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Families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) can now use their benefits to a much wider variety of infant formula brands and types , helping them access formula available in stores during national shortages when Gerber products are not available. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has temporarily made 55 additional formula products available to WIC recipients today as part of its efforts to support families during the shortage. This is in addition to the eight options added last week for different sizes and types of Gerber products.
“Giving these families more flexibility in the brand of infant formula they purchase is the right thing to do during this lean period,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
NCDHHS partnered with the US Department of Agriculture and Nestlé, which makes Gerber infant formula, to provide these options to WIC families during shortages when Gerber formulas are not available. North Carolina has a contract with Gerber to provide standard types of infant formula to WIC recipients.
“We are taking every step possible to ensure that families participating in WIC have the flexibility they need at the shelf to obtain infant formula,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “We will continue to work with our local and federal partners to do everything we can to ensure safe and nutritious options for babies and families.”
Starting today, families can temporarily purchase these additional brands and sizes of standard formula with their WIC benefits. Families do not need to take any action to access these temporarily expanded WIC benefits. Families can see the new options in the Bnft® app and can scan products in the app to check coverage. When redeeming the new sizes, any 28 oz. or less will count as one can. Any can over 28 oz. will count as two cans.
These new product options for WIC recipients follow last week’s temporary addition of two new Gerber formula products, as well as more Gerber formula sizes. A full list of product options is available to help families plan their purchases.
NCDHHS continues to update resources and guidance during formula shortages. The latest resources are available at www.ncdhhs.gov/formula . For families struggling to find the formula they need, NCDHHS has four important reminders:
- Remember that most families have multiple safe options for their babies, even if their regular formula is not available. If you can’t find formula or can’t find your baby’s typical formula, work with your child’s healthcare provider to determine the best feeding plan.
- DO NOT dilute your baby’s formula to stretch it, it can be extremely dangerous for your baby to do so.
- DO NOT make homemade formula. A baby’s nutritional needs are very specific, and homemade formula may contain too much or too little of certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron.
- DO NOT buy formula from online auctions, unknown persons or unknown sources. Storage and shipping conditions may affect the safety of the formula.
Other actions NCDHHS is taking to support families:
- Monitor the statewide supply of formula and keep our partner organizations updated.
- Use available USDA waivers to help retailers continue to serve families enrolled in WIC during shortages and help families return or exchange formulas included in the recall.
- Provide guidance to local WIC agencies and health care providers to make it easier for health care providers to provide WIC-enrolled families with multiple options of formula types and sizes in a single prescription to meet the specialized formula needs of their families. sons.
- Sharing additional breastfeeding resources for those who are considering breastfeeding or using any type of breast milk as part of infant feeding plans.
The WIC program serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and lactating women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, including resources and support for lactation. , and referrals to health services. More than half of babies across the country participate in WIC.