A slumbering baby, blissfully unaware of its sleep trainer’s political sympathies.
Photo: Tatyana Tomsickova Photography/Getty Images
Well, well, well, what’s this? Another installment of niche drama in the baby-influencer department? No, I do not mean to suggest that another Instagram personality has named their newborn “Baby.” (Although, thrillingly, that possibility always exists.) Instead, I would like to call your attention to the parenting forums of Facebook, where a boycott is brewing against formerly beloved child-care consultant Cara Dumaplin. According to Jezebel, which broke news of the controversy on Wednesday, this sleep-training guru — who operates under the professional name Taking Cara Babies, get it? — has been funneling some of the profits from her pricey classes into the Trump campaign’s coffers. Progressive parents are pissed, and the resulting furor has reportedly forced Taking Cara Babies off of Facebook. (Arguably the ultimate mommy blogger punishment.)
Below, a brief guide to the drama.
Cara Dumaplin, a self-described “mom of four, neonatal nurse, wife of a pediatrician, and … certified pediatric sleep consultant” who says she gave “birth” (get it??) to Taking Cara Babies in 2013. In her spare time, she “love[s] to laugh, wear yoga pants, and wander through the aisles of Target.” Is a picture forming for you?
For a fee — we’re talking $179 to $319 per consultation package for the 5 to 24 month bracket — Taking Cara Babies offers advice to parents on sleep training their infants, i.e., inducing their babies to fall asleep without the comforting intervention of adults. That advice comes in the form of a 90-minute video course, a reference booklet, and possibly also phone consultations, depending on how much one is willing to spend. There are different price categories for different baby phases, but generally speaking, Dumaplin’s time costs a fair amount of money. (Think: $75 for 40 minutes on the phone.)
Still, Taking Cara Babies is a popular concept: The brand had 1.3 million Instagram followers at time of writing, and Dumaplin herself has been featured on Good Morning America as a “baby whisperer.”
Per Jezebel, “It’s unclear who first decided to do a quick Federal Elections Commission search for Dumaplin’s name.” But there may have been some context clues — the frequent mention of allegiance to Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain known for its hard-line, conservative Christian values, for example, or the military content, or the cop content. Don’t judge a book by its cover and all, but this account has a very familiar vibe.
Anyway, word of this woman’s political sympathies reached a few big names in the parenting sphere earlier this week. On Tuesday, Jamie Grayson, of the Baby Guy Gear Guide, tweeted screenshots documenting transfers from the Dumaplins to the Make America Great Again Committee. According to Jezebel, the donations amount to nearly $2,000 since 2019.
The people are livid! Or, some of them are. Online, where a heated discourse is naturally unfolding, some have opined that a person’s politics are not necessarily relevant to their ability to help babies sleep. Others (who probably also support Trump, fwiw) have called “political discrimination.” For the most part, though, Dumaplin’s critics seem indignant at the fact that the not-insignificant sums they’ve paid her have helped support a man whose racist, sexist politics consistently made life harder for women and children. See: the anti-abortion agenda that made basic, reproductive health care more expensive and more difficult to access; the migrant children separated from their families and detained in cages. That topic seems to be coming up a lot.
Objectively, throwing your weight behind a man who has worked hard to distance himself from any kind of parenting role, who has been so resolute about his refusal to ever change a diaper, feels like a weird choice for a parenting consultant. A difficult position to square. Not particularly “on-brand,” so to speak. And then, there is the point made by Brandi Jordan, founder of the Cradle Company, who noted on Facebook that Dumaplin regularly “use[s] ‘multicultural’ marketing” to promote her product, even as she supports a man who seems to sympathize with white supremacists. Jordan pointed to a Taking Cara Babies Instagram post celebrating Martin Luther King Day, featuring a Black baby in a “future world changers” onesie. I mean, yeah, you can certainly see where she’s coming from.
Maybe it also bears noting that, if you are in the market for a sleep-training course — or a $79 course dedicated to infants and entitled, “Will I Ever Sleep Again?” — you are probably also very tired. Your patience is probably frayed, and your nerves are possibly shot, due to sheer exhaustion. This is extremely understandable, if also potentially liable to escalate stress. Just saying.
Well, of course, donating to Trump — 36 times since 2016, with 18 of those donations having been made in 2020 alone, per Jordan’s Facebook post — is not in and of itself a crime. It is, however, sustained support of a man whose rhetoric and actions and policies all point to extreme bigotry and have all had devastating consequences for the country. Naturally that is probably going to lose Dumaplin some business (and unfortunately, probably also gain her some). According to Jezebel, some parents are attempting a boycott of sorts, while others have demanded refunds. It does not appear that Dumaplin has issued a statement on the matter, but we will keep you apprised of the situation as it develops.