Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting Insurance to Pay for Your Breast Pump

With the new Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to pay for your breast pump.  Many of you are asking how this works. The first step is to call your insurance company and ask the right questions:

  1. Do I have to buy from someone "in network"?   If so, get the insurance company to provide you a list.

  2. Can I buy from any DME (durable medical equipment) company?  If so, you are in luck! Lactation Connection qualifies!

 3. What paperwork do I need for reimbursement?   Make sure they email the form or provide a link to any insurance forms you need. When you buy from a DME supplier, you pay us and then your insurance company reimburses you directly.   Lactation Connection provides the correct insurance code on your receipt to help you expedite reimbursement.

  4. Where can I use my FLEX spending account credit card?   In most cases, it is a health care provider including DME providers. You can use your FLEX credit card at http://www.lactationconnection.com/
If you need ammunition to get your insurance company to cooperate, visit our website for more info: http://www.lactationconnection.com/Breast_Pump_Insurance_Coverage_s/1916.htm

  And remember, don't take "no" for an answer. It is your right!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Breast Pump Brands: Which Breast Pump Should I Buy?

Moms ask us for advice on which brand of breast pump to purchase every day.  The marketplace is saturated so it can be very confusing.  We will be comparing Ameda, Hygeia and Medela models with pros and cons to help you make your decision:


Ameda's personal pumps include the Ameda Purely Yours and Purely Yours Ultra.
Pros: 
Closed system so no blow back of bacteria from a dirty surface on your pump.
One year warranty
Optimal Suction and Speed at 60 cycles per minute.
Can be purchased with or without a tote bag to meet any budget
Bag is separate from the pump so you get more use out of your cooler/carrier
Universally threaded so fits all standard bottles
Battery compartment available for backup power source
Cons:
Because pump is outside the bag, it is slightly louder than some pumps
Valves have to be changed every 6 weeks of frequent pumping, but this also keeps unit cleaner

Hygeia's Personal Pumps include the Hygeia EnJoye EPS, EXT and LBI.
Pros:
Closed System
Three year warranty
Optimal Suction and Speed at 60 cycles per minum
Can be purchased with or without a tote bag to meet any budget
Bag is separate from the pump and includes changing pad for baby
Universally threaded adapter so it can be used with standard bottles
Includes wide mouth bottles which are prefered for breastfeeding due to the wider nipple for
EXT model offers battery backup
LBI model has a lithium ion battery which is optimal for those who have to use a battery power source as it doesn't loose suction like use of a pump on AA batteries
Green pump is approved for multi-user when each mom has her personal pumping kit
Cons
Because pump is outside the bag, it is slightly louder than some pumps
Valves have to be changed every 6 weeks of frequent pumping, but this also keeps unit cleaner:
Replacement parts such as valves must be purchased online

Medela's pump include the Medela Pump In Style and Freestyle breast pumps.
Pros:
One year warranty
Optimal Suction and Speed at 60 cycles per minute
Universally threaded so it fits standard baby bottles
Battery compartment available for backup power source
Freestyle is a hands-free breast pump.
Cons:
Not a closed system.
Internal diaphragm can collect dust/bacteria.  Never use a used Pump In Style.
Freestyle is very costly.  Using a hands-free pumping band is more cost effective.
Some parts can only be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Some brands are popular due to aggressive marketing.  You don't necessarily have to buy the most expensive pump to get a good value.

For pricing and additional details, visit:
http://www.lactationconnection.com/Electric_Breast_Pumps_s/1833.htm




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thank You for Nursing in Public!

The first time I nursed in public 24 years ago, we were with my husband's family at a restaurant.  He gave me a disapproving look, but he was soon educated.  My strongest memories of nursing my daughter in public were in a copy store and a family reunion.  I was in the middle of a store called Lazer Copy in Arlington 19 years ago cutting and pasting a flyer for my pump rental business.  I was perched on a stool, nursing with one hand and putting together the flyer with the other hand.  I also remember a family reunion when I was wearing a nursing top and looking for a  quiet inconspicuous corner.  My brother in law did not realize what I was doing and came to sit and talk.  He never knew!  My youngest son was a big drinker, and my strongest memory of him nursing in public was in the back pew of our church.  He was gulping so loudly that several people turned around.


I know there are those uneducated in breastfeeding that may occasionally do something stupid like ask us to leave, but for the most part we can put more pressure on ourselves.  When you nurse in public, you educate and encourage other moms,  So thank you for nursing in public!  The more you do, the more it is widely accepted and those moms who are hindered from breastfeeding because "I have never seen it done." will no longer be hindered.

To cover or not to cover is up to you, but the right top can provide you the modesty you want without being under a blanket.  If you are near other moms, they benefit from seeing you nurse.  If an uneducated person approaches, look them in the eye.  Their eyes will ususally follow yours.  And if they have the audacity too ask you to leave, have a retort ready like you really don't want hundreds of my pro-breastfeeding friends organizing a nurse-in at your business, do you?

Happy Nursing!
Tanya

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stocking Up and Storing Breastmilk

It is always a good idea to have a stockpile of breastmilk in the freezer.  You never know when you might have a medical procedure come up or your hubby may want to wisk you away for a romantic weekend.  Sometimes it is a daunting task to get a significant amount of breastmilk stored, so here are some tips:
1.  Pump Efficiently:  Purchase an effective breast pump.  Pumping with a bad breast pump will make any mom want to throw in the towel.  You don't have to spend $300 on a pump, but budgeting a months worth of what you would have spent on formula and getting the basic model of the Ameda Purely Yours is just the ticket at less than $150 or the Spectra S2 Breast Pump for under $200.
2.  Start Early:  Don't confuse the advice that says that you should not give your baby a bottle for 6 weeks to mean don't pump for the first six weeks.  The former is to avoid nipple confusion.  If you begin pumping in the early weeks, you will have more to store before your milk supply regulates and you will be ahead of the game.
3.  Pump Early:  On the average, moms get 1 oz after feeding in the morning hours as opposed to half an oz later in the day.  So if you pump in the mornings, you will get more for your effort.
4.  Replacement Pump:  If Dad gives a bottle of stored milk because you are running late getting back from the store, pump immediately and you will replace the entire amount!
5.  Pump Easy:  Pump into the same refrigerated container for up to 24 hours and then place in the freezer.  Since breastmilk has antibacterial properties, you can also just rinse breastshields and re-use as opposed to sterilizing each time.  Do sterilize parts once per day. 
6.  Store Smart:  Pump in 2-4 oz increments so you can easily defrost just what you need to avoid waste.  You can save space with breast milk freezer bags or save time by pumping into the same bottles you are going to use to feed.  If you use bottles, use a sealing disc and don't put nipples in the freezer.
7.  If you have an upcoming event to store up for, you can use lactation cookies or bars to boost supply so you can stock up faster

For moms storing breast milk short term to use during the same week, using a system to organize your milk keeps you from wasting freshly expressed breast milk. Breastmilk Bandit easily labels your milk with My Mommy's Milk and the Day of the week making this an economical and easier method that tagging your milk with post-its.



Happy Pumping!
Tanya