“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
In December 2020, Youngballymun funded two of its own staff and two staff from the Rotunda’s Midwifery and Perinatal Mental Health teams to attend Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) training. One event was a joint collaboration between our colleagues in Let’s Grow Together, (formerly Youngknocknaheeny) and Dr. Kevin Nugent along with his experienced colleague Yvette Blanchard, a Professor of Physical Therapy and Co-author of “The Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) System Handbook”. As many of you may be aware, Dr. Nugent is Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute at the Children’s Hospital, Boston. The other training was with the Brazelton Centre, UK.
The NBO is a set of shared observations designed to help the practitioner and the parents together observe the baby’s behaviour. As we know, a newborn baby’s method of communicating is their behaviour, so taking time to observe and understand these signs, movements and responses, is so important because it helps new parents understand what that baby is ‘saying’, who they are, what they like and dislike. Observing these behaviours help both parent and practitioner to see the baby’s strengths and also identify the kind of support the baby needs. We know how unique each and every baby is, so these observations can provide parents with individualised guidance as to how they might respond. It also helps practitioners to understand how to support new parents in a strength-based way, taking into consideration parents’ own needs at this very special but sometimes scary time. The NBO is offered to families with babies under 3 months and takes up to 45 minutes to administer.
Parents who have had this input have reported that they felt they got to know their baby better and as a result have been able to engage with their baby better. They also have said that they trust the practitioner more to help them with this. Staff in Youngballymun have begun to provide this input to parents but due to Covid19, opportunities for this have been limited. We have however, managed to adapt the method and offer this input via Zoom.
We look forward to the restrictions being lifted and being able to offer more NBO sessions in the coming months!