Letter: Take advantage of WIC benefits
To the editor:
Where do you go for advice on nutrition and breastfeeding? If you live in Moffat or Routt counties, you have likely heard of a program referred to as WIC, but you may not know exactly what it is and who it’s for.
WIC, or Women, Infants, and Children, is a nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and supplemental food program. WIC is a federally funded program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is intended to help low income families develop healthy lifestyles. The program serves pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5. In 2011, the program served 248 women, 169 infants, and 481 children in Moffat and Routt counties.
People may think of WIC as being similar to food stamps in that it provides vouchers to go to the store and buy food, but WIC is much more than that. Clients receive at least four one-on-one education sessions per year on topics relative and important to them.
They also receive prenatal weight gain monitoring for women, growth and weight gain monitoring for infants and children, and anemia screenings for all participants. Regular nutrition interviews take place for all clients to determine nutrition or health risks and provide education and referrals to physicians, oral health, and mental health professionals as need. Referrals are also provided to many other programs and resources in our communities.
WIC clients have appointments at least once every three months. At the end of each nutrition assessment and education session, they are given tailored food package vouchers to use at the store. The foods provided through WIC help clients get adequate protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients, including milk, cheese, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables, beans, peanut butter, whole grains, juice, infant cereal, and baby food fruits, vegetables, and meats. For infants who are not exclusively breastfed, supplemental infant formula is provided.
WIC also provides breastfeeding support to our breastfeeding moms and babies. The program helps prevent and resolve any breastfeeding complications that may occur, and promote exclusive breastfeeding until 1 to 2 years old. A breast pump can be loaned to clients and working mothers are given their own personal electric breast pump to keep.
If you or someone you know may benefit from the WIC program, please contact us at 871-7653. Our offices are located inside the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in both Craig and Steamboat Springs.
Arin M. Daigneau
WIC director, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association