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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WIC

WIC stands for Women, Infant & Children.  It is a program that helps provide food assistance for mothers who are pregnant, or children until the age of 3 I believe.  This has really helped us when Carter was on formula because it covered the cost of that entirely.  There is an income limit that you have to meet, and then you go into an office to qualify and go from there.  They usually give you enough vouchers for 3 months, and it basically includes:  milk, bread or rice or tortillas, some cereal, juice, canned or bagged beans, fruits & veggies, eggs and peanut butter.  If the mother is breastfeeding they will cover more of a variety of food.  If the baby is under 1 they cover formula if they need it, and then once they are 6 months they do cereal and jars of baby food, like 32 cans for a month.  My only problem was that they never seemed to give me enough jars of food, so I had to buy more on my own.  They also won't let you buy the mixed kinds, it just has to be 1 basic fruit or veggie.  They do not cover jars of meat so I had to buy that also on my own.  Once your child is 1, they switch to whole milk Vitamin D cow's milk, cereal, canned beans, fruits & veggies, bread, etc.

I have not always found the program helpful or necessary, especially when the appointments dragged on for about 2 hours.  Even though you only have to go in once every 3 months or so, it can be a bit of a pain.  The thing you also have to be careful with when doing WIC, is making sure before you sign the voucher at the cash register that the amount the cashier wrote in is correct.  If it is wrong, you will end up having to pay the difference.  Always make sure you double check the price before signing.  It can be embarrassing sometimes to have all these vouchers when going through a line, because it can hold up the line a bit, but you know what you need to do what you do for your family.  I figure it saves us about $55 a month depending how much I get.  If I don't think I will eat or use everything they give me, I don't get it because I don't want to abuse the system.  You also can't trade food to people or give it to anyone else except for the intended recipients.  So technically the Dad should not be eating or drinking any of that WIC food.  Just mom and baby.

If things are a little tight, it may be worth it to look into.  Like I said, it was most helpful when Carter was under 1 year of age because formula is super expensive as is baby food.  Now that he is older it really only gives us about $30 worth of food a month for him, but it's still something.  You can always freeze milk or process the fruits & veggies for easier eating.  Also, babies can get peanut butter you just have to ask.  If your baby needs a special formula, just have your doctor fill out a prescription and WIC should cover it.  They are huge into breastfeeding there, so if you need help with that they can also help.  They lent me a pump for 6 weeks when I had Carter, which was super nice because pumps are expensive.  It was free to use and very nice of them.  Just google for the number of your local WIC clinic; they accept Medicaid cards as proof of income and you would be automatically qualified.  Otherwise just take in pay stubs to see if you do.  They take weight, height and your iron level a few times a year to make sure you and baby are growing well.

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