they are the same material that people used to buy bulk flour in.
The picture is bad, but these are what we bought: https://www.theisens.com/products/flour-sack-kitchen-towel/8...
Basically its a towel a little less than 3 feet on each side. I fold it in half the long way, in half the other way, and then in thirds the original direction. You put that inside of the diaper cover, and then put it on the baby just like a disposable diaper.
When the baby pees, you replace only the cloth part. When they poop and it gets on the cover, you get a new cover as well.
In relation to the case in the article, I wonder if we couldn't subsidize certain items and allow parents to receive a one month supply at low to no cost? Why should we give disadvantaged people $180 a month just to let several middlemen take a cut via the corner drugstore?
What is the basis if your concern? Over and over again studies show that poor people are no worse at managing money than non-poor people. Probably better, since they have so little to waste.
In this weird present where Gawker now has decent journalism, I'll quote from http://gawker.com/poor-people-do-not-just-blow-any-money-the... :
> The popular image of the "Welfare Queen" is one that is seared in the mind of many Americans. No big surprise, since countless millions of political advertising dollars were used to put it there. Nevertheless, evidence shows that the welfare state in the US, to the extent that we have one, works—that giving poor people tax breaks, and social welfare, and, yes, cash aid helps to bring people out of poverty and allows them to lead more bearable lives. ...
> I will politely refrain from addressing the racist overtones of the "poor people are lazy and stupid" position because they should not need lengthy explanations to debunk.
> Poor people are not perfect. Nor are middle class people, or rich people. Wasting money is a possibility, among humans.
It turns out that letting the market deliver necessities based off of demand is far more efficient than the alternative. That would be a government anticipates how much a community will use, what styles of diapers they'll want, etc.
Story upon story like https://heavy.com/news/2018/02/risks-costs-private-water-lea... doesn't make me conclude that letting the market deliver water is "far more efficient than" a public water system.
Your argument is making a straw man. You are the first commenter to bring up public utilities. Everybody needs water. Systems that are accountable to local government are the most effective way to get it. Usually that is with a publicly-owned water corporation.
A basket of goods is far different. Back to the subject actually at hand: some people will need cloth diapers. Others disposable. A government employee would need to administer the program in that town or district.
The inflexibility of the program would mean that some parents would not use all their diapers and would dispose of them. Other unfortunate parents would need way more. Also, what size diapers? Benchmark this against weight? A physical bottom measurement? Not all children use diapers at the same rate.
Hopefully this example gives you an idea of the complexities involved in centralized management. Empirically, baskets of goods are less efficient and more costly when centrally administered.
You said "letting the market deliver necessities". Water is a necessity.
I'm also for single-payer government run state-wide/national health systems. Somehow those work and are more cost-effective for overall public health, despite a variability of need which is far higher than that of diapers.
Now, I agree that akira2501's proposal isn't tenable, and in a parallel thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16763183 ) you see I list some of my objections.
What I disagree with is your broad and non-nuanced statement regarding the supposed efficiency of letting the market deliver necessities.
If you re-read my comment, you will see that I provide a counterexample to the "all markets for everything" narrative.
Your response indicates that you think I'm a member of the opposing intellectual "team" and you need to defend yours. Not only do I acknowledge that single-payer is effective in several countries, I believe that it is one of many possible solutions to the U.S. healthcare problem.
My comment was narrowly disputing the effectiveness of a centralized planning system for market commodities. Even the NHS has considerable decentralized aspects.
And I mean a comparison between governments of equally developed nations. That means that you compare the USSR to Brazil and not the USA. Since the difference in HDI between the USSR and Brazil was smaller than that of the USSR to the USA.
Of course subsidizing goods and services means we will have to stop pretending that all choices are equally good and start acting like adults again, where just because you really, really want to do drugs and have 8 kids doesn't mean you will get to do that regardless of how much money you have.
Most folks don't do drugs excessively. But if it is OK for a middle class person to drink once a month, I'm OK with poor folks drinking once every few months. Or other drugs infrequently (i'm pro-legalization of many things). If you don't want folks to do drugs all that often, the only tool available with subsidies is to subsidize rehab and/or medical care and the family care that might come with inpatient rehab programs.
8 kids? How the heck do you expect to combat that with subsidies except though making sure birth control is nearly free (including the doctor's visit for women to get it, and actually offering low-cost sterilization). This completely glosses over the need for fact-based sex education (rather than the abstinence-only sort popular in some areas), for instance, and does nothing to deter folks that want 8 children.
You don't subsidize alcohol, you tax it. Then you borrow a leaf from the Australian playbook and add a puke green coloring to it and force it to be sold in brown cartons with pictures of dissected livers.
>8 kids? How the heck do you expect to combat that with subsidies except though making sure birth control is nearly free (including the doctor's visit for women to get it, and actually offering low-cost sterilization). This completely glosses over the need for fact-based sex education (rather than the abstinence-only sort popular in some areas), for instance, and does nothing to deter folks that want 8 children.
You force sterilize people after the second child. And pay people to get sterilized with one or no children.
Unpleasant but when we are hitting the limits of what the planet can sustain and the best hope is 'we will go to Mars', doing unpleasant things so we survive is the better alternative to the cannibal holocaust we are setting ourselves up with.
Irresponsible spending is precisely what will happen with UBI. When you cut a check not earmarked for a specific purpose (food, rent, clothing, etc.) you will inevitably end up with people mismanaging their money and coming back for more ("but I'm broke through absolutely no fault of my own, how will I afford to eat?"). This will lead to backstops beyond UBI for people facing emergencies, which will lead to a small but significant portion of people gaming the system by, well, having "emergencies" every month that leave them unable to afford necessities.
The fatal flaw of UBI is assuming that there will be no abuse.
Trading food stamps (or food purchased with them) for drugs. Etc. The drug addict is going to get drugs one way or another; we may as well reduce the friction (and use the savings to pay for rehab).
Regardless, most of the poor are just trying to get by and not prone to abusing whatever assistance is available.
By handing out food stamps that can be used for X you make X the default for that thing and require user to go out of their way to use the food stamp money for something else.
If people are using food stamps to buy food to sell to a bodega at 50% value and then using that to buy beer you've effectively doubles the price of beer (or diapers) for people buying it with food stamps.
It's mind-boggling that a bunch of tech people who are well versed in the various tricks employed to get users to do things don't understand this.
It's not like anyone who's on welfare/ebt/food stamps doesn't know exactly how to convert those dollars to cash if they want to. It's just not an efficient use of those dollars compared to buying what you're expected.
Replacing all those with UBI just removed the extra steps and cost penalty for using welfare/ebt/food stamps on things you're not supposed to.
In your example, the bodega is getting a 50% cut of the aid that it shouldn't. Instead, we can give the recipient 50% of the current amount in cash, and let them buy the drugs directly. The extra 50% can be used in several ways... pumped into rehab or education, reducing tax burden on others, whatever we decide.
In both cases, the drug addict uses all their aid for the same amount of drugs. In my scenario, society spends less for that outcome.
You seem to be under the assumption that welfare is supposed to be income. It's not. It's aid, financial assistance for near-necessities. If you want drug money without hurting your eligibility it's not that hard to work under the table.
Regardless, I'm much more concerned about the average recipient, who may need more gas than bread some weeks, or some other completely reasonable situation. As noted in a sibling, it's been proven that the poor aren't any worse at budgeting/spending than the not-poor.
Honestly, there is an epidemic of self defeatist in our day and age.
But damn, finding used diapers in the toilet is annoying. Plus wet diapers hanging all over to dry. If it's your kid, though, it's not a big deal.
Mold thrives in moist, dark places, not most sunny ones.
Also the society functioned differently; one middle-class salary could sustain a middle-class family, for one.
We no longer live in that reality, nor would anyone want to.
It's like saying that homeless people are OK because there were no buildings in prehistoric times.
Edit - and having lived in both, you're much better off drying things in a hot humid place than in colder ones.
How do you get the cloth diapers clean? Like, really clean so they don't still smell after they've been cleaned?
My wife and I were planning on cloth diapering. We bought some high-end cloth diaper and liners and started on our merry way. We found that no matter what we did, our little guy smelled like piss all the time. My wife was washing diapers 2 or 3 times in between wearings, "stripping" them to remove remaining smells, etc., etc.
Our water bill went up by literally $50 a month, we were buying all kinds of detergents to try and get the smells to go away, and we had already invested a ton of money actually buying diapers in the first place. Not to mention that my wife was spending all her time washing, re-washing, and folding diapers _and_ our kid still smelled like piss.
In our case, disposables were a god-send. The little dude is happy, he doesn't smell, my wife doesn't spend half her day cleaning diapers, and (especially since we buy diapers in bulk on good sales), we've found disposable diapers to actually be far _cheaper_ than what we were paying for water, detergent, startup costs, etc. on cloth.
I would never go back, just because of the time savings alone.
-One wash cycle in warm water using no soap.
-One wash cycle in hot water using soap.
Every couple weeks we would put white vinegar in the no-soap cycle. This helps cut the smell down.
Every couple months we would put a small amount of bleach in the no-soap cycle. Any more frequent than this and we found the diapers then irritated our son's skin.
If I had to do it all over again, not sure how I would choose. As you call out, there are additional costs to the cloth diaper approach (water, detergent, etc) that add up, plus it takes quite a bit of time.
One advantage that we found is that our son, and other folks we know who used cloth diapers, all had kids who ended up potty training sooner (anywhere from a couple months to 6+ months earlier) than kids wearing disposables.
What we ended up doing was 1 "power wash" cycle, followed by a regular wash cycle each time, and just regular ol Tide detergent. Sorry for the tide ad.
Short answer: it's hard to say specifically, because it depends on a ton of factors.
As for the other stuff, we used a double-rinse with powdered detergent and things seemed to work pretty well.
The time factor was _super_ annoying. Maintenance for cloth diapers is a full-time job sometimes, but it felt good not to add a billion pounds of waste to the landfill.
Full disclosure: Now that we travel a lot more, we're pretty much only in disposables.
The upfront cost was $150 so that might be an issue for some.
It can be washed 2-3 times if nothing serious happened.
I read an article a while ago that tested and found substantial fecal residue in typical washing machines, without cloth diapers going through them. Can't find it now among all the cloth diaper related search hits.
It's also suggested you clean the washer every once in a while too.
Fecal bacteria is found everywhere it seems, so that's why frequent hand washing (especially before food prep) is important.
However, you presoak them, and scrape a majority of the feces off into the toilet at change time.
(As expected really, half of the rashes are on his arms/torso and completely away from the diaper-end!)