Skip to main site content.
(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Baby Ban

Women’s conference lets a dog attend, but kicks breastfeeding mom with infant out of event

By WITW Staff on November 1, 2016

Last week, Liza Morris, a young mother, was ejected from TED’s annual women’s conference in San Francisco for bringing her 3-and-a-half-month-old baby to the event. The conference, where women pay up to $2,496 to hear luminaries such as U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi or architect and MacArthur Genius grant winner Jeanne Gang share ideas, does not allow anyone under 14 to attend — and that includes babies. TED faced a storm of criticism last year after attendee and KIVA co-founder Jessica Jackley was thrown out of the viewing area for bringing her 5-month-old infant. This year, the organization held onto its baby ban but came up with a list of options for nursing mothers, including a lactation room, discounted breast milk shipping and referrals to local nanny services. Morris, however, says it’s “not really a choice” with a baby that young, claiming she missed an e-mail about the baby ban and did not run into any problems on the first day of the three-day conference. However, on the second day she was approached by a TED staffer and security guard who escorted them out of the office after some attendees had complained about seeing the infant on the premises. “I told Liza we want to be supportive of all attendees, but we realize not everyone will be happy with the policy,” said content director Kelly Stoetzel.

After being removed from the venue, Morris was given the option of watching the conference from a TV screen in the lactation room or a nearby hotel suite. Ironically enough, that same day, lactation researcher Katie Hinde was delivering a speech emphasizing the importance of mothers’ breast milk, in which she said, “In 15 years of scholarship, the most important thing that I’ve learned is that we don’t do enough to support mothers and babies.” Morris spent the rest of the day with her daughter in the narrow, windowless lactation room, but was appalled when she later saw that a dog (which TED identified as a service dog for one of the attendees) had been allowed in the TED viewing area. “It’s never even occurred to me that I couldn’t take my baby. If I had been aware [of TED’s policy], I certainly would have tried to cancel. But I have to clarify that when I have a child at a venue, I will never let her disturb anyone,” she said. “When I was pregnant with my first child four years ago, I saw my friend take her 1-year old baby [to a similar event]. “Thinking back, it was quite an inspiration to me, knowing that you still get out and have a life when you have a child,” she added.

Read the full story at Quartz.


Georgia mother humiliated by police officer for breastfeeding at Piggly Wiggly

Unicef breastfeeding campaign is met with derision

Canada’s P.M. Justin Trudeau shared a photo of his wife breastfeeding on Twitter