Newborn Behavioural Observations
The Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) system is a tool designed to help parents and practitioners share together the fascinating uniqueness of a baby, though observing their behaviour, which is their language. We offer training and certification for practitioners, giving them enhanced knowledge, skills and confidence in supporting parent-baby relationships.
The NBO Tool
The NBO is a set of shared observations designed to help you as the practitioner and the parents together observe the baby’s behaviour. Since we know a newborn baby’s method of communicating is their behaviour, taking time to observe and understand these signs, movements and responses, means understanding what that baby is saying, who they are, what they like and what they dislike.
Key assumptions the NBO are based on:
- Infants are social beings ready to communicate
- Babies communicate through their behaviour
- Infants’ communication is not random
The NBO can be used with babies from birth to 3 months old. There are 18 items in total that can be observed on the NBO. Each session is individual, because you and the parents will be guided by the baby, but it will typically cover:
- Capacity to habituate to light and sound (sleep protection)
- Motor tone and activity level
- Capacity for self-regulation (including crying and consoling)
- Response to stress (indices of the infant’s threshold for stimulation)
- Visual, auditory and social-interactive capacities.
“Every baby is different and has many ways to tell us what they would like us to do. The NBO provides the baby with a ‘voice’”
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton
Observing these behaviours will show the baby’s strengths and also identify the kind of support the baby needs. The observations can provide you with individualised guidance to offer parents.
Results from parents after having an NBO show:
- They feel they know their baby better and have enhanced parent-baby engagement
- They feel more trust in the practitioner enhancing the parent-practitioner relationship
The NBO provides the infant with a "voice", a "signature".
Dr. Kevin Nugent, Author of the NBO
Using the NBO
The NBO is designed to be a user-friendly, flexible tool so it can be used by any individual working with newborn babies and their parents. It can be integrated into any practice and adds a strength-based individualised form of care.
Some examples include:
- A neonatal nurse in a NICU with a baby and parents before discharge
- A health visitor on a home visit to carry out the new birth visit
- A midwife or maternity support worker as part of postnatal care.
The NBO is recommended in the National Health Visiting Core Service Specification (2015/16, NHS England) and Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (2016, NHS Health Education England).
In clinical settings:
- Give professionals in depth knowledge of infant development and behaviour
- Add a strength-based perspective alongside other care and assessments
- Offer fascinating insights and guidance to new parents thus helping rapport with parents
The NBO Course and Certification
We will give you thorough teaching and support to guide you
to feel confident and ready to use the NBO tool.
✔ Step 1
Before arriving on the course please read chapter 3 of the NBO manual.
✔ Step 2.
2 day training course (content remains the same for in-person and online courses)
This covers the background and content of the NBO through presentations, interactive exercises and a live demonstration with a newborn baby and their parents*.
*Please note, the trainer demonstration of the NBO with a parent and baby has been suspended for the time being. A selection of videos showing the NBO will be played instead.
By the end of this training course practitioners will:
- Understand how newborn babies communicate
- Know about different behavioural states of infants
- Understand infants’ self-regulatory behaviours
- Know the signs of overstimulation or need for a break
- Learn soothing techniques to console the baby
- Understand how to support parents in a strength-based way, taking into consideration the parents’ needs
Please note that participants will need to bring (have to hand for online courses) a doll to work with, such as the dolls used for infant massage.
You will receive your CPD certificate and points after attending the course.
✔ Step 3.
Practice Phase and Support
Carry out 5 practice NBO sessions with full-term babies and their parents. Document each session on the recording forms. There is the opportunity for two follow-up mentoring conference calls and unlimited support by email during this practice phase.
✔ Step 4.
Send in the recording forms from your 5 practice NBO sessions to our Neonatal Evaluation Officer who will study your forms to check you have demonstrated understanding of the tool. You may be asked to do some more practice sessions. Once approved you will receive your certified practitioner pack including your certificate.
£465 (£233.00 if previously taken NBAS training in the UK)
- 2 day course (with lunch and refreshments provided at in-person courses only)
- NBO kit, NBO book and hand-outs (all provided at the training or posted to you if an online course)
- Post-training support supervision calls
*A cancellation charge (up to 100% of the booking fee) may apply if a training place is cancelled less than two months from the date on which the training is scheduled to take place.
If there are 16 or more people interested in training, we can come to you. Learn about Group Bookings using the button below.
“I found the whole day fascinating and enjoyed every moment. I feel there is so much to learn and I feel it’s so beneficial to our role as a HV. Fabulous trainers.”
-Cheshire Trainee 2017
“Thank you. The course has been really interesting and has offered me a new way to observe newborns, This training fits so well into the infant mental health training we have completed. It will change my antenatal, newbirth and 6-8 week visits. Thank you!”
-Derby Trainee 2016
“Fascinating, this will without a doubt change further develop my skills and improve my practice. Thanks so much what an amazing tool.”
-Wisbech Trainee 2016
“A wonderful, enlightening and inspiring day! Both trainers delivered the information in such an engaging and accessible way. I have learnt so much and cannot wait to put into practice.”
-Cambridge Birthlight Trainee 2017