“Those living in food insecure households consume fewer servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and more sugar, fat, and salt. These dietary shortfalls are linked to chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Given their vulnerability, the elderly and children suffer the greatest impact.” (USDA Food & Nutrition Service)
Through good nutrition, WIC helps ensure optimal health outcomes for pregnant people, new parents, and families with infants and young children. As Vermont’s premier public health nutrition program, WIC’s nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and healthy foods support thousands of parents, infants and children every year to eat well, learn about good nutrition and stay healthy. WIC and health professionals work together to help Vermont’s families get the support they need during critical periods of growth and development, giving children the best possible start in life. Find out more about the many benefits of WIC, how to help families apply and learn about WIC's role in improving lifetime health for parents, their infants, and young children.
WIC Food Packages
To support breastfeeding for the first year, the largest WIC food package is provided to parents and babies who exclusively breastfeed. For those who combine breastfeeding with some formula or only use formula, WIC currently has a standard infant formula contract for Similac Advance (milk-based) and Isomil (soy-based) until September 28, 2019. Beginning September 29, 2019, the standard infant formula contract will be for Gerber Good Start GentlePro (milk-based) and Gerber Good Start Soy (soy-based).
Infants and children with qualifying medical conditions who need medical formula require a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner to complete WIC’s Medical Documentation form for Infants and Children. A completed Medical Documentation form is also needed for parents who require WIC-eligible specialized nutrition products.
Medical Documentation Requirements
- Infants who need medical formula in their first year require medical documentation. This documentation remains in effect until the infant reaches 1 year old.
- Parents and children on long term formulas will need an updated medical documentation form on an annual basis.
- A child or parent who requires a medical formula is also eligible for a full WIC food package, but any food restrictions should be noted on their medical documentation form.
- Children age 12 – 24 months for whom a lower fat milk is appropriate can receive it from WIC with medical documentation. It can also be provided based on an individual nutritional assessment conducted by the WIC certifier to a family if the child’s weight for length falls at or above the 98th % on the WHO/CDC growth chart.
- Parents and children whose special dietary needs require the use of pureed foods may receive jarred infant food fruits and vegetables in lieu of the standard fruit and vegetable benefit and/or infant cereal in place of breakfast cereal with medical documentation from their provider.
Parents face many challenges that often lead them to stop breastfeeding before they are ready. Close collaboration between WIC and health care providers is critical. People enrolled in WIC are encouraged to:
- Discuss their breastfeeding plans with their health care providers at every visit.
- Learn about hospital practices important for breastfeeding and share their infant feeding plan with hospital staff.
- Accept referrals to community lactation experts.
WIC is committed to helping people meet their personal breastfeeding goals. We provide parents with targeted education, healthy foods, support from WIC breastfeeding peer counselors, prenatal and early post-partum breastfeeding classes, breast pumps for returning to work or school, and more.
WIC can also provide health professionals with patient and staff breastfeeding resources. Contact the local WIC office in your area to receive breastfeeding resources for your practice, and to learn more about how you can partner with WIC to strengthen support for breastfeeding families.
The Vermont Department of Health provides a variety of best practice guidelines and toolkits for health professionals, including guidelines for promoting healthy weight in adults and children, and guidelines for preventive primary care.
WIC helps families meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Fit WIC resources help increase active physical activity for two, three and four year olds. WIC promotes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher and provides an Activity Book to guide both unstructured and structured playtime. Fit WIC also provides information on the relationship between cognitive and physical development, ideas for incorporating physical activity into everyday routines, and specific skill-building activities designed to enhance physical development and learning. You can view the Fit WIC Activity Book and order copies to share with your patients. Contact WIC@Vermont.gov or your Local Health Office.
Vermont WIC State Plan
An annual State Plan of Program Operations and Administration for the WIC is submitted to the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service for approval of program operations.
The most recent State Plan for Federal Fiscal Year 2020, October 1, 201-September 30, 2020, and a report on 2019 activities, provides goals, objectives, and activities for: vendor management, nutrition services, information systems, organization and management, nutrition services and administration expenditures, food funds management, caseload management, certification, eligibility and coordination of services, food delivery/food instrument accountability and control, monitoring and audits, and civil rights.
To read and provide feedback on the WIC State Plan or for more information, please contact: WIC@vermont.gov.
WIC Works is a national online resource for health and nutrition professionals working with families participating in WIC. WIC Works includes professional training modules, state developed educational materials for families and a database of WIC-eligible formula.
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service
- National WIC Association
- Hunger Free Vermont
- Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP)
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Nutrition, Physical Activity and Food Resources for Vermont Families
- Baby-Friendly USA
Children, Youth and Families Resources
10 Steps to Empower Parents and Nurture Babies
The hospital stay is a critical period for establishing confidence in breastfeeding and laying the physiological foundation for breastfeeding success. By six months, only one in four people are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies. Many people stop breastfeeding before they are ready, citing reasons related to their experiences in the hospital.
90% of Vermonters start to breastfeed in the hospital.Preventing childhood obesity and promoting lifelong health begins with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for at least six months decreases a baby’s odds of becoming overweight by more than 30 percent. Hospital policies, procedures and staff can influence parents and babies as they begin to breastfeed, and can affect long term and exclusive breastfeeding.
To facilitate a quality improvement initiative focused on evidence-based care practices, the Vermont Department of Health’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) partnered with the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Family Physicians, and the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP). Ten of the 12 hospitals with birthing centers joined the project to address prioritized individual and collective goals.
Implementing hospital maternity care practices proven to better support parents and babies can improve breastfeeding rates. Our project assisted Vermont hospitals to adopt the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant people about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Assist with initiation of skin-to-skin and breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.
- Show parents how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice “rooming in”— allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer parents to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
To request access to the training materials, contact: the WIC State Breastfeeding Coordinator
Birth and Beyond Breastfeeding Training
With permission from the California Department of Public Health, Vermont updated the Birth and Beyond California (BBC) 16-hour training curriculum, provided training for staff from participating hospitals in Vermont, and supported those hospitals to deliver future trainings to their staff.
BBC’s training provided an opportunity to teach best practices to support early parental-infant bonding through skin-to-skin contact for all parents and babies, and delivered new knowledge and skills to promote, protect, and support a parent’s decision to breastfeed. Vermont’s Birth and Beyond: Empowering Mothers and Nurturing Babies built on the BBC training with a focus on “The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” and added new content to fulfill training objectives for the “Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative”.
The training materials are available to other states to further hospital focused trainings for maternity care staff. Training resources can be used to train new or existing staff, in groups or as self-study modules.
The Birth and Beyond VT: 10 Steps to Empower Mothers and Nurture Babies presentation “platform” uses an innovative design approach that allows trainers to present the training curriculum in a highly-visual, easy-to-navigate format.
All components of the platform – photo slides, picture stories, video clips, and resources are linked together through hyperlinks in a single platform. This approach is designed to enhance learning through triggers from photo images, picture stories, video, and audio to achieve desired objectives. The platform allows presenters to quickly and easily move throughout the presentation to respond to specific questions, access videos and other resources.
Trainers should become very familiar with the detailed speaker notes before using the presentation platform to train. The speaker notes provide brief key messages for each visual in the platform, along with reminders and navigation options.
Platform Resources include:
- Speaker/Participant Notes (can double as participant handouts)
- Binder Cover
- Sample Agendas
- Objectives Overview
- Participant Notes Pages – Modules 1-12
- Team Time Worksheets
- Video List
- Continuing Education application templates
- Certificate of Attendance
- Promotional items for staff recognition and social marketing in your hospital (T-shirt, badge reel, poster, door hanger, banner, buttons, bracelets)
Computer Software and Equipment Requirements
- PC laptop computer operating system: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
NOTE: Windows XP may work, depending on your computer.
- Software: Microsoft Office Suite© 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, which includes PowerPoint.
NOTE: The presentation platform will not run on PowerPoint 2003. Some embedded video may not play in PowerPoint 2007.
- Ability to play “WMV” video.
- LCD (Liquid crystal display) projector to display PowerPoint.
- Computer speakers or audio sound system.
- “Air mouse” (preferred) with motion-sensing technology that allows a presenter to control the presentation anywhere in a room, with the mouse held in the air or on a solid surface (or standard wireless or wired external computer mouse that uses optic sensing and requires a surface).
To access web resources during the presentation, an online connection must be established.
These training materials were developed by the Vermont Department of Health for the use of individuals who are authorized to view its contents. The intent of these training materials is to provide lactation education and training to providers of maternal and child care. By accessing these materials, you agree that the materials will be used only for the above stated intent. Any copying or distribution other than in this context is prohibited without the department’s express written consent.
Birth and Beyond California
The Birth and Beyond California (BBC) Project utilizes Quality Improvement (QI) methods and training to implement evidence-based policies and practices that support breastfeeding within the maternity care setting. The BBC Curriculum was developed as a result of collaboration among the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division of the California Department of Public Health, and its many local organizations and individuals.
Utilizing the Regional Perinatal Programs of California, this project provided participating hospitals with ongoing quality improvement (QI) technical assistance, resource development and on-site education and training. The training curriculum was adapted from the successful SOFT Hospital, a project developed by the Perinatal Services Network at Loma Linda University under the leadership of Carol Melcher.