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Press Release

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month Promotes Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms and Babies

Independence Blue Cross offers incentives for lactating mothers

Philadelphia, PA - August 10, 2009 - Breastfeeding reduces infant mortality by 21 percent and offers increased health benefits according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), yet only 54 percent of new mothers in the Philadelphia area attempt to breastfeed their newborns. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month and Independence Blue Cross (IBC) takes this opportunity to remind members of its support and incentives to breastfeed their newborns.

"IBC is proud to offer reimbursements through our Baby BluePrints program toward breastfeeding tools and support because breastfeeding results in improved health for mothers and babies," said Dr. Cathy Dratman, medical director at Independence Blue Cross. "Breastfeeding is also much more cost effective than purchasing formula. The more information mothers have on the topic, the better decisions they can make."

Breastfeeding can also:

  • Develop a bond of closeness and trust between mother and infant;
  • Save families a significant amount of money over the course of the child's first year;
  • Reduce cases of ear infections, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, allergies, and obesity in infants;
  • Lower risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer for mothers;
  • Help mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster;
  • Decrease costs for programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC);
  • Lower annual health care costs by $3.6 billion in the U.S. if every new mother attempted to breastfeed their baby. (AAP)

Through IBC's Baby BluePrintsSM program, members can receive up to $50 back for taking a childbirth or breastfeeding class, $50 back on the purchase of a breast pump, and $100 towards support from a lactation consultant, a healthcare provider who helps new mothers learn to properly breastfeeding their newborns. In certain acute medical situations, IBC covers rental costs for hospital grade breast pumps for nursing mothers.

In addition, Baby BluePrints offers free telephone-based counseling to help if moms-to-be or members of their households are trying to quit smoking. The program helps women stay healthy, confident, and comfortable throughout and after pregnancy. Since wellness is a primary focus at IBC, the insurer continues to promote healthy choices during and after pregnancy by offering breastfeeding reimbursements. For more information on this program, go to the Healthy LifestylesSM webpage or call 1-800-ASK-BLUE.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

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