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Women, infants and children (wic)

COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR WIC FAMILIES

The safety and health of your family is WIC's utmost priority during the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). To protect all families and staff, your local WIC offices may be offering services by phone or online until further notice.

Please call your WIC office ahead of your appointment to see if it is open.

What if my WIC office is closed?

Families with a California WIC Card, your WIC benefits can be added to your card remotely. WIC staff may call or text you to confirm information about your account. Families who do NOT have a California WIC Card, WIC staff may mail out your card as soon as possible. Please check in by telephone or follow your WIC office’s website or social media for updates.

What if I can't contact my local WIC office?

Please contact the CDPH WIC Division State Headquarters:

     Email: WIC@cdph.ca.gov

     Call toll free: (800) 852-5770

How can I get WIC if I lost my job from COVID-19?

If you or someone you know has been financially affected by recent events and are pregnant, just had a baby or have children under the age of five, WIC is accepting applications for new families and is here to help provide healthy foods and other resources. Eligible families, dads, grandparents and foster parents caring for eligible children should contact their local WIC office for more information.

You can find your local WIC office here: WIC Clinic Search

Check to see if you may be eligible for WIC

What if WIC foods are out of stock at my grocery store?

If your local WIC authorized grocer does not have WIC food items in stock, please refer to the links below to find other WIC authorized grocers:

If you have a California WIC Card, you can also use the California WIC app to search for WIC grocer locations.

New WIC Food Choices Available During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The best way to find newly-authorized WIC foods is by scanning barcodes using the WIC App. New items are added daily so please check it regularly. Download the free California WIC app at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

CDPH/WIC wants to make sure you can find the foods you need for you and your family. If the foods in your Shopping Guide or in your Food Balance section of the WIC App are out of stock, new package sizes and types of eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cereal, bread, baby food, beans and other food categories are available for you to buy now.

Products currently listed in the Shopping Guide (PDF) will continue to be authorized. For details of the new WIC food choices, please see the New WIC Food Choices During the COVID-19 Pandemic webpage.

How do I obtain therapeutic formula?

If your child receives therapeutic formula and you are unable to get it from your local WIC office, please call (800) 852-5770.

You may also email requests to formula@cdph.ca.gov.

Please send a copy of your Pediatric Referral Form to formula@cdph.ca.gov.

Important Facts About Formula

Formula may be hard to find due to COVID-19

Many stores have low supplies of infant formula because people are over-buying or stockpiling formula. The amount of formula being produced remains the same. There is not a manufacturing problem.

Tips for finding WIC authorized formula

  • Call before you shop to ask if the store has the formula you need.
  • Call your WIC office and ask for help locating a store with a supply.
  • Call your doctor's office and ask if they have any samples from the formula company.
  • Call 211 to get the names of food banks in your area.
  • Ask friends and family if they can order a small supply of formula online and have it sent directly to you. You cannot use WIC benefits online, but a small amount could help until you find the formula in the store.

Are formula companies sending free formula when you call the 800 number on the can?

No. This is a false rumor that has been spread online. Enfamil has responded to the false rumor with this statement:

Contrary to rumors in some online social networks, we are not distributing free cases of formula. We are instead focused on ensuring equitable availability for every baby.

Enfamil store locator

Why making homemade formula is dangerous

 From the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  •  Recipes for homemade formulas on the internet are not safe and do not meet your baby's nutritional needs.
  • All infant formulas sold in the U.S. meet strict rules about ingredients.
  • Homemade formula mixtures may not have enough iron and vitamins. They could also have too much of certain nutrients that your baby's kidneys cannot handle.
  • Homemade formula could get contaminated with germs which could lead to infection.
  • The first year of life is a key time for your baby's body and brain to grow. Your baby could suffer long-term harm if they do not get the right blend of nutrition. Even a short period of poor nutrition can be harmful.

Do not add extra water to your baby's formula

Do not try to make more formula by adding extra water. Always follow the formula label instructions or those given to you by your baby's doctor. Adding extra water to formula is dangerous and can lead to very serious health problems. Your baby may not get all the nutrients in the right amounts.

There are no safe alternative milks to replace formula

 It is not safe to use regular cow's milk or other types of non-dairy milk to replace formula before your baby's first birthday. None of these alternatives have the right amounts of very important nutrients including protein, iron, and vitamins. Do not use any of the following in place of formula for your baby:

  • Regular cow's milk
  • Toddler milks
  • Goat's milk
  • Plant-based milk substitutes such as soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk
  • Formulas sold online that are imported from other countries

 

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