NBO Australasia

From Monday 6 May 2024, our new name is NBO Australasia at the Women’s. Our new email is NBOAustralasia@thewomens.org.au

To learn more about the Newborn Behavioural Observations tool, please see below.

For more detailed information about our workshops, see NBO training course information. We encourage you to book early as many workshops fill quickly and an early registration discount applies. 

Newborn Observation advice session

The NBO is a clinical tool to foster the early parent-infant relationship.

A supportive caregiving parent-infant relationship, that is sensitive and responsive to the infant’s needs, is key to optimal infant wellbeing and development.

In an NBO session, clinician and parents share observations of the nuances of baby’s behaviour and reflect on its meaning in terms of baby’s capacities, struggles, care-giving needs and preferences.

The 18 neuro-behavioural observations in an NBO session allow parents to notice, emotionally manage and provide the interactive support their infant needs for their development, from birth to approximately age 3 months.

A recent Randomised Controlled Trial of the NBO provides Australian evidence for this simple, powerful tool. Adding NBO sessions to frontline care in the first month of infancy, positively impacted on the infant-parent relationship and on maternal mental health.

You can access the full publication on the Wiley Online Library.

Observations include the infant’s:

  • capacity to habituate to external light and sound stimuli (sleep protection)
  • quality of motor tone and activity level
  • hunger and feeding communication
  • capacity for self-regulation (including crying and consolability)
  • visual auditory and social-interactive capacities and preferences.

We offer NBO training workshops and accreditation for practitioners, providing enhanced knowledge, skills and confidence in supporting parents, newborns and emergent parent-infant relationships.

Using the NBO in your practice

The NBO is designed to be a user-friendly, flexible relationship-building tool that can be used by any professional working with young infants, parents and families.

It is useful in a single session or as a series of sessions from birth to approximately age 3 months and can be integrated into any practice setting to add a strengths-based, individualised form of care.

Some examples include:

  • General Practitioner or paediatrician check-up for baby and parent(s) in the clinic
  • Child and family health nurse home visit or clinic consultation
  • Midwife or lactation consultant providing postnatal care
  • Neonatal nurse in NICU supporting baby and parents before discharge
  • Social worker or family worker in an intensive home-visiting or family reunification program
  • Occupational/ physical/ developmental therapist caring for infants at risk of developmental delay
  • Psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health nurse in a clinic or early parenting centre or mother-baby unit.
Australian and international evidence for the NBO

The first Australian Randomised Controlled Trial of the NBO, published in 2022, builds on international evidence for this simple, powerful tool.

The study found that 3 NBO sessions, administered by accredited clinicians in the first month of infancy, positively impacted on the infant-parent relationship and on maternal mental health, in new families with current or past maternal mental ill health identified in pregnancy.

You can read the full article: Wiley Online Library

For more information on international studies of the effectiveness of the NBO relationship-based intervention in diverse contexts, visit the NBO International website.

Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) training for professionals

In 2024, we are offering both online and in-person workshops.

The next New Zealand in-person NBO workshop will be in 2025.

For more detailed information about our NBO Training courses, visit: NBO training course information.

To register on our booking system, visit: the NBO Australasia Eventbrite page.  

Many workshops fill quickly and an early registration discount applies.

Our trainer team

Our close-knit team aims to offer highly-interactive workshops for professionals, with rich content and opportunity for small-group reflection.

Our trainers are:

  • Susan Nicolson, NBO Master Trainer and site-lead, GP, Infant-mental health clinician-researcher.
  • Campbell Paul, NBO Master Trainer, Consultant Infant Psychiatrist.
  • Dani Atkins, NBO Trainer, Occupational Therapist (New Zealand).
  • Natalie Duffy, NBO Trainer, Consultant Neonatologist.
Our training centre and international network

NBO Australasia based at the Royal Women’s Hospital (Melbourne) is the official training centre in Australia and New Zealand for the NBO system, developed by the Brazelton Institute, Boston (USA).

NBO Australasia is part of a network of training centres across the world making a difference to the lives of families through teaching the NBO and the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS).

Other countries with training centres include the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, South Africa, Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and our ‘parent centre’, the Brazelton Institute in Boston, USA.

These training centres, and their trained practitioners, form a global community of clinicians and researchers who work with babies and their families to understand baby behaviour and to strengthen families and communities.

To learn more, please visit:

Brazelton Institute

Newborn Behavior International

Testimonials and feedback

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course and think it is great concept to incorporate into a general practice setting. I have successfully incorporated elements of the NBO into the vast majority of my 6 week neonatal checks and the mothers have seemed universally enthusiastic about the concepts. In all cases I have felt an enhanced ability to model connection with the newborn, and my sense is that this has been viewed as both a helpful and novel approach."

Felicity Dent, General Practitioner, Melbourne

"Thanks for the training. I have done three observations so far and they have been incredibly powerful experiences, particularly for two of the families. And for me - it felt like there was this shared knowledge of the infant in the room with a level of detail I haven't been able to get to with families before." 

Dr Shikkiah de Quadros-Wander, Clinical Psychologist, Melbourne 

"A baby having a personality and communicating and responding to the world around them was something I had not given much thought to in 30 years of working in the field. I was amazed at the uniqueness of being able to involve parents interactively to help them get to know their babies. Performing these sessions was an amazing experience, observing subtle changes, pointing these out to parents, watching babies and parents respond. I find this is an extremely powerful tool to help parents engage more readily and bond with their babies and each other."

Katherine Hayward, Registered Nurse, Midwife, Lactation Consultant 

Support NBO Australasia

If you would like to support our work, please contact NBO Australasia via email, or call the Women's Office of Philanthropy and Community Investment on (03) 8345 2954.

Who can I contact for more information?

For further information on NBO Australasia, please email Jacinda Joy.