The NBO & NBAS for Parents

The NBO and NBAS are techniques designed to help you and your health practitioner together observe all your baby’s capabilities and the ways they are communicating with you.

You may have heard about these tools or been offered a session by your health visitor.

Here is some information about what to expect and what is involved.

What are the NBO and NBAS?

The Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) and the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS) are both tools which help demonstrate the abilities of newborn babies in the first 3 months of life (up to 2 months for NBAS) and how each individual baby is unique. The tools highlight to parents and professionals how the baby is using their behaviour to communicate to those around them. You can read more about baby behaviour here. The NBO and NBAS sessions are based on a strength-based approach. There is no passing or failing; just the chance to observe all the uniqueness of your baby.

The NBAS is also used in research by health professionals to gain new insights into child development.


Your practitioner will discuss with you which of the techniques they are able to offer  and which would be most helpful for you and your baby.

The Brazelton Centre UK trains health professionals, who will care for you and your baby in the newborn period, in the NBO and NBAS. This is so that they can share together with you your baby’s amazing abilities and support your growing relationship.

The types of professionals we train include:

Midwives, Health Visitors, Occupational Therapists, Family Support workers, Neonatal Nurses and Doctors, Paediatricians, Physiotherapists, Language Therapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Nursery Nurses.

What happens during a session?

An NBO or NBAS practitioner, certified by the Brazelton Centre UK, will carry out the session with your family, which usually lasts between 20-40 minutes. This may be in your home, in a clinic or in hospital depending on where you and your baby are. Each session is individual, because you and your practitioner will be guided by your baby, but it will typically cover:

• Different behavioural states

• Sleep

• Response to faces and voices

• Response to sound and light when sleeping

• Crying and soothing

• Activity and reflexes

By the end, parents learn a lot about their baby’s likes and dislikes and ways of supporting them. Parents have told us they feel they know their baby better, feel more confident and enjoy an even closer relationship as a result.

If your baby is less than 2 or 3 months old and you would like a NBAS or NBO session, please do ask your health professional if they are certified in the NBO or NBAS.  If not, get in touch with us and we will try to put you in touch with someone trained in your area.