FORT BRAGG, N.C. (July 15, 2015) -- TRICARE recently updated their breast pump policy to provide breast pumps and breast pump supplies at no cost to new mothers.

The policy covers one manual or standard electric breast pump along with the following supplies up to 36 months after the child's birth or adoption: standard power adapters, tubing and tubing adaptors, locking rings, bottles and bottle caps, shield/splash protectors and storage bags. Additionally, they will provide up to two pump kits per birth event.

"The new policy will help make the mom's life easier," said Jessica Callahan, a lactation consultant at Womack Army Medical Center. "A breast pump and all the supplies can cost a good $200 to $300 out of pocket. That can be a major expense, especially for the lower enlisted Families."

To take advantage of this new policy, new moms will need to receive a prescription from a provider. If you're pregnant, you will receive your prescription when you are discharged from the hospital. If you've already had your baby and wish to take advantage of the retroactive coverage to Dec. 19, 2014, you can visit your clinic and ask for a prescription. You won't need to schedule an appointment; your healthcare team will be able to assist you on a walk-in basis.

Beneficiaries can choose to purchase their pump through a TRICARE contracted durable medical equipment supplier or purchase supplies out-of-pocket from the provider they choose, then submit a claim for reimbursement.

Those wishing to save themselves the extra paperwork and purchase through a DME supplier, can call TRICARE at 877-TRICARE for assistance in finding a local provider. There are numerous suppliers in the Fayetteville area, including Apria, Liberty Medical and Mother's Helper Home Care Agency.

Moms who plan to purchase on their own will need to submit their prescriptions and an itemized receipt, along with a Department of Defense Form 2642 to file a claim for reimbursement. The form, as well as the address to submit your claim to, can be found on www.tricare.mil. You will find links to all the information you need at the "life events" tab under "having a baby or adopting."

While the new policy provides pumps free of charge, not all breastfeeding moms will require a pump.

"Not every mother will need a breast pump," said Callahan. "If you're not working or leaving your baby for any length of time, you don't necessarily need a pump. A breast pump is needed only when you need to provide your baby with breast milk when you are separated for an extended amount of time."

Moms looking for advice on what pump will best fit their needs can call the WAMC Breastfeeding Assistance Office and speak to a lactation consultant at 907-8367.

The office also hosts a prenatal breastfeeding class the first and third Wednesday of every month from 1 to 3:30 in the Mother Baby Unit at WAMC. No registration is required. It is recommended that moms attend a class early in their pregnancy.

For more information on the new policy or how to file a claim, visit www.tricare.mil or call 877-TRICARE (877-874-2273).