Ah, the common question that so many expectant and new moms ask…one that should be easy to answer, right? Yet for moms living in the US especially, this question can often be frustratingly difficult to address.
I have (thankfully) heard many success stories, from moms who made a single phone call and received their pumps through the post, just before their due dates. These stories should be the benchmark; the standard expectation for new moms in 2015. However, far too often I hear the question, “how do I get a breast pump?” and alongside the question, there lies panic.
Because the mother counting down the days before she must return to work really does not need the added pressure of form-filling and legislation-chasing. Nor does the mother with low supply, or the mother who intends to donate her milk.
No matter how difficult or easy the answer is to come by, the significance of this question remains, since the US government doesn’t protect maternity leave as standard. This means that many new moms are forced to re-enter the workforce when their babies are just a few months old. For a breastfeeding mother returning to work, a breast pump is nothing less than essential…but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to come by.
Because we are tired. Oh. So. Tired. We may be fueled by a magical mixture of oats and oxytocin, but we are still wrapped in a cloud of bone-crushing exhaustion, our bodies don’t feel like they belong to us anymore and we can’t remember the last time we took a shower alone.
The world has changed…and we don’t have the inclination to study bills that passed or didn’t pass, or insurance plans that are grandfathered or grandmothered or grand-aunted or whatever…
Because those stories that I mentioned, with the mom who makes a single phone call and receives a gift-wrapped pump of her choosing through the post, delivered by singing doves…they are real life stories (ok, minus the doves.)
It’s 2015 and there is help out there, available to all…we’ve just got to know where to look for it.
There are even companies that do the legwork for us, and send the pump (again, minus the doves) straight to our door. EHCS, for example, will even contact your doctor’s office to save you the job of going in for a prescription. I’m sure the team there have halos, or wings at least…
And there is information out there too, about insurance and legislation and the subtle dance that the two engage in. For clarity, (because who has the time or desire to sift through insurance paperwork or spend the best part of forever on hold?) here are the important points:
- In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed, which gives moms the opportunity to have their breast pumps covered under their insurance plans.
- If your health insurance plan was in place prior to the Affordable Care Act being signed, this means that your policy is known as ‘Grandfathered’ and is exempt from the legislation. You may, however, still have some coverage so it is worth checking.
- You may be able to choose your pump. Some insurance companies offer double electric breast pumps, so it is always worth stating your preference.
- There are healthcare services available that require just one form to be filled. They verify your insurance benefits and obtain your prescription on your behalf, before shipping the pump to your door.
I’ve said before, and I will say again – breastfeeding needs to be a part of general conversation. It needs to be discussed so that knowledge of the services and options available to mothers is widespread and – crucially – properly understood. The more we share and the louder our voices become, the more chance we have of securing better maternity legislation in the future. And until then? Let’s make the most of the provisions that are available to us. Because the answer to the question, “how do I get a breast pump?” should be as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Thank you to mamas Katie and Macy for allowing me to feature their pictures in this piece. For more photos in celebration of breastfeeding and motherhood, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!
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