GUEST POST by Sarah from Birth and Beyond
Do you ever feel as though you’d like your baby to just TELL you what’s going on for them? Life might be so much easier!
Before we become parents we often don’t have much experience of listening to babies. It’s also not a skill that most people are born with and the great thing is that it’s never too late to practise.
After going to the World Association for Infant Mental Health congress, I was inspired to train as a Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) Practitioner with the Brazelton Centre in the UK. Now that might sound a bit of a mouthful, but basically it means that I go through a set of reflexes and motor responses with each baby, in order to find out more about their strengths and how they like to communicate.
It’s been really rewarding work, not least because so many parents discover just how much they already know about their child. Quite often when I’m going through the observation, one or both of the parents will tell me what their baby’s responses and preferences will be in different situations. Quite often it is easy not to notice how well you know your child and how much you have learnt, so it can really boost parents’ confidence to realise that they ARE the expert.
The other great thing is that it gives parents more of an idea of what their baby might be communicating. I had the joy of working with twins, who responded very differently. The mother told me how doing the NBO helped her support her babies as separate people, responding to their different ways of communicating, rather than seeing one as being ‘better’ or ‘easier’ than the other. This will have a lifelong impact on the whole family.
The NBO also gives parents a sense of what to look out for, to help them know when their baby has had enough. Babies cues can be subtle but, as we know, if they are not picked up on early-ish they can escalate. Babies have a variety of ways to show that their system is under stress and learning what your baby’s cues are can give you more ability to respond to your child’s needs quickly.
Having a greater sense of competence as a parent has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of postnatal depression and anxiety. The NBO has been linked to reduced postnatal depression as it provides as way for parents to feel more confident in their knowledge about their baby and more competent in their ability to understand and respond to their baby’s cues.
If you would like to find out more about the NBO, have a Baby Kind session, or organise a workshop to find out more about how it works, please do get in contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a fascinating process and I’d love to chat about it.
Cues and tuning into your baby will be discussed at the Preparing for Parenting classes and a visit from Sarah when your baby or babies have arrived will really help you to understand what your baby is saying to you, how you can meet their needs meaning happier baby and more relaxed, confident parents.
Much love, Tricia xxx