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 website 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 more about healthy eating. 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.

Sincerely,
Your WIC staff

Get the Care You Need

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

You and your baby need shots to stay healthy.

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

Choose Healthy Foods

Moms who feed only human 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 www.myplate.gov.

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

Eating nutritious, regular meals helps you:

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.
Breakfast

1 cup 100% mixed berry juice

1 slice whole grain toast

1 hard-boiled egg

Lunch

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

Snacks

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 and ½ cup cherry tomatoes

water between meals and snacks

Dinner

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 + Peanut Butter + Apple Slices
BREAD, CEREAL, OR OTHER GRAINS
DAIRY OR PROTEIN
FRUIT OR VEGETABLE

Be Smart About Fast Foods

ON THE GO? ASK FOR THESE SMART CHOICES – AND DON’T SUPERSIZE.

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.

If you eat fortified cereal, read the label.

If you take a vitamin pill, read the label.

What about iron?

TRY TO EAT MORE OF THESE IRON-RICH FOODS:

  • 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

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.
  1. Don’t eat food directly from the package – portion out foods, like crackers, nuts, trail mix, pretzels, cheese cubes, etc., into individual containers or zip-top bags. Better yet, put vegetables in a container for quick healthy snacks without all the calories.
  2. Leave some food in the kitchen at mealtimes – serve lower calorie vegetables and salads family-style at the table and serve the main dish in the kitchen.
  3. Stop eating when you feel full – remind yourself that it’s okay to stop eating before your plate is empty or before everyone is done eating.
  4. Watch your portions – use smaller plates and put less on your plate. Studies show we eat more when there’s more to eat.
  5. Cut back on some foods – cut calories by cutting out foods high in fats and added sugar. Decide to choose sweet drinks, cookies, cakes, candies and ice cream as occasional treats. Limit meats, like ribs, bacon and hot dogs.
  6. Cook at home – try healthier recipes that use less fat, sugar and salt.
  7. Drink water – keep water with you throughout the day. Sipping water can help fill you up so you don’t eat as much.
  8. Eating healthy is only one part of feeling great and having more energy – being active helps too.
  9. Staying active helps new moms relieve stress – and having a new baby can be stressful!

Ask your doctor when it’s okay to exercise and then start out slow.

Be Active Whenever you Can

Your body stays fit when you move it. If your healthcare provider says it’s okay, stay active. Walking and swimming are two 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:

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?

Example:
Cut back to one soda a day.

What food can
you change?

Example:
Eat low-fat yogurt
for breakfast.

What can you do to be more active?

Example:
Take the stairs, not the elevator.

Make Time For Yourself

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

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Many new moms get the blues. They cry, feel sad and have mood swings. The blues can last up to 2 weeks. If the feelings get worse, you could have depression.

If you think you might have postpartum depression, talk with your healthcare provider to get help. Untreated depression is hard on your baby, your family and you.

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

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

SIGNS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Any of these feelings that last more than 2 weeks:

TRY THIS STRESS RELIEVER

KEEP YOUR SMILE HEALTHY.

Healthy teeth and gums are a sign of good health.

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.

“I’M HUNGRY”

When I’m starting to get hungry, I might:

“I’M Full”

When I’m feeling full, I might:

“I WANT TO BE NEAR YOU”

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:

“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!

Nursing 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 nurse.

EAT THREE MEALS AND AT LEAST ONE SNACK EACH DAY. SOME SNACK IDEAS ARE:

If you do not drink milk, talk to wic. You can get alcium 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

Did you know?

Breastfeeding may help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Babies who are NOT breastfed:

Moms who do NOT breastfeed:

FOR FORMULA FEEDING MOMS:

Whether you choose to feed your baby breast milk or formula, your baby counts on you to help them do well eating.

Staying Safe

You and your baby can get hurt from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
If you get pregnant again, your baby could be born too small or exposed to substances and suffer painful withdrawal.

Stay away from tobacco.

Tobacco smoke can:

Set a “NO SMOKING” rule for your home. Don’t let people smoke around you or your baby.

For support with quitting, including free coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials and referrals to local resources, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Stay away from alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol and drugs can ruin your body and mind. You might forget to take care of your baby. Contact your healthcare provider, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center. Visit findtreatment.gov to find help near you.

Never leave your child with people who drink too much or use drugs.

Say NO to:

Feeding a 10-12 Month Old

Breast milk is the most important source of nutrition for your baby, even after you start offering solid foods.

Feeding a 8-9 Month Old

Feed solids with a spoon. Never put cereal in a bottle.

Feeding a 6-7 Month Old

Feed solids with a spoon and from a bowl, never from a bottle.

Tips

Breast milk and formula feeding:

Around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age, babies may experience a growth spurt when they feed more often.

As they grow babies can hold more milk, so feedings may become further apart and take less time.

To prevent choking, always hold your baby when feeding. Never prop up a bottle to feed.

Start offering whole milk when your baby is one year old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months and beyond.

feeding-solid-foods

Feeding solid foods:

Wait to offer solid foods until your baby:

To prevent choking, always hold your baby when feeding. Never prop up a bottle to feed.

Try one new food at a time. Wait 5 days before trying another new food to watch for allergies. Food allergies may include wheezing, rash, or diarrhea.

Introduce peanut butter around 6 months. Spread a small, thin smear of peanut butter or nut butter thinly on a cracker.  Watch your baby for any reaction for the next 2 hours.

Babies under one year should NOT have honey or foods that can cause choking like nuts or whole grapes.

All babies are different. Talk with WIC or your baby’s healthcare provider about your baby’s needs.

Feeding Cues

Feeding a 4-5 Month Old

Before teeth come in, wipe gums with a soft, clean wash cloth after each feeding, especially before bed.

Feeding a 0-3 Month Old

Newborns have tiny tummies and need to be fed often. In the first few weeks, you may need to wake your baby to feed if they sleep longer than 4 hours.

Growth Spurts

Many babies are fussy during a growth spurt and will want to nurse longer and more often. This is called cluster feeding. This is your baby’s way of helping you increase your milk supply so that you can keep up with their needs. Remember, the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes.

Growth spurts can happen at any time, and every baby is different.

They often happen at these ages:

2 to 3 Weeks

6 Weeks

3 Months

6 Months

What foods can I get?