Every day (and night), countless new moms trawl the internet, bleary eyed, desperately seeking advice on how to get their infants to sleep. Many of them find their way to Taking Cara Babies, a website and Instagram account run by infant sleep influencer Cara Dumaplin, who describes herself as “a mom of four, neonatal nurse, wife of a pediatrician, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant.” 

It turns out that she’s also a Donald Trump supporter who made over 36 donations (18 in 2020 alone) to the now ex-president. Many of her customers were not happy to learn this. 

“I'm a doula and lactation counselor, and I just followed Taking Cara Babies a few days ago since people have highly recommended it,” Courtney Hart tells me. “I was going to look into her guidance and potentially refer clients to her. I absolutely will NOT be doing so, in light of her support of Trump.”

Dumaplin released a terse statement on January 21 admitting that she donated $1,078 to Trump, writing, "As with many citizens, there were aspects of the Trump administration that I agreed with and some that I did not agree with." But she did not disavow Trump or apologize to those who have expressed their disappointment in her for making the contributions.

Politics aside, many certified lactation consultants have expressed concern over the years about Dumaplin’s breastfeeding recommendations. “We have not found, in spite of her claims, the methodology that she promotes to be supportive of breastfeeding and human lactation,” Katie DiMarco Ruck, a lactation consultant at the Parenting Studio tells me via Facebook Messenger. “And babies and parents have paid the price with failure to thrive and lost milk supplies.” 

Some parents have also been dismayed by the cost of her content relative to its usefulness. Some Redditors have long argued that her “courses” are little more than PDFs repackaging existing sleep training approaches—like the Ferber method and the work of Dr. Harvey Karp—that Dumaplin then rebrands and sells for as much as $300. 

 “I was never going to pay for the course,” says Arielle, a Brooklyn mom familiar with Dumaplin’s advice. (I agreed to use only her first name.) “I don’t think it’s fundamentally all that different from any other sleep training. It’s modified Ferber basically.” What Dumaplin does have over other infant sleep experts is a carefully curated and brand-friendly message of female empowerment. Dumaplin’s pastel-themed Instagram page has over 1 million followers and is filled with inspirational quotes and short videos of the influencer denouncing “mom shaming” in a soothing voice.

That message of inclusivity—one that Dumaplin has built her entire, very profitable, brand upon—seems, to many, contrary to Trump’s hostile views on reproductive rights, immigrant children, and respect for women.

Some caregivers were skeptical of Taking Cara Babies even before news of her political leanings emerged. Alexa Suskin says that after doing some research, she became convinced that the courses had nothing new to offer. “Her advice was awful, and so are her politics. I found a lot of [the course] hard on moms and super misogynistic.”

Since the news of her donations emerged, Dumaplin has disabled her Instagram comments. But many of the reactions were captured in screenshots. 

It remains to be seen how, if at all, this will affect the Taking Cara Babies brand. As a wealthy white woman living in Arizona, it’s not surprising that she would donate to a Republican. But, if you’re interested in alternatives, Dr. Harvey Karp has been a regular donor to ACT BLUE, the organization that helped get out the vote in Pennsylvania and flip the US Congress. Just saying!

This article was published on January 20, 2021, and has since been updated with Dumaplin's statement and more reactions from her followers.