WIC Improves Incentives for Breastfeeding Moms

For Immediate Release: Oct. 5, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Vermont women who exclusively breastfeed their babies are eligible for the largest supplemental food benefit offered by the Department of Health WIC program.

WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, provides fully breastfeeding mothers with $10 a month to spend on fruits and vegetables as part of a monthly benefit that includes whole grain cereals and bread, fruit juice, non-fat or skim milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, canned beans and tuna.

"Breastfeeding twins is incredibly challenging and has been a real sacrifice of my time and energy,” said a WIC recipient from Johnson, Vt.  “After two months of solely breastfeeding, I was trying to decide whether or not to supplement.  The WIC program incentive proved to be an extra boost of encouragement to keep going."

WIC also provides prenatal breastfeeding education, postpartum breastfeeding support and breast pumps for mothers who are returning to work or school full time.

Breast milk is good for a baby’s developing brain and the early feedings provide a healthy start, both physically and emotionally for infants. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

“Breastmilk for infants is priceless,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “Exclusive breastfeeding has a strong protective effect against lower respiratory tract infections, middle ear infections, eczema and childhood obesity. WIC mothers understand that breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby, and we want to encourage their sound decision-making every step of the way.”

For more information about WIC, please visit http://www.healthvermont.gov/wic

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