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Over half of the newborns in the United States are part of the WIC program which is a public assistance program which offers nutrition support for new moms and their children. You must meet several requirements in order to become eligible but once you do, you’ll benefit from plenty of help.
Some of the best formulas included on WIC’s list are produced by one of the following popular brands: Similac, Gerber, andEnfamil, due to these manufacturers’ wide variety of products. Below, you will find a few words regarding what WIC is and the way it works as well as 6 of the most trusted infant formulas that can be found on the program’s list.
- 1 What Is WIC?
- 2 The Best WIC Formula – 6 Choices Included in the WIC Approved Formula List
- 3 1. Similac Advance
- 4 2. Nutramigen with Enflora LGG
- 5 3. Enfamil EnfaCare
- 6 4. Gerber Extensive
- 7 5. Similac NeoSure
- 8 6. Similac Total Comfort
- 9 Best WIC Formula Alternatives – Bottom Line
What Is WIC?
WIC stands for “women, infants, and children.” It’s a special supplemental nutrition program backed by federal assistance and its main purpose is helping and supporting low-income pregnant women, babies and toddlers, and breastfeeding women by providing them healthcare and nutrition services. This food and nutrition program offers several different types of services:
- General services – assistance in four different areas: formulas, healthcare, social services, supplemental food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support;
- Anemia screening and nutrition education – healthy eating, proper breastfeeding, well-balanced infant feeding tips, etc.;
- Provided products – milk, whole wheat bread, healthy juice, cereals, veggies and fruits, eggs, cheese, fish, peanut butter, soy milk, tofu, etc.
Eligibility & How It Works
To receive the benefits they offer, you need to first check if you’re eligible or not. Eligibility requires you to check certain conditions in four categories:
- The right group of beneficiaries – women (pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum), kids (infants – from birth until their first birthday, toddlers and children up to 5 years old);
- Income – the applicant’s gross income should be under 185% of the poverty income guidelines established by the authorities;
- Residential – you must be a resident of the area or state in which you apply for WIC assistance;
- Nutrition risk – if your infant has a nutritional risk verified by a qualified health expert, you might be eligible to receive WIC support. The assessment will be based on weight, height, growth, diet, health history, and hemoglobin levels.
Based on a strict list of guidelines and requirements, WIC selects those formulas that meet all their standards and include them on their list. Even if you’re not eligible for the program, you can still consult the list to see what breast milk alternatives you should try. In the case in which you’re a part of this program, you will be able to participate in WIC’s bidding process to receive infant formula but you should be aware that it’s a very competitive process.
The Best WIC Formula – 6 Choices Included in the WIC Approved Formula List
1. Similac Advance
Not only is this product included in the WIC formula list but it’s also one of the best baby formulas on the market. It seems to support both brain development and eyesight. The brand is a reputable and trusted one and the formula comes with plenty of nutritious compounds such as vitamin E and lutein. Similac Advance is suitable for infants up to one year old.
- Linoleic acid;
- Non-fat milk;
- Coconut oil;
- Whey protein concentrate, etc.
Vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamins A, D, E, K, B, C, etc.;
- Minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, etc.
- It contains a great mix of nutrients and promotes your infant’s health;
- The blend mimics the composition of breast milk;
- There’s no added sugar;
- It’s easy to prepare and convenient;
- The taste is baby-friendly;
- Many hospitals recommend this formula.
- Contains some GMO ingredients;
- Sometimes, it’s tricky to achieve a completely smooth beverage because the powder doesn’t always dissolve properly;
- The consumption of this formula may lead to stained clothes;
- Some babies don’t really like the way this product smells or tastes, hence, they might refuse to drink it;
- There are certain side effects that seem to be caused by Similac Advance formula.
- Tummy aches and gassy stomach – these issues can still appear from time to time, even though the formula contains prebiotics which are supposed to prevent this problem;
- Diaper rash – this formula, although a very good one, doesn’t agree with all babies. Therefore, if your little one gets diaper rashes and your pediatrician recommend you to change the formula, you should definitely opt for a more sensitive blend.
You can purchase the Similac Advance formula online. A pack of three containers (36 ounces each) costs $90.75.
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2. Nutramigen with Enflora LGG
This is a hypoallergenic formula that is enriched with iron. According to the manufacturer, it promotes a healthy digestive system and the blend is a nutritionally-complete one. Nutramigen is rich in plenty of essential nutrients and it is said to lower gassiness. It was created with the main purpose of reducing colic. Still, some babies tolerate well while others might experience certain mild issues.
- Vegetable oil – coconut, palm, soy, sunflower;
- Modified corn starch;
- Corn syrup solids;
- Vitamins – A, B, C, D, E, etc.;
- Minerals – calcium, selenium, magnesium, potassium, etc.
- Enfamil has created this product to solve certain special dietary needs;
- It’s a hypoallergenic formula;
- Supports brain development;
- The blend is easy for your baby’s stomach to digest;
- Provides a quick relief;
- This product can also be purchased in ready-to-use bottles which represent a very convenient packaging;
- According to the manufacturer, Nutramigen comes with a full nutritional profile, including prebiotics. These prevent your child from developing future allergies.
- The mix contains corn syrup solids. This ingredient can lead to several side effects.
- Digestive issues – although this product is carefully-made so that it will protect your little one’s digestive system, some infants don’t really agree with its compounds which can make them experience problems like diarrhea and gassiness;
- Other possible side effects – diaper rash, skin changes, fever, etc. However, these problems are rare.
You can buy the Nutramigen with Enflora formula on Amazon. The price starts at around $208, based on the container’s size and the vendor. The product can also be bought on Enfamil’s official website, in the products section, where a case of 6 containers is sold for the price of almost $162.
3. Enfamil EnfaCare
EnfaCare by Enfamil is a great formula that’s suitable for prematurely-born babies. This milk-based blend is fortified with iron and it’s a post-discharge formula. All its ingredients are safe and easy on your newborn’s stomach. The compounds added to all Enfamil products aren’t genetically engineered. EnfaCare is normally given to infants during their first year of life. It’s also suitable for babies who have low weights due to the fact that it’s enriched with higher amounts of protein, minerals, and vitamins.
- Nonfat milk;
- Whey protein concentrate;
- Coconut oil;
- Vitamins – A, B, C, etc.;
- Minerals – potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, etc.
- Supports both motor and mental development;
- Helps your baby to catch up with the normal growth of infants of his or her age;
- It’s a highly nourishing formula;
- It’s a very convenient product that’s easy to prepare;
- Your baby’s immunity will be protected by this product’s antioxidant content.
- It costs more compared to other similar baby formulas marketed by other brands;
- The blend comes with some GMO ingredients and it has a high amount of fructose corn syrup;
- Can lead to certain mild side effects.
- Upset stomach – a few moms have complained that this formula can be a tad hard on their babies and, in their opinion, the company needs to make it even gentler than it is;
- Contains certain questionable ingredients like corn syrup which seems to be linked to liver damage, in the long run.
One powder can of Enfamil EnfaCare that measures 12.8 ounces costs around $140.
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4. Gerber Extensive
This is another great hypoallergenic formula that’s enriched with iron. It’s a clinically proven product that comes with probiotics and contains high-quality whey protein. The formula is made in such a way that mimics breast milk and enables the formation of balanced microbiota. It seems that this particular blend helps babies have regular stools while also lowering their gassiness.
- Corn maltodextrin;
- Hydrolyzed whey protein isolate;
- Vegetable oils – sunflower and soy;
- Potato starch;
- B. Lactis cultures;
- Vitamins – A, K, D, E, etc.;
- Minerals – calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.
- It’s a product that’s usually well-tolerated by babies;
- Contains DHA which is associated with better eyesight and brain development;
- It’s suitable for babies who have a tendency towards food allergies;
- The MCT oil content enables a quicker fat absorption;
- It’s easy to prepare – all it takes are three quick steps, presented on the label;
- Supports the infant’s digestive health.
- Some people have said that the formula has a bad taste;
- It’s a pretty expensive product;
- A few parents stated that the blend is a bit hard to mix, and sometimes it can form chunks.
- Sometimes, more sensitive infants can experience diaper rashes. If you notice any kind of issue or side effects on your little one after giving him or her this formula, stop using it immediately and seek your pediatrician’s advice.
If you want to give this formula a try, you’ll find it online. One can of Gerber Extensive infant formula costs $26.45 (for a container of 14.1 ounces).
5. Similac NeoSure
This formula is enriched with iron and other important nutrients. It’s also good for premature babies. It works by providing newborns with an important nutritional boost. Normally, this formula can be used for three to six months or even until the baby is one year old but this period will be established by a doctor. Similac is a leading brand on the infant formula market. They claim they don’t use artificial growth hormones in their products.
- Nonfat milk;
- Soy oil;
- Whey protein concentrate;
- Corn syrup solids;
- Coconut oil;
- Soy lecithin;
- Zinc sulfate;
- Minerals and vitamins; etc.
- It’s suitable for both premature babies or infants with low weight;
- Supports brain development and promotes growth;
- It’s fortified with iron;
- It has strong antioxidant properties due to its Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids;
- This formula is easy to use and convenient.
- The company doesn’t apply a refund policy;
- It’s pretty expensive;
- There are some situations in which infants might deal with mild side effects;
- A few customers weren’t pleased with the way the product arrived, saying that the boxes were clearly damaged or opened.
Sometimes, some babies might experience constipation. A few other clients have complained that the blend gave their children gas. Some other potential side effects are reflux and colic.
You can purchase this product on multiple online selling platforms such as Walmart and Abbott Store:
- On Abbott Store, one can of Similac NeoSure that measures 13.1 ounces costs $21.49;
- On Walmart.com, the same amount of this Similac baby formula is sold for the price of $18.92.
6. Similac Total Comfort
This is a non-GMO formula that offers a complete nutritional profile for your infant. It has a special blend that leads to proper brain and eye development. Moreover, it can also help lower your newborn’s gas and fussiness, despite the fact that it wasn’t specially designed to do that. A lot of people trust Similac Total Comfort, especially due to the fact that this product resembles breast milk a lot.
- Hydrolyzed whey protein;
- Corn maltodextrin;
- Coconut oil;
- High oleic safflower oil;
- Soy oil;
- Ascorbic acid;
- Minerals – zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.
- It is said to support healthy bowel movements and lower the risk of constipation;
- Contains a lot of essential nutrients such as probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and more;
- It might improve your little one’s digestive problems;
- It can work very well for babies who experience food allergies.
- The formula comes with a pretty unpleasant smell that not all people can easily tolerate;
- Once you mix the drink to prepare the formula, plenty of foam and bubbles will appear which it can be quite annoying.
- Even though this issue doesn’t appear often, one reviewer stated that her baby had even 18 bowel movements per day which can later lead to diaper rashes;
- Another user stated that, in her case, the product didn’t work, and her infant still had to deal with problems like fussiness and gas.
This product is available for purchase online, on both Amazon and Target:
- On Amazon, the price of 4 large containers of Similac Total Comfort (each measuring 1.41 lbs.) is $199.99;
- If you decide to purchase it on target.com, you’ll have to pay $28.99 for one container of 22.5 ounces.
Best WIC Formula Alternatives – Bottom Line
Now, that you know which the best WIC formula options are, you can decide which brand or product to opt for when it comes to feeding your little one with healthy and safe ingredients. Besides the details provided in this article, you should also rely on your intuition as a parent. Still, my recommendations are a good place to start, especially if you feel overwhelmed by all those endless choices out there.
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