Understanding Your Baby

The early emotional contact between parent and child is very important for the child’s psychological development in a number of areas, such as emotion regulation and social competencies. Infants tell their parents how they feel not using words but behavior. Parents may need a key to understand their child’s behavioral communication. The research project Understanding Your Baby aims at supporting first time parents’ resources for understanding and meeting their 0-1 year old children’s social and emotional needs.

The research project Understanding Your Baby started in January 2019 and runs until the end of 2024. The research project includes about 200 health nurses from 10 Danish municipalities and 1300 first time parents.

The Alarm Distress Baby Scale (ADBB) is a scientifically validated and standardized tool for observing and evaluating infant social contact. All of the participating municipalities have already implemented the ADBB as part of the health nurses’ routine visits. In this project, the health nurses receive further qualifications regarding children’s social and emotional development, and how to pass this knowledge on to new parents.

Furthermore, as part of Understanding Your Baby, we have created an online library of videos based on scientific knowledge about infant social and emotional development, that promote positive activities in early parent-child interactions. The video library is publicly available, to both parents and professionals, at www.forstaadinbaby.dk.

Understanding Your Baby combines research and supportive initiatives

In Understanding Your Baby, data is first collected from a group of first time parents, who receive the health nurses’ usual care. Then the health nurses receive training, and data is collected from a group of first time parents receiving the usual care plus the Understanding Your Baby intervention. The effect of the intervention is then evaluated according to several outcome measures, including parental sense of competence and stress, and child socioemotional development. Furthermore, we evaluate the implementation of the intervention, including the health nurses’ experience of the intervention and its helpfulness in their daily practice.

The ten participating municipalities

Understanding Your Baby is a partnership between the Center of Early Intervention and Family Studies at University of Copenhagen and 10 Danish municipalities. The municipalities are Køge, Høje Taastrup, Holbæk, Frederiksberg, Hvidovre, Lolland, Næstved, Nyborg, Middelfart and Aalborg. The health nurses participate in the development of the Understanding your Baby intervention and all municipalities contribute by funding the health nurses’ participation in the courses.

The project is funded by the Nordea Foundation with 10.215.150 DKK and the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen with 1.315.646 DKK.