6.10.2010

I Wish WIC Saw the Value in Organic

As a single income family, we qualify for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) government program. It has really helped ease the cost of feeding my son, especially since I wasn't able to continue breastfeeding after issues with my Fibromyalgia. Yet, it's also been a source of frustration for me because I feel like WIC doesn't support eating organic, or even understand it.

Yesterday Jacob and I went to our WIC appointment and sat through the "nutrition class" before getting our vouchers. The class is really a joke because all the nutritionist does is open the time up for questions, and only one other girl besides me out of 9 of us had a question. Feeding my baby organic food is important to me, so I ask questions (many of which I'm not really seeking an answer to) in order to bring the topic into the room. I'm surprised though by how little the nutritionists seem to know about organic foods and their value, especially for babies.

The lady agreed that the USDA has strict regulations for anything with an organic label on it, but then said that if you buy multiple ingredient baby foods that it isn't as stringent and it may not even be organic. What is she basing that information on? If you have a mixture of apples and bananas and each is grown organically, how is a pesticide slipping in when they are mixed in a jar, that isn't there when I buy them separately? Sounds to me like a lame effort to discredit the importance of giving your baby organic foods!

Next she made a comment that yogurt products aren't that healthy for babies because of the sugar content, and because it's not that healthy in general. Yogurt is not healthy? When did that memo go out? What about the protein, acidophilus, calcium, and other vitamins? Her example was a Gerber shelf-stable yogurt, which I agree is not healthy, but what about other yogurt? So I mentioned YoBaby products that are organic, made with whole milk, and have active cultures in them. Her response was to feed them occasionally and that their nutritional value is minuscule compared to other foods. Again, I'm wondering where this lady got certified as a nutritionist.

When the topic of juice comes up and I'm the only one in the room not giving my child juice I get weird looks. I've tried giving my son homemade organic juices and he didn't seem interested, so why should I push it? What would he get out of juice that he can't get from eating the fruit directly? Why does that make me a weirdo and no one gives the woman, that says she lets her son has as much juice as he wants, a second thought.

Before my next appointment, I need to create a solid case for organics give it to her in writing, because I'm bothered by the way she is painting the picture to moms that aren't sold on organics already, like I am. It'd be nice too if the "class" actually involved some helpful information like recipes.

Ideally, I want WIC to let me choose to buy organic by providing a dollar amount voucher that can be used toward the brand I choose. Even better if I also got a voucher for actual produce and I could use it to make my own organic baby food! At this point, I'm only using vouchers for baby food purees of fruits and veggies that are not on the dirty dozen list (i.e. mangoes or bananas) and buying the rest organic or making my own.

I'm not asking WIC to make everyone feed their baby organic (but that would be wonderful), I would like them to get their facts straight, and present more information to moms so they can choose. I want them to support it, rather than completely discredit it!

6 comments:

  1. I don't know much about organic either, but you'd think WIC (supposed to give nutritional info to parents, right?) would have some clue! Amazing. Good luck on sharing with this teacher!

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  2. I am your 100th follower. Thanks for entering my giveaways :)

    I agree you should be able to feed your children healthy choices and not be limited!

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  3. This is why we no longer get WIC. We still qualify and could use the groceries but we have chosen to buy organic produce and drink almond milk, neither of which will WIC allow us to buy. My son is highly allergic to cow's milk and eggs but their ONLY alternative was Pediasure. His pediatrician and allergist recommended and even wrote a letter to WIC asking them to provide him with rice or almond milk (he was 2.5 so no longer needed whole milk). The WIC nutritionist told me "those don't have any nutritional value so we can't do that." She apparently went to the same college as your anti yogurt lady.

    After my 6th trip to the food bank to drop off the unused gallons of milk and jars of baby food (which my youngest son would never eat), I decided my time would be better spend in many other ways. It's sad that this is how our government helps those who are not rich.

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  4. You bring up an excellent argument an way to go feeding your baby organic! I'm not 100% organic w/ my son,but does get it.I'm more limiting junk/sugar foods for him.He has no clue a Mickey D's symbol looks like,cause he rarely gets it and he's gonna be 3.I've done WIC and it sure helped,but you can't get organic even if wanted to.I just don't see why not though.However any mom choose to feed their baby/toddler WIC should have the choice w/ organic foods too.Not everyone knows about organic food,but seems odd nuturist doesn't even know.Even if they don't agree w/ organic living they should know/provide to people who do live organic way.

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  5. Thank you for the comments! That's exactly how I feel, that they should give you information so you can make informed decisions about your family's nutrition. Organic living is completely overlooked which I don't understand consider that there is significant data to support the benefits and a large percentage of the population is choosing to be organic.

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