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Diapers and breast milk demand spikes 200% during pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Babies in need of diapers and breastmilk have spiked in Indiana during the pandemic. Both the Indiana Diaper Bank and Milk Bank said they have seen more than a 200% increase in demand during the health crisis. However, a silver lining is that donations are up for both groups too.

Photo of diapers. (WISH Photo)

“Diaper need has always been there despite the pandemic and if anything, the pandemic has amplified that need,” said Jenica Giffin, the senior program manager for the Indiana Diaper Bank.

Giffin said the average cost per month for diapers is around $80 and the prices are increasing. There is no government assistance when it comes to getting diapers, so many parents are forced to rely on donations.

Currently, the Indiana Diaper Bank gives away about 40,000 diapers a month to families in need and has a two-month supply on hand. The group has been distributing 200% more diapers through local nonprofits and partners since the pandemic started.

“We have seen a huge uptick in need and it hasn’t slowed down and I really don’t see it slowing down, especially with things opening back up,” said Giffin.

The Indiana Diaper Bank gets diapers at a wholesale price and asks for monetary donations here first. People can also donate at various locations in central Indiana.

The Milk Bank is another group seeing an increase in both donations and need.

“They just brought milk in droves, which matters because our demand increased 215% and our medical relief fund increased more than 300%,” said Freedom Colb, the executive director of the Milk Bank.

The Milk Bank is a living tissue bank dedicated to combatting infant mortality. The process is similar to giving blood but instead relies on lactating mothers to donate milk.

Photo of milk. (WISH Photo)

“We say every ounce count because every ounce provides up to three feedings for a critically ill infant,” said Colb. “About 10% of infants are born prematurely. So, you are talking preemies and micro-preemies.”

The group uses donations from lactating mothers from across Indiana and has a special process that pasteurizes human breast milk for the smallest patients.

“Really, it is the difference between survival. In some situations we can increase survival rates by 77% for infants that require human milk as a medical intervention and need that living tissue to survive,” said Colb.

It’s even more important now, as studies show COVID-19 antibodies can be passed through breast milk to babies who are especially vulnerable.

“Thankfully, research really came out quickly that it was not only safe but could add a protective factor for infants,” said Colb.

Both the Milk Bank and Indiana Diaper Bank said they’re not sure why the pandemic caused an increase in donations, however, they hope people continue to open their hearts and give, as the world reopens.

Anyone interested in donating breast milk can start the process here.

Anyone interested in dropping off donated diapers can do so online or at one of the following central Indiana locations:

Bottles ‘N Binkies

Brownsburg | Donation location at customer service. 
1060 E. Main St. Suite 301 
Brownsburg, Ind. 46112  Website

Buy Buy Baby

Castleton | Donation location at customer service.
Address: 4030 E 82nd St,
Indianapolis, 46250

Buy Buy Baby

Greenwood | Donation location at customer service.
1230 US-31 suite A,
Greenwood, Ind. 46142

Cafe Baby

Castleton | Donation Location
5945 E. 86th St.
Indianapolis, Ind. 46250

Clothes With A Cause

Dropoff to staff member at register
14405 Clay Terrace Blvd.
Carmel, Ind. 46032

Gymboree Play & Music

12524 N. Gray Rd.,
Carmel, Ind. 46033

Indy Direct Docs

2162 N. Meridian St. Suite B
Indianapolis, 46202

Indiana Diaper Bank

9511 Angola Ct. Suite 221 
Indianapolis, 46268
Google Map →

Kids Ink

5619 N. Illinois Street
Indianapolis, 46208

Little Village Pediatrics

Call Dr. Davidson (317) 343-8844 to schedule time to dropoff donations or bring them to back door.
12740 Meeting House Rd.
Carmel, Ind. 46032-7292

Sacred Roots Midwifery

Indy West 
Dropoff at the front desk.
6620 Parkdale Pl Suite K,
Indianapolis, 46254

Urban Air Adventure Park

Dropoff to staff member at check-in area
14450 Mundy Road
Noblesville, Ind. 46060

This is the fifth story in a series we’re calling “INside Story.” The rest of Hanna’s stories looking into the impact COVID-19 has had on pregnant women, new moms and their babies, even as the world begins to reopen will air each morning this week on News 8.