One thing we all know to be true? Having a baby is expensive! And while your bundle of joy is worth every penny, it is helpful to know that mamas can get some extra help with essentials.
If you're enrolled in an FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account), you are entitled to a ton of eligible expenses for tax-free purchase like prescriptions and health insurance deductibles. Beyond basic medical care, you can also use these accounts to purchase items like postpartum undies, pumps, probiotics and more, all untaxed. Yup, amazing.
What's not so amazing? Scrambling to use dollars that expire (unused FSA dollars risk being turned back over to employers if not spent before December 31) while also sweating the holidays, COVID restrictions and ever-changing rules. That said, you may be able to shop anywhere you want, depending on your policy, and send your receipts for reimbursement. Be sure to check your insurance policy to see which items qualify before making your purchases.
Ready to shop? Here are some FSA and HSA approved baby and maternity items you can buy with pre-tax dollars, so that you can sleep a little easier.
Maternity and postpartum support
Belly Bandit has a handful of wonderful support bands and compression tops, but we love the Upsie Belly for a few reasons. The pregnancy support band can aid all sorts of discomforts like pressure relief on the bladder, releasing lower back pain, and redistributing belly weight so walking and standing is more bearable during the second and third trimester. You can even use it to stabilize your belly during exercise, acting as your ultimate "I got your back" product.
Give your growing belly an extra layer of snug support. This comfortable band is ideal for protecting clothing from creams and oils while also keeping you covered as your body grows and changes.
Typically maternity and nursing bras do not qualify. However, according to Belly Bandit, their supremely comfortable, second skin Anti Bra's are covered. The wire-free, ultra thin bra is also available in a scoop-neck style.
Mama, your body has been through a lot, which is why we love a solid pair of supportive undies to keep you comfortable. We're big fans of the Leak Proof Hipster because of its moderate coverage and ultimate absorbency for any accident, big or small. The multi-layer Leak-Loc™ system draws moisture away from the body, keeping you dry for hours. Plus, the fabric is super breathable with the classic hipster cut, which means you won't feel like you're wearing a diaper (because we're so over that at this point). Once your period returns they're ready to keep you dry and confident through your cycle. They're also available in a variety of styles and absorbency.
Recovering from a c-section is no small feat. These incision-friendly, high-waisted undies lay flat and gentle against your scar and silver-infused fibers help eliminate bacteria and odor while targeted compression helps to reduce swelling. They're also available in a shorter style, ideal for the months afterward.
Breastfeeding supplies and support
Willow has become the holy grail for millennial breastfeeding mamas because it's a wireless, all-in-one smart breast pump that works quietly inside your bra. Designed to be used every which way from lying down on the couch to while taking a conference call, Willow runs on rechargeable battery and can be operated from an app on your phone. The app also keeps track of all kinds of useful information like how long you've pumped, how much you've collected and info about past sessions.
With so many breast pumps to choose from, it comes down to the details. Motif Medical's Lua Double Electric Breast Pump checked all our boxes and more. Not only is is sleek and sophisticated (because let's face it, you have to carry this thing around for months, so it better look cute), but this pump expresses milk with high efficiency and a quiet motor. Multiple massage and expression modes help you feel in control of the process and allow you to choose what works best. Plus, it's BPH-free.
To any mamas who didn't have access to nipple cream, we want to apologize with our whole hearts, because we don't know what we'd do without it. Earth Mama Organics' Nipple Butter is as luxurious as it is soothing, and offers all-day moisture. Apply before and after breastfeeding, and you'll almost feel back to your old self (you know, pre-baby). This butter is dermatologist-tested and free of petroleum, lanolin, and parabens, so you can feel really good about using this butter all the time.
If you're interested in testing your breast milk to know what nutrients you're giving your baby, we can't recommend Lactation Lab's Standard Test Kit enough. Complete with sample collection vials and freezer gel packs, you'll receive comprehensive test results with nutritional recommendations once you send in your samples. Just a week after sending, you'll receive your results, which include a panel of nutritional content on top of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C and B-12. With the help of this kit, you and your doctor can create a rock-solid feeding plan that gives your baby the best.
Pregnancy and postpartum supplements
If you're still in the planning process, Natalist's Prenatal + Omega Duo vitamins will make sure your body is fully prepped for pregnancy. You'll get omega-3 fatty acids from the Omega DHA, which are responsible for building neural tissue in the brain and eyes. These vitamins are free of fishy flavor, and can help remove arsenic, mercury, lead, dioxins, and PCBs from your body. The best part: They leave out yeast, wheat, gluten, soy protein, dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch, artificial colors and flavoring and preservatives to ensure you're only adding to your health—not taking away.
While it may not be absolutely top of list, consider Needed's Collagen Protein during both pregnancy and postpartum. Many women in both these stages aren't getting enough protein, which can help with blood sugar management, keeping nausea at bay, and even helping to grow baby's cells and placenta.
We love this product because it will take care of all these elements in your pregnancy and postpartum journey and then some (think pelvic floor tissue, joints, and healthy skin stretching). Ethically sourced and hydrolyzed (meaning it infuses easily into any food or drink), this collagen protein can be mixed into smoothies or tea. Of course, consult your doctor before starting!
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