Lactation Aids: FSA Eligibility
What are lactation aids?
Lactation aids refer to a variety of products and tools that assist a mother with breastfeeding her baby. Products that might be considered a lactation aid, and therefore eligible for reimbursement with a consumer-directed healthcare account, include breast pumps, nursing pads, breast milk storage bags, breast creams, and lactation aid equipment (Breast Feeding Inc.).
A popular form of lactation aid consists of a container in which expressed breastmilk, formula, glucose water or other feeding liquids are stored. The container has a small tube that is held against the mother's nipple so that the baby "breastfeeds" as normal, but receives additional sustenance through the lactation aid's tube. This allows the baby to learn normal breastfeeding techniques even when the mother is unable to provide enough breastmilk to encourage the baby to continue breastfeeding at the natural location. This helps with issues such as babies who un-learn natural breastfeeding techniques because they have been exposed to feeding through other artificial means. This is commonly called "rejecting the breast."
Another commonly used lactation aid is a nursing pad. A nursing pad lactation aid is used to cover breasts during the lactation period in order to reduce spills and maintain comfort and discretion (Mother & Child Health). Another lactation aid that can help with the physical stress of nursing is lanolin cream. Lanolin cream can be used anywhere there is soreness or cracked skin as a result of breastfeeding. Lanolin is a natural skincare cream and is safe for using in areas that will come into contact with the baby's skin and mouth (WebMD).
Breast pumps and breastmilk storage containers and bags are a type of lactation aid that allows mothers to acquire and store breastmilk for feeding a baby outside of opportunities for direct, natural breastfeeding. A common reason for using a breast pump is to allow the mother to return to fulltime work or school, or to allow another parent to help with feeding the baby.