Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breast Pumps Now Deductible, IRS Says

From The Wall Street Journal:
By Rachel Emma Silverman

In good news for nursing mothers, the IRS just announced that breast pumps and other "supplies that assist lactation" may be deductible medical expenses or can be reimbursed under flexible-spending accounts or health-savings accounts.

The ruling is effective immediately and expenses can be used for 2010 returns, an IRS spokeswoman said.

Until now, as we've posted before, nursing mothers couldn’t use flexible-spending accounts to pay for breast pumps and other nursing supplies because the IRS said that breastfeeding didn’t have enough health benefits to qualify as medical or preventative care.

Now, though, the IRS says that like obstetric care, nursing supplies are "for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman." Breast pumps and attachments and "other related equipment and supplies that are used in breastfeeding" may be eligible, the IRS spokeswoman said, but "before claiming the medical deduction, taxpayers should assess whether an item is used primarily for extracting milk or for other purposes," she added.  More guidance may be forthcoming in the IRS's revised publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, available at

The new ruling means that families can use pretax funds from their flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts for pumps and other supplies.  Medical expenses, meanwhile, are not deductible until they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. Breast pumps typically cost more than $200 and, along with supplies, can run as high as $1,000 in the first year of a baby's life, Reuters reports*.

American Academy of Pediatrics, which encourages new mothers to breastfeed and had long-sought the IRS ruling, praised today’s decision, saying the new tax treatment makes "breastfeeding a more practical option for new and working mothers."

» Browse Breast Pumps at

Silverman,  Rachel Emma,  "The Wall Street Journal: Breast Pumps Now Deductible, IRS Says." WSJ Blogs - The Juggle. February 10, 2011, 1:03 PM ET. Retrieved February 10, 2011

* Stern,  Linda,  "Breast-feeding supplies deductible, IRS rules." Reuters Washington. February 10, 2011 11:17am EST. Retrieved February 10, 2011


Anonymous said...

What other reason would someone be using a breast pump other than to extract milk - maybe I don't want to know!

Anonymous said...

Since most insurance covers viagra I think this is only fair.

to anon, I agree!