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Today's Family Magazine

WIC program helps families with nutrition and more

The Lake County General Health District offers an essential service for young mothers who need nutritional assistance, as well as personal support. The WIC program—which stands for Women, Infants, Children—is available to pregnant women with low to moderate incomes and includes women who have recently delivered, breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5.  The program, which has been available to Ohio families for more than 40 years, provides nutritious foods to supplement a family’s diet, along with information on healthy eating, breastfeeding, and aid to health care. 

“The mothers have access to dietitians who can provide knowledge about nutrition and answer any questions the mother may have,” explains Cori Kitaura, WIC’s program manager.  “Each food package is decided by a staff dietitian and contains individually selected items based on allergies and other necessary modifications.”  Types of foods provided are cereals, whole grains like bread and tortillas, eggs, milk (soy milk, etc.), beans, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables.

The WIC program promotes the benefits of breastfeeding and offers a breastfeeding peer service, which provides support to expectant mothers who are considering breastfeeding, as well as to mothers who are currently breastfeeding an infant.  A “peer helper,” a fellow mom with breastfeeding experience, is available to discuss any concerns and to help them with the process.  “The peer helpers talk to these moms as an understanding friend and serve as their personal coach, rather than as an authority figure, such as a doctor.  The peer moms are available through a 24-hour breastfeeding line, which is a great service,” Kitaura says.

Women are eligible for the WIC program as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed, and will need to meet the income eligibility.  “The first thing a new mom should do,” advises Kitaura, “is just call one of the offices and she will be directed to the right place.  Our clerical staff will talk her through the process and ask a few preliminary questions so they have that information upon making their appointment. They then meet with a dietitian and go through the assessment process.

A formula-feeding mother can remain on the program for six months, and if a mother is exclusively breastfeeding, she can stay on it for a year.

“We’re always trying to improve the program and make it more efficient for mothers,” adds Kitaura.  “We want to make sure moms are aware of the program so we can continue to be of service to these families.”

Lake and Geauga WIC Locations
Painesville WIC
1 Victoria Square, Suite 215
(440) 350-2552

Madison WIC
33 East Main Street
(440) 428-2003

Willoughby WIC
37111 Euclid Avenue
(440) 269-8790

Huntsburg WIC
12406 Madison Road
(440) 636-5331