By Katie Groke Ellis
When you’re expecting a baby, everyone you know – or don’t know – will give you lots of advice, whether you asked for it or not.
I gave birth to my first child on April 2nd. I was in regular communication with my doctor, and listened to the advice I was given by friends, family and complete strangers. I felt as prepared as I could have been to welcome my little one into the world. But you can’t prepare for everything.
Breastfeeding is one of those things that family and friends can’t prepare you for. It seems fairly easy and straightforward but can be complicated, challenging or downright traumatic for some new mothers. I was lucky that my baby and I figured it out together without much trouble. But a lactation consultant came to my room every day I was in the hospital, offering me tips and counseling. Even though I didn’t need as much help as some other new mothers do, having access to those services was important to me. They’re even more important for women who struggle to get their baby to latch, have low or high milk supply or other breastfeeding issues.
Starting August 1st, breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling will be available to pregnant and postpartum women without a copay because of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). These new preventive benefits will include access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, and even cover breastfeeding equipment. This is incredible news for millions of women and babies.
Helping all women be able to breast-feed is important. Low-income children, who are most vulnerable to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, are the least likely to be breastfed exclusively. And research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented.
Counseling services and supplies offered to expectant and new mothers without a copay can start to remove barriers to quality care and effective prevention. Starting August 1st it gets a little easier to be a woman.
Click here to read more about the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and babies!