7 Reasons to Go to a WIC Office
WIC, or Women, Infants, and Children, is a program sponsored by the USDA to provide support, education, counseling, and assistance to pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as young children and infants. WIC is intended to help lower-income mothers and children get proper nutrients, a balanced diet, quality care, and educational materials to ensure proper growth and development during key times in a child’s life. WIC offices are located all across the United States, and offices are equipped to offer a number of benefits to women, infants, and children who need some assistance during pregnancy or the early years of life. The WIC program aids individuals and families in many ways, but here are our top 7 reasons to go to a WIC office near you.
Healthy Food Assistance
If you qualify for WIC, the most tangible thing they’ll give you is vouchers to get healthy foods and beverages at no charge. The healthy foods you’ll receive are based on a well-balanced diet and include some key nutrients that are especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, infants, and young children. Healthy food assistance may include items like milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, cereal, beans, peanut butter, whole grain food items, and more. Some infants may receive infant formula vouchers if their mother is unable to breastfeed exclusively, and after 6 months of age, many babies will receive vouchers for healthy baby food.
Improved Birth Outcomes
When pregnant women receive prenatal care, they recover from giving birth faster and their babies are healthier. Since WIC helps many women who are at risk for malnutrition, being on this program will provide healthy foods for mom to eat which drastically improves the health of her baby. WIC programs can reduce low birth weight, risk of preterm labor, complications during and after birth, and much more.
Pregnancy can be quite overwhelming and difficult, particularly if you are struggling financially or are not sure what your future holds. WIC offices can provide pregnancy counseling to give you a positive and safe place to express your fears and discuss your concerns. Pregnancy counseling may involve one session or many, and you will often leave pregnancy counseling sessions with a variety of resources to help you move forward, as well as a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. Knowing you’re not alone and that many of your fears are normal is an important part of staying healthy and positive during your entire pregnancy, and counseling can help with that a great deal.
The recommendations for nutrition have changed slightly over the years, and especially when you’re pregnant, you may have more questions than answers when it comes to nutrition. WIC offices will provide you with comprehensive nutrition education, including what makes up a healthy diet, how your diet should or shouldn’t change during pregnancy, what to expect from your nutritional needs after delivery, and more. Nutrition education at a local WIC office can also help you know how and what to feed your baby after he or she is born.
Breastfeeding can be quite difficult for many new moms, but the benefits are far-reaching and incredibly significant. Whether you’re breastfeeding your fifth baby or are trying it for the first time, support and education is an incredibly important part of breastfeeding success. WIC offices offer breastfeeding classes, support, and resources, all of which are invaluable when you’re struggling with breastfeeding or unsure of what you should be doing.
Child Development Education
WIC offices will do child checkups from the time your baby is born until he or she outgrows WIC benefits. Not only will the nurses there chart your child’s weight, height, head circumference, and other physical health signs, but they will also discuss child development with you. This may include going over appropriate developmental milestones, concerns you have about your child’s development, and more. They can offer resources if you need additional assistance with your child’s development, and they can offer some suggestions about how to encourage your child and improve his or her development.
Referrals to Other Healthcare Professionals
If you need additional assistance beyond your prenatal care or pediatric care, your local WIC office can offer referrals to other healthcare professionals that can help you. If you suspect a health concern or problem with yourself or your child, you can discuss it with a healthcare provider at your next WIC appointment, and he or she can provide you with some contacts who can help you more. Additionally, if your WIC nurse has a concern about the health, development, or nutrition of you or your child, he or she can provide you with a referral to a medical specialist who can assist you.
Local WIC offices in San Diego have so much to offer women, infants, and children who wish to be healthy and may need a little help accomplishing this. For all of these benefits and more, talk to NCHS or contact your local WIC office to begin the enrollment process.