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KRMC Expands Newborn Services
OB Clinic expands hours, combines resources to help new parents
Registered nurse and lactation specialist Tracy Wills, left, Tawnya Eby and registered nurse and lactation specialist Jill VanNice-Steiner. - Photo courtesy of KRMC
Parents now have a one-stop shop in Kalispell for all their newborn baby’s needs.

To better help parents raise a new child, Kalispell Regional Medical Center has restructured its Obstetrics Department, or OB Clinic, by expanding service hours and uniting resources in its Mother-Baby Clinic and Lactation Services program. Parents can receive free day-to-day care regardless of where their baby was born from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.

The services will include a baby’s weight being checked and compared with the birth weight and where the child should be by then. A blood draw helps screen for any indication of jaundice, and the nurses spend time with mom and dad discussing how the transition to home is going.

“We’re finding that we’re now catching a lot more problems with babies earlier,” said Jill VanNice-Steiner, one of the KRMC nurses leading the new changes along with Tracy Wills.

The newborn services draws about 10 to 15 patients a day for a variety of reasons, whether it’s checking a baby’s weight or health or simply talking about issues that emerge after the transition home.

“When we put two nurses with the same vision and the same goal, it works well for families,” Clinical Supervisor Rochelle Mertz said. “Tracy and Jill are very different in their approaches, but at the end of the day, their goal is the same. They do it through good communication. Together, they build a plan of care.”

Both VanNice-Steiner and Wills are lactation specialists who help mothers with breastfeeding and reinforce its importance.

“Sometimes moms have problems with breastfeeding and give up,” VanNice-Steiner said. “Now we’re finding that we are actually making a difference and more moms are sticking to breast feeding longer, the way nature intended.”

A breastfeeding support group is held every Tuesday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the OB Clinic family room.

A goal of the clinic, VanNice-Steiner said, is to offer families the comfort of continuity as parents and their newborn transition between home and returning for pediatrician visits.

“It’s really benefitial to moms and dads and it really is very helpful that we can provide the services and look at a baby and make recommendations,” she said. “I really am pleased with the direction we’ve gone.”

For more information about the Mother-Baby Clinic, call 751-6667.
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