Good news during tax time! The IRS has added breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies to the list of items that can be designated as medical expenses for purposes of tax deduction. They now also will be considered an allowable expense for people who have Flexible Spending Accounts, Medical Savings Accounts and Health Savings accounts.
In the past, the IRS did not consider breast pumps a medical expense, but the Service has now changed its policy. This is a very positive step for both women and children. The cost of breastfeeding supplies was a barrier to breastfeeding for many mothers and the decision of the IRS to reverse its ruling was a great victory for nursing mothers everywhere.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits including lowering the risk for many medical conditions for infants including asthma, respiratory illness, infections, leukemia, and type 1 diabetes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children be fed exclusively breastmilk for six months, with continued breastfeeding and appropriate solids for at least one year. The World Health Organization recommends continuing breastfeeding at least two years.
The March of Dimes is very pleased that breast pumps and medical supplies that assist lactation will now be regarded as a medical expense. This change in policy was needed and long overdue. It will benefit all women, especially women in the workplace who want to breastfeed their babies.