A quarter of a million dollars... that's how much the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates it'll cost you to raise a child until they're 18 and that DOESN'T include college!
So, if you're like me, and want to save every penny where you can, finally some money-saving news for expectant parents. The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover breastfeeding support and supplies. One of those supplies, which can cost hundreds of dollars, is a breast pump. As of August 1st, 2012, MOST families can have their insurance company pick up the tab. It's taken some time to implement, but most insurance carriers, if not all are now on board. I talked to Pamela Meharry who is a lactation consultant for Middlesex Hospital in Middletown about the process. She told me pregnant women should start by calling the number on the back of their insurance card. Here is a list of questions Ms. Meharry says you should be prepared to ask them:
What kind of pump can I get? i.e. a single or double, electric or manual?
When can I get the pump? i.e. during pregnancy or after delivery?
How can I get the pump? i.e. will they mail it to my home or do I have to pick it up at a durable medical supplier?
Middlesex Hospital staff will fill out a prescription for moms who have a Husky insurance plan. The hospital is considered baby-friendly. Pamela tells me their goal is to "have moms exclusivley breastfeed their children for 6 months, no solids because it decreases the risk of allergies." But, as many moms know, breastfeeding is often times challenging, even the second and third time around. That's why lactation consultants, including Pamela, offer two breastfeeding support classes each week, free of charge, for new moms, no matter where they delivered. The classes are Tuesday mornings at 10am and Thursday evenings at 5pm. You can contact Pamela via email at Pamela.email@example.com or by phone at 860.358.6867. Pamela says, "unless you have a sick baby, moms shouldn't be pumping or freezing their milk for the first month." She adds, "just enjoy the first month, moms who pump too much or too early can get run down and increase their risk of infection." She suggests you "start pumping a week or so before you have to go back to work or school to get your body prepared." FYI, the state of Connecticut is required to provide nursing moms with a place to pump at work and a reasonable amount of time to do it. Pamela says they also work closely with the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition. Their website includes several resources for nursing moms.