Good News for Breastfeeding Moms!
First Candle, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics and breastfeeding advocates nationwide, have worked hard to elevate the importance of breastfeeding to mothers, as well as the general public.
A major victory in that battle has been won today, as the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would grant nursing mothers a tax break on pumps and other breastfeeding supplies.
The ruling, which will affect expenses incurred retroactive to 2010, will allow mothers to use pretax money from their flexible spending accounts to cover the cost of breast pumps and other supplies. Those without flexible spending accounts may deduct breastfeeding costs if their total unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income and they itemize.
“This new policy will help millions of working mothers continue breastfeeding after returning to the workplace and improve the health of babies around the nation. Most recently, breastfeeding has been shown to be protective against SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), in addition to more commonly recognized health issues such as juvenile diabetes, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, bacterial infections and obesity,” said Christopher Blake, CEO of First Candle.
Studies have shown that breast-feeding is beneficial for the nursing mother as well, helping her avoid Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and postpartum depression.
To continue breastfeeding once they return to the workplace, many mothers need to use pumps to extract milk which can be chilled and fed by bottle to the baby later. The pump and the accessories needed to store the milk cost about $500 to $1,000 for most mothers over the course of a year.
A study by Harvard Medical School last year showed that if 90 percent of mothers followed the standard medical advice of feeding infants only breast milk for their first six months, the United States could save $13 billion a year in health care costs and prevent the premature deaths of 900 infants each year from respiratory illness and other infections.
“This announcement is a major victory for mothers, babies and America. We applaud the hard work of all of our partners and thank the IRS for making this important decision,” said Blake.