WIC Client Story

Single mother receives nutrition advice, food assistance and breastfeeding support

Twenty-year-old Tiara Greenwood wants her 1-year-old son, Silas Jones, to be happy and healthy and that’s why she participates in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program at the Health Department.

The program offers one-on-one advice about proper nutrition and exercise, and she receives a check to buy healthy foods at the grocery store. As a single mom, she said the financial assistance for food is a huge relief. “I’m on a fixed budget, so every dollar makes a difference,” she said.

Tiara said she began participating in WIC when she was about three months pregnant. During her WIC appointments, nutritionists emphasized the importance of eating a healthy diet during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of having a premature or low-birth weight baby. Tiara said she had trouble gaining weight during pregnancy so they offered tips like eating peanut butter and adding extra oil and vinegar on a sandwich. She’s also lactose intolerant so they recommended foods she could eat. They also provided information about the importance of breastfeeding and connected her with Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Cary Allen, who was available to answer questions in person or by phone. Tiara recalled being afraid to use a breast pump. She wasn’t sure when to pump or how much to pump. She also had trouble getting Silas to use a bottle. Cary helped her work through the issues, which allowed Tiara to return to work. Unable to afford a breast pump, the Health Department also was able to give her one because she met WIC criteria.

Tiara also began attending Breast Is Best Social, or B.I.B.S., a support group for Douglas County women who are breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding. “It’s a great social network,” Tiara said.

During a WIC appointment in December when Silas was about to turn 1, he was weighed and measured and his iron levels were checked through a blood test. WIC Nutritionist Trish Unruh said the test revealed Silas had an iron deficiency, which is concerning because iron plays an important role in muscle function, energy levels and brain development. Unruh recommended high-iron foods like beans, eggs and iron-fortified cereals. She said a WIC nutritionist would re-check his iron levels during his next WIC appointment in three months. “Trish took time and answered all of my questions. She was very reassuring,” Tiara said.
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Tiara Greenwood began participating in the Health Department's Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program when she was three months pregnant with Silas Jones, who is now 1.