Health Tips For New Moms

Dear Mom,

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Healthy families choose WIC – it’s a choice to be proud of, and we are excited you are here.
As a new mom with WIC, you can:

This webpage has tips to help keep you and your baby healthy. These tips do not replace your healthcare provider’s advice. Write down questions to ask your healthcare provider before you go to your next checkup.

WIC can help you learn about healthy eating and support your breastfeeding journey. WIC has nutrition sessions for you and other moms to learn, share ideas, and ask questions. We hope you enjoy your experience with WIC; we are happy to share this special time with you.

Your WIC staff

Get the Care You Need

Postpartum care is healthcare for women after their baby is born. A healthcare provider or specially trained nurse checks that you are healthy and healing well. Go to all your postpartum checkups. Ask when you will need a checkup again.

You and your baby need vaccines to stay healthy.

If you need help to pay for healthcare, contact your local Medicaid office.

Choose Healthy Foods

Moms who feed only breast milk to their baby may need slightly more food. This is a general guide. You may need more or less amounts of food. For a Daily Food Plan that’s designed just for you, visit

Eat regular meals and choose a variety of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods.

Eat Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

You and your baby do best when you eat regular meals and snacks. Here is a sample menu using some foods you can purchase with your WIC benefits.

Get your body in shape with WIC foods. They give you:

Here are some examples of what meal and snack portion sizes might look like on your plate.


1 cup 100% mixed berry juice
1 slice whole grain toast
1 hard-boiled egg


½ cup large, sliced strawberries
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup water
2 slices whole grain bread
with 3 ounces lean deli turkey
with ¼ cup lettuce and ¼ cup tomato


½ cup sliced peaches
1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
5 or 6 whole grain crackers
3 or 4 slices cheese
½ cup sliced cucumbers
½ cup cherry tomatoes
water between meals and snacks


1 cup grapes
½ cup cooked green beans
1 cup mixed, green salad with 1 tablespoon dressing
1 cup whole grain spaghetti
with ¼ cup ground beef
with 1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk

Breakfast Ideas

Make time for breakfast. It helps you get through the day. Here are a few ideas. Choose one or more foods from each group below.

Example: Whole Wheat Tortilla + Apple Slices + Peanut Butter




Be Smart About Fast Foods

On the go? Ask for these smart choices.

Get Folic Acid Every Day

Folic acid is a vitamin that every cell in your body needs. This vitamin might protect you from a heart attack, stroke, and cancer. If you become pregnant again, it protects your unborn baby from birth defects in their spine and brain which develop very early in pregnancy. It is recommended to get at least 400 micrograms (mcg) every day.

Check nutrition labels to get enough folic acid each day.

Eat foods with folic acid even if you take a vitamin pill or eat fortified cereal.

What about iron?

After childbirth, your body’s iron level may be low. This can make you feel weak and tired. Your healthcare provider may recommend a vitamin with iron or to continue taking your prenatal vitamin.


  • Iron-fortified breakfast cereal
  • Cooked dried beans like white beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, or pinto beans
  • Lean red meat
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Greens like spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens
  • Potato with skin
  • Prune juice
  • Whole grain bread

Combine iron rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C. Eating these together helps your body absorb more iron from the food you eat.

Good sources of Vitamin C include:

Small Changes and Healthy Choices Add Up To A Healthier You!

Small changes can make a big difference in helping you feel good, have more energy and lose weight. There are many tips that moms have shared that worked for them.

Be Active Whenever You Can

Your body stays fit when you move it. If your healthcare provider says it’s okay, stay active. Walking, stretching, and swimming are a few good ways.

Being physically active can:

Take it easy, at first. Your body needs to heal. Ask your healthcare provider what you can do and when you can do it.

Start with a 5 or 10 minute walk. After one week, walk a little longer or farther. Set a goal that works for you.

Here are other easy ways to move your body:

You can also find other fun and free workout programs/videos online.

Change health habits one at a time.

Get used to one change before you make the next one.

What food can you cut back on?

Cut back to one soda a day.

What food can
you change?

Eat low-fat yogurt with fruit for breakfast.

What can you do to be more active?

Take the stairs, not the elevator.

Make Time For Yourself

Enjoy your new baby, but take care of yourself, too.

Eating nutritious, regular meals helps you:

Keep Your Smile Healthy

Healthy teeth and gums are a sign of good health.

Postpartum Depression

Most new moms get the Blues. They cry, feel sad, and have mood swings. This can last up to 2 weeks. If the feelings continue and get worse, you could have Postpartum Depression.

If you think you might have Postpartum Depression, talk with your healthcare provider to get help. You deserve to feel well.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, get help right away.

Call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call the Postpartum Support International Helpline at 1-800-944-4773, visit, or text 800-944-4773 (English) or 971-203-7773 (Spanish).


Any of these feelings that last more than 2 weeks:


Understanding Your Baby’s Cues

Your baby uses body movements and cues to tell you what they need. Responding to your baby’s cues can help them be calm and happy.


When your baby is hungry, they may:

“I’M Full”

When your baby is full, they may:


When I am ready to play.

As your newborn gets older, you will be better able to tell when they are ready to interact, learn, or play.

When your baby is asking you to help them learn more about you and their new world, they may:


When I need something to be different.

As you get to know your baby, you will begin to learn what they are trying to tell you. This takes time.

When your baby needs a break from playing and learning or needs some quiet time, they may:

Give Your Baby the Best Start – Breastfeed!

Breastfeeding is natural, but may take time and practice. You and your baby are learning in the first 3 weeks. It gets easier after that.

Get your rest. You will have more energy for your baby.

Drink water, milk, and 100% juice when you are thirsty. Have a beverage ready to drink while you breastfeed.


If you do not drink milk, talk to WIC. You can get calcium from other foods like:

Join a breastfeeding support group where you can talk with other moms.

Call WIC or a lactation consultant if you have questions about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding – Good for You, Good for Baby​

Babies who are breastfed:

Moms who breastfeed:

Tips for feeding formula

Whether you choose to feed your baby breast milk or formula, your baby counts on you to help them do well eating. For information on paced bottle feeding, visit the 0-6 month feeding guide.

Staying Safe

Keep you and your baby healthy by avoiding tobacco or nicotine products, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. If you are planning another pregnancy, we can help you with resources to stop or reduce use of tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, or drugs.

Smoking or using tobacco or nicotine products can impact your health. Smoke or vapor from cigarettes or vape pens can impact others around you. Smoking around babies or children can increase their risk for colds, ear infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or asthma.

Consider a no smoking rule for your home and vehicles. Ask people to not smoke around you and your baby.

We know how difficult it is to quit or reduce tobacco or nicotine products. If you are struggling to quit or reduce your use, we have resources for you. Visit for support with quitting tobacco or nicotine use including free coaching, a free quit plan, and educational materials.

Avoiding alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs is recommended to keep you and your baby or older children healthy and safe. We have resources to support your efforts to stop or reduce your use.

For support with quitting alcohol, marijuana, or other illegal drug use, contact your healthcare provider or visit

For additional support, contact your local WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or WIC Designated Breastfeeding Expert for breastfeeding questions.


Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:


Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: