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.

Pregnancy

 

Pregnancies are healthier with WIC. Text APPLY to 91997 to sign up for WIC when you find out you are pregnant. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you’ll get free food and nutrition counseling if you qualify for the program.

After you sign up, you will have a WIC appointment every one to two months during your pregnancy with a nutrition counselor.

First Trimester

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:

  • Verify your eligibility by confirming your income or Medi-Cal enrollment
  • 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, the WIC card, and how to check your benefit balance
  • Give you referrals to other community resources that are available to you
  • Show you how to sign up for wichealth.org (the exclusive nutrition website for WIC families)

 

Second Trimester

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!

Third Trimester

At your third-trimester appointment at a WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call, 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.

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. Sign up for wichealth.org and check out the lessons about having a healthy pregnancy, newborn sleep patterns, getting support from loved ones when your baby arrives, and much more.

Take and retake these classes any time, 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.


When You Have Your Baby

WIC is here to congratulate you and welcome your little one into the world!

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.

This appointment will be similar to when you enrolled your pregnancy. WIC counselors will:

  • Confirm your Medi-Cal is active, or your family income qualifies for WIC
  • Complete health and nutrition assessments for both you and your baby
  • Ask about how your baby shows you that they are hungry, full, sleepy, or want something to be different
  • 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

Check in with WIC about how things are going with your little one over the phone or on a video call. Getting to know your newborn baby and adjusting to life at home takes time, and sometimes additional 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 888-942-2249 or texting 91997.

When your baby is 4-6 months old

Talk to a WIC counselor in the WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call 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. If you have it, please provide your baby’s weight, length, and bloodwork from their most recent doctor appointment.

You may feel excited or nervous about giving food to your baby for the first time. 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! Recovering from giving birth takes many months and healthy eating is super important during this time. Taking care of you is taking care of your family. Bring your nutrition and health questions to this appointment.

Around 9 months

Complete your 9-month appointment at an office, over the phone, on a video call, or online. This is a great time to ask WIC counselors any questions you may have 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.


Get WIC Until Your Child Turns 5

 

Happy 1st birthday to your baby!

Renew your child’s WIC account every year by visiting a WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call. At this annual appointment, we’ll confirm your child’s eligibility for the program. Remember to provide your child’s height, weight, and bloodwork (hemoglobin and lead) results from their most recent doctor visit. This will help WIC counselors give you information that best meets your child’s specific needs so they can continue to grow healthy and strong. We’ll also give you referrals you might need for things like dental care for kids, housing assistance, child care, and more.

New food package! Your baby will get the children’s food package with whole milk, fruit and vegetables, and other healthy food after their first birthday. 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.

Renew Your Account Every Year

Meet with a WIC counselor two or more times every year at a WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call to discuss your child’s eating and growth until they turn 5. Remember to provide your child’s height, weight, and hemoglobin results from their most recent doctor visit.

Between these one-on-one appointments, you can attend class appointments online or on Zoom.

Most families have appointments every three months in this pattern until their child turns five.

  1. The annual renewal appointment will be at WIC office, over the phone, or on a video call with a WIC counselor. Don’t miss this appointment, or your child’s record will expire! It’s usually in or near your child’s birth month. Bring your questions and your child’s most recent height, weight, and bloodwork (hemoglobin and lead) result from their recent doctor appointment if you have it. WIC counselors will go over what types of foods and how much your child needs for their age.
  2. Class appointment online or on Zoom with other parents (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.
  4.  Class appointment online or on Zoom with other parents (Your choice!)

Repeat this loop each year until your child turns five!


 

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.