HELENA – Around 70 fewer babies were born at St. Peters Health in 2018 compared to 2017, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a quiet year for the Women and Children’s unit.
716 babies were welcomed into the world by the staff at St. Peter’s last year.
St. Peter’s Health is a Baby-Friendly facility and staff say the focus is on mother/baby bonding, achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and ensuring family well being.
There are 9 labor and delivery/recovery/postpartum/newborn suites at the hospital that allow for birthing and recovery to happen in the same room.
To assist new parents the health organization also offers Prepared Parenting classes completely free of charge.
“The free classes are important because anybody can come,” said Kathy Swanson, RNC, IBCLC, “It doesn’t matter what your living income is or anything else. That way any moms or dads have access to the information.”
Swanson has more than 20 years of experience in the Women and Children’s unit and teaches many of the classes.
Topics range from pregnancy and postpartum nutrition, infant CPR and breastfeeding basics.
Swanson believes the classes can also be a great way for new parents to learn what to expect and build some confidence.
“It’s really important to consider that a lot of times this is the first time that mom and dad have even been in a hospital setting as a patient,” said Swanson, “So gaining that familiarity with where you’re going, what it looks like and meeting the other nurses make the process a whole lot calmer.”
Swanson added that attending the classes can also be a good way to meet others who can relate to similar experiences.
For a full list of classes and their dates, you can visit St. Peter’s Health website here.
All classes are held in the Education Center located near the main entrance.