Buying a Breast Pump: What You Need to Know

Q: What kind of breast pump do I need? Can I get my breast pump covered through insurance?

If you’re returning to work outside the home and want to continue providing breast milk to your baby, the right breast pump is a must. You’ll be spending hours with this piece of equipment and it will be essential to maintaining your supply while you’re at work. Let us help you ask the right questions before you buy.

For most women, a double electric breast pump is the most efficient type of pump to use because it pumps both breasts at the same time. These can be either hospital-grade (made for use by multiple people over many years) or personal-grade (designed for single user), with the hospital grade pumps  typically more powerful but less portable than personal-grade pumps.

Some women respond really well using a manual (non-electric, hand-powered) pump, however. Choose the type of pump that your body responds to best. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can be an excellent person to discuss different pump options with, and she may also be able to recommend a pump that best fits your needs. Consumer Reports has information about different breast pump types here.

Insurance Coverage for Breast Pumps
Great news: The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to provide a breast pump to new mothers, covered 100 percent, with no out-of-pocket costs. There are a few exceptions to this law (such as a grandfathered plans adopted before 2010), but most parents will be able to obtain a free breastfeeding pump through their insurance.

Read: Will My Insurance Cover a Breast Pump?

You’ll need to do your research before you purchase, though. Many plans have specific guidelines about the type of pump covered, vendors you may purchase from, and when you’ll receive your pump. To ensure you meet the guidelines for coverage under your plan, read our list of questions to ask your insurance provider.

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