An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Monday, September 17, 2018

Selecting Which Breast Pump To Get FREE From Your Health Insurance

Obamacare mandated that all health insurance in the U.S. provide pregnant women with a breast pump at no cost to them. Here's how to simplify the process and get the right pump delivered to your door!

This post is sponsored by Aeroflow. All opinions are my own.

Goodness sakes, there are SO many things to think of and prepare for when you're pregnant, isn't there? It doesn't matter if you're on your first baby or your 10th, there are tons of things to do and think about and plan for with a new addition to your family. Hiring a nanny, finding daycare, setting up a nursery or bassinet in your room, washing old clothes, buying new ones, preparing siblings... That's just what popped into my mind on a moments notice, there's so much more to do and think about! Including selecting and getting your FREE breast pump. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and implemented several years later (depending on what state you're in) requires health insurance companies - ALL of them - to provide pregnant women with a breast pump. But how do you do it and which one should you or can you choose? I'm here to help you select which breast pump to get for free from your health insurance and tell you a little bit about my story with it.

Henry was born in 2014, which was the year every state had to comply with the new health care law. Fortunately, I knew that and knew that it meant a free breast pump for me. I was about 28 weeks pregnant when I called the number on the back of my insurance card and got passed around from department to department trying to figure out what the process was to get my complimentary pump. Could I get any one I wanted? Did I get reimbursed? Did I have to buy it at a specific place? Since the law was new to Texas, things were a bit messy and everyone was learning at the same time. 

Finally, I got to the right department and learned that I had three options to choose from and had to purchase them via a medical supplier my insurance had a contract with. I had to get a prescription for the pump from my healthcare provider, upload a few forms to a website, fill out some online paperwork, get the clearance from my insurance, AND do it all within 30 days prior to my due date and up to 30 days after my due date. Confused? Yeah, it was a mess, and it all had to get done in a very narrow time frame! The time frame that, quite frankly, I wanted to nest and relax and NOT think about forms and prescriptions and breast pumps.

That story ended as chaotically as it began: because I gave birth to Henry early, I still didn't have my breast pump, and because he was a small preemie, my doctors wanted me to pump to bring in my milk heavier and faster so he'd have plenty to gain weight from. I ended up getting the pump 30 days after my due date, when Henry was already two months old. And in the meantime, we had to pay out of pocket for a hospital grade pump because we had already "used" the insurance benefit on a pump that didn't get shipped to us in time.

Fast forward to 2018, and the process has largely worked most of the kinks out. Even better, there are companies like Aeroflow that do ALL the work for you, at NO CHARGE TO YOU! It's so simple. You enter your information, due date and insurance info and state. Aeroflow then lists out which pumps you qualify for so that you can compare them. This was my favorite part, because now that I'm expecting twins, I wanted the absolute BEST pump I could get. Then they deal with your insurance, make sure they get all the required medical forms (and notify you if it's something you need to get) and ship it to you once you meet all your insurance's requirements. It's so much easier than doing all the leg work yourself! For this pregnancy, all I had to do was fill out one online form, submit my health insurance info and get a prescription from my OB, and Aeroflow did everything else. My pump arrived at my door when I was 30 weeks pregnant with my twins. Boom.

Speaking of pumps, there are tons of options on the market, and I'm convinced that there is no universal right choice for any woman. So take a look at each pump's features, talk to other moms and ask your health care provider or a lactation consultant for their thoughts on what the best option is for you that you qualify for via your health insurance. 

My OB told me if I wanted to be successful at breastfeeding, I'd need a medical grade pump with twins. That meant I could rent a hospital pump or get one of the few medical grade pumps on the market. I still have my Medela Pump In Style Advanced that I used briefly with Henry (because it came so late!) and used throughout breastfeeding Otto. It was ok... And just ok. I was never that impressed by it, especially after having the hospital pump for the first few months of Henry's infancy! Moisture was always getting in my tubing and had to be replaced regularly, which was expensive. It's a LOUD pump, so when I got up at night I had to go to a different room so that I didn't wake my husband. But all the parts are sold everywhere, which was convenient, and I could pump right into one of Otto's bottles, so it was efficient and easy to clean. 

This time around I went with the Spectra S1PLUS. Another cool thing about Aeroflow is that while it lists what pumps are 100% covered from your health insurance, it also lists what the cost is for an upgrade. My insurance covered the Spectra S2PLUS fully, and my upgrade fee to the S1PLUS was a mere $39. That was totally worth it to me to get the cordless feature of the S1PLUS and a few more programming capabilities. There are also packages you can buy, so that when you get your pump, you get all the necessary parts too. While insurance buys the pump for you, it only sends the bare minimum accessories, and you'll want/need to buy additional flanges, bottles, tubing, etc so that you have enough on hand to effectively pump.

Confused? Email me here, ask a lactation consultant or another experienced mom that you trust.

I love that I received my pump in advance of my birth this time too! It's given me time to play around with it and get to know it, so that when I do need to use it, I know what I'm doing. I have to say, I'm super impressed with the Spectra! This pump was designed for a pumping mom. It has SO many more features than the Medela PISA that I used with my first two babies! I can program pump sessions into it, then simply hit that button and get that pump. So I could do a "regular pump" that lasts about 25 minutes with a few minutes of a letdown speed in the beginning. I could do a "power pump" that lasts 10 minutes for when you're trying to boost supply (typically done after you've breastfed the baby already) and I can program a night pump that lasts for as many minutes as I want to be awake for in the middle of the night. I don't have to watch the time or pay attention to anything - just hit the button of the pump session I want and space out/doze/play or work on my phone/ etc. 

There's a nightlight on the pump so I don't have to turn on lights and wake people up. The pump is QUIET! So quiet, I'll be able to pump in bed, with the nightlight feature, and not wake my husband. That's great for me because it means I'll be able to return to sleep more easily! And the suction seems to be better than the Medela. Both pumps have adjustable suction power, and stronger doesn't mean better. But the Spectra seems more efficient, where my Medela seemed to work really hard for that suction. The Spectra's seems even and consistent where the Medela seemed to provide inconsistent suction (one day a level 5 would work, the next day I'd need it set to a 7 for the same effect, sometimes I'd change the suction mid-pump because it was too strong/ineffective).

These, of course, are all my preferences and you might have a totally different opinion on both the pumps! Just like every woman's pregnancy is different, every woman's breastfeeding journey is different. You may rarely use a pump or you may return to work and depend on it. You might be like me and start out exclusively breastfeeding, then switch to exclusively pumping when you go back to work. Any way you slice it, you're entitled as a pregnant woman to get a free pump from your health insurance! Aeroflow makes the whole process seamless and easy on you, and can help guide you through the process. Mommin' aint easy, but selecting which breast pump to get free from your health insurance doesn't have to be hard with the right service like Aeroflow and the right information to make your selection!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Answers To The Rudest Pregnancy Questions I've Ever Gotten

People ask pregnant women all kinds of bizarre, highly personal and borderline inappropriate questions. I'm answering ALL of them in this post!

Let me be clear real quick - I don't think there's such a thing as a rude question. I don't think there's some magical list of "things you shouldn't say" or "things you shouldn't ask" a pregnant woman. I find myself eye-rolling so hard at those lists! Why? Because people are simply interested in you! They're interested in your baby! They actually care enough to say something or ask! If you're offended, that's some sort of issue within yourself you've got to work out, not add to a list of things people are magically supposed to know triggers you in someway. Ok, quick rant over. Being pregnant with twins means I've gotten all kinds of questions, many of them personal. Instead of getting offended and wondering why anyone is asking me such a thing, I'm using this post to tell all y'all all about it. Read on for answers to the 'rudest' pregnancy questions I've ever gotten and laugh right along with me.

So did you do IVF or do twins run in your family? 
Neither! My mom told me that her paternal grandfather had a set of twins, but that's crossing the maternal line which is what matters when it comes to genetically assessing likelihood of twins. That was also many decades ago, and nobody had them since. We did no fertility treatments whatsoever to conceive any of our children. I get pregnant quickly, so it's never even been something I've had to think of or look into.

I've always wanted twins! What fertility meds were you on so I can talk to my doctor about it?
Not only did we NOT do IVF, I've never taken a fertility drug in my life. I had just turned 33 when I conceived the twins, don't have a family history of twins, and don't know why I was the one to beat all the odds of magically, naturally getting them, but here I am! You CAN rub my belly for good luck if you want, though. I don't mind belly touches. I also might judge the mental stability of anyone who says they WANT twins... Do you know how much work this is and is going to be? Bless your heart!

Big mama and only getting bigger: the story of a twin pregnancy

You're going to have FOUR BOYS? OMG, I'm so sorry - what are you going to do?!
I'd imagine I'm going to do what I do everyday... Wake up and take care of children, drop half of them off at preschool, make sure the other two are ok with my part time nanny, work for a few hours and get a workout in, pick the other two up from school, and spend afternoons with all four of them. Would it be different if vaginas were involved instead of penises? Is there *something* that can be done about it? Unless you're coming over to help, take your pity party and shove it. Some people never get to have their own kids, and I easily got four, healthy babies of my own. I'm not sorry about that at all. 

Are you all covered in stretch marks?! Is this pregnancy the worst thing ever?!
Nope, I don't have a single stretch mark. Yet, anyway, I guess they might be coming? I didn't get any with my first two either, and my sister didn't get them, nor did my mom. Having twins isn't a mandatory sentence to having your body destroyed! And the pregnancy, while MUCH harder than a singleton, hasn't been totally horrific. All the way to 27 weeks I was comfortable and happy. These last few weeks are, um, getting real though.

Is it twice as hard being pregnant with twins?
It's not twice as hard being pregnant with twins... It's exponentially more hard. The best analogy I have is this: Ever run a half and a full marathon? Running a half is hard, for sure. But running a full marathon? Exponentially more challenging! It's because you double the miles after you've already run the length of race you've done before. With twins, I'm doubling the baby. Right as most pregnant women start to feel uncomfortable, I double it and the growth weight and the weight gain and the physical stress. So it's not double the discomfort in the last weeks - it's EXPONENTIALLY more uncomfortable.

Back when I was in the easy days of my twin pregnancy!

Do you get to pick their birthday with a scheduled c section? What date are you picking?! 
As of right now, I'm not having a scheduled c section - I'm planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section)! I'd rather cut off a toe than have another c section. My doctor supports this 100%, and as long as Baby A is head down, she thinks my success rate for VBACing the twins is over 90% - highest potential success rate doctors will give you! I had a great VBAC with my second son, so my odds of having another increase on subsequent births. Since this is the birth plan, I'll go into labor naturally and frankly have no idea what month they'll show up - September or October - much less what day. 

I love telling people in Texas this. Everyone is SHOCKED that I'm electing to VBAC over scheduling a c section in this c section happy state. Girl, bye. Recovery from a c section is bunk! I'll use the hole that God gave me to get those babies out, kthanxbai.

You're formula feeding, right? Trust me, you don't have time for on-demand feeding with twins! A schedule is a must!
Newsflash: you can breastfeed on a schedule! I did on-demand nursing for my first child and made it 3 months because I was so miserable from it. For my second son, I got introduced to the glorious schedule via my night nanny/certified sleep consultant. What you do (or don't do) during the day DIRECTLY impacts how your night is going to go. Let your kid nap whenever, eat whenever, and have no structure? Have fun with a fussy, awake baby all night! Overtired babies don't sleep better, they stay awake and if you let them nurse every hour, they will. Start to incorporate consistent nap locations, times, routines and start to get on a feeding schedule as soon as possible? Your nights become predictable too. So yes, I'm already a schedule convert and yes, despite what the nutjobs from Le Leche League say, you can totally breastfeed on a schedule and make it work. Schedules are the only way to sanity with infants (and toddlers and children too, actually...)

That said, if I'm totally miserable BFing the twins, there's nothing wrong with formula. Maybe I'll only make it 6 weeks or 4 months or maybe I'll make it breastfeeding a whole year. I'm going with the scheduled flow on this one!

Successfully breastfed this stud on a schedule. It's possible, I promise!

Have you traded in your SUV for a minivan yet?
You'll pry the keys to my SUV out of my cold, dead hands. Homie don't play dat. I understand your Oddesey has sliding automatic doors and cameras and room. I get that you think your Pacifica is the best thing that's ever happened to you. My Infiniti has automatic doors and three rows and room for groceries and strollers too. And I look good in it. Just sayin. 

When are you scheduling your "mommy makeover"?
Ha! I'm no idiot. You don't walk away from breastfeeding FOUR kids unscathed. I do totally plan on getting a lift and slight augmentation (the street name I've heard for this is a 'Brazilian breast lift') to fill the girls back out. Whether I need a tummy tuck or liposuction will depend on how everything shapes up and plays out. I doubt I'll need anything that extreme because I never gained a whole bunch of weight pregnant. But I created, carried and birthed four humans! If I need reconstructive surgery, I'm going to get it, not sit around feeling miserable about myself. I eat really healthy and workout regularly which will take care of most of it, but there's no diet or exercise in the world that will fix deflated, stretched out post-breastfeeding boobs! No shame in my planned-boob-job-game.

This thing is called a crib and it was made for babies to sleep in

You're not going to try to co-sleep with 2 babies are you?
Nope. No ma'am. I wasn't a co-sleeper with one and I'm sure as heck not starting with two! I have nothing against co-sleeping, if it works for you then great. I just know more moms who complain about lack of sleep and develop terrible sleep habits in their kids when they co-sleep, and I myself didn't get ANY sleep when I had my first two in bed with me (that lasted a whole week), so I got over that real quick. Cribs in their own room for these babies! And I must be doing something right because my toddlers both sleep in twin beds for 12 hours and don't get up/out of bed at night. Ever. Thank goodness.

I'm not one to complain about what people say to pregnant women because I generally take it as them being interested in me, which is flattering, even if it's a tad too personal. I've answered some of the rudest or funniest pregnancy questions I've ever gotten here, but if you've got more questions, don't hesitate to ask! I love a good laugh at an "inappropriate" question and have no problem deep diving into the juicy details.