Providing a child a healthy diet through pregnancy and into childhood is important to promote adequate weight gain/loss and/or adequate growth and development. For starters, women need a variety of nutrients such as, folic acid, iron, protein, calcium, fiber, and numerous other vitamins and minerals to help ensure positive birth outcomes, to help recover from childbirth, to help promote an adequate milk supply for breastfeeding, and to achieve a healthy weight. Breastfed infants are getting the best nutritional start in life since breastmilk is produced specifically to meet the nutritional needs of infants. Many women decide to breastfeed due to the additional health and development benefits it provides. However, those who cannot or choose not to breastfeed can still provide their infant the adequate nutrition with formula. As children grow and develop, their nutritional needs change so it is essential they are offered a variety of healthy foods through regular meals and snack times to help them get the nutrients they need.

Sometimes it is difficult for women to provide themselves and their children with nutritional support but, fortunately there is The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education including breastfeeding promotion and support, referrals, and access to health and social services, at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. Income eligibility is based on federal gross poverty guidelines and if you currently receive Kinship Care, W-2, FoodShare, BadgerCare, or Medicaid. Many working families, students, and military families qualify.

At WIC appointments, a WIC nutritionist will review health history, assess for adequate weight gain/loss, adequate growth and development and discuss nutritional needs. Participants will receive nutrition information, counseling on healthy eating and receive healthy foods for their family such as: eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grain bread, rolls, tortillas, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, cereals, fresh/frozen/canned fruits and vegetables, 100% fruit juice, peanut butter, dried or canned beans and peas, canned tuna or Salmon, as well as infant foods and formula. These foods provide many of the needed nutrients for WIC participants to help meet their nutritional needs. 

Research has shown the WIC Program successfully helps to reduce premature births, birth defects, low birth weight infants and long-term medical expenses; help to increase the incidence and duration of breastfeeding; improves infant feeding practices; decreases hunger; promotes good growth and development in infancy through 5 years of age; and improves iron levels.  In addition, the WIC Program has been a cornerstone in connecting participants with local food, economic, and other resources available in the county to help promote overall health and wellbeing. One example is through the local farmers’ markets that are open from June through September. Families simply ask the WIC staff for vouchers to the farmers’ market and are given the money to purchase locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

In August of 2017, the Burnett County WIC Program through the Department of Health and Human Services moved from the Government Center in Siren to a new location. The program is now conveniently located in The Community Resource and Learning Center which is located at 24467 State Road 35 70, Siren, WI 54872 (next to Ben Franklin).      

Call the Burnett County WIC Program at 715-349-7600 Ext. 1952 to see if you and/or your family members qualify. When you call for an appointment, your information will be reviewed, the staff will let you know if you qualify and tell you what to bring to your appointment. WIC works, and is here for you! 

Sarah Miller, RD, CD, CLC, CLS, Burnett County DHHS- Interim Health Officer, WIC Director and Public Health Dietitian

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