Breast pump

Lactation Services at Health Foundations

Breastfeeding Mama

If you’re expecting your first baby and are planning to breastfeed, you likely have images in your head of lovingly nursing your newborn in your new cushy glider as he drifts off to sleep and you gaze down in awe of your little miracle. You probably have these images because that’s how we often see breastfeeding portrayed in photos and movies. Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural way to nourish your baby while creating a lasting bond. But it’s unfortunately not always as easy as you expect. Problems such as a poor latch and lip and tongue ties can leave both you and your baby in tears as you struggle to overcome the learning curve on your way to nursing bliss. That’s why, at Health Foundations, we offer comprehensive lactation services to get you on your way to building a successful breastfeeding relationship with your new baby.

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Lactation consultation can begin as soon as your baby is born with guidance and instruction from our team on how to get baby latched on properly and receiving the vital colostrum that precedes your milk coming in. But it doesn’t end there. During your postpartum visit, our registered nurse Jan Kaste will answer any questions you have about breastfeeding, address any difficulties that have arisen, and troubleshoot any problems to ensure that you and baby can get back on track. 

“Nursing is a learned skill that often benefits from time spent with a lactation consultant. We offer lactation education on a one to one basis to get new moms through those first challenging weeks. Reassurance and individualized problem solving create the best chance for each mom to successfully reach her breastfeeding goals.” –Jan Kaste, RN, Nurse Practitioner.

If you’re breastfeeding challenges are not resolved during your postpartum visit, you are welcome to schedule a one on one consultation at the Birth Center. During a lactation consultation, we will assess your concerns and give you the individualized attention, support and guidance needed to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. It is not uncommon for it to take a month or even two to get in a comfortable groove with your baby as you both learn to navigate the rewarding and nutritive relationship of breastfeeding. 

In addition to private consultations, we also offer a number of classes and groups to support you in your breastfeeding journey. These options include:

Breastfeeding Class (First Wednesday and Third Tuesday of Every Month, 6:00-7:00 PM): This class focuses on getting off to a great start with a comfortable latch as well as understanding nursing positions and infant feeding cues. The class also covers nutrition for breastfeeding, breastfeeding supplies, and common concerns such as infant growth spurts.

Mama’s Milk Hour (Thursdays from 2:30-3:30 PM): This group is a wonderful way to gain support in breastfeeding in those early weeks.  Come weigh your baby, practice breastfeeding in public, ask questions and connect with other mamas. Free and open to the public.

Pump Talk 101 (First Thursday of Every Month from 3:30pm - 4:30pm): If you’re returning to work soon, this class will help you learn how to make the transition by teaching the ins and outs of pumping and storing milk after you return to your job.

To learn more about the lactation services, classes and groups at Health Foundations, contact us to speak to a lactation consultant. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your breastfeeding goals and supporting you on the way.

Insurance Coverage for Breastfeeding Support: Pumps and Lactation Services

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The Good News:

Under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, insurance companies are now required to cover the costs associated with breastfeeding, such as breastfeeding pumps and lactation services, without a copayment or co-insurance to meet your deductible so long as the services are “in-network.”*

The Bad News:

The language of the act is a bit vague and so insurance companies are setting their own specific policies about what is covered and how to go about procuring the breastfeeding support services and supplies you need.

This has created much confusion about the law and what it means to mamas.  We are here to help you understand your rights and advocate for the benefits to which you are entitled by law.

Call your Insurance Company First

Contacting your insurance provider is the first step in understanding what breastfeeding-related coverage and benefits you are eligible for.  Generally speaking, lactation consultants typically fall under preventative care, while breast pumps are considered medical supplies.

We’ve seen mamas get lots of different answers from their insurance providers about what is covered.  Some will cover hospital-grade pumps, while others only cover hand pumps.  Some have specific brands of pumps they will cover, and many require that you purchase such pumps at specific medical supply locations. This is due to their “in-network” requirements.

It’s best to call your insurance company before your baby is born (but, of course, its not too late once they’ve arrived).  Your insurance card should have the company’s toll-free member services number on the back.

Questions to Ask about Breast Pumps:

  • What type of pump can I get? (hospital-grade rental pump, double or single electric personal-use, battery or manual pump)
  • Do I have brand options?
  • Do I have to get the “recommended” pump or can I choose to purchase one (aka “out-of-network”) and submit the receipt for reimbursement?
    • If yes, what amount will I be reimbursed? Is there a dollar limit on coverage for breast pumps?
    • If I have already obtained a breast pump, can I submit a claim for reimbursement?
    • Do I have to get the breast pump approved first?
    • When can I get my breast pump? Before giving birth? After the birth of my child(ren)?
    • Where can I get my breast pump? Does it have to be from a designated place (aka “in-network” provider) or can I choose where to get it?
    • Do I have a rental pump option? Do I need a prescription for proof of medical necessity?

 Questions to Ask About Lactation Consultations:

  • Is there a limit on the number of visits with a lactation consultant?
  • Do I have to get the lactation visits approved first?
  • Where can I receive lactation counseling services? Are there approved in-network providers? Can I get reimbursed if I use a lactation counselor out-of-network?

Medela has great tips on talking to your insurance provider, especially if you encounter difficulty getting the coverage provided by law.

Contact the Medical Supply Providers or Lactation Consultant

Once you have obtained a list of “in-network” providers, it’s a good idea to contact the medical supply providers your insurance company gave you.  Ask them about what types and brands of breast pumps they carry and if there are any specific requirements related to obtaining your desired pump as covered by insurance.  For example, some medical suppliers will not allow you to obtain a pump prior to birth.  Some will let you pick up the pump, while others will deliver it to your home.

Same goes for lactation consultants—be sure to call the ones your provider gave you to get details about the services they offer.

Breast Pumps and Minnesota Care

If you are receiving Minnesota Care you may also be eligible for coverage.  The same recommendations apply: call your insurance company first and then call the medical supply providers.  (You may also have to contact your Minnesota Care caseworker.)  Make sure the medical supply provider is aware that you are covered under Minnesota Care, as this can affect the type of pump you are eligible to receive.

Getting Help Getting Covered

If your insurance representative doesn’t give you the answer you’re looking for, ask to speak to a supervisor. If that doesn’t work, tell them your going to file a request for assistance with the Department of Insurance.  Often, this is enough to prompt action.  If not, the Department of Insurance can be of assistance.  They can be reached with questions at 1-800-657-3602 or 651-296-2488.  Select the Insurance option (choice #1) on message menu to speak with an insurance investigator who can assist you.

Wishing you a smooth and easy experience obtaining the breastfeeding support services and equipment you need!

*Note: This federal law covers private and commercial insurance carriers but does not cover Medicaid or WIC.