Discovering Your Baby Project

What is the Discovering Your Baby Project?

The discovering your baby project is part of the Human Development Strategic Initiative at Austen Riggs.The Austen Riggs Center, in collaboration with multiple community organizations, has initiated the Discovering Your Baby Project with the primary aim of supporting new families in South Berkshire County. The transition to parenthood is a critical time in the development of a family. By protecting time for listening to parents together with their newborns we hope to support new relationships and help parents connect with their own natural expertise. The Discovering Your Baby Project has four components, utilizing the Newborn Behavioral Observations system (NBO) as its foundation.

  1. NBO training for a range of community organizations;
  2. Implementation of the NBO at the Fairview Hospital’s Family Birthplace;
  3. Research designed to measure the impact of the interventions; and
  4. Continued efforts to bring the community together around the importance of infant mental health.

​​What is the Newborn Behavioral Observations System (NBO)?

Recognizing the baby as a unique individual with great competencies is the aim of the NBO. It consists of 18 neurobehavioral observations that demonstrate the baby’s behavior as a form of communication, supporting parents’ efforts to listen to and make sense of that communication. Parents who have experienced the NBO often remember it vividly years later. Mothers, fathers, and siblings can participate. The NBO is not a test and there is no score, rather, it is an opportunity to make room for this new person in relationship with caregivers and within the family.

How is South Berkshire County learning about the NBO?

We have collaborated with Chapter One, the South County Coalition of Berkshire United Way, to provide NBO training for a wide range of practitioners who work with parents and infants. Participants in a recent training at Austen Riggs included staff members from Fairview Hospital’s Family Birthplace, Community Health Programs (CHP) Family Services, CHP GB Health Center, MACONY Pediatrics, Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. (CCB) Healthy Families Program, Porchlight Visiting Nurse Association/Home Care, LifeWorks Studio, Berkshire Nursing Families, Pediatric Development Center, as well as a number of staff from the Austen Riggs Center. We are conducting a study of the impact of the training and plan to hold more trainings in the future.

How are the Austen Riggs Center and Fairview Hospital working together?

Austen Riggs has partnered with Fairview Hospital to offer the NBO to all families who deliver in their Family Birthplace. All of the maternity nurses are being trained in the NBO, and we are conducting a research study to examine the impact of this new intervention. Our staff meets with families planning to deliver at Fairview at the prenatal tour, again at the time of the birth of the baby, and a third time in a home visit one month after delivery.

Who do I contact to learn more?

Jessica Vargas
Research Assistant
[413] 931.5214