Do you hear that? Listen closer. It’s the sound of Mommy Instagram and conservatives equally up in arms over the revelation that the founder of a popular sleep training program, Cara Dumaplin, is a Trump supporter. Dumaplin, also known as Taking Cara Babies, has 1.3 million followers on Instagram and, according to her website, has been on Good Morning America and featured in publications such as PEOPLE, Parents, and Huffpost. But now, following revelations that the mom of four and sleep expert has made numerous donations to the Trump campaign, there are calls to boycott the classes and their founder.
Dumaplin, according to her site, is a mom of four, neonatal nurse, and the wife of a pediatrician. She’s also a certified pediatric sleep consultant and, as evidenced by her 1.3 million IG followers, her method is popular. “I finally did your newborn course this week with my 3rd child and it’s already changed my life! Thank you!!” one commenter wrote on one of per posts. Another gushed, “Literally so helpful. Went from a terrible napper to a 4 month who puts himself to sleep.” Dumaplin sells access to materials (such as video courses, reference booklets, and phone consultations with her staff) to sleep train babies from 0-12 weeks all the way up to 5-24 months. The classes range from $79 to $319.
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Earlier in the week, someone got the idea to search the FEC website for Dumaplin and found that she and her husband made numerous donations to the Trump campaign in 2019. Screenshots of the donation records were then shared on social media. Jamie Grayson, formerly known as “TheBabyGuyNYC”, an expert in the baby gear and child safety space, posted the screenshots to his Facebook page and on his Instagram stories. Brandi Jordan, founder of Cradle Company, also shared the screenshots on Facebook.
In a period where more people are being thoughtful about where their money goes, some parents and parenting experts are drawing the line. As Grayson put it in a Facebook post, “You cannot take cara babies if the person you’re supporting puts them in cages. Full stop.”
Others take issue with Dumaplin’s so-called “multicultural marketing” (on MLK Day, she posted a photo of a Black baby girl with a caption about raising babies to change the world), while donating to the campaign of a person who pushed for a Musim travel ban, referred to African nations as “sh*thole countries”, and stoked white supremacists, among other harmful, racist actions. Jordan wrote on Facebook, “I’m ll for everyone supporting the ideas and politics that speak to them. However, please be upfront about them and don’t use ‘multicultural’ marketing to cover your obvious support of a racist.”
In response, Dumaplin released a statement saying, “Taking Cara Babies is about helping babies get sleep and parents reclaiming the joy of parenthood that’s often lost due to sleep deprivation. Between 2016 and 2019, I made a series of donations (totaling $1,078) to the Trump campaign. As with many citizens, there were aspects of the Trump Administration that I agreed with and some that I disagreed with. I will continue to serve all parents by empowering them with the tools they need to help their babies sleep.”
While @biglittlefeelings, a company that offers tips and a course for managing toddler tantrums, posted a thinly veiled statement on their IG story saying, “We as a brand do not stand by these donations and have unfollowed and sent a personal note,” at the moment, her IG following has not suffered. However, that didn’t stop conservatives quickly decried the “woke left” for “canceling” Dumaplin.
Just saw a huge campaign to try and get parents to stop following/buying from a 1million+ IG account (Taking Cara Babies) b/c it was discovered she was a Trump donor.
Who is next? This is just not okay.
— ErickaAndersen (@ErickaAndersen) January 21, 2021
While it goes without saying that doxxing someone and sending them threats is never okay, her donations are publicly accessible information, and people are free to spend their money (or not) how they want. This also conveniently ignores the fact that conservatives also make politically-motivated decisions about where to spend their money and time, as evidenced by the “unfollow” comments on any given meme page that makes fun of Trump (or, in my case, points out the fact that he was impeached twice). Plus, it’s literally the same thing as conservatives urging their followers to support Dumaplin in the wake of the revelation, just on the other side of the coin.
The reality is, the people who care about the fact that Dumaplin supported Trump will choose not to patronize her business, and the people who aren’t bothered by it will continue to support her. And, in fact, the bigger threat to her business may be the criticism that her method isn’t all that proprietary.
Images: Liudmila Fadzeyeva / Shutterstock.com; takincarababies / Instagram; ErickaAnderson / Twitter