T. Berry Brazelton

A well-known American pediatrician, writer, researcher, and educator.

Like his predecessor, Benjamin Spock (1903– 1998), T. Berry Brazelton earned a global reputation as a trusted expert on child care, reaching a mass audience through books, personal appearances, newspaper columns, media, and a cable television program. His research on infant behavior and development led him to formulate the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), a series of clinical tests used in hospitals worldwide. Brazelton's efforts on behalf of children also have been extended to the public policy arena through congressional appearances, advocacy, and lobbying efforts.

Thomas Berry Brazelton II was born in Waco, Texas, on May 10, 1918. By the sixth grade he had decided on a career in pediatrics. He earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton in 1940 and his M.D. from Columbia University in 1943. He remained there another year as an intern and then served for a year in the naval reserves. He completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he fulfilled an additional residency in child psychiatry at the James Jackson Putnam Children's Center in Roxbury. Brazelton opened his private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950 and became an instructor at Harvard Medical School the following year. He also began research on newborns, toddlers, and parents with the goal of helping parents better understand and interact with their children. Among Brazelton's areas of particular interest are individual differences among newborns, parent-infant attachment during the first four months of life, and the effects of early intervention on at-risk infants. Based on his research data, Brazelton developed the NBAS, first published in 1973. The test, popularly called the Brazelton, uses visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli to assess the manner in which newborns respond to their environment. It has been used widely both clinically and as a research tool.

Brazelton's interest in shifting the focus of pediatric study from disease to infant development led him to found the Child Development Unit at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston in 1972, in conjunction with Edward Tronick. The unit provides medical students and other professionals with the opportunity to perform research in the area of early child development and to prepare for clinical work with parents and children. Brazelton published two dozen books and more than 200 articles. He is perhaps best known for his cable television show, What Every Baby Knows. Brazelton also wrote a syndicated newspaper advice column.

See also Child development ; Child psychology ; Learning ; Parent-child relationships.



Brazelton, T. Berry. Touchpoints Birth to 3: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2013.

Everett, Craig. Children of Divorce: Developmental and Clinical Issues. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis, 2014.

Gnaulati, Enrico. Back to Normal: Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior Is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Boston: Beacon Press, 2013.

Gomez, Juan Carlos. Apes, Monkeys, Children, and the Growth of Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Howe, Christine. Peer Groups and Children's Development. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Huesmann, L. Rowell. Television and the Aggressive Child: A

Cross-National Comparison. London: Routledge, 2013. Isaacs, Susan. Social Development in Young Children.

Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Kamat, Deepak M., and Philip R. Fischer. Textbook of Global Child Health. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012.

Killen, Melanie, and Adam Rutland. Children and Social Exclusion: Morality, Prejudice, and Group Identity. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley, 2011.

Milevsky, Avidan. Sibling Relationships in Childhood and Adolescence: Predictors and Outcomes. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

Music, Graham. Nurturing Natures: Attachment and Children's Emotional, Sociocultural, and Brain Development. Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press, 2011.

Rathus, Spencer A. Childhood: Voyages in Development, 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

Robins, Gill. Praise, Motivation, and the Child. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Schwartz, Richard G. Handbook of Child Language Disorders. New York: Psychology Press, 2009.

Shaffer, David R., and Katherine Kipp. Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2014.

Shaw, Jon A., et al. Care of Children Exposed to the Traumatic Effects of Disaster. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric, 2012.

Solomon, Andrew. Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. New York: Scribner, 2012.


McManus, Beth M., and J. Kevin Nugent. “Feasibility Study of Early Intervention Provider Confidence Following a Neurobehavioural Intervention for High-risk Newborns.” Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 29, no. 4 (September 2011): 395–403.


The Brazelton Institute. “T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.” http://www.brazelton-institute.com/berrybio.html (accessed September 15, 2015).

Brazelton Touchpoints Center. “T. Berry Brazelton, MD.” http://www.brazeltontouchpoints.org/about/who-we-are/t-berry-brazelton-md/ (accessed September 15, 2015).