The IWK Health Centre is extending their bring-your-own diaper policy to all families beginning Sept.1.
Nick Cox, public relations co-ordinator at the IWK, says the new policy is just an extension of an existing policy to help the hospital better manage its resources.
The hospital already requires that families in the IWK Women's and Newborn Health Program to supply their own diapers.
Now, families staying in pediatrics will also be asked to pack a diaper bag. However, families who cannot afford diapers will not be turned away, Cox said, the hospital will still have a supply, though all families are encouraged to bring their own.
Jocelyn Vine, vice-president of patient care at the IWK, says the hospital spends an estimated $60,000 per year on diapers.
"We certainly understand that families could be facing some difficult circumstances, so therefore we will certainly be taking a sensitive approach to it," said Vine.
"But we're basically asking, wherever possible, if families could help us out with this it would just allow us to save us a little bit more money to put toward the more complex parts of care."
Vine says other hospitals in Canada have similar diaper policies in place, including Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital.
Challenge with cloth diapers
She admits that families who choose cloth diapers would be a challenge.
"We would really have to work with our infection control team to make sure that we would be able to do that in a safe manner," she says, "It would take some work for us figure out the logistics of that."
Maria Fedotova, a new mom, says the decision comes as a surprise to her.
"I think to provide diapers in the hospital, it's a very good idea because we can't think about everything when we go to the hospital," she said. "This is simple to provide diapers, I don't know why they changed this rule."
Trish McCourt, director of Mommy Connections, a new mothers education program, says she thinks provided diapers is just another part of the service hospitals provide.
"When I first heard about it my immediate reaction was, 'give me a break,'" said McCourt.
"I guess they have to cut costs somewhere, but I think that diapers are just another part of what's provided with medical services. I mean, they have sheets on your bed and whatever other supplies a child might need. I don't know why you would draw the lines at diaper."
Vine says there may be diapers available for young patients in emergency situations, but families will be asked to get their own diapers within 48 hours.