More information for WIC families on WIC temporary infant formula options can be found at the California WIC Infant Formula Options webpage. General guidance and information for California families about WIC contract formulas can be found at the WIC Contract Infant Formulas webpage.

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The California Department of Public Health/Women, Infants and Children Division (CDPH/WIC) is here to provide the latest information. We connect California families to helpful resources related to your WIC infant formula and breastfeeding.

  1. Background
  2. Ending of temporary formula options
  3. WIC Infant Formula
  4. Shopping for formula
  5. Breastfeeding support and education
  6. Banked human milk
  7. Questions and answers

Background

In 2022, CDPH/WIC and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) started monitoring access to WIC formulas in response to periodic formula shortages that started earlier that year. CDPH/WIC worked closely with the USDA and our formula contractors, Abbott and Mead Johnson, to help families get the formula they need. One action taken included temporarily adding more formula products to WIC’s Approved Product List. This gave families more choices at the store during the shortages.

Ending of Temporary formula options

On December 19, 2022, the USDA announced the plan to end the temporary expanded formula options in three phases. The phase out of the temporary expanded formula options began March 1, 2023, and will be completed on June 30, 2023.

Phase Out Timeline:

The last dates to purchase specific formula options are found in the list below.

Last Date to Purchase Formulas
February 28, 2023
  • Enfamil milk-based formulas
  • Gerber milk and soy-based formulas
  • Store brand milk and soy-based formulas
  • Similac soy-based formulas
  • Imported formulas (i.e., Bubs and Kendamil)
  • Any ready-to-feed formulas that do not require a prescription
April 30, 2023
  • Larger sizes of Similac powder formulas
  • Larger size of ProSobee powder - 20.9 oz
June 30, 2023
  • Larger sizes of therapeutic formulas
  • Hypoallergenic store brand formulas
  • Imported therapeutic formulas
  • Ready-to-feed therapeutic formulas*

* Similac Alimentum ready-to-feed will continue to be available on the WIC Card until Alimentum powder returns to the marketplace.

Please contact your local WIC office if you have any questions about your temporary formula options.

WIC approved temporary formula options:

If your benefits show the category below, you can buy any formulas on that category’s list.

  1. Therapeutic Formulas English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)

WIC Infant Formula

Buy the brand, type, size, and number of cans included in your WIC Food Balance.

For additional information, visit our webpage on the WIC Contract Infant Formula.

Infant Formula Flyer: HTML Webpage | English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF) | Armenian (PDF) | Hmong (PDF) | Korean (PDF) | Punjabi (PDF) | Russian (PDF) | Chinese (PDF) | Vietnamese (PDF)

If your benefits show “Similac Powder Formulas,” you may buy any of the three formulas included on the Similac Powder Formulas Flyer: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)

Finding your approved formula:

Example

In this example, the family’s food balance shows they have been issued 7.0 cans in the Similac Powder Formulas category. This means that they can buy any of the formulas in the list found above named: “Similac Powder Formulas.”

Example Image


Shopping for formula

WIC families should do the following when shopping for WIC formula:


Additional Tips

Breastfeeding support and education

Keeping up a good milk supply or making more milk.

The answer is simple, the more often you breastfeed, the more milk you will make.

Have questions? Contact your WIC counselor or WIC breastfeeding support professional. They can talk to you about your concerns and give you tips to increase your supply.

WIC has offices throughout California. Call your local WIC office for an appointment and locations near you. Find out if you are eligible for WIC or for the nearest WIC office on MyFamily.WIC.ca.gov.

Source: USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support

Relactation or restarting breastfeeding.

Is it possible to restart breastfeeding (relactation)?

Relactation is possible but not always easy. Set realistic expectations based on your individual circumstances.

What is Relactation?

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering relactation:

Relactation basics

Getting started

It takes time

If you are thinking about relactation, talk to a lactation support professional or your health care provider. To find a lactation support specialist click here or contact your health plan for more information. If you are a WIC participant, contact your WIC Local Agency to determine if a lactation specialist is available.

Adapted from: Idaho WIC Program, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Public Health Division

Resources:

Banked Human Milk

Banked human milk may be a safe and nutritious option for some families to feed their infants. Families who wish to use banked human milk must have a prescription from their pediatrician or health care provider with a medical diagnosis, amount needed, and duration of the prescription. Families are advised to only use human milk provided from a Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) certified milk bank. Families are advised not to buy human milk on-line or participate in informal human milk sharing as it may not be safe and may be harmful to their infant.

Most health insurance plans have guidelines for when banked human milk is a covered benefit. Check with your health plan to see if it will be covered or available at a lower cost. When it is not covered, the cost is $4.00 - $5.00 per ounce, plus the cost of shipping.

For California Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program Participants:

Maybe you’d like to donate breast milk and this is a wonderful gift to share. More information on how to donate or purchase banked human milk can be found at Mothers' Milk Bank in San Jose or the University of California Health Milk Bank in San Diego, the two certified human milk banks in California.

Questions and answers

Can I buy non-WIC formula with my WIC Card?

California WIC has limited temporary options of formula to what you can buy with your WIC benefits.

More information on temporary formula options can be found here.

Ask your local WIC office if you have questions about formula options. CDPH/WIC will update this webpage when further changes are made.

What if I cannot find my prescription formula?

Contact your local WIC office if your prescription formula is not available at any stores. They can help determine what alternate formulas are available with WIC benefits.

You may be referred to your health care provider for another prescription formula that can be purchased with WIC benefits.

What breastfeeding support and education does WIC provide?

All WIC local agencies provide infant feeding support for breastfeeding, partially breastfeeding, and formula feeding parents. WIC is here to help support families who are experiencing breastfeeding problems or just have questions.

All WIC counselors are trained in infant feeding support. WIC offices also have trained breastfeeding support professionals such as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). These professionals can help with more difficult breastfeeding challenges if they occur.

Some WIC agencies offer breastfeeding peer counselor support. These are parents who have breastfed their babies and are available to offer peer-to-peer support.

WIC families should check with their local WIC office to see what type of support and education can be provided for families.



Page Last Updated: April 27, 2023




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