Babies in Mind Seminar

12th December 2016

The first #mabim Babies in Mind Seminar showcased how the Brazelton Newborn Behaviour Observation (NBO) tool can promote maternal and infant mental health.

This was the first of a series of seminars showcasing how professionals can support the mother-infant relationship.

Sally Hogg introduced the seminar. She explained the wider Mums and Babies in Mind Project, which is run by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.

Sally explained how perinatal mental illness increases the risk of poor outcomes for babies. However these problems are not inevitable.

Sally explained the importance of supporting the mother-infant relationship. This is highlighted in NICE guidance and is a core part of any good perinatal mental health service.

Joanna Hawthorne from the Brazelton Centre UK introduced the NBO. She showed lovely films demonstrating babies early capacities and interactions.

The NBO promotes healthy relationships through helping parents to observe how their baby behaves and communicates.

There is some evidence that the NBO improves both maternal and infant mental health. More RCTs are underway.

Catherine Mee couldn't be with us but Joanna delivered her slides about the use of NBO in Tameside. Professionals from Tameside described sharing the 'magical moments' of a family getting to know each other.

Deborah O'Dea described the challenges facing many babies in Blackpool, who are born into families facing multiple adversities.

Deborah shared a powerful case study of how NBO had helped a family in Blackpool.

Catherine Whitcombe spoke passionately about the value of the NBO in Gloucestershire, where more Health Visitors are now being trained in the tool.

In the discussion session, it was agreed that the Brazelton approach and principles could usefully be adopted by all professionals working with families who have a new baby, even if they don't use the tool itself. Brazelton gives professionals a language to engage parents, describe babies' behaviour and give babies a voice.

There was also discussion about how we might communicate some of the content from the NBO directly to parents. Tameside have developed a DVD to do this. The films on also help parents understand babies' states and cues.

It was a great discussion, leaving us with lots of inspiration and food for thought! We look forward to the next Babies in Mind seminar in 2017.

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