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Breast Pump Basics: Insurance

Navigate the Affordable Care Act with some breastfeeding brush-up from Yummy Mummy’s Amanda Cole.

Breast Pump Basics: Insurance

No matter how ready you feel for baby’s arrival, there are just some things you can’t possibly imagine until you’re actually doing them...like breastfeeding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared, especially when it comes to getting your breast pump. And now that the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover preventative services for women, including that breast pump, it’s easier than it’s ever been to get a head start. Still, since the law only kicked in early last year, there are lots of women that don’t know exactly what it means to them, and miss out on the benefit as a result.

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To help clear things up, we turned to Amanda Cole, owner of NYC breastfeeding boutique Yummy Mummy. As a durable medical equipment provider, Cole has partnered with 25 insurance companies, and as a breastfeeding expert, she’s got the staff to walk even the least prepared mama-to-be through this often confusing process.

“A lot of women just aren’t aware that their breast pump is covered by insurance,” she says. “When you’re pregnant and have so much going on, it can be easier to go out and buy a pump. But the pumps supplied through your insurance are often the same or just as good. And they’re usually free.”

Below, Cole simplifies the process.

What exactly does the Affordable Care Act cover?

With the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now thinking about breast pumps as a medically necessary item. Each insurer and plan varies in terms of what’s offered, but it’s usually a hand pump or a standard-electric pump. For a hospital grade pump, you’d need to make a case for an extra medical issue.

Are rental pumps covered?

Some plans only offer rental pumps, and some plans only offer new, single-user pumps.

Do all plans have at least some breast pump provision?

Some plans have been grandfathered, meaning they don’t need to comply with the Affordable Care Act. January 1, 2015 is a key date on when some plans will go from being grandfathered to non-grandfathered, so that may be the case with yours. You may want to switch insurance plans--when a plan is grandfathered, there’s probably a lot more provisions besides breast pump they don’t need to comply with. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision. To switch your insurance for this one benefit may not be right for your needs.

What’s the process of getting a pump?

It’s never too early to look into it, even if you’re just thinking about getting pregnant. Call your insurance company, and ask them if a breast pump is covered under your plan. If it’s not, ask why. Most plans will only cover a breast pump if it’s through an in-network durable medical equipment provider, and most of those providers will handle all paperwork on your behalf. Once you provide the info they need, they'll ship it right to your door.

If there are several pumps offered on your plan, how can you decide, especially if you’ve never nursed before?

As a durable medical equipment provider, all of our team members are trained on all the different products offered through the insurance plans we partner on. Pumps do have subtle differences that might gear a mom one way or the other. Some moms come in with idea of what they want, and others need more help making their decision.

Are there any reasons a woman might want to step outside of her plan when it comes to breast pumps?

The motor and breast pump itself is the same in the insurance model as any model for purchase, but there’s some fancier models that have more bells and whistles that you can’t get through your insurance. Those extras can be a carrying tote or certain accessories, but many of those can be purchased separately anyway. Most people that are still buying pumps just don’t know about the benefit or think it’s too much of a hassle.

Can you get a new breast pump through insurance every time you have a new baby?

There’s usually a time frame restriction, like 36 months, before you can get another pump. Check with your plan.

Is breastfeeding support also covered by the Affordable Care Act?

Lactation services are also covered when a provider is in network. But not many lactation consultants are signed up with an insurance plan. It’s a benefit that’s pretty underused. Insurers are looking at how to enable moms to use that benefit more frequently.

Will we still see innovations in the breast pump industry, now that there’s less of a reason for a woman to buy off the shelf?

It could actually be more of a reason to see innovation. Maybe these breast pump companies want to be the one pump that moms will pay for out of pocket for because it’s that great. It might push them to come up with the “Aha!” change that will bring people back to the shelf.

Learn more about breast pumps and insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

Watch this Yummy Mummy video to get a better handle on the issue.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

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