In order to continue breast feeding once they return to the workplace, nursing mothers must use breast pumps to extract milk and store it to be fed later to their babies. Despite studies showing the positive effects of breast feeding both on infants and on nursing moms, the IRS had for a long time refused to classify breast feeding supplies as a medical expense even though the IRS allows tax breaks for other items such as acne cream and denture adhesives.
On February 10, 2011, the IRS announced that it will now allow mothers to use pretax money from flexible spending accounts to cover the cost of breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies. The ruling will affect expenses beginning in 2010. The new policy will help working mothers who decide to continue to breast feed after they re-enter the working world.