Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO)

The NBO is best understood as a relationship building tool. It is inherently interactive and family-centred, because parents are involved as partners in the NBO session throughout. Therefore, while the NBO aims at fostering positive parent-infant interaction, it also aims at promoting a positive relationship – a partnership – between practitioner and parents.


The NBO system consists of a set of 18 neurobehavioral observations of the newborn, including:

  • capacity to habituate to external light and sound stimuli (sleep protection)
  • the quality of motor tone and activity level
  • capacity for self-regulation (including crying and consolability)
  • response to stress (indices of the infant’s threshold for stimulation)
  • visual, auditory and social-interactive capacities (degree of alertness and response to both human and non-human stimuli)

The rich and individualised information that the NBO provides allows parents to appreciate their baby’s unique competencies and vulnerabilities, helping them understand and respond to their baby, in a way that meets her/his developmental needs. 

This understanding will help the parents develop the kind of confidence they need to support their baby’s development and enjoy the experience of being a new parent, thus promoting positive parent-infant interactions.

While the NBO was developed to meet the needs of parents, it is designed to be a helpful and flexible tool for practitioners who work with parents during the perinatal period, and can easily be integrated into routine home visits.

Please note that participants will need to bring the following items to the course:

  • The NBO book: 'Understanding Newborn Behavior & Early Relationships:  The Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) System Handbook’.  Authors: J. KevinNugent, Constance H. Keefer, Susan Minear, Lise C. Johnson, Yvette Blanchard ISBN: 9781557668837 Brookes Publishing Company, Baltimore
  • A doll to work with (such as the dolls used for infant massage).


To Register 

The next course is jointly organised with the Royal Society of Medicine and will be held on 4th and 5th May 2017, in London.  

For registration and details please click here to access RSM website.

Registrations will open later for a course in Cambrige, on 13th and 14th November 2017.