Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
The Affordable Care Act, which is at the center of the debate that’s brought Washington to a standstill this week, requires insurance companies to pay for breast pumps and lactation consulting services for new mothers, as part of a women’s health initiative that is meant to encourage breastfeeding. As The New York Times reports, though, insurance companies aren’t getting the services to enough women since the new rules took effect January 1:
Despite the law, many new mothers have found it nearly impossible to get timely help for breast-feeding problems since Jan. 1, when health insurers began updating their coverage. While a 2011 Surgeon General’s report hailed lactation consultants as important specialists, few insurers have added them to their networks.
Some insurers simply point women to pediatricians not necessarily trained in lactation. Even then, women often must locate help on their own, leading to delays that jeopardize a mother’s milk supply.
Breast-feeding advocates fear this mandate is falling victim to bureaucratic foot-dragging, cost-saving and ambivalence.
“It’s abysmal, the state of lactation services being provided by insurance companies currently,” said Susanne Madden, a founder of the National Breastfeeding Center, which last month published an unsettling assessment of the breast-feeding policies of insurers nationwide. Twenty-eight out of 79 received D’s or F’s.
New mothers face a number of obstacles in breast-feeding, including insufficient milk or a painful infection. Problems must be resolved quickly: when a baby is hungry, there is little time to wrangle with an insurer over payment for a breast pump or a lactation consultant. A delay can mean that mothers turn to formula, don’t establish an adequate supply, or quit.
Image: Breastfeeding mother, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
A new study conducted in Germany is suggesting that being breastfed as an infant may lower a person’s chance of experiencing clinical depression as an adult. FoxNews.com has more:
Researchers looked at 52 people, whose average age was 44, who were being treated for major depression at an inpatient facility, and compared them with 106 healthy people who had never been diagnosed with depression. Participants were considered to have been breast-fed if either they or their mothers said they had nursed for at least two weeks.
Results showed that 73 percent of those without depression had been breast-fed, whereas 46 percent of people with depression were breast-fed. The association held when researchers took into account factors that could affect participants’ risk of depression, such as age, gender and mother’s level of education.
Additionally, the researchers found that how long a person had been breast-fed did not matter in terms of their depression risk.
While the finding suggests a link, it does not suggest a cause-and-effect relationship between breast-feeding and depression, the researchers said.
Image: Mother breastfeeding an infant, via Shutterstock
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Friday, July 13th, 2012
Massachusetts has joined Rhode Island in prohibiting maternity hospitals from distributing “gift bags” containing samples of infant formula to new mothers, in a move that proponents of breastfeeding applaud as sending the message that breastfeeding is the best, healthiest way to feed newborns. The state’s 49 hospitals are banning the practice voluntarily, according to The Boston Globe:
“We applaud the effort of all of the hospitals to make this explicit statement of their support of breast-feeding here in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, the public health department’s medical director.
Back in 2005, Massachusetts tried to end the free formula practice with a statewide ban instituted by the Public Health Council, but that decision was overturned several months later when then-Governor Mitt Romney replaced council members who were in favor of the ban.
More than a dozen studies have shown that breast-feeding mothers who received free formula samples after they left the hospital were less likely to be breast-feeding by the time their infant was one month old. “Using formula without a medical reason is one of the biggest predictors of breast-feeding failure,” said Dr. Melissa Bartick, chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
But infant formula makers responded that formula giveaways have been inappropriately blamed for women opting out of nursing because it’s, for example, to difficult to maintain when they head back to work. “Some critics of formula samples claim research has ‘consistently shown’ that samples in discharge kits negatively affect duration of breastfeeding,” the International Formula Council, an industry group, said in a statement. “In fact, the research results have not been consistent. Some studies show an effect, while others do not.”
Image: Baby bottle, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, June 1st, 2012
A photograph of two mothers who are members of the military breastfeeding while wearing their uniforms is sparking controversy as it circulates across the Internet. The photos are part of a breastfeeding awareness campaign called Mom2Mom of Fairchild Air Force Base. Yahoo! News has more:
The photo is part of a local breastfeeding awareness campaign by Mom2Mom of Fairchild Air Force Base, a support group launched in January by Crystal Scott, a military spouse and mother of three. Among the intimate close-ups of smiling young mothers cuddling their adorable babies, the images of the two airmen stand out.
“People are comparing breastfeeding in uniform to urinating and defecating in uniform. They’re comparing it to the woman who posed in “Playboy” in uniform [in 2007]” Scott told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. “We never expected it to be like this.”
“I’m an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time,” Scott says. “Granted they’re scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely?”
Image: Military moms, via Mom2Mom
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