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!