If you're a breastfeeding mom in Maryland, great news! Items like pumps, nursing bras, pillows, breast pump hook-up kits, nursing shields, Supplemental Nursing Systems, milk storage bags, and purified lanolin are all exempt from state sales tax. Louisiana moms, hang in there—your state is also trying to pass a bill to let you bypass that pesky 4 percent state sales tax when you buy your breastfeeding accessories.
In addition to the state-specific tax laws, the IRS recently announced that, effective as of the 2010 tax year, ALL mothers who breastfeed can get a tax break. Breastfeeding moms can now use pretax dollars in their FSAs (flexible spending accounts) to cover the cost of breastfeeding supplies. Those without FSAs can count the cost of breastfeeding supplies towards their deductible medical expenses.
Moms who are using formula—well, you're shit out of luck. But that's because you're not providing your baby with optimal nutrition. You selfish whore.
The government now classifies breastfeeding as a "medical expense" and infant formula as "food." Which is interesting, because I'm pretty sure if I hadn't fed my babies formula, they would have suffered a medical condition known as "STARVATION."
See, I couldn't breastfeed. It wasn't that I didn't want to, or I didn't know how, or I felt squeamish about my boobies being seen by others—I couldn't. Full stop. I've had two kids (who by the way are ridiculously, boisterously healthy), and I don't even want to know what I spent on infant formula and bottles over the years. Thousands, I suppose.
Where are the tax breaks for moms who can't follow the breast is best policy? Who are nevertheless doing their best with what they've got? Because it sure seems weird that you can write off a bottle, but only if it's filled with breast milk. Mix up some formula for that fancy Dr. Brown's and now it's something else entirely. It's a subpar method of feeding your baby, and you don't deserve to save money on your inarguably higher nutrition expenses.
Breastfeeding advocates are thrilled with the new IRS new policy, saying it will not only help millions of working moms continue breastfeeding after returning to the workplace, but more importantly, it will improve the health of infants.
I would never disagree with this. But it's sad to me that a tax policy now agrees with the vibe I got from plenty of fellow moms when my children were little: I didn't feed them the right way.
What do you think about the tax breaks for breastfeeding supplies?
Image via Flickr/abbybatchelder