Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 5 Reasons WIC Doesn't Work

WIC stands for Women, Infants & Children. It is a program designed to help low and no income mothers with feeding their babies and children under the age of 5 healthy choices. Sounds great on the surface. So why don't more women sign up for it? Why do so many women drop out of WIC?

5. EBT cards are easier - WIC is done be printing checks that may only be spent for the allotted amounts on the specified products. If you don't purchase the minimum or the right brand the check is no good. Each check is run separately at the register but the EBT card is one swipe.

4. EBT is more discreet - In this economy people who normally are working a high paying job are finding themselves on welfare. They are embarrassed and would like it if the people in their neighborhood did not know they were using public assistance. EBT is like any other debit card. WIC is painfully obvious. Though you are supposed to report it, the clerks at the stores treat you worse. When you need help finding something you aren't worth the time. People in line behind you huff and puff at you. You have these large pink and blue checks that everyone can see.

3. Shopping takes twice as long - With WIC you have to buy a specified amount of products. For example, if the check says "32 ozs of Cheerios" you can't buy 36 ozs, even if the only sizes are 18oz boxes. So you need 32 ozs but wind up with 18 because you can't afford to go over. Name brands are easy to find. The generic will have you pacing at least twice down an isle trying to find the items in the amounts that qualify for your check. With EBT, you can grab what's on your list and go.

2. Formula discrimination - WIC believes that formula is not good for babies unless there is a problem with breastfeeding. They will determine what is a problem. The moment you are no longer breastfeeding you are denied fruits, vegetables, and tuna. You are only given half of the formula your baby needs to survive to discourage formula feeding and encourage breastfeeding. You are then scheduled an unwanted visit with a lactation consultant who will not listen to what you tell her. You can say repeatedly that your baby is latching, that you are feeding regularly but that you need formula until your milk comes in. They won't listen. They will do all they can to force breastfeeding on you thus turning you against breastfeeding and WIC. Don't even bother to ask for a breast pump when you return to work. You will be told that you can handle breastfeeding if you do it right.

1. Double duty - You already have to take your baby to the pediatrician for regularly scheduled well visits. Your pediatrician has no need for blood tests unless your baby is showing symptoms that need further investigation. WIC demands blood work every 3 to 6 months. They also demand you bring your baby in to be weighed and measured. It's like having two pediatrician visits.

Moms everywhere truly need a program like WIC. However, the way WIC is designed it does more harm than good for many women. If you choose WIC, choose it with the idea that it supplements what you can already do on your own. Remember to go to the grocery store during the wee hours when all of the other WIC participants will be there. You won't have to contend with the dirty looks. Know that if you choose formula you will still need your EBT benefits to cover the difference. If you're still frustrated, you aren't alone.

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