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Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale

T. Berry Brazelton, a pediatrician and researcher, published the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale (BNAS) in the early 1970s. The scale enables parents, health care professionals, and researchers to understand a newborn's language, as well as individual strengths and needs in depth. The BNAS assesses various behaviors of infants until two months of age and takes about thirty minutes to administer. This assessment evaluates four main areas, including the infants' ability to monitor their own breathing, temperature, and other bodily systems; control their motor movements; maintain an appropriate level of consciousness, which ranges from quiet sleep to a full cry; and interact socially with parents and other caregivers. The purpose of the BNAS is to help professionals assess the infant's pattern of response to the environment and then assist parents with strategies to build a positive relationship with their infant.


Brazelton, T. Berry, and Bertrand G. Cramer, eds. "The Assessment of the Newborn." The Earliest Relationship. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1990.

Tedder, Janice L. "Using the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale to Facilitate the Parent-Infant Relationship in Primary Care Settings." Nurse Practitioner 16 (1991):27-36.

Joan Ziegler Delahunt

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 2