BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) –There’s no doubt, new parenthood can be exhausting and stressful. It’s not unusual for women to feel the baby blues or in some cases, much more serious postpartum depression. Now researchers in Boston say a program that helps parents better understand their newborns may also help reduce maternal depression.
Little Julian DeLaRosa has only been in the outside world for a few days, but mom Katelynn is a veteran. He’s her third.
Katelynn told Ivanhoe, “With my first, I was really nervous; worried about things. I’m more relaxed this time.”
Katelynn is also armed with new information. Developed in Boston, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital use the newborn behavioral observation system.
“The focus was very much on who is this little boy or girl, how can we capture his personhood, who he really is,” explained Kevin Nugent, PhD, a child psychologist at the Brazelton Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
Nugent and his colleagues at the world-renowned Brazelton institute developed the NBO, a tool designed to help parents understand their babies and promote a positive relationship from the very beginning.
Clinicians and parents observe the newborns together to see among other things how babies respond to their new world.
“What we did today was shake a rattle to be an on-purpose interruption,” detailed Lise Johnson, MD, a pediatrician at the Well-Baby Care at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Despite the noise, little Julian can protect his sleep. Research suggests that this strength-based approach can help reduce postpartum depression. In a study of 106 moms, half participated in NBO, and the other half did not. One month later, the NBO moms were less depressed and more sensitive to their babies’ cues. Nugent suggests every behavior parents observe is a baby’s attempt to communicate. Trust yourself to learn and understand his cues.
Hospitals and clinics in Massachusetts, Ohio, California and Wisconsin are among the first in the United States to implement the newborn behavioral observations. NBO has been used with clinicians and families for years in Denmark and the UK. The National Health Service recommends the use of the NBO to support all new parents.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Bob Walko, Editor and Roque Correa, Videographer.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.