insurance coverage Tag

How pumping is helping moms who can’t breastfeed weather the formula shortage

Not all mothers are able to breastfeed, and the formula shortage puts their kids at risk.

Milk N Mamas Baby has a history rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, and we’re avid proponents of breastfeeding when it’s possible. Breast milk is the healthiest food source available to infants; however, not all moms are able to breastfeed. A recent New York Times article spoke with moms whose breastfeeding plans were disrupted by difficult deliveries, illness, and other unavoidable challenges. The most vulnerable moms, those living at or below the poverty level, are often most reliant on formula due to demanding work schedules and environments that don’t support pumping on the job.

For moms who are dependent on formula to feed their newborns, the ongoing baby formula shortage caused by recalls and supply chain issues has become a nightmare. However, some nursing moms are stepping up to help fill the need by donating breastmilk to human milk banks or providing breastmilk directly to nonlactating mothers in their area via milk share programs.

What is a human milk bank?

Milk banks collect breast milk from mothers who produce more than their babies need. Banks screen, pasteurize, and test the milk to ensure it is safe for consumption, and then dispense it to nonlactating mothers. Many of the recipients of breast milk from human milk banks are preemies or medically fragile. For that reason, Lindsay Groff, Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, told WFTV of Orlando, Florida, “If people can donate, now would be the time, because when we have more of an inventory we can look beyond the medically fragile.”

To learn about becoming a donor, follow this link to the Find a Milk Bank page on the Human Milk Banking Association’s website.

What is a milk sharing program?

Programs like Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies offer parents around the world a network for sharing breastmilk. These commerce-free spaces connect parents who can offer breastmilk with parents in need of breastmilk. While breastmilk banks are regulated and more regularly used by hospitals, milk sharing programs are peer-to-peer donations, and parents must rely on their own good judgment regarding donors.

Search “Eats on Feets” or “Human Milk 4 Human Babies” on Facebook to find a program near you and to learn about each network’s guidelines.

Want to pump breastmilk to help nonlactating moms?

If you’re a lactating woman, and you have a pump, you can donate breastmilk to your local human milk bank or provide milk directly to mothers in your community who may be unable to breastfeed. If you’ve got insurance, we’ve got pumps that are 100% covered by Tricare and most other provider health plans, including:

Give us a call to learn more.

What’s the science on breastfeeding and mental health?

We know a lot about the positive impacts of breastfeeding on short- and long-term infant health. But how does it affect mom? Megan Yuen and Olivia Hall, two scientists at the University of Massachusetts, have released a new report in the Journal of Women’s Health on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, and it looks like breastfeeding has a mostly positive impact with a notable exception.

First, the good news: breastfeeding decreases risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

Of 36 studies on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, 29 found that mothers who breastfeed have fewer mental health symptoms. In fact, 28 studies found that breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

On the other hand, if your breastfeeding experience poses challenges, it can increase risk of depression and anxiety.

Journal of Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD explains, “To help clinicians personalize breastfeeding and mental health counseling, it is important to recognize that while breastfeeding is generally associated with improved maternal mental health, if can have negative mental health consequences if the mother experiences breastfeeding challenges or the experience does not meet her expectations.”

It seems like one of the biggest obstacle is our own expectations or, worse, comparing ourselves to other mothers or to some imaginary “ideal mother.” Mama, let’s be real with each other. Being a mom, in general, is hard work. It’s not as romantic as Mother’s Day cards make it out to be. Breastfeeding isn’t all cuddles. It can be difficult. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. If you’re just starting to breastfeed, keep these things in mind.

#1 Remember what you just did, mom.

Hey, lady. Please don’t forget that you just spent nine months making a whole other person. Your body is tired, including your brain and your heart. If you’re feeling tender and vulnerable right now, that’s normal. If everything, including breastfeeding, feels a little more difficult, it’s no wonder. Your body is recovering. Please be patient. Give yourself the time you’ve earned to recuperate without judgment.

#2 Set realistic expectations.

Here’s the truth. Breastfeeding can be a real challenge. Even though it seems like it should “come naturally,” it can be pretty difficult for new moms and their new babies to get the hang of it. However, most moms can successfully breastfeed. It’s mostly a matter of experimentation and practice. Expect that there will be some uncomfortable and even frustrating moments. Expect that you’ll also eventually have the sweet, memorable moment that you’re hoping for. Sometimes it just takes a while.

#3 Ask a professional lactation consultant for guidance.

Many insurance providers, including Tricare and many Aetna, BCBS, and Geisinger plans, cover up to six visits to a lactation consultant. If your insurance covers a lactation consultant, use that resource, mama! A professional will confirm what I’ve already told you (that it’s totally normal to not immediately ace breastfeeding) and offer some specific tips to make breastfeeding more enjoyable for you and your baby.

#4 Seek out a supportive community of mothers.

During the early stages, breastfeeding can take up a lot of time, keeping you stuck at home alone. That can take a toll on mental health. Many moms get depressed and begin to compare themselves unfavorable to “mothering norms,” which makes them feel even more alone. Whether you use an app like Peanut to connect with other moms, a Facebook group, or a weekly meetup at the park or a coffee shop, make time to let other mothers in your life. Having a community gives you a safe space to share your fears and concerns, and your mother friends will remind you that we’re all doing the best we can.

#5 Take time for yourself

Along the same lines, many mothers have talked to me about being “touched out,” and that’s a completely normal way to feel when you’re being touched all the time. Even though you love all the cuddles you get as a mom, you likely also need some time to be alone and enjoy not being completely responsible for another person’s care and nourishment. That’s nothing to be ashamed of or to feel badly about.

Take care of you, mama.

I founded Milk N Mamas baby after years of lobbying on behalf of mothers for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment. I believe that breastfeeding is valuable for babies and their mothers in most cases. It offers many health benefits for baby and mom, and it offers lots of mom some mental health protection when they need it most. But if it’s not working for you, pumping is a viable option that will allow you to provide the nutritional benefit of breast milk. Get in touch to learn more.

Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Should I reuse my old breast pump for my second baby?

Most breast pumps can be used for multiple pregnancies.

It can take some time to get used to a breast pump, and it’s not uncommon for moms to get attached to the one they’ve already got. Fortunately, most modern breast pumps are built to be durable, and they’re usually tough enough to be used for multiple pregnancies if you’re cleaning, maintaining, and storing them properly. The same goes for hard plastic pump accessories like bottles and breast shields that are still in good working order. However, you should replace all silicone and soft plastic parts as they’re more difficult to clean and sanitize.

Open system breast pumps are not suitable for long-term use.

Closed system pumps are designed to prevent breastmilk from seeping into the pump motor. In open system breast pump, there’s no barrier, which means moisture, condensation, and breast milk can get into the interior of the pump. Because these interior components can’t be easily accessed and sanitized, they have the potential to breed mold and bacteria. As such, it’s best not to reuse open system breast pumps.

Most insurance providers do cover a new breast pump for each new child.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of one new double electric breast pump for every pregnancy. However, policies may vary. Some provide new breast pumps each year or every other year. We can verify your insurance company’s breast pump policy easily if you’re not sure. Regardless, if you’ve paid for the insurance, you should definitely collect on the breast pump benefits. Even if you’re completely in love with your old reliable pump, there are good reasons to purchase a new one with your insurance credit.

Have a backup breast pump in case the old one quits performing.

Like all electronics, even the best breast pumps will deteriorate over time. That’s why most breast pump warranties only cover specific problems with the pump or the motor and only for one to two years after your purchase. If you love your pump, get a backup model for the day your old one begins to show signs of wear and tear.

Have a stay-at-home breast pump and a wearable breast pump for traveling.

You could also use your breast pump benefit to mix it up a little. Is your favorite pump the Medela Pump In Style that you use in the comfort of your own home? Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Order your new breast pump today!

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, with specialization in breast pumps, pumping essentials, and breast pumping accessories. Our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, including lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it. We’re here to help you whether this is your first or your fifth baby. Give us a call for guidance on breast pump insurance coverage.

We are your Pennsylvania breast pump supplier

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, the percent of Pennsylvania mothers who started breastfeeding after birth increased more than 10% between 2009 and 2018. However, breastfeeding rates drop by nearly 25% eight weeks after birth. Two factors seem to drive this decision to quit breastfeeding. Moms feel like they’re not producing enough breastmilk to satisfy their hungry baby, and many moms are returning to work at that time. For most moms, both of these obstacles can be overcome with a high-quality breast pump.

How breast pumps help moms continue breastfeeding for longer

An electric breast pump allows you to build your milk supply by pumping during breastfeeding sessions and between sessions. You can also practice milk boosting practices like cluster pumping and double-pumping using a pump. Not only does pumping increase milk production by increasing the demand, it also provides you with a breastmilk stash that you can use when you go back to work. Even more exciting, pumps like the Elvie Stride can be worn to work in a standard nursing bra so you can pump while you’re at the office.

Milk N Mamas Baby is a durable medical equipment (DME) companies

Pumps like the Elvie Stride can only be purchased through select DME companies, but that’s no problem for you, mama. We have partnerships with all of your favorite breast pump providers, including Medela, Ameda, Spectra, Motif, BabyBuddha, and yes, Elvie.

We participate in most Pennsylvania health plans PLUS Tricare

Never fear, mama! We’ve got you covered here, too. We participate with most Pennsylvania health plans, including Geisinger and state Medicaid plans like UMPC, Aetna Better Health, and Gateway. We’re also authorized in-network breast pump providers for military moms and mil-spouses covered by Tricare.

You can use your FSA/HSA account at Milk N Mamas Baby

Since we are a medical equipment supplier, you can upgrade to premium pumps like the Elvie Pump or the Spectra S1 while you’re here. You can also use your FSA account to stock up on breast milk storage bags and replacement parts like tubing, valves membranes, collection bottles, nipple shields, and more.

Take a look around and see what we have to offer

The health benefits of nutrient-rich breastmilk follow your child for the rest of her life, offering her protection from allergies, obesity, and many preventable illnesses. The longer you pump, the greater the benefit. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we make it as easy as possible to get started pumping. We can help you get your prescription and deal with your insurance company. So take a look around while you’re here or better yet, give us a call at 844-Milk-Mom and let us know how we can support you in your pumping routine.

Elvie Stride, the ultra-quiet, hands-free breast pump! 

Why does every mom want an Elvie breast pump?

According to their Company Page, Elvie’s mission is “to improve women’s lives through smarter technology,” and the Elvie Pump has the potential to do just that. This wearable breast pump is so sleek it can fit into your bra. It’s silent, and it comes without tubes or wires, making it totally discreet. Based on a quick scan of @elvie mentions on Instagram, Elvie-wearing mamas are pumping on the beach, at the airport, on ski slopes, hiking in national parks, at the gym─even in bars. This innovative pump does all that, and it comes with an app that can monitor milk volume in real time. It seems like Elvie could be on its way to creating a “woman who has it all” scenario.

The biggest obstacle to having it all is money.

All that being said, let’s be honest. We’re all mamas here, after all. Expensive is not good for most new parents, and the original Elvie Pump is on the expensive end of the breast pump market. Further, many insurance companies don’t cover hands-free breast pumps like the Elvie Pump. That means you’ve got to pay for this really very cool breast pump out of your possibly not so flush pocket. For lots of moms, that’s a deal breaker.

Great news! The Elvie Stride is making all your breast pumping dreams come true.

Elvie has brought a new hands-free pump to the market, and this one will be 100% covered by Tricare for active duty military moms and mil-spouses and for civilian moms by most other insurance companies. That means you can apply your insurance breast pump benefit to the Elvie Stride and enjoy the benefits of a premium wearable pump without the premium price tag. The catch is that this pump is only being sold through select durable medical equipment (DME) companies, but that’s not a problem for you because we’ve got your Elvie Stride right here on this website.

Excited yet? How about we take a look under the hood of the Elvie Stride and see what makes this sleek breast pump so special (aside from the budget-friendly insurance coverage).

How does the Elvie Stride compare to the Elvie Pump?

Like the Pump, the Stride breast pump is ultra-quiet and hands-free. It slides into a standard nursing bra, just like the Pump. Like the Pump, the Stride gives you more mobility and offers freedom from needing to be plugged into an outlet or a large motor. However, there are some differences between the two pump styles.

The original Elvie Pump is designed so that each hub has its own bottle, motor, flange, etc. This design eliminates the need for a separate control and motor housing, making the Pump streamlined. However, two tiny motors increase the cost of manufacture significantly.

With the Stride, each hub has its own bottle and flange, but the two hubs share a small controller that houses a hospital strength pump motor. Since the hubs themselves do not contain motors, they’re much more compact than the Pump. This small design change also makes the Stride more affordable for more moms without sacrificing the sleek, wearable benefits that make Elvie products so user-friendly.

The Elvie Stride hubs share a single hospital strength motor housed in a hand-held controller.

The Elvie Stride hubs share a single hospital strength motor housed in a hand-held controller.

What are the benefits of the Elvie Stride?

It’s wearable.

The Elvie Stride fits into your nursing bra so that you can pull your clothes on and head out into the world ready to pump. The small controller slips right into your pocket and out of sight.

It’s ultra-quiet.

The Stride is designed with noise reduction technology so that it blends into background noise and doesn’t draw attention.

It’s smart.

The Stride connects with the free “Pump with Elvie” app that allows you to control your pump remotely while tracking your milk production.

It’s customizable.

The Stride allows you to choose from ten intensity settings in both Stimulation and Expression modes for optimal comfort and efficiency. You can also customize your pump, so it always starts with your preferred settings.

The Elvie stride fits neatly into your nursing bra in a way that is comfortable and discreet.

Elvie Stride is 100% covered by Tricare and most other breast pump benefit plans.

This wearable, hands-free breast pump is completely covered by Tricare for mil-moms and mil-spouses, and most other health insurance plans cover it, too. If you’re not sure whether your healthcare plan will cover the pump, don’t stress! As a DME company, we work with a wide range of insurance companies. We can quickly and easily verify you breast pump benefit on your behalf.

Order your Elvie Stride today and have it on your doorstep in no time.

If you’ve already got your prescription, you can attach it to our secure order form. However, if you do not have your prescription, we can speed that process up, too. When you’ve placed your order for your brand new Elvie Stride, we can request a prescription from your doctor on our side. Once your order is complete, we’ll have it in the mail straight away so you can get familiar with this new miracle of modern mamahood.

Need help? Give us a call at 1-844-Milk-Mom or email us at milknmamasbaby@gmail.com.

young breastfeeding mother checking Aetna insurance plan online

What breastfeeding moms need to know about their Aetna health plan

Aetna health plans cover breastfeeding equipment and sometimes more

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance providers are required to cover personal use breast pumps for new and expecting mothers. If you’re covered by Aetna, you can choose a manual or electric pump. Several different brands of breast pumps are 100% covered, including the Luna Motif, Spectra S2, and Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow. In addition, your Aetna plan may also cover up to six visits with a lactation consultant if you need breastfeeding support.

What are the limitations of Aetna breastfeeding equipment coverage?

Moms only get one benefit with Aetna. Therefore, if you choose to get a 100% covered manual pump, you can’t also get a fully covered electric breast pump. It’s one or the other.

In the past, many Aetna plans were also limited in terms of how often you were able to receive a new pump. While many insurance providers allowed one plan per birth event, Aetna restricted moms to one breast pump during a 36-month period. However, in a 2020 clinical policy bulletin, Aetna stated that “ a replacement manual or standard electrical breast pump is considered medically necessary for each subsequent pregnancy, for initiation or continuation of breastfeeding during pregnancy or following delivery.”

However, the same policy bulletin stated that “the purchase of heavy duty electrical (hospital grade) breast pumps [are] not medically necessary.”

Replacement supplies that are strictly for comfort and convenience, such as replacement polycarbonate bottles, replacement caps, nipples, or lids for breast pump bottle, and replacement locking rings, are not covered. Furthermore, some grandfathered Aetna plans that pre-date the March 23, 2010 ACA may not follow all of the requirements for coverage of breast pumps.

Not sure what your policy covers?

Don’t worry. We can give Aetna a call and confirm your benefit coverage for you.

Aside from the coverage, you’ll need a prescription to qualify for your 100% covered breast pump. You can upload it easily when your place your order (though a prescription is not required when placing an order). If your hands are full, we can even contact your doctor and request a prescription on your behalf. Once you’ve placed your order, we’ll get your new pump to you quickly and with absolutely no cost to you. Even our shipping is free, and we service Aetna moms anywhere in the U.S.A.