All insurance companies were mandated to provide nursing mothers with breastfeeding equipment and counseling as per the Affordable Care Act.
HERE is another look at the services provided to pregnant and lactating women from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In an effort to meet the demand, breastfeeding equipment companies have ramped up production. It has come to our attention that there may be a quality control issue with some of these pumps. Our friends at Modern Mommy report seeing at least one insurance pump a week since the beginning of the year, mostly the Ameda branded product, for troubleshooting. This week they saw at least one every day….it seems like there is definitely something going on. The suspicion is that there is something happening in the manufacturing process as companies rise to meet the demand.
The problem they are seeing with the Ameda pump is what they describe as "vapor locking", and they are finding it has nothing to do with the parts. If you lift the lid to break the suction it will work again. The problem is most of the time, it is going to keep malfunctioning this way.
If you have a pump that does not seem to be working well, turn it off and call your authorized breast pump retailer for a test appointment. Here in East Valley of Phoenix, AZ, we know that Modern Mommy Boutique will be able to help you troubleshoot your pump. Take it right into the store for them to test your machine. They can check it to see if it is a machine problem or a part problem.
Another thing to keep in mind: Expressing milk from a pump, whether manually or electrically, should not hurt or cause injury. In addition, a breast pump should also express a decent amount of milk. That will vary according to the mother, how accustomed she is to pumping, and also according to the kind of pump she are using. Over time, you might expect to build up to being able to express a fair amount of milk.
If it hurts to pump, if you are seeing damage to your breast tissue or your nipple, and/or if you are not getting the amount of milk that you think you should, know that it’s not you.
A few things to know about breast pumps:
Your insurance company will probably have a policy in place that you may, or may not, be able to negotiate around. As per the AAP document, this is what they are required to do:
As I mentioned above, there is not a type of pump specified in the law. If your first pump isn’t working, you are generally recommended to call the manufacturer to send replacement parts or a new machine. Note: You would have a stronger argument for a new machine if you take it into an authorized retailer for testing, and the new parts installed as per manufacturer specifications yielded the same kind of error you are getting at home.
If your replacement parts/machine are still not working as expected, consider calling your insurance carrier. Here are some ideas:
A big consideration in advocating for yourself is ensuring that your insurance company provides the kind of product that you need for your breastfeeding relationship. If they won't provide that, ask if they will send you the amount equivalent to the cost of the product they cover so you can purchase the right pump for the job you and your baby need it to do. Depending on how your insurance company interprets the law, you may or may not be able to have this happen.
About "getting the right pump for the job":
You are well within your right to be an informed consumer. If you suspect something is wrong, it probably is. Do not take an “expert” word for it – you are the only expert on your body. Keep advocating until you get the kind of equipment and support that you need and are entitled to under the health care law.
Have you gotten a “free” breast pump from your insurance company? What has your experience been?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.
*Under the law, breastfeeding counseling is also covered – the gold standard in lactation care is an International Board-Certified Lactation Counselor (IBCLC), who holds the equivalent of a college-degree in breastfeeding support.
Most IBCLC's charge by the minute. It only takes ten minutes to do a complete tour of your pump, get fitted, and learn how to use your pump. It's about the cost of a new set of flanges ($13)...totally worth it since your nipple size doesn't change with each child.
A big thank you to Talisha Heiden from Modern Mommy Boutique and Desiree Allison, IBCLC from Arizona Breastfeeding Center, and Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC from Mommy Help Center for their time and expertise that informed this post.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.