I’ve decided I am boycotting WIC (Women Infants and Children). For those who do not know, WIC is a government program that gives vouchers for specific foods to low income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, babies, and children.
As you know, I am poor. I have been counting the days until Curtis graduates and I’m not poor anymore (December! Yay!), but until then I need a way to feed my family. Therefore, we are on food stamps and WIC. As of right today, I’ve decided to boycott the latter. Here are my reasons.
1. The number one reason I’ve decides to boycott WIC is concerning my last visits. During my consultation, they weighed and measured Peanut. She is right in the middle on all of the scales of percentiles–which she has been since day one–so all is good. After going through all this info, the WIC employee says “Wow, she’s doing so well for being only breastfed.”
Are you kidding me?!? WIC, a program that claims to support breastfeeding and has even recently decided to give more foods to breastfeeding moms and babies (for problems with that, see Reason 2) is telling me my daughter is doing well for being exclusively breastfed? As if they expect her to be deficient?
Of course, the woman who was obviously embarrassed and realized she misspoke immediately retracted the statement by saying something along the lines of Imeanyouneverknowwithbreastfedbabiesbecauseyoucan’ttellhowmuchthey’regettingandthemommighthavealowsupply. But the damage was done (and don’t even get me started on the problem with the second statement.)
2. WIC has decided to give more foods to moms and babies who breastfeed. Yay! They’ve also decided to give baby food to babies instead of just rice cereal. Yay (for other moms who aren’t doing baby-led weaning)! So get this brilliant idea, babies who are breastfed only not only get fruit and vegetable baby food (like formula fed babies do), they get meat baby food too. Yay?
They tried to play it off as this awesome benefit for my baby since she’s breastfed, but I saw right through it. You think my baby is iron deficient. Yes, this happens RARELY to breastfed babies. Yes, formula fed babies need not worry because their yummy iron-fortified formula. But seriously?
Just because I’m breastfeeding means my baby is iron deficient. Just like it means my baby is vitamin C deficient. Gah! Anger noises!!! Ayubtezhfegudvmi!!!!!!!!!1
3. Now we move on to the lactivist reason. Before my recent visit, I had been feeling iffy about staying on WIC out of principle. WIC gives free formula to low income moms + breastfeeding is hard at first = why not just give up and formula feed? I mean, all of those ads say that so-and-so’s formula is the closest to breast milk, implying it’s just as good as breast milk. GAH MORE ANGRY NOISES!!!!
I understand that women were feeding their babies powdered milk and that’s why WIC was created, but if it’s FREE isn’t that a bit too easy? Charge something. Even if it’s one dollar per can, at least it won’t be free. Or as _breastfeeding said on Twitter, charge the same price as powdered milk.
4. Last, but not least, going into WIC makes me feel sad. Every time I go in and see all of those babies being formula fed (I’m always the only breastfeeding mom) I get heavy in my chest. You know that feeling when you are about to cry? I feel so sad for all of those babies who will have more problems–both emotionally and physically–through childhood and into adulthood than my Peanut. I wish I could change things for them. It really puts an unneeded stress on me.
I don’t think this is the right option for everyone. I have means of providing this food for my family without WIC (through budgeting, family help, and food stamps). Though WIC would definitely help my situation, I am willing to go through a little more hardship to stand up for something I believe in. I plan on going in and returning my packet and explaining why I don’t want to receive their benefits anymore. I’ll let you know how that goes.