RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If Elissa Oliveria could go back 15 months to those first days with her son Mason, she would jump at the chance. The time she spent nursing him continues to be a highlight of motherhood.
“It’s the bond and the time,” she says.
Oliveria knew she would also need a breast pump when she had to return to work.
“When I went to go do my baby registry, I actually put a breast pump on my registry thinking that I had to buy one,” Oliveria remembers.
However, she soon learned what many women never do: breast pumps can be free.
“I definitely think the word needs to get out,” says Nancy Raines, a lactation consultant with Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals.
Raines explains it started with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and she estimates it can save women anywhere from $200 to $300. It can offer more accessibility and flexibility for women who are interested in breastfeeding for longer periods of time.
“It’s very important to those working women,” Raines says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least a year, but Raines says even days, weeks or months can offer benefits to moms and their little ones.
“With breast milk being the ultimate food for babies, I think all moms should explore that option for some time,” says Raines.
Oliveria is glad she did.
“It was only for a couple months, but I really did enjoy that time,” Oliveria says with a smile. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It was wonderful.”
Raines suggests moms-to-be call their insurance companies to learn more about specific benefits. She says getting a free breast pump is often as easy as having your doctor write a prescription for one.