NEW YORK — It’s safe to say 2020 was no walk in the park for many people — especially if you have children. This past year, many young moms struggled to balance the increased demands of childcare with isolation, work, financial stress, and more.
According to a new study, 68 percent of moms say 2020 was the most stressful year they have ever experienced. Most of these respondents report suffering from stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and isolation.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Store Brand Infant Formula, examined the incredible financial and emotional impact the pandemic has had on young mothers. Sixty-two percent of moms said they lost sleep as a result of their financial worries. This added up to an average of five sleepless nights in a single month — or a full work week of lost sleep because of money woes.
Young moms are feeling the financial stress of COVID-19
The poll of 2,022 moms of children under two years-old – over half who are on The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – finds that 61 percent are concerned about their current financial situation.
Unfortunately, nearly half (47%) of respondents said they didn’t have enough money saved for an emergency; leading to an increase in financial stress. Further, 64 percent of moms had to sacrifice a lot because of financial reasons, with nearly two in three (65%) cutting costs just to feed their family.
Three in 10 women said the ability to afford enough food for the family was causing the most financial stress. An alarming 30 percent revealed they have skipped meals so their children could eat. Another 44 percent had food that simply didn’t last long enough without having enough money to get more.
“You don’t have to cut back on nutrition or jeopardize your family’s well-being to make ends meet; instead, families should focus on making wise choices to stretch their dollars further and safely,” says financial expert and founder of Clever Girl Finance, Bola Sokunbi, in a statement. “Switching from name brands to store brands is a great way to save money, especially when it comes to baby.”
Looking for help wherever they can find it
With all the emotional and financial stress, moms found themselves turning to a patchwork of resources for help. These outlets includes local food banks or charities, WIC, family members, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or a pediatrician or other healthcare professional.
In fact, 40 percent of moms in the poll applied for WIC or SNAP to help support their family within the last year. Unfortunately, these benefits may not be enough. A staggering 88 percent of respondents enrolled in WIC reported running out of infant formula before the end of the month.
More than half of young parents (54%) agreed they had to make difficult decisions just to feed their baby in 2020. Some of these decisions could be harmful to their child. To save money, 52 percent of moms said they have used more water than required by the instructions to make infant formula last longer. Formula over-dilution is dangerous because it dilutes critical nutrients in formula at a time where children are going through rapid growth and development.
“Caregivers experiencing food insecurity are often met with unimaginably tough decisions when it comes to feeding their family,” says Perrigo Nutrition Marketing Director Jeremy Jones. “With store brands, there’s no need for parents to take unnecessary risks such as diluting infant formula to save money.”