You’ve got a baby on the way! But you’re also not sure about how you’ll juggle life along with lack of sleep plus breastfeeding. Really, you need support and some common sense explanations about how to make motherhood and military life work together.
Tricare Benefits for Nursing Moms – Explained!
Tricare has a benefit for this exciting time in your life, and The Breastfeeding Shop can help military-connected new mothers navigate the system.
The Breastfeeding Shop was founded in 2014 specifically to support military families looking to nurse their new baby.
“I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding and supporting new moms as well,” explains The Breastfeeding Shop founder Patty Gatter. “I also wanted to help support our military families in some way. So this seemed to be the perfect way to accomplish all of these things.”
The Breastfeeding Shop offers military moms an easy way to access their Tricare-covered breastfeeding supplies, including breast pumps and milk storage bags as well as some replacement parts.
Get Yourself a Prescription
All new mothers are authorized breast pumps, paid for via Tricare. This benefit applies to each live birth event, which means that Tricare beneficiaries can get a new breast pump for their first child and every child born subsequently!
That’s important since breast pumps can wear out due to age or frequent use.
The first step to accessing the Tricare breast pump benefit is to obtain a prescription. According to Gatter, expecting mothers can and should request a prescription for a breast pump from their OBGYN at or after 27 weeks gestation.
Any prescription form will work, as long as it is properly signed by the appropriate medical practitioner.
“Tricare requires the prescription to have the Mom’s name on it, what type of breast pump, electric or hospital grade, signed and dated by the ordering physician, nurse practitioner, midwife or physician assistant,” says Gatter.
Moms-to-be can submit their own prescription via The Breastfeeding Shop’s easy to use online form. If that’s not possible, trained staff members at the Shop can call the doctor’s office to confirm the prescription. You can also call 866-255-6779 for assistance in submitting an order or use the mobile app.
All prescriptions should include a diagnosis code, length of need (at least 36 months) and a medical provider’s signature.
Get a Handle on Insurance
Working through Tricare’s red tape can be daunting, especially when already sleep-deprived.
Luckily, The Breastfeeding Shop can and will handle all the paperwork for Tricare beneficiaries!
“We want it to be as simple as possible,” Gatter explains. “We know a new mom has a lot to do! We submit the claim and all necessary paperwork on the mom’s behalf.”
- submit your prescription
- order your pump and supply kit
- let The Breastfeeding Shop handle the paperwork
Keeping Your Milk & Pump Safe
Once the pumping starts, parents need places to store expressed milk. New military moms are authorized 90 milk storage bags when the pump is first issued.
While more than 90 bags aren’t included in the initial prescription for the breast pump, more storage bags could be ordered with an additional prescription.
Maintaining clean tubes, valves and flanges are essential to keeping a breast pump in good working order. All of these parts are covered by Tricare. New moms can order these supplies 30 days after birth through The Breastfeeding Shop.
For the initial set of replacement supplies, a new Rx is not required,” says Gatter. “However, if they need additional replacement items after that, they will need an Rx for each new order.”
Not all breast pump parts fit every mom. Breasts and nipples come in different shapes and sizes! New mothers can now order flanges in different sizes through The Breastfeeding Shop, all covered under Tricare.
“They have also added to the benefit to cover Supplemental Nursing Systems (SNS feeder) and nipple shields (an RX is required for those),” Gatter explains.
In addition, Gatter explains that some new moms might also be eligible for maternity support belts, postpartum compression, positioning wedge and compression socks to be covered as well.
Supporting Military Moms Around the World
The Breastfeeding Shop is committed to supporting military-connected mothers and moms-to-be no matter where they are stationed. Breast pumps and accessories can be shipped within the US as well as to APO and FPO addresses overseas.
“We are appreciative of our relationships with all regions of Tricare, Tricare West, Tricare East and Tricare Overseas,” says Gatter. “We have worked very closely with them throughout their policy changes to stay properly informed.”
While other breastfeeding supplies providers have disassociated from serving Tricare beneficiaries, The Breastfeeding Shop continues to serve military families.
“We have not backed away and have continued business as usual,” says Gatter. “A lot of companies have stopped supplying accessories for a variety of reasons. We have not and continue to honor the policy and our contract/ relationship with Tricare.”
Going forward, Gatter and The Breastfeeding Shop are on a mission to support military moms who choose to breastfeed or use expressed breast milk to nourish their infants.
“My mission is to be the best and most helpful breast pump supplier. to listen to the moms and have a good understanding of their needs and help them address those needs,” she says. “I always tell my staff that we don’t provide breast pumps – and the look at me like I’m crazy – I say, we are in the business of helping new moms.”