If you are pregnant, have been pregnant in the last six months, or care for a child under 5, apply for WIC as soon as you can to begin your WIC journey.
Pregnancies are healthier with WIC. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you’ll get free food and nutrition counseling if you qualify. After you sign up, you will have a WIC appointment every one to two months during your pregnancy with a nutrition counselor.
Sign up for WIC in-person at a WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call. You will receive your new WIC card with WIC benefits to shop for healthy foods. During your first WIC appointment, a nutritionist will:
- Ask you about your health and eating habits to give you personalized nutrition information for a healthy pregnancy
- Provide information about breastfeeding and baby formula so you can start thinking about how you want to feed your baby
- Show you how to use the CA WIC app and the WIC card to shop, and how to check your benefit balance
- Connect you to more community resources
Try a WIC Class! You might have additional class appointments in between these check-ins with WIC counselors. You can choose a lesson on wichealth.org or attend a pregnancy group class on Zoom on or near your scheduled appointment day. Take and retake these classes anytime, from anywhere, as many times as you would like! Explore the recipes in the Health eKitchen to find easy and delicious meals and snacks that use your WIC foods.
Talk to a WIC nutritionist in the office, over the phone, or on a video call. WIC nutritionists will share information about weight gain for a healthy pregnancy, healthy eating tips, and breastfeeding techniques. Are you experiencing heartburn, nausea, or leg cramping? Your WIC nutritionist can help!
At your third-trimester appointment, WIC counselors will help you prepare for your baby's arrival. Your WIC counselor may share information about:
- Staying healthy and comfortable until your baby arrives
- What to expect in the hospital
- How to breastfeed and/or bottle-feed your baby
- How babies show that they are hungry, full, sleepy, or want something to be different
The third trimester is a great time to connect with other expecting parents in our Newborn Feeding Secrets group class on Zoom.
WIC is here to welcome your little one into the world and be part of your support system. Get expert breastfeeding support from the start to help you feed your baby confidently.
Baby’s First Week
Add your baby to your WIC account by phone or video from the comfort of your home. WIC can help your baby get a healthy start.
At this appointment WIC counselors will:
- Listen to you! Tell your counselor how things are going and ask any questions you have about caring for your new baby and taking care of yourself.
- Offer tips to help you feel confident breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding
- Talk about changes you’ll see to your WIC foods on your WIC benefit balance. (Fully breastfeeding parents on WIC receive almost twice the food!)
WIC counselors, registered dietitian nutritionists, breastfeeding peer counselors, and lactation consultants are here to make sure you have all the resources you need to feed your baby. WIC offers one-on-one breastfeeding help, free electric breast pumps, access to our infant feeding helpline, and breastfeeding support groups on Zoom.
After your baby is added to your WIC account, you’ll have WIC appointments every one to three months with a WIC counselor. Ask any questions you have about your health, your baby’s health, or becoming a parent. These appointments are for you and your baby!
When your baby is 1 month old
Getting to know your newborn baby and adjusting to life at home takes time and support. WIC counselors will give you tools to make sure you and your baby are getting the support you need. Just so you know, it’s okay to (and we encourage you to) lean on your village if you ever can’t make it to your WIC appointment. Add a trusted partner, friend, or family member to attend appointments for you by calling 888-942-2229 or texting 91997.
When your baby is 4-6 months old
Talk to a WIC counselor about your baby’s growth, what to expect in the next few months, and how to know when your baby is ready to start eating food.
First foods are fun! We’re here to help you figure out when your baby is ready and share ideas for how to start. WIC has lots of ideas and recipes for making your own baby foods, and using the baby food jars you get with your WIC benefits after your baby’s 6th month birthday!
Parents get nutrition education too! Birth recovery from takes time and healthy eating is super important. Taking care of you is taking care of your family. Bring your nutrition and health questions to this appointment.
Around 9 months
Your 9-month appointment is a great time to ask your WIC counselors about how your baby is eating and growing.
Your WIC counselor may also share tips about:
- Starting finger foods
- Using a cup
- How much and what types of food to give your baby
You may be able to complete this appointment online or in a group class!
It's time to renew your account!
Renew your child’s WIC account every year by visiting a WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call.
Your 1-year-old gets a new WIC food package! WIC's children's food package has whole milk, fruit and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and other healthy food. We’ll walk you through starting table foods, replacing baby bottles with a cup, and other milestones to expect as your baby becomes a toddler. We’ll also give you referrals you might need for things like dental care for kids, housing assistance, child care, and more.
Most families have appointments every three months in this pattern until their child turns 5:
1. The annual renewal appointment will be at WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call with a WIC counselor. WIC counselors will share ideas about what types of foods and how much your child needs for their age. Bring your questions!
2. Join a WIC class on Zoom with other parents or choose an online lesson. (Your choice!)
3. The 6-month check-in can be at an office, over the phone, or on a video call. Share what’s going well, and ask your WIC counselor about anything new or challenging about your child’s eating or growth.
WIC food benefits are added to your card every month. Remember to shop before they expire!
WIC counselors truly care about empowering you to raise a healthy family. We can’t wait to talk to you at your next appointment!
Families grow healthy with WIC.