Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Breastfeeding and returning to work

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Lactation room small photoMy girlfriend just returned to work last week after having her baby. I went to visit her yesterday to catch up and see how things were going. While she was glad to be back at work, she was stressing about how she was going to be able to continue breastfeeding. As a Certified Lactation Counselor, I happily told her that breastfeeding after returning to work can be a challenge, but it can be done successfully. Here are some tips to make things a little easier:

Before you return to work

• Talk to your employer and let them know what you need to continue breastfeeding. Employers with more than 50 employees are required to give you reasonable time and a private space (that is not a bathroom) for pumping when you go back to work. If there are less than 50 employees, your employer may still be willing to work with you to enable time and space for pumping breast milk.  It is best to familiarize yourself with the federal and state laws as they pertain to your company, and your specific job (exempt or non-exempt). Here are creative solutions to help you and your employer find ways for you to continue breastfeeding. You can search by industry to find the best solution.  Nursing moms who get support from their employer miss less work and are more productive and loyal to their company.

• Whether you have insurance through the ACA (Affordable Care Act) or private insurance, take the time to learn about your coverage. Here is a great tip sheet from the American Academy of Pediatrics that explains the federal guidelines, the differences in health plans and how it affects breastfeeding. This is a must read! Scroll down to the end for a helpful diagram.

• Start back to work on a Wednesday or Thursday. Consider working a few hours a day at the beginning. Having a shorter work week will allow you to get used to your new schedule and figure out your pumping, milk storage and new daycare routine.

• Get a breast pump. If you need help deciding if you should buy or rent one, read our blog. In many cases, breast pumps are covered through your insurance plan, so be sure to inquire. Proper cleaning of the pump is a must; follow the manufacturer’s directions.

• You will need somewhere to keep your breast milk cold. Make sure you have a small cooler with ice packs to bring to work if there’s no refrigerator, or a bag to keep in the fridge. Have labels handy to mark your bottles with the date you expressed the milk.  Learn guidelines for storing and thawing breast milk, here.

Once you have returned to work

• Express milk during the times you would normally feed your baby.
• Keep breast pads handy in case your breasts leak.
• Pump more on the weekends to increase your milk supply.
• Take care of yourself: get as much rest as you can, eat healthy foods and stay hydrated.

Keep talking with your employer about your schedule and what is or is not working for you.  Share the online resource above, and let them know you’d like to continue working together to make a plan that benefits you both.

Going back to work after having a baby can be a difficult transition for many women. Visit our website to learn tips on how to plan for and manage the transition.

At-home genetic tests

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

dnaHave you seen the ads? Send a sample of your saliva into a company, and they can test to see if you are at risk of certain genetic diseases.

In recent years, companies have begun advertising and offering genetic tests directly to consumers, usually on Web sites. This is called at-home or direct-to-consumer genetic testing.

At-home genetic tests can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Health insurance companies don’t pay for genetic tests unless a health professional asks for the tests.

The at-home tests may provide some information about the health risks a person may face over her lifetime. They may also tell her if her children might be at risk of certain birth defects.

But health professionals worry about the stress that these tests may cause, especially when people may misunderstand or misinterpret the results.

It’s probably best to have a genetic test only if your health care provider recommends it. Most such tests take place in a medical lab or office, not at home. You and your provider can decide what’s best for you, and your provider can help you fully understand what the test results mean. (Companies that offer at-home tests often charge extra for counseling services.)

For more information, read the March of Dimes article At-Home Genetic Tests.

Speak Now for Kids: Medical care for children

Monday, May 11th, 2009

child-playing-doctorMedical care. Health insurance. We all worry about them.

Will we have the medical care and the insurance we need when someone in the family gets sick?

What about routine checkups? Can I afford the copay?

My kids deserve reliable, quality medical care. What can  I do to be sure they get it?

The March of Dimes is a national partner in the campaign “Speak Now for Kids in Health Reform.” More than 120 other organizations have also signed on.

As Congress debates health care reform, Speak Now for Kids will be there. We want to be sure kids get the the medical care they need. 

You can help. Go to the Speak Now for Kids Web site. Tell us about your experiences with children’s health insurance and medical care.

Add your voice to this important national discussion.

Insure Kids Now!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

kids-looking-at-turtleA new bill signed into law by President Obama makes millions of children eligible to receive health insurance.

If your kids do not have health insurance, they are likely to be eligible, even if you are working and even if you have applied in the past and were turned down.

Your state (and every state) has its own program, with its own eligibility rules.  In many states, uninsured children 18 years old and younger whose families earn up to $44,500 a year (for a family of four) are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance that pays for doctor visits, dental care, prescription meds, hospitalizations and more.

Go to your state’s program or make a free call to 1-877-KIDS-NOW.