Understanding Newborn Behaviour and Early Relationships


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The Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) System Handbook

Giving babies a “voice” helps parents understand their baby’s unique strengths and needs. This observational tool and handbook, complete with beautiful four-color photographs by a Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, gives professionals a systematic way to help parents respond with confidence to their baby’s individual needs—and build positive parent–professional relationships in the process. Flexible, easy to integrate into everyday practice, and based on more than 25 years of research, this system includes

  •  A short, easy-to-use, interactive observational tool. With the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system, professionals will have a structured set of 18 observations for infants from birth to approximately 3 months. Including parents as partners, professionals guide the observation, discuss the baby’s abilities and behaviors with parents, encourage parent insights and questions, and suggest specific ways to support the child’s development. (Appropriate use of the NBO tool in clinical practice requires training through the NBO training program.)
  • A complete guide to the NBO system. Through realistic case studies, step-by-step how-to instructions, and color photos illustrating each NBO item, professionals will understand how to use the NBO effectively with a wide variety of families.
  • Invaluable professional guidance. More than a tool, the handbook helps professionals improve their daily work with in-depth information on infant and parent development, cultural competence, premature and at-risk infants, family–centered care, and more.

An essential resource from the co-author of the highly regarded Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) and his colleagues, this system is just what clinicians in hospital, clinic, or home settings need to help new mothers and fathers get to know their baby, increase their confidence and competence as parents, and support their child’s growth and development


  • About the authors
  • About the contributors
  • Forward
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. An introduction to the newborn behavioural observations system
  • 2. Transition to Parenthood: promoting the parent-infant relationship
  • 3. The newborn behavioural observations system manual
  • 4. Relationship building with parents and their infants in the newborn period
  • 5. Incorporating the newborn behavioural observations system into the newborn nursery environment
  • 6. Using the newborn behavioural observations system with preterm or medically fragile infants
  • 7. Using the newborn behavioural observations system in postpartum clinic and home visits
  • 8. Using the newborn behavioural observations system in multicultural environements
  • Index
Authors: J. Kevin Nugent Ph.D., Constance H. Keefer M.D., Susan Minear M.D., Lise C. Johnson M.D., Yvette Blanchard Sc.D., PT
Foreword Author: T. Berry Brazelton M.D.
Photographer: Matthew J. Lee
Invited Contributors: Sarah A. Birss M.D., Kristie Brandt RN, CNM, N.D.

“This handbook will help clinicians improve their daily work by making them better observers and become active intermediaries between their newborn patients and their parents. It should be required reading for every professional who deals with infants from 0 to 3 months of age.” – Doody’s Review Service

“Accessible to a wide range of professionals who work with young infants . . . provides for the most information transmission possible outside of a hands-on training session.” – PsycCRITIQUES, American Psychological Association