Healthy Baby Shower Toolkit

The Healthy Baby Shower Toolkit, an instructional booklet for creating a healthy baby shower in one’s community, was created for Kiwanis clubs and other service and faith-based organizations. This toolkit and accompanying script was produced by Nutrition 4 Young Children for the Nebraska-Iowa District, Kiwanis International website.



My Pregnancy Plate

A graphic guide to optimal nutrition during pregnancy


Complete, research-based Information from the USDA about pregnancy weight gain and the best foods to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, The website enables you to design a meal plan that’s just right for you and your baby.

Food Safety for Moms to Be

Foodborne illness is a serious health risk for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Find accurate, easy-to-understand information about foodborne illness here.

New Mom Health

4th Trimester Project: Information to support and care for moms in the “fourth trimester” as well as their families. Many topics to explore regarding physical and emotional healing and staying well.


Healthy Children

This infant feeding webpage from the American Academy of Pediatricians covers the basics of bottle feeding, introducing solids, weaning from the bottle, and much more. View video on “responsive feeding” and how to tell when your baby is hungry or full. Other webpages here have short articles on nutrition for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children.

WIC Nutrition Handouts

Nutrition information from the Iowa WIC Program is based on research through USDA and FNS. There’s a WIC library of handouts on nutrition for mothers, infants, toddlers and preschoolers here. To learn more about WIC in Polk and Dallas Counties and schedule an appointment , visit

Food Safety for Pregnant Women, Infants, and Children under 5

Information on keeping babies and toddlers safe from foodborne illness and preventing food poisoning.

Food Help for Central Iowa Families

The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Food Supplementation Program

WIC provides nutrition and breastfeeding counseling as well as free healthy foods for pregnant and postpartum women and children up to age 5.

>DMARC Food Pantries

The Des Moines (Iowa) Area Religious Council partners with 14 food pantry sites around the city to provide food for people who request it. DMARC operates mobile food pantries. There’s a “Find a Pantry” button on its website.

Iowa Food Assistance

Your child’s future depends on having healthy food to eat. Do not hesitate to apply for food help if you are eligible for it.

Call 211

Find help with food, housing, clothing and much more if you call 211 or search this website:

“Buy Eat Live Healthy” Classes

If you’re struggling with a limited income, attend a series of FREE and fun cooking and nutrition classes that will help you and your family eat healthier while saving money on food. Nutrition 4 Young Children currently offers a new slow cooker or a griddle for those who complete the full series. Contact Mae McCarty, Program Supervisor, at 515-957-5773 or

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

This website offers quick and easy, low-cost recipes that are delicious and healthy. Download printed recipes or watch recipe demonstration videos on your smart phone. Lots of tips and tools to make shopping and meal planning easier! Also available as a free app:



Vroom Tips™ help parents do more with shared moments. Add learning to mealtime, bath time, bed time or anytime with 1000+ free and fun activities. Access age-appropriate activity ideas anytime on your phone.

Just in Time Parenting

A series of easy-to-read e-newsletters on health, safety, child development and parenting information at just the time you need it — be it the first trimester of pregnancy or your child’s firth birthday. Sign up with your due date or child’s birthdate to have a newsletter e-mailed to you monthly just in time.

1,000 Days

Infographics, articles and checklists of what moms need to know for 1000 days (throughout a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday).

U R Parent

Information for parents covering the first year of your child’s life. This free app is geared to the specific age of your baby. Write down the date your baby takes his/her first step on your phone wherever you are. Questions you have about taking care of your child are just a fingertip away. In the near future this app will cover children up to 6 years old.

Text for Baby

Pertinent and free text messages for pregnant women covering information through baby’s first year. Sign up to get information about health and messages timed to your pregnancy regarding and baby’s growth, prenatal care, breastfeeding, baby’s development during, and reminder appointments for doctor visits.

Parenting Future Readers

Useful advice for parents who want their young children to speak and read well. Each of the 12 Parenting Future Readers activity sheets focuses on fun things you can do with your child at specific ages, 3 to 4 months to age 3.

Simple Steps to Success

Videos to help your child succeed in reading, writing, singing, playing and talking.

Practical resources for parents to build meaningful connections and support healthy early development. Sign up for newsletters on how children learn and grow each month and view articles and videos. The two free e-newsletters are Baby Steps and  From Baby to Big Kid.


Free tools to maximize a child’s motor, sensory and communication development to keep baby on track or catch potential delays early.

Raising Ready Readers Classes

Five 90-minute workshops featuring fun ways to engage children in literacy play. Turn everyday experiences into activities that ready children for school. Families in Polk County (Iowa) participate together in hands-on activities for parents and caregivers of children, ages 3 to 6. Contact Polk County Extension, 515-957-5760.

Ages & Stages Guides

Short, easy-to-read handouts for parents on what to expect as children 0 to 11 pass through physical, mental and social development. Includes tips and activities for interacting with children at developmental stages and age-appropriate toys and books.

Iowa Child Care Resources & Referral

The Families section of the website of Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral lists services in Iowa that help parents make informed choices about the care of their children regarding childcare around the state.

Lead Poisoning Screening

The Polk County Public Health Department has a lead screening program for young children. Lead poisoning leads to severe iron-deficiency anemia, because the lead replaces the iron in some of the red blood cells. Children with severe long-term anemia are at risk for permanent developmental delays, because their brains are starved for oxygen. (Also, children are at risk prenatally, if their mothers have had lead exposure.)

Bright By Text

Bright by Text is a free text messaging service for anyone who cares for or loves a child – prenatal to age eight. This national program, powered locally by Women United, delivers expert tips, activities, events, and resources directly to the subscriber’s phone in their choice of English or Spanish. Text IOWAKIDS to 274448 for free parenting tips, or hold your phone to the QR code shown. Need help? Test HELP to 274448 or email

Messages use the child’s age and zip code to offer relevant information. Subscribers receive 2 to 4 messages per week, balancing notifications on events such as free summer lunch programs, preschool enrollment, and learning activities with links to research-based content on a child’s development. As a child grows, the messages change to reflect their biggest developmental milestones. This resource builds resilience and confidence for those nurturing a young child.


Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby: Prenatal Care

Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby: Folic Acid for Women  

Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby: Postpartum Discomfort

Healthy and Development Effects of Tobacco Use

Learn about the health effects of tobacco use during pregnancy and breastfeeding and about quitting while pregnant from the American Lung Association of Iowa. 


Nutrition 4 Young Children
The Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant Street, Ste. 249, Des Moines, IA 50314

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies


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