Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS)

Developed by Dr. Brazelton and his colleagues in 1973, the NBAS is a recognised neurobehavioural assessment tool, used worldwide in research and clinical settings. 


The NBAS is designed to document the newborn’s contribution to the parent-infant system, the competencies and individual differences of the newborn, as well as any vulnerabilities. Its interactive nature provides a clear and complete profile of the baby’s behaviour, and how it must feel to parent the baby.

It can be used with full-term babies (from birth to two months old), but also with premature babies (from 35 weeks gestation) and with developmentally delayed babies.

There are a total of 53 items, some of which are administered and some observed by the clinician during the assessment, including:

  • Behavioural items which assess the infant’s behavioural response to positive and negative stimuli;
  • Reflex items, which assess the infant’s neurological status;
  • Supplementary items to capture the range and quality of the behaviour of frail, high-risk infants.

The practitioner’s role during the assessment is to facilitate the newborn’s best performance, allowing the baby to demonstrate the full range of his/her capabilities. Doing so will provide a good understanding of the newborn’s capacity to interact with caregivers and the environment.

The NBAS is a valuable way of creating a rapport with parents and alerting them to the newborn’s behaviour, which can be seen as the baby’s language.  It can be used as an intervention (e.g. with postnatally depressed mothers), since observing the NBAS can help sensitise parents to the behavioural capacities of the newborn, improve mother-infant reciprocity and enhance paternal involvement. 

It can also be used as an educational tool for staff, as it can help them understand the caregiver’s response to the infant and the kinds of interactions he or she is likely to have. When summarising the NBAS with parents and staff, there can be a discussion of caregiving implications and follow-up planning.

The use of the NBAS has been recommend in the Healthy Child Programme (Department of Health, 2009), 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).

About the NBAS Course

The NBAS training aims to provide a rich behavioural profile of the baby from birth to 2 months old, by observing in detail the autonomic, motor, state and social interactive systems.  It is a rich research and clinical tool used to determine optimal recommendations for caregiving. 

This two-day course is designed for practitioners working with families and newborns wanting to learn more about baby behaviour and development. 

After the training course, NBAS practice on up to 25 babies is required. During this process, there is the opportunity for two follow-up mentoring conference calls and unlimited support by email. The final assessment for certification is done with the trainer, aiming to achieve over 90% reliability on scoring.

The content of this course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. CPD certificates will be issued upon completion of the course.

Click here to see our programme

Target audiences:

Practitioners involved in clinical work with infants and families and in research on infant development and infant-parent issues (Health Visitors, Midwives, Nurses, GPs, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Physiotherapists, OTs, etc.)

By the end of this training course practitioners will:

  • Learn to observe baby behaviour in detail, identifying behavioural states, behavioural systems and signs of stress
  • Learn to identify the self-regulatory abilities of the individual baby in order to facilitate them
  • Become aware of cultural and individual differences, particularly if the baby is pre-term or fragile in some way
  • Become familiar with the use of the NBAS as a supportive intervention with parents, as well as a rich research tool used worldwide
  • Learn to use the NBAS and its scoring system

Please note that participants will need to bring a doll to work with (such as the dolls used for infant massage).

Training fee: £685.00

Terms and Conditions:

Cancellation and Refunds

A cancellation charge of 50% of the invoiced fee will be levied if a training place is cancelled within two months of the date of booking.

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Terms and Conditions