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Celia Shatzman
Contributing Writer

12 Surprising Baby Items You Can Buy With Pre-Tax Dollars

Surprise! Your FSA or HSA account isn’t just for copays and prescriptions. Here, some baby essentials you probably didn’t know were eligible.

Any parent knows, having a baby means dropping some serious cash. Here’s the good news: If you have a Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA), a smart way to save on certain baby essentials is by buying them with pre-tax dollars.

Through insurance plans and company benefits, many of us have access to an FSA or HSA. They essentially work like personal savings accounts, but the money is deposited on a pre-tax basis and can be used only for qualifying medical expenses, such as co-pays and deductibles, certain prescriptions and some medical equipment. Surprisingly, that can also include key baby items.

Before you start filling up your shopping cart, check with your insurance policy to see which items qualify. Depending on your policy, you may be able to shop wherever you like and submit your receipts for proof. Or, you can skip the legwork and buy items directly from the official FSA Store or HSA Store, and rest easy knowing everything you buy is approved.

Here, a few useful baby essentials covered by your pre-tax FSA or HSA dollars:

Acupressure wrist bands for morning sickness
This might top the list of things you didn’t expect your HSA or FSA to cover, but moms-to-be with morning sickness will agree that anything that eases the nausea is a medical necessity. Some women swear by acupressure wrist bands as a natural, effective option.

Baby movement monitor
Attach the wearable device to baby’s diaper and it will keep you posted on even the smallest belly movements. Depending on the model, it’ll notify you if baby has less than eight movements per minute or if his abdominal movement is weak, and stimulate movement when he’s still.

Prenatal vitamins
Regular vitamins usually don’t make the cut for FSA and HSA spending, but prenatal supplements are a different story. Whether you prefer gummies, tablets or plain old pills, options abound.

Potty training underwear
The potty training era brings a host of challenges. Luckily, your HSA or FSA plan can be applied to both daytime and nighttime options, so you (and baby) will have plenty of coverage.

Belly Bandit
Whether you need a little belly and back support during pregnancy, a way to reduce swelling and discomfort after a c-section or a trick to getting your belly, waist and hips to shrink back postpartum, Belly Bandit compression wraps are now FSA eligible. Just submit a claim to your insurance company to receive FSA reimbursement.

Breast pumps
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans cover the cost of a breast pump, but many women opt to get a second one for the office or on-the-go. That’s where your HSA or FSA comes in. And with a range of eligible models at varying prices, you can find the perfect pump to meet your needs and budget. Accessories like breast pumping bras and nursing wipes and pads are also available via your FSA or HSA.

Breast milk storage bags
Whether you need to head back to work or just want to stock up on a milk supply, you’ll likely find yourself pumping breast milk at some point—and you’re going to need trusty containers to store it all in. Luckily, you can spend FSA or HSA dollars on lots of storage bag options.

Mineral sunscreen
While sporting daily sunscreen is a good idea for everyone, protecting your skin from the sun’s strong rays becomes especially important when you’re expecting. Your run-of-the-mill chemical sunscreen is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but women eager to avoid the compounds used in them can opt for mineral sunscreen, which prevents sun damage with naturally derived physical blockers, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. And wouldn’t you know it—all types of sunscreen SPF 15 or higher qualify as FSA and HSA expenses.

Baby nasal products
There are a plethora of products designed to help clear baby’s nasal congestion, and many of them are covered by an HSA or FSA. That includes nasal aspirators to clean out mucus, saline nose wipes and nasal relief products.

Infant formula powder
While the brand selection tends to be limited, you can add certain types of infant formula powder to your FSA or HSA shopping list.

Teething pain medicine
Toss some soothing pain meds for baby into your shopping cart, and your FSA or HSA will cover the bill. This typically includes options like swabs and nighttime gels.

Thermometers
When it comes to taking your squirmy baby’s temperature, thermometers designed for adults just won’t do. You can spend your FSA and HSA money on everything from speed-read versions to temp scanners, pacifier thermometers and more.

Published October 2017

PHOTO: Tom Grill / Getty Images