Promoting the baby’s voice in maternity services
In the middle of the year, we launched a new project called ‘Baby Communication in Maternity’, awarding funding to 8 midwives to certify in the NBO.
All 8 individuals awarded a place in the project have now undertaken their NBO 2-day training and are working towards their certification. It has been so exciting to see the enthusiasm from each of the midwives to bring the conversation about baby communication into antenatal and postnatal care.
Here is a wonderful testimonial from Caroline and Natalie.
In June 2023 we were awarded with 2 funded places on the Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) training. As Specialist Parent Education Midwives, we were keen to enhance our knowledge of newborn communication and strategies to empower parents to recognise themselves as experts in their own babies to facilitate individualised and responsive parenting.
We received pre-course materials both online and via the post, which provided us with everything, we needed to prepare for the course and complete the NBO’s. The training provided was of a high standard. Despite the workshops being online they were engaging and very interactive with a variety of visual aids and activities included. There were many opportunities to practice hands on skills and consolidate the learning over the 2 days. We enjoyed meeting and networking with other practitioners both during the sessions and afterwards. It is also wonderful to be able to access post-training support from the Brazelton Centre.
Having learnt how to conduct and document an NBO, we are now busy exploring how the tool could be used within maternity services and more specifically within our parent education role. The ethos, approach, and vision of Brazelton aligns well with the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative standards and supports responsive, individualised parenting. This makes it easy for us to employ the tool and utilise the Brazelton resources without compromising the wider vision and requirements of our maternity service.
As we provide a bespoke parent education package- known as Birth & Beyond- at the Royal Surrey Hospital, we have numerous opportunities, to weave the knowledge and resources we have gained from training with Brazelton in to our many classes and workshops. We are already providing Brazelton leaflets and images via our Maternity Parent Portal- an online platform for class bookings and a library of information- for all parents and expectant parents to access. In addition, the training has enhanced our knowledge of Baby states and communication, topics we discuss in our 4-week postnatal course. The soothability steps discussed to help calm a baby have also been added to our in-person Baby Care Workshop as a practical tool for parents to utilise. All changes and additions were made immediately after attending the training due to the synchronicity of our shared approach.
Looking to the future we are now researching and planning a new pregnancy workshop for expectant parents to attend to learn about baby communication, responsive parenting and the importance of instinctive approaches from pregnancy and in to the postnatal period.
For those not working within parent education or without the opportunity to provide NHS parent education on a large scale, we would still recommend the training. As a clinical midwife the knowledge gained would help with antenatal and postnatal conversations regarding responsive parenting and how to build close and loving relationships. The approach to performing an NBO as a partner with the parents and a tool to facilitate open, client led conversations is useful to all health care professionals in our opinion. The NBO tool itself also has multiple opportunities for enhancing care already provided. For example, providing the opportunity to discuss communication, responsiveness and empower parents when done alongside a NIPE. We can also see a number of uses for building rapport, facilitating parent empowerment and baby led care with vulnerable groups of parents.
In conclusion, we encourage all midwives to look at the information provided by Brazelton via their website and social media platforms and to consider how the NBO could enhance their care and provide numerous opportunities for professional development.
We will hear more from our midwives about the project and it’s implementation stage in 2024.