Tax Breaks Offered to Breastfeeding Mothers

Tax breaks will now be given for breast-feeding supplies, the IRS says.The tax break changes come about in light of a Harvard study done by the Harvard Medical School that stated, if 90 percent of mothers followed the standard medical advice of feeding infants only breast milk for their first six months, the United States could save $13 billion a year in health care costs and prevent the premature deaths of 900 infants each year from respiratory illness and other infections.

The IRS had been extremely resistant about giving tax breaks to breastfeeding mothers because it considers, by the IRS code, that breastfeeding is a nutritional necessity, and not a medical condition. The New York Times likens it to breastfeeding being no more deserving of a tax break than a vegetable steamer.

Douglas H. Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner, said in a press release that breasts pumps and other breastfeeding accoutrement that they are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman. While other IRS executives refused to comment on the new policies, the company has not denounced that studies show that breastfeeding can help mothers avoid Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and postpartum depression.

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 percent of mothers since 2007 have begun breastfeeding; the study shows that by the time the children turned six months old, about 43 percent of mothers were breastfeeding. Once the children turned a year old, that number dropped to just 22 percent.

Robin W. Stanton, chairwoman of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, said in a press release, It is critical to our nations health that the majority of American women are supported in their decision to breast-feed: the health, psychosocial, economic, and environmental benefits are undeniable,

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