Tag Archives: Women Infants and Children Program

Chocolate Milk and Canned Goods Now WIC-Approved!

By La’Keisha Coker, MS, RD, LD
Food Package Coordinator
Division of WIC Services

The WIC food package provides supplemental foods designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk.

The new WIC food package went into effect October 1, 2017, and there are some exciting new additions in South Carolina!

Chocolate Milk:

  • One gallon of milk can be exchanged for one gallon of chocolate milk each month for women and children age 2-5
  • Gallon size only
  • Lowest cost

Canned Fruits:

  • Any variety of canned fruits, including applesauce, juice pack or water pack without added sugars, fats, oils or salt
  • Fruit must be listed as the first ingredient

Canned Vegetables:

  • Any variety of canned or frozen vegetables without added sugars, fats or oils
  • Vegetable must be listed as the first ingredient
  • May be regular or lower in sodium

The full South Carolina WIC Food Guide may be found here.

WIC Honors National Farmers Market Week

DHEC’s Division of WIC Services joined markets across the country to celebrate National Farmers Market Week during the week of August 6-12.

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer.

Markets benefit farmers and customers

According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Farmers are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

Providing access to fresh fruits and veggies

The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. The WIC Program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to 5 years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.

The WIC FMNP was established by Congress in 1992, to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the program!

During summer months, select public health departments participate in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. The SC WIC FMNP has 249 authorized farmers.  DHEC and the S.C. Department of Agriculture encourage you to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. WIC participants receive checks that may be used for fresh produce at approved local farmers markets and farm stands. Participants also learn how to choose, store, and prepare fresh produce by attending nutrition education classes.  WIC Farmers’ Market checks may be used to purchase SC-grown, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

New recipes and farmers markets

Ready to try some delicious new recipes for your farmers market fresh fruits and vegetables?

Searching for a South Carolina farmers market?  Click here.

Mother and baby benefit greatly from breastfeeding

By Ellen B. Babb, PhD, MPH, RD, LD, CLC
WIC State Breastfeeding Coordinator
DHEC Division of WIC Services

Just how beneficial is breastfeeding for mothers and babies? Let us count the ways.

  • Human milk provides the ideal balance of nutrients for an infant’s growth and development.
  • Human milk is easy to digest and protects babies from diarrhea and other stomach issues.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS, as well as infectious and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Breastfeeding saves money.
  • Breastfeeding provides a unique bonding experience for mother and baby.

Considering all those benefits — and there are more — is it any wonder that pediatricians and other health officials encourage mothers to breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.

World Breastfeeding Week

We cannot overstate the value of breastfeeding, which is why August 1 – 7 is set aside as World Breastfeeding Week. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages all expectant and new mothers to know the facts about the important health benefits of breastfeeding.

In South Carolina, 73 percent of babies have been breastfed for some period of time, 13 percent are exclusively breastfed at six months, and 14 percent are breastfeeding in some capacity at 12 months. Among all WIC mothers in South Carolina, 24 percent of children under age 1 are being breastfed.

WIC Supports Breastfeeding Moms and Babies

Many times moms and babies need assistance to get the most out of breastfeeding. That’s where DHEC’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program comes in; we have supportive breastfeeding staff, which includes breastfeeding peer counselors, certified lactation counselors and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, ready to help.

WIC provides resources and services such as:

  • Breastfeeding education materials
  • Enhanced breastfeeding food packages
  • Breastfeeding support groups (Circle of Friends)
  • “How to Breastfeed” classes
  • Breast pumps and supplies

One of the best ways to get a good start breastfeeding after giving birth is to have your baby at a Baby-Friendly Hospital, where mothers are given optimum support to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies safely. To view a listing of South Carolina hospitals that have received this designation, please click here.

The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders and employers.

For more general information about breastfeeding, click here. For information about how WIC can help with breastfeeding, please click here.

WIC peer counselors aid, encourage new mothers learning to breastfeed

By Beverly Brockington
WIC Nutrition Manager
DHEC Division of WIC Services

One of the most effective ways for new mothers to learn to breastfeed is through the guidance of someone who has done it and knows the ups and the downs involved in the process.

In the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, peer counselors fill that role. Peer counselors are WIC moms who breastfed their babies and who have been trained to help others. They know the challenges new mothers face and can use their experiences to answer questions, offer comfort and provide encouragement.

Peer counselors’ experience invaluable

The peer counselors are valuable members of the WIC breastfeeding education and support system, which also includes a wide range of clinical staff. This week is World Breastfeeding Week, a good time to highlight unsung champions of breastfeeding such as peer counselors.

When new moms can talk to someone who has endured similar experiences, it’s easier for them to ask difficult questions and share embarrassing moments they wouldn’t otherwise share.

Because WIC peer counselors are mothers from within the community, they are able to bond with new moms and provide much-needed support in an effort to help young mothers have a good experience with breastfeeding. Among other things, peer counselors:

  • Help new mothers make informed choices about how they will feed their babies.
  • Provide tips for helping mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding.
  • Encourage mothers when they reach difficult points during breastfeeding.
  • Help mothers find the best way to fit breastfeeding into their schedules.

Help for mothers seeking to breastfeed

Many new mothers are hesitant or afraid to try breastfeeding for various reasons: Some common barriers include embarrassment, the challenge of returning to work or school, a lack of support, the fear of pain, a lack of confidence, and concern about not making enough milk.

But there are ways to address most concerns surrounding breastfeeding, and peer counseling is one of them. Effective peer counseling helps many mothers have good experiences.

When mothers have a good experience with breastfeeding, it increases the chance of them trying to do it longer, which is beneficial to them and their baby.

Hear why WIC counselors love what they do!

Let’s Talk WIC

By Cassandra Harris

Have you seen our latest ‪‎WIC‬ public service announcement on TV? If not, take a look at it here and find out what WIC has to offer.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

A nutrition program that provides health education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support, and other services free of charge to South Carolina families who qualify, WIC is good food and a whole lot more! 

If you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have a child under the age of 5, you may qualify to receive our WIC services. Learn more about WIC at: http://www.scdhec.gov/WIC.