Being a parent is hard. Nothing can prepare you for how your life will change once you have children.
When you hold your baby for the first time, emotions will flood through you and, from that moment, things change. If you’re lucky, you have the proverbial “village” ready to help ease you into this new world of parenthood. But not everyone has that and it’s hard trying to figure it out on your own.
What new parents may not know is that there is a village awaiting them – to take care of them, direct them to the resources they need and feed them nutritious foods. This village is the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program at Piedmont Health Services. “We have the privilege of helping parents at such a pivotal time in their lives,” said Erica Boshnack, a nutritionist for WIC.
Piedmont Health Services’ WIC program was recently recognized for having the highest breastfeeding initiation rate in their region and the second highest breastfeeding initiation rate in the entire state: 92 percent of moms in Piedmont’s WIC program initiate breastfeeding after giving birth. Piedmont was recognized for this achievement at the North Carolina WIC Conference on Sept.15.
We realize that finding a village is hard and reaching out for help takes courage. That’s why we strive to make new parents feel welcome, comfortable and connected. Greeting them with a warm and friendly attitude is important.
“It’s the little things that can make a big difference,” said Ireatha Warren, WIC Administrative Assistant. “You never know what people are facing at home before they come to your office. It can be as simple as giving a diaper, a smile or even a hug. It doesn’t take much to impact one person.”
Communication is also key. We work hard to let people know what to expect at their visits. We remind them of their appointments, and reach out if their appointment is missed.
Still the challenge WIC faces is reaching those parents who don’t know about the program. Even some who know about the program don’t fully understand all that it offers. The WIC Program seeks to help pregnant and postpartum women (up to 1 year postpartum if they are breastfeeding) and children aged 0 to 5 start healthy and stay healthy with breastfeeding support, personalized nutrition education, referrals, and vouchers to get nutritious food from the grocery store.
To find out more about WIC services at Piedmont Health Centers, visit www.piedmonthealth.org/wic or call your local community health center: Hillsborough WIC Center, 919-245-2422; Carrboro Community Health Center; 919-942-8741; Moncure Community Health Center, 919-542-2195; or Siler City, 919-742-5602. WIC is an equal opportunity provider.