WIC provides healthy food, and a whole lot more…including nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and other community programs.
The full range of WIC’s nutrition resources and benefits are available beginning when you are pregnant and continuing until your child’s 5th birthday. When you choose WIC for your family, you’ll get the support you need to give your child the best possible start in life. And, kids who stick with WIC until age 5 grow healthy, happy and smart.
WIC’s mission is to safeguard your growing family’s health. When WIC first began, the nutritional issues facing many Americans were different from what they are now. In the typical American diet today, we need less fat and more fiber, less refined grains and more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables and more variety in what we eat.
WIC foods supplement the other foods you buy, and provide key nutrients to help you and your children grow at each stage of development. Each individual enrolled in WIC receives a monthly food benefit based on their participant category and nutritional needs. The foods you can purchase with your WIC card change depending on whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and the age of your child.
WIC foods have always supplied important nutrients like calcium, iron and protein. They still do, and WIC is changing with the times. The foods you can buy each month as part of your WIC benefits are approved based on the latest nutrition science – specifically focusing on the health needs of moms and young children. Today, WIC foods include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lower-fat dairy and protein choices. Our goal is to help families meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Healthy People 2020 Objectives, and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for infant nutrition. WIC believes in the power of healthy foods to grow a healthy body.
The allowable brands and food items approved by Vermont WIC:
- Provide specific nutrients to support health during critical times of growth
- Include a wide variety of choices that are easy to purchase, store, prepare and eat
- Are widely acceptable and take differing family food preferences into account
WIC Food categories
- Milk - 1% or skim for everyone over age 2, whole milk for children 12-24 months
- Whole Grains – Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat or corn tortillas
- Yogurt – Low-fat or non-fat yogurt for women and children over age 2, Whole milk yogurt for children 12-24 months
- Cheese – Regular and low-fat varieties
- Eggs – Medium or large
- Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh, frozen or canned
- 100% Fruit Juice – Refrigerated, frozen concentrate or shelf stable bottles
- Breakfast Cereal – Whole grain and regular, low in sugar, high in iron, hot and cold varieties
- Legumes - Peanut butter, canned or dry beans
- Tofu and Soy Milk Beverage – Calcium set tofu, fortified soy milk beverage
- Infant Formula for infants who are not breastfeeding, or partially breastfeeding
- Baby Food Fruits and Vegetables for your 6-12 month old baby
- Baby Food Meats for fully breastfeeding infants 6-12 months’ old
Nutrition education is one of WIC’s most important benefits. There are three basic types of WIC Nutrition Education activities:
- Personal nutrition counseling
- Group activities for you and/or your child
- Online learning at WICHealth.org
You choose the nutrition education option that matches your learning style, interests and schedule. Each local WIC office offers a variety of nutrition education activities in addition to in-person counseling and online lessons. Find out what’s available in your community.
Personal Nutrition Counseling
WIC nutrition professionals are available to talk to you in-person or answer your questions over the phone. You and your WIC nutritionist can develop an individualized nutrition care plan that includes goals you choose together like:
- How to gain the right amount during pregnancy, and return to pre-pregnancy weight after your baby is born?
- How to breastfeed and start your baby on solid foods?
- How to help your toddler grow well and be active?
Group Activities and Classes
Led by WIC staff or an expert community partner, we also offer workshops focused on cooking, shopping and good nutrition, as well as a series of monthly “Baby Behavior” talks, breastfeeding support groups and Fit WIC activities. These activities will help you maintain or improve your health through eating healthy and being active. Pick from the list of activities your Local Health Office provides each month and connect with other WIC families. Visit your Local Health Office’s Facebook page or webpage, or call to find out what’s happening in your area.
Activities may include:
- Story Walks
- Fit WIC Playgroup
- Making your own baby food
WICHealth.org is WIC’s online nutrition education resource. Choose from a variety of topics and lessons, and renew your benefits when it’s convenient for you. You’ll need your 6-digit WIC household ID number to create an account the first time you visit the site. If you don’t know your ID number, call your local health department office.
- Eat Well – Spend Less!
- Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy
- Starting Your Infant on Solid Foods
- Make Meals and Snacks Simple
- Secrets for Feeding Picky Eaters
Do your nutrition education online! Visit the WICHealth.org website any day, any time:
- Find and complete lessons anywhere you have internet access
- Use a computer or your smartphone
What Families Are Saying...
“Awesome website!! Lots of great information and very easy to follow.”
“I can learn at my own pace, in the comfort of my own home.”
“I like that I get to choose the topic, and that I can do it anytime day or night.”
You already know that breastfeeding is best for you and your baby, but it can still be challenging for both new and experienced moms. Learning to breastfeed can take time, patience and practice, and WIC is here to help. With our Breastfeeding Support Program, you can learn what to expect with breastfeeding, build your confidence, and know where to find support.
Knowledge + Support + Confidence = Success!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding your baby only breast milk until age 6 months, and breast milk plus solid foods from 6 - 12 months and beyond. Whether you’re looking for support as you and your baby are learning to breastfeed, or as you’re preparing to go back to work or school, you can rely on WIC to help you every step of the way.
You are better able to meet your breastfeeding goals when you:
- Set a personal breastfeeding goal
- Discuss your breastfeeding plans with your prenatal health care provider at every visit.
- Talk about breastfeeding with your family and friends.
- Learn about hospital practices important for breastfeeding and share your infant feeding plan with hospital staff and support team.
- Contact WIC for breastfeeding support
- Get referrals to community lactation experts, like WIC breastfeeding peer counselors.
When breastfeeding is important to you, plan for success. You Can Do It, WIC Can Help! Use the resources we’ve developed to expand your knowledge, build your confidence and connect with resources in your community.
Connect with WIC in your community
WIC is here for you! We know that breastfeeding is important to you and want to help you to meet your personal breastfeeding goals. WIC supports breastfeeding with education, nutritious foods, and breast pumps for moms returning to work or school. WIC breastfeeding peer counselors are available in five local health office locations to connect with you by phone and provide support and information so you can meet your breastfeeding goals (Bennington, Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, St. Albans). We can also help you connect with other supports in your community.
breastfeeding for working moms
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of complementary foods for at least the first year of your baby's life, results in lifetime health benefits for you and your baby. Breastfeeding, the key to good health for mothers and babies, also significantly benefits families, employers, and our communities. Learn more about Vermont's breastfeeding laws, returning to work and Vermont's Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Project.
WIC is part of your community. Your local WIC office is well-connected to healthcare providers, community organizations and partners and can help connect you to a wide variety of programs and services, such as:
- Pregnancy and pediatric care
- Finding a dentist
- Help quitting smoking for you and your baby
- Drug and alcohol abuse counseling
- Other programs including Home Visiting, Head Start, and 3SquaresVT, Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program
WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and seeks to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets.
Are there other programs for families who get WIC?
Many WIC families are enrolled in other related programs and services, such as:
- Medicaid & Dr. Dynasaur – Medicaid is a jointly-funded, federal-state health insurance program. In Vermont, Medicaid insurance programs for pregnant women and for children up to age 18 are known collectively as the Dr. Dynasaur program. For information about Dr. Dynasaur and other Medicaid coverage, call (toll-free within Vermont) 800-250-8427.
- 3SquaresVT Program – 3SquaresVT (formerly Food Stamps) is a nutrition assistance program that provides benefits for the purchase of nutritious food to income-eligible people and their families. For more information about the 3SquaresVT, call (toll-free within Vermont) 1-800-479-6151.
- Public Health Dental Hygienist Program – The Public Health Dental Hygienist program provides families enrolled in WIC with the opportunity to meet with a dental hygienist to receive oral health information, and help finding a local dental practice that accepts their insurance. Currently five of the 12 Local Health WIC programs participate in the PHDH program. Public health dental hygienists are also available to work with local health care providers to integrate dental and oral health as part of prenatal and pediatric health care, and to help dental care providers feel comfortable treating children beginning at age one.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Growing Healthy Families Newsletter
WIC publishes and mails a quarterly newsletter to every WIC family, Growing Healthy Families.
WIC2Five text message service
Sign up for WIC2Five, Vermont WIC’s text message service. Get 2 messages each week to help you make the most of your child’s first five years. WIC2Five sends you text messages specific to your child’s age and stage of development; helpful parenting tips; health and nutrition information, appointment reminders and more! Signing up is easy – just ask your local office to sign you up today.
VDH and WIC are happy to partner with Zero to Three to promote their text4baby initiative. Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health. An educational program of the Zero to Three, text4baby provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. Sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) and receive free SMS text messages each week, timed to your due date or baby’s date of birth.