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Sonoma WIC Wins Prestigious Award

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Sonoma WIC Wins Prestigious Award

By Lucky Narain

Happy National WIC Breastfeeding and Farmers Market Week!

Sonoma WIC is proud to annouce that it has won the top award from the USDA WIC Loving Support Awards of Excellence.  The award program was established to recognize local WIC agencies that have provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities.

The intent is to provide models and motivate other local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants. 

The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) was established to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets.  Women, infants (over 4 months old) and children that have been certified to receive WIC program benefits are eligible to participate in the WIC FMNP.  It’s a win-win situation. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

“World Breastfeeding Week” is an especially pertinent time to honor WIC efforts and highlight breastfeeding in the WIC Program.  We are pleased to announce that the Secretary of Agriculture, Honorable Tom Vilsack, has signed a proclamation declaring August 1-7 2015 “National WIC Breastfeeding Week.”  The proclamation affirms WIC’s role in promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding.

As WIC State and local agencies join to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with professional health organizations, the Secretary’s Proclamation emphasizes the WIC Program’s important breastfeeding promotion and support activities that include empowering mothers to overcome the societal barriers to breastfeeding − workplace, day care, business; enhancing peer counselor programs, collaborating with other Federal agencies, fostering community partnerships, and building key coalitions.

Most WIC participants receive checks or vouchers to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets.  WIC foods include infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish. Soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options were recently added to better meet the nutritional needs of WIC participants.  WIC staff recognizes and promotes breastfeeding as the optimal source of nutrition for infants. For women who do not fully breastfeed, the WIC program provides iron-fortified infant formula.