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Aeroflow’s Jessica Madden calls for equal access to breastfeeding support

Aeroflow’s Jessica Madden calls for equal access to breastfeeding support

Jessica MaddenASHVILLE, N.C. – More than 10 years after the Affordable Care Act mandated insurance coverage for breast pumps, support for breast feeding moms remains “abysmal,” even as a widespread infant formula shortage has more woman opting to breastfeed and for longer, says Dr. Jessica Madden. 

Madden is the medical director at Aeroflow Breastpumps, which recently conducted a survey of pregnant women planning to breastfeed and new moms with children under two who were or still are breastfeeding. 

“It’s absolutely important that every mom has equal access to support and, once they have their pumps, breast pumping,” she said. “It’s no surprise with our U.S. maternity leave policies that are abysmal that there needs to be a huge change.” 

Madden spoke with HME News recently about why support for breast pumping mothers needs to be deemed a medical necessity and her frustration at a recent failure by Congress to expand workplace protections for pumping.  

HME News: How does an HME provider like Aeroflow help support women? 

Dr. Jessica Madden: Aeroflow helps moms be able to get their pumps that are covered by their insurance in a timely manner so they have the crucial equipment because most breastfeeding moms will need to pump. It’s more than having the equipment. There is not adequate support in our current system to help moms with troubleshooting their pump. Do they need different size flanges? Is this the appropriate breast pump for them to use when they return to work? 

HME: And what coverage there is, often isn’t adequate, correct? 

Dr. Madden: Every state is different from a Medicaid coverage standpoint. Many moms have closely spaced babies, and we know that the shelf life of a pump is 12 months for one infant. From an equipment standpoint, it should be replaced at that point. In Ohio, it’s once every five years. Women that have two or three babies in a five-year period are using a pump that is not functionally (adequate). 

HME: Has the infant formula shortage led to an increase in breastfeeding? 

Dr. Madden: I’m in many national collaborations of medical professionals dedicated to breastfeeding and we, as a whole, throughout the nation, are seeing many more moms committing to not only initiating breastfeeding but also continuing to breastfeed. The breastfeeding goals are being shifted.  

HME: Didn’t Congress recently pass on an opportunity to make breast pumping easier for working mothers? 

Dr. Madden: The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is an important piece of legislation that, despite being in the middle of a formula shortage, failed to pass. That was a failure in terms of being able to help moms breastfeed for the long haul. That happened literally a week after Roe v. Wade was overturned. There needs to be a huge change in U.S. policy.


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