WASHINGTON, June 14, 2022 / PRNewswire / – As parents scramble to find infant formula, insurance companies and Medicaid plans need to cover breast milk storage bags and breast pump replacement parts to support the growing need to breastfeed and pump out. Last week, formula milk stock-out rates rose to 74% nationwide, according to a recent Bloomberg Press article. Although the Biden administration has taken some actions to provide relief, it will likely take months for those actions to produce results. In the meantime, it’s important to consider ways we can make sure moms who deliver today and tomorrow have access to the resources they need to ensure a successful breastfeeding journey. They need to have access to breast pumps before giving birth and to continue to have access to vital supplies for breast pumps and milk storage bags.
As infant formula shortages continue to worsen, public health officials and healthcare professionals are calling for more support for breastfeeding, as most understand that human milk is the best source of nutrition for most. children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for approximately 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continued breastfeeding for a year or more as mutually desired by mother and child.
According to a recent article written by the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, “In the United States, there is a lack of coordinated, evidence-based recommendations for families who are unable to obtain the formula their children need to grow and develop.This increases the risk of parents turn to unsafe alternatives and seek advice from unreliable sources. We urge all parents to turn to their medical service providers for advice on how to make the best choices in this limited landscape to mitigate potential risks to children. “
“There has never been such an important time for insurance companies, including state Medicaid plans, to support breastfeeding,” Jason Canzano, co-chair of the AAHomecare Breastfeeding Coalition, said. “As a coalition of breastfeeding equipment suppliers, we are seeing a sharp increase in demand for breast pumps, replacement parts and breast milk storage bags.”
In the United States84% of new mothers start breastfeeding, 58% are still breastfeeding and breastfeeding at six months and only 35% are breastfeeding at 12 months.
Increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates would help change the proportions of breast milk relative to formula and result in substantial savings in health care. Infants receiving breast milk have reduced the risks of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, severe lower respiratory disease, gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea / vomiting), and more. There are also health benefits for mothers, as breastfeeding can help reduce maternal risk of hypertension (an epidemic in this country), type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer. Breastfed babies result in lower medical insurance claims for insurance companies and Medicaid plans.
If 90% of U.S. families could stick to medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the United States would save 13 billion dollars per year and prevent an excess of 911 deaths, almost all of them childhood ($ 10.5 billion and 741 deaths at 80% compliance).
While increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates will not completely resolve the immediate shortage of formula, it can change the proportions of breast milk relative to formula milk, improve public health, and provide savings to our healthcare system.
The Breastfeeding Coalition of the American Association for Home Care (AAHomecare) is made up of companies who provide breast pumps and related supplies and seek to improve breastfeeding outcomes by providing breastfeeding equipment and support to new expecting families. The Coalition is committed to increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates and making it easier for mothers to achieve breastfeeding goals. Collectively, they work to remove barriers to breastfeeding by supporting regional and national legislative and policy changes that support expectant parents and new parents who choose to breastfeed their baby.
AAHomecare is the national association representing home medical equipment suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders in the home care community. Our members are proud to be part of the continuum of care that ensures patients receive costs-effective, safe and reliable home care products and services.
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SOURCE The American Association for Homecare Breastfeeding Coalition