New Research: Caretakers Learn “Responsive Bottle-Feeding” Skills at WIC to Prevent Overfeeding Infants

new study by Heluna Health’s PHFE WIC research and evaluation team and colleagues at the Center for Health Research, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo published in Pediatric Obesity found that promotion of responsive bottle-feeding is an effective way to support WIC parents and reduce the risk of overfeeding and excess weight gain.

Many parents think that crying is always a sign of hunger, and are quick to use feeding to soothing a fussy baby. For this reason, fussier babies tend to be at a higher risk for over-feeding. Parents enrolled in the WIC program receive education that helps prevent this. During pregnancy, WIC participants learn about baby behavior, sleeping patterns, hunger and fullness cues, non-hunger cues, and soothing techniques so they can recognize the difference between signs of over-stimulation, tiredness, and hunger once their baby is born. WIC also teaches parents to feed their babies when they show the earliest signs of hunger, and be responsive to signs of satiation or fullness. This empowers parents to be responsive to their baby’s needs and reduces the risk of over-feeding.

Access the research article via Wiley Online Library here: Strategies to promote responsive bottle-feeding in WIC predict less frequent use of food to soothe and healthier weight status for infants with negative temperaments.

Learn more about WIC services, and access WIC’s educational resources for feeding infants and children.

Flexible WIC Appointments for Busy Families

WIC is more convenient than ever. The beginning of the pandemic sparked a series of changes in WIC services that have helped make the program safer and easier to access. Busy families can choose the appointment method that works best for them, connect with nutrition counselors, and quickly receive healthy foods.

Sign up for WIC today

If you are pregnant or have a child under age 5, please apply for WIC onlineWe will contact you to confirm your eligibility and complete your enrollment. Enrollments can be completed entirely by video or phone. You will receive your WIC benefits by mail within a few days if you qualify. You can also schedule an in-person appointment at a WIC office near you to receive your food benefits the same day if you qualify.

Attend appointments at home or at a WIC office near you

Many WIC appointments can be completed by video, phone, in-person, or online.

Throughout your pregnancy and your baby’s first year, you will have appointments with a WIC counselor every 1-3 months. After your baby turns 1, we will reassess their eligibility every year. If your family continues to qualify for WIC, you will have a minimum of four WIC appointments per year. Some appointments will be with a WIC counselor, and some will be classes.

Appointments with WIC counselors are by video, phone, or in-person. Class appointments are online or on Zoom. Let your WIC counselor know at your next contact if you have a preferred appointment method!

If you missed your appointment or need to reschedule, text 91997.

Read more about WIC appointment types

New! Connect with your WIC counselor from anywhere by video. We will text you the link to join the video call on the day of your appointment. Simply click the link at the time of your appointment.

Phone appointments are still available. If you have a phone appointment, you will receive a text or call the day before your appointment with the information you will need. Please expect a call in the morning before 12 PM or afternoon before 5 PM on your appointment day.

Limited in-person appointments may be available at a WIC office near you. In-person services are by appointment time only. Please arrive a few minutes before your appointment and call the phone number on the door to complete COVID-19 screening questions before entering.

Complete your class appointment on wichealth.org at your convenience. For online class appointments, go to wichealth.org on or near your appointment date to take one or more lessons. If it is your first time visiting wichealth.org, please sign up. If you are a returning user, log in to complete a lesson. We will text you when your benefits have been added to your card and your next appointment is scheduled.

Connect with other parents through our 30-minute group classes on Zoom. Two group classes are available each weekday. Find the class time that works best for you and join from home or on the go. Whether you have a class appointment or not, we would love to see you in class!

Check your WIC Benefits on the WIC App

Your WIC benefits may have already been added to your card this month. Check your WIC food balance on the WIC app. Remember to shop for ALL of your foods before your benefit end date!

If you do not see benefits on your WIC food balance, or if you need to make a change, text 91997.

Other Resources

Congress Must Act by March 11 to Extend WIC Benefit Bump

Update as of March 15, 2022: Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement to extend funding for the WIC benefit bump through September 2022! Read more.

The “WIC benefit bump” which increased the monthly fruit and vegetables benefit for children by about $15 per month, and adults by $30+ per month, remains in place until March 31, 2022. Congress announced a short-term funding extension in February 2022, pushing the Continuing Resolution deadline to March 11, 2022. WIC fruit and vegetable benefits will revert back to $9-11 per month on April 1, unless Congress acts quickly to pass an omnibus.

The “WIC benefit bump” which increased the monthly fruit and vegetables benefit for children by about $15 per month, and adults by $30+ per month, remains in place until March 31, 2022. Congress announced a short-term funding extension in February 2022, pushing the Continuing Resolution deadline to March 11, 2022. WIC fruit and vegetable benefits will revert back to $9-11 per month on April 1, unless Congress acts quickly to pass an omnibus.

Your voice makes a difference to ensure that the WIC benefit bump is extended through September 2022 and beyond. Tell Congress to #ExtendTheWICBump for the millions of families that depend on WIC before the March 11 deadline.

Tell Congress to

#ExtendtheWICBump

PHFE WIC’s Obama WIC office in Los Angeles hosted Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association, and local anti-hunger advocates on February 24 to call attention to the urgent need for the extension of the WIC benefit bump. Speakers and supporters were in attendance from Hunger Action Los Angeles-HALA, Black Infant Health, The Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Initiative, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEELA), local grocers, farmers markets.

Anti-hunger advocates from WIC, HALA, Black Infant Health, SEELA, AAIMM, and local grocers and farmers markets say “Extend the Bump!”

“When the American Rescue Plan Act was introduced, WIC got a dramatic boost in its cash value benefit. Overnight, [WIC] families realized the amazing array of fruits and vegetables they could now afford to buy” said Kiran Saluja, Executive Director of PHFE WIC, a program of Heluna Health. The increased benefit led to an immediate increase in the purchasing and consumption of vegetables and fruit by WIC participants. Research from the National WIC Association and the National Policy Institute showed that children’s daily fruit and vegetable consumption immediately increased by 1/4 cup when their families received the increased WIC benefit amount. Additionally, 14% of WIC participants surveyed said they would be unlikely to continue participating in WIC if the food benefit levels were to decrease.

We have not kept pace with inflation. If we had, the WIC benefit would be about $100 per month.

– Brian Dittmeier, National WIC Association

93% of WIC participants surveyed said that $9 per month is insufficient.

With food costs rising in 2022, the purchasing power of $9 is shrinking.

#ExtendtheBump Press Conference Highlights

WIC Participant Testimonials

The increase to WIC benefits have impacted millions of families lives nationwide. Share your story on social media using the Hashtag #ExtendtheWICBump!