Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)

 

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What is WIC?

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) is a supplemental nutrition program for Women (pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding), Infants (birth to one-year-old), and Children under the age of 5 years.  WIC provides nutrition education, supplemental nutritious foods and breastfeeding education and support.  WIC is an important part of your children’s lives during critical times of growth and development to make sure they can avoid health and growth problems. The program improves pregnancy outcomes by providing or referring to support services necessary for full-term pregnancies; reduces infant mortality (death in the first year of life) by reducing the incidence of low birth weight (infants under 5 ½ pounds are at greater risk of breathing problems, brain injuries and physical abnormalities) and provides infants and children with a healthy start in life by improving poor or inadequate diets.

 

Who is eligible for WIC?

Eligibility is determined by WIC staff on the day of your appointment.

The requirements are:

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding mother who has a baby less than one-year-old
  • An infant (less than a year) or a child up to five years old
  • A woman who has had a baby less than six months ago
  • Live in Ohio and the county in which you are applying
  • Determined by health professionals to be at medical/nutritional risk
  • Meet income guidelines

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How Can YOU Apply?

Call one of our clinics for an appointment:

Boardman WIC, 3910 Hillman Way, 330-788-1485 

Youngstown City Health Department, 345 Oak Hill Avenue, 234-855-1575

Austintown WIC, 50 Westchester Drive, 330-792-2397 ext. 227 or 222

Bring the following with you to the appointment:

  • Proof of household income (current check stubs, approval letter for Healthy Start, Ohio Works First, Food Stamp card or Medicaid Benefits Letter)
  • Proof of identification for yourself with your birthday on it (birth certificate, driver’s license, WIC ID, Medicaid card)
  • Proof of identification and age for your child, must have the birth date on it (birth certificate, crib card, shot record,  WIC ID, Medicaid card)
  • Proof of residence showing your name and current address (utility or credit card bill, or Ohio drivers license)
  • If pregnant, a doctor’s statement that will verify due date
  • Children’s shot records
  • Bring the child/children
  • Be on time for your appointment

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What does WIC Offer?

Breastfeeding Education and Support

The Ohio WIC program promotes breastfeeding as normal and natural infant feeding.  Why? We will explore the many reasons why WIC promotes breastfeeding.

  • Reason No. 1 – All major health professional associations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend breastmilk over artificial baby food.

Complete AAP Policy Statement can be found here

Ohio WIC also supports breastfeeding by teaching mothers how to breastfeed and overcome problems.  Following are tips to get off to a good start.

Tip Number 1

Take a breastfeeding class before you deliver.

Tip Number 2

Tell your doctor, your baby’s doctor and the hospital staff you want your baby to get only your breastmilk while in the hospital.

Tip Number 3

Let the hospital staff and your doctor know you want to hold your baby skin-to-skin on your chest for 90 minutes right after delivery.  Many times, a newborn baby held skin to skin will latch on to the breast all by itself.  Tests can be done with your baby on your chest or can wait until after 90 minutes.

Tip Number 4

Keep your baby with you in your hospital room.  Did you know new mothers are visited by hospital staff an average of 50 times a night?  Putting your baby in the nursery will not help you get a good night’s sleep.  Keeping your baby with you will help you learn when the baby wants to eat and help you fall more in love with your baby.

Tip Number 5

Newborn babies have very small tummies.  They need to eat about every one and a half to three hours to stay full.  Watch for signs that your baby is hungry (Click Hunger Signs – smacking lips or sucking sounds; bringing one or both hands to mouth; moving head from side to side; making fussing sounds; making faces like the baby is going to cry; crying: it is hard to feed a crying baby, so be sure to feed the baby before the baby starts to cry.) Remember – crying is the last hunger sign – so be sure feed your baby before she/he starts to cry. Click Calming Your Fussy Baby for additional tips.

Tip Number 6

Try using the asymmetrical or off-center latch. Since your baby milks the breast with his jaw and tongue, this latch will help your baby drink more milk by allowing him/her to take in more of your breast with his lower jaw. It is a very comfortable latch – even if your nipples are already sore.  Click Four Steps to a Great Latch! for step instructions and pictures. Be sure and ask to see the Lactation Consultant if you have any questions about breastfeeding or latching on.

Tip Number 7

Join a support group like La Leche League International. To visit their website, go to www.lalecheleague.org. You can also call your local WIC office as soon as possible to let them know you have delivered.

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  • Breastfeeding Support

The Breastfeeding Peer Helper Program is a program designed to enhance the breastfeeding support services provided by WIC.  Breastfeeding peer helpers are women in the community with personal breastfeeding experience. They provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding education and support which in turns helps mothers successfully reach their breastfeeding goals.  Peer Helpers assist by establishing a connection with families, helping mothers in managing common concerns, providing ongoing encouragement and offering comfort outside the usual workday.  The development of the Breastfeeding Peer Helper program has increased breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among the WIC population.

WIC can help supply manual and electric breast pumps to eligible breastfeeding mothers when they need to go back to work or school.

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Farmers Market Nutrition Program:

The WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is a dual purpose program which benefits both WIC participants and farmers. In the program, WIC participants are given five $3 coupons with which to purchase authorized fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from authorized farmers at farmers’ markets and farmstands. The program runs between June and October.

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Medical/Social Service Referrals:

The WIC Program can refer you to other important health services in your community. Here are a few:

  • Immunizations
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Initiative–    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.  FASDs are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.  The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) provides education and advocacy on FASD issues and resources for people affected by FASD at www.nofas.org.
  • Help Me Grow
  • Lead Testing
  • Physicians, dentists and other medical care
  •  If you or your children qualify for the WIC program, WIC staff will check the height, weight and blood iron on your children and you about every six months. This can help you keep an eye on your health.

WIC offers strong support, information and assistance for breastfeeding mothers. 

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Nutrition Education:

WIC offers individual, group, and internet nutrition education. A WIC Health Professional will review your personal or your infant/child’s nutritional/medical reason for being on WIC. You will pick a nutritional goal to work on before you come for next WIC appointment.

Fun, interactive group nutrition education classes are for adults and kids. Parents can learn to prepare healthy meals in a crock pot using WIC foods. You can even have a taste at the end of the class. Children can follow dinosaur footprints to hear a story on what healthy foods the dinosaurs ate or dress up in a cowboy hat and learn about healthy foods from the wild west. Hands-on activities have included making ants on a log (celery stuffed with peanut butter and raisins as the ants).

Internet nutrition is offered for the WIC techies at www.wichealth.org and the WIC Kiosk in the clinics. Here are a few nutrition tips you will receive whichever kind of nutrition education you choose.

Nutrition:
  • Stock up on a variety of healthy foods. Let your family members choose a snack that sounds good to them from what is offered. Eat together as a family. Talk and enjoy each other’s company rather than sitting in front of the television.
  • Don’t give up! It is important to offer your child a new food several times before he/she may choose to like it.
  • Talk to your WIC health professional about portion sizes and foods that are right for your child at his/her current stage of life.
  • Visit your local WIC clinic for healthy foods and recipe ideas.
Fitness:
  • Set a good example.  Make fitness an important part of your life.  Show your children that being active is fun and rewarding.
  • It is important to limit television and video games. Encourage everyone to play outside, jump rope or start a neighborhood game of kickball.
  • Provide fun, active options for your children. Help him/her want to get outside, run around and create his/her own games. Make fitness fun!.
  • Reward good behavior with fitness activities.  Take your family to the park, for a walk at the zoo or a swim at a local pool.
  • Seek family activities as a healthy way to spend time together. Walk to the library, throw a Frisbee or fly a kite. Plan for an afternoon biking adventure including healthy snacks.
  • Winter doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to physical activity.  Bundle up for fitness fun while ice skating, sledding or having a snowball fight!

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Supplemental Food:

  • Milk, eggs, cereal, fruit juice, peanut butter, fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits, dried and canned beans, Tofu, soy milk, whole grains, canned tuna/salmon, strained baby food, infant cereal, and formula.

 

 Voter Registration:

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, Public Law 103-31, provides that WIC clinics serve as voter registration assistance sites throughout Ohio. Applicants can register to vote at any WIC clinic in their communities, or registration can be completed through the online services of the Secretary of State’s office.

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Resources:

WIC authorized foods list

WIC online nutrition education