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The NBO reveals how baby comes in to the world with her own ideas about what is “right” for her.

Sophie’s mother Beth felt disappointed that at 36 hours of age, all Sophie did was sleep. But when, with the encouragement of her maternity nurse Theresa, Beth spoke softly to her daughter even though her eyes were closed, Sophie slowly and deliberately turned her head a full 90 degrees to find her mother’s voice. “She’s more awake than I thought!” Beth exclaimed, relief and joy replacing the growing anxiety about her ability to connect with her first child.

2-day-old baby Ray, wide-eyed and alert from the moment of birth, seemed to take in the whole world all at once. When his maternity nurse Jen held a bright red ball, he locked his gaze on it, his whole body stilled in full concentration as he followed it a full 180 degrees. But when his grandparents and 3-year-old sister came to visit, the activity seemed to be too much. He startled at every sound, and soon descended into inconsolable crying that only stopped when he suddenly and precipitously fell into a sound sleep.

What is the NBO?

The NBO is an infant-focused, family-centered relationship-building tool that draws on the work of renowned pediatrician T. Berry. Brazelton. While the medical model of care often puts the professional in the role of expert, this intervention seeks to shift that mindset, mobilizing parents' unique capacity to tune into and respond to their newborn. The 18 neurobehavioral observations of the NBO are not an assessment or evaluation. Rather, they offer a frame in which to support parents' earliest efforts to get to know their baby. 

Used from birth to 3 months of age, the NBO demonstrates the baby’s behavior as a form of communication, supporting parents’ efforts to make sense of that communication. Parents who have experienced the NBO often remember it vividly years later. All caregivers and siblings can participate. The NBO creates time and space to make room for this new person within the family.

The NBO is used in over 20 countries around the world to promote healthy parent-infant relationships. To learn more see the Newborn Infant Network