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 neurobehavioural 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. The NBO is recommended in the 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 NBO course

The NBO course will consist of baby observations designed to support parents in reading their own baby’s signals and cues.  Research has shown this promotes positive interactions, increases parental confidence in caregiving, and practitioners’ knowledge and confidence. 

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

To become certified in the NBO practice on 5 babies is required after the training course. During this process, there is the opportunity for two follow-up mentoring conference calls and unlimited support by email. 

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.

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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:

  • Understand how newborn babies communicate
  • Know about different behavioural states of infants
  • Understand infants’ self-regulatory behaviours
  • Know the signs of overstimulation or need for a break
  • Learn soothing techniques to console the baby
  • Understand how to support parents in a strength-based way, taking into consideration the parents’ needs


Training fee: £450.00 - this fee includes:

  • 2 day course (with lunch and refreshments)
  • NBO kit, NBO book and hand-outs (all provided at the training)
  • Post-training support conference calls

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

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Watch Dr Betty Hutchon presenting an overview of the course

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.

Data Protection

By agreeing to the terms and conditions you agree the Brazelton Centre UK to use your details in the following ways to deliver the training and certification process:

  • Send details about course arrangements
  • Sending post course resources
  • Keep track of your certification
  • Offer you the opportunity to keep in touch via our eNewsletter
  • Sending your details to CPD UK 

Your details will be stored on our internal training database and not user for any other purpose than to deliver the above points. It will be not shared outside Brazelton Centre UK. We will keep for a period of 5 years if uncertified. Those who complete certification will be kept for record purpose.


To Register

Terms and Conditions