Breastfeeding Provides Real Health Benefits

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Breastfeeding is special for so many reasons. TRICARE supports healthy behavior and breastfeeding has health benefits not only for the mother and child, but for the family and community as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breastfeeding is one of the most effective steps a mother can take to protect the health of her baby. Studies have shown that children who are breastfed are spared a number of prevalent childhood illnesses like ear infections, colds, and asthma. It is also reported that breastfed children are less like to suffer from childhood obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year as foods are introduced.

Health guidance and counseling (including breast feeding and nutrition) is included in TRICARE’s well-child coverage from birth to age six. TRICARE also covers electric hospital-grade breast pumps for premature infants who meet certain criteria.  The breast pump may be covered for use in the hospital, and in certain cases, if the physician can prove medical necessity, for home use.Medically-necessary services during labor and delivery including anesthesia, fetal monitoring, and other services required for care during a beneficiary’s hospital stay are also covered. This includes lactation counseling services if provided during an inpatient maternity stay and included in the facility's allowed amount.

Over the last 25 years, the Surgeons General of the United States have worked to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity, all of which concern employers and the communities they support. TRICARE acknowledges the ability to breastfeed is a great privilege and fully supports families who make this healthy choice.

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