The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced yesterday that it would allow nursing mothers to receive a tax break for pumps and other breastfeeding supplies. Nursing mothers can now use their pretax dollars from flexible spending accounts to pay for these items. Women without flexible spending accounts can deduct breastfeeding costs if such expenses are more than 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income.
This announcement reverses the IRS’s ruling in October stating that breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies are not subject to the tax breaks offered for other medical expenses, such as acne medications and denture adhesives.
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stated, “This is good news for nursing moms, and a welcome recognition of scientific fact by the IRS: breastfeeding has significant health benefits – it helps prevent disease, and is good for moms and for babies. Anything we can do to encourage healthy choices is a good thing – and this ruling definitely qualifies!”
Breastfeeding advocates and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have emphasized the preventative health benefits of breastfeeding, backed by recent research. According to a study published in April, breastfeeding will prevent more than 900 infant deaths each year and will save an additional $13 billion in health care costs. Many mothers also receive health benefits from breast feeding.