Attachment parenting is an approach which is based on scientific observation of child development processes, and it is supported by studies in a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, anthropology and primatology. While these studies are important,  what most of us really want is an opportunity to witness attachment parenting in action and to understand what difference it can make in our own lives on a day to day basis.

Some lucky people come to attachment parenting through the inspiring example of a friend. They observe the richness and joy this kind of parenting can bring, and want to make it part of their own lives. For many others, however, attachment parenting remains a theory - an idea which may seem interesting or attractive, but which has not yet been directly experienced. It can be difficult to make the leap from "ideas in a book" to imagining how it would work in the day to day struggles of your own life....

For this reason, we would like to invite people to send us their own stories of attachment parenting. How did you come to it? What has it meant in your life? What obstacles have you faced? What lessons have you learnt which may be helpful to others?

If you would like to contribute to this section, please send your story to

We look forward to hearing from you.


My children were born in 1976 and 1979, so I had to discover for myself what you are calling attachment parenting. That's as good a name as any. It put them fortuitously between the decline of Dr Spock and the rise of Robin Barker, so apart from a booklet from the Baby Health Centre which I mostly ignored, I was on my own. Literally, on an isolated farm with no close neighbours, family many miles away, and a husband with even less parenting experience than I had. And to cap it off, we had no phone, just a dodgy radio link to my brother-in-law 60 km away.

When I first became pregnant I was doing a university course that included anthropology and animal behaviour. My anthropology study included a look at the Kung tribe of Kalahari bushmen, and I was impressed with their low incidence of aggression, their laid-back lifestyle, and their peaceful, cheerful way of interacting.

My animal behaviour studies taught me that maternal behaviour is innate in all mammals, and I couldn't see why humans would be any different if we could ignore learned behaviour. At every stage of parenting of my babies, I thought, "What would a Kung woman do? What would she have time for? Where would her baby be right now in relation to the rest of the family?". (Not shut up in a room on their own, that was for sure.) 

I reasoned that the longest period of human development took place in a family/tribal environment not much different from how the Kung live, and so that is the environment that is "natural" to a baby. I tried to listen to my impulses and ignore learned expectations. I guess it's odd that I used an intellectual path to reach an instinctive response.

So my babies' upbringing included extended feeding on demand (until the age of two in the case of my son; my daughter lost interest sooner), being carried in a sling first on my front, then when they were older on my back, sleeping within arm's reach of our bed, and general inclusion in whatever was going on. It worked very well in fitting in with my work on the farm - I simply picked them up, threw in a spare nappy, and took them wherever I was going. If they got hungry, I sat down against a tractor tyre or fencepost and fed them; if they fell asleep, I settled them on a bunny rug on the ground beside me with the dog nearby to keep snakes away.

It wasn't hard - in fact, it would have been much harder for me to follow someone else's rules. It was a joyful, playful, learning time that laid a good foundation for our family. Of course there were worries, especially about what to do if they were sick, but that was a separate issue. I can't remember any real dilemmas about how to react to their needs. When I visited my mother when my first baby was a few months old, my aunt commented with wonder that he never cried. My mother replied, rather tartly I thought, "Of course not, he doesn't have anything to complain about".