What the Heck is WIC?

WIC-Women, Infants, and Children

You may have heard of WIC here and there, but maybe you haven’t quite understood what exactly is is and who it is for. As WIC celebrates it’s 40th year of supporting healthy families, we would like to explain a little bit more about this amazing program.

WIC–Which stands for Women, Infants, and Children–started up in 1974 as a federally funded supplemental food program aimed at improving the health of pregnant mothers, infants and children in response to growing concern over malnutrition among many mothers and young children in need of support. And let’s face it, at some point, many different families may find themselves in a position where they just need a little help.

Today, WIC is still a strong support system for Women, Infants, and Children, here to take some financial pressure off of families, making sure that pregnant women and children, up to five years old, are able to eat well, stay healthy, and understand all of the community resources that can be of use to them. Our goal is to provide food and tips to help your family be healthy, successful, and strong today, and for a lifetime.

 

What does WIC Provide?

Monthly WIC visits are like checking in with your nutritional support system, with people who really care about your family’s health. Visits may include:

 

Free Food

Each client may receive checks/vouchers that can be used to buy certain healthy foods, including: milk, cheese, fresh fruits, vegetables, cereal, juice, whole grains, eggs, peanut butter, and beans. Babies are eligible for baby food fruits and vegetables, baby cereal, and formula. Some checks can also be used for Farmer’s Markets in the summer months.

 

Breastfeeding Support

Many mothers struggle with breastfeeding, and WIC has lactation counselors on staff to coach parents through the process. Our breastfeeding support includes a breastfeeding hotline that allows parents to call any time day or night, back-to-work breast pump coaching, and more.

 

Free Health Screenings

Although our screenings do not replace regular check-ups from primary care providers, WIC does have registered dieticians, nutrition technicians, and certified lactation counselors on staff to check an infant or child’s weight and measurements, monitor healthy growth, check iron levels, and make referrals to other doctors or healthcare specialists as needed.

 

Nutrition Advice

We understand the struggles of putting a healthy meal on the table each day. Our nutrition technicians can recommend fast and easy recipes and tips for healthy eating on a budget. We’ll help you use the healthy foods that you can buy through WIC and discover easy ways to make healthy living a priority for you and your family.

 

Healthy & Easy Recipes

Our nutrition technicians have some great ideas for healthy recipes, and WIC’s newsletters often have recipes and money-saving tips.

 

Is WIC for Me?

WIC is for pregnant women and children (up to age 5) in all kinds of families. Although you do have to be eligible (see requirements below), we are here to support two-parent families, single parents, teen parents, foster parents, grandparents and relatives with custody, and those with kinship care.

 

Eligibility Requirements

• Women must have recently delivered a baby or must currently be pregnant or breastfeeding

• Infants and children under five years old also qualify to apply

• Families and individuals must meet income criteria.

 

Check out specific income guidelines here.

For a pre-screening tool, click here.

 

Contact Information

Gallatin & Madison County (Including Bozeman, Belgrade, West Yellowstone, MSU, as well as Madison County):

215 W Mendenhall, in Bozeman, on the north side of the Gallatin City-County Health Department building.

(406) 582-3115, wic@gallatin.mt.gov

 

Belgrade: 21000 Frontage Road in the I Park, (406) 582-3115

 

Park County: 112 W. Lewis  in Livingston (corner of Main and Lewis), open every other Monday, (406) 539-3093 or (406) 582-3115