Fueling healthy lives: Idaho WIC supports moms and children with nutritious food choices

August 1, 2023
Leah Sallas, Division of Public Health

Idaho WIC, also known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a federally funded initiative designed to promote healthy choices for pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to their fifth birthdays.

It’s important to distinguish Idaho WIC from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps, as they are separate programs. However, it’s possible to be eligible for and receive benefits from both programs. Individuals with SNAP or Medicaid may also qualify for WIC benefits.

The primary focus of WIC is to assist families by providing various essential services, including WIC funds to purchase healthy foods from local grocery stores, nutrition education, assistance in finding healthcare and other community services, as well as breastfeeding information and support.

Regarding breastfeeding services, Idaho WIC aims to maintain its position as one of the leading states in terms of breastfeeding rates. WIC offers peer counseling, where experienced counselors provide support and encouragement to pregnant women and new mothers in their breastfeeding journeys.

Additionally, WIC provides access to professional breastfeeding support through clinic consultations and phone discussions with trained breastfeeding professionals, including certified lactation consultants, lactation counselors/educators, and registered dietitians.

Breastfeeding women benefit from the deluxe WIC food package, which includes more food options and variety. WIC may also provide breastfeeding equipment, such as breast pumps and other supplies, to assist women in providing breast milk for their babies.

Eligibility for WIC is subject to specific requirements. You must:

  • Be a resident of Idaho,
  • Meet income guidelines, and
  • Fall into certain categories like being pregnant, breastfeeding, having a baby in the last six months, or being parents, guardians, or foster parents of infants and children up to their fifth birthdays.

Those interested in accessing WIC services can contact their local WIC clinic for more information about available breastfeeding services and to determine eligibility criteria.

More details and assistance:

Leah Sallas is the Idaho WIC program director. She has worked for the department since 2015.

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