Under a new contract, WIC will offer the Similac and Isomil brands instead of Nestlé's Gerber Good Start infant formula brands. The switchover will start Oct. 1 and be completed by Nov. 1. Special infant formula authorized by WIC will still be provided with prescriptions from physicians, certified nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
"While we actively support breastfeeding because of its nutritional, immunological and psychological benefits to both infant and mother, whenever a mother decides not to breastfeed or to breastfeed partially, our WIC program will provide iron-fortified infant formula," county Health Director Dr. Karen Hacker said.
WIC is a federally funded program for medically and income-eligible pregnant women, postpartum mothers, breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of 5.
The income limits are an annual gross of $20,665 for a family of one; $27,991 for two; $35,317 for three; $42,643 for four; $49,969 for five; $57,295 for six; $64,621 for seven; and $71,947 for eight. Add $7,326 for each additional member beyond eight. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant.
WIC families receive nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and food vouchers redeemable at participating grocery stores for infant formula; infant cereal; milk; eggs; cheese; juice; cereal; peanut butter; whole grains, including bread, tortillas, oatmeal and rice; soy milk; tofu; jarred baby foods; dry or canned beans; canned tuna, sardines and pink salmon; and fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.
Additional vouchers are available during the summer to purchase fresh Pennsylvania-grown produce at participating Farmers Markets and Farm Stands.
For more information about WIC and how to apply for benefits, call the Allegheny County Health Department WIC Program at 412-350-5801. If this number is a toll call or if you live outside of Allegheny County, call the statewide toll-free number—800-WIC-WINS (800-942-9467).