WIC provides basic nutritious foods to eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as infants and children. These foods are rich in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. These are key nutrients commonly lacking in the diets of the WIC target population.
Participants exchange WIC food instruments at authorized retail grocery stores and pharmacies. In some cases, special formulas are distributed directly to the participant from the WIC local agency.
Foods for Infants (Birth-12 mo.)
The Program strongly encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. It recognizes that breastfeeding is the best method of infant feeding and nurturing. However, bottle-fed infants receive the WIC contract brand of iron-fortified infant formula for the first year of life. Beginning at six months of age, infants may also receive iron-fortified infant cereal and fruit, vegetables, and jar foods high in vitamin C and A.
In some cases, when medical conditions contraindicate use of the WIC contract brand of formula, infants may receive a non-contract brand of formula or a special formula. Before the local WIC agency can issue any formula other than the contract brand, the client must obtain a prescription from a physician stating the formula type and the medical reason and duration for its use.
Foods for Women and Children
Women and children (1-5 years of age) participating in WIC receive food instruments for milk, cheese, eggs, cereals high in iron and fiber, peanut butter or dried or canned beans or peas, fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat bread, tortillas and tofu.
Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies receive canned tuna fish or salmon and increased amount of milk, cheese, dried or canned beans, eggs and fruits and vegetables. In addition, their infants receive infant meats at 6 months old.