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Thinking about breastfeeding? Benefits for the new baby

By Kia Williams, MD, MSPH and Larry Wu, MD | July 8, 2022 | Insurance Education, Tools and Services

Woman breastfeeding her infant son by a window

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), we know the current formula shortage has left many people and families feeling anxious. Some people are struggling to find formula for their infants, can’t find their usual brand, or have to visit multiple stores.

Remember that families have more than one safe option for feeding their babies. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services suggests talking with your child’s doctor to determine the best plan for you and your baby.

If breastfeeding is part of the feeding plan for your baby, or if you are pregnant and plan to breastfeed, we have resources available to support you.

Get your free breast pump

Most members who are in third trimester of pregnancy or have already delivered their baby can get a breast pump at no extra cost.

To learn more about eligibility and benefits, visit our preventive care page and scroll down to Pregnancy and Childbirth. The information on this page applies to all non-grandfathered plans.

August is National Breastfeeding Month

Many Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina plans offer breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling for new mothers. Learn more about preventive care benefits for pregnancy and childbirth. If you are a Healthy Blue member, find pregnancy-related resources and support here.

Find a lactation consultant

Many of our members have access to a lactation (breastfeeding) counselor at no extra cost. This is considered a preventive care service, which means it’s covered at 100% through in-network providers.

Lactation counselors are health professionals who can help new moms prevent or solve breastfeeding difficulties. They can help you with things like:

  • Latching difficulties
  • Concerns about your milk supply
  • Baby fussiness with feedings
  • Nursing positions
  • Advice on breastfeeding equipment
  • Returning to work while breastfeeding

We know breastfeeding is hard work, and it can feel daunting. Support is available.

To learn more about whether you qualify and how to find an in-network lactation consultant based on your plan, call the number on the back of your insurance card.

Download Blue Cross NC’s My Pregnancy App

Blue Cross NC members have free access to our My Pregnancy App.

On the Resources page, the app can help you look up your breast pump and lactation consultant benefits through Blue Connect.

You can also check out the Learn Library, which incudes tips and articles on breastfeeding.

Find out if you’re eligible for WIC in North Carolina

WIC helps pregnant and postpartum moms and their babies access healthy food and breastfeeding support. To be eligible for WIC, you must:

  • Live in North Carolina
  • Meet the income criteria
  • Be at nutritional risk

To find out if you’re eligible and to apply for WIC benefits, visit Nutrition NC.

If you are not in North Carolina, visit your state’s department of public health.

Breastfeeding and health equity

There are many choices families make about the well-being of their newborn child, and feeding practices are top of the list. When we consider the tools we have to facilitate equity for birthing families and their infants, breastfeeding and breast milk have many protective effects.

In this path toward health equity, Blue Cross NC has many resources to support families who choose breastmilk as the primary food source for their infant. And amidst this formula shortage, not only is breastmilk a viable option, but it also frees up some of the formula supply for families for whom breastfeeding is not an option.

We encourage you to explore these resources for yourself or a loved one who is welcoming a new baby!

Wildflower is an independent company solely responsible for the services it provides via the My Pregnancy app on behalf of Blue Cross NC. Wildflower does not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services.