On babies and TED

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At this year’s TEDWomen conference, we tried out some new ideas for accommodating attendees with small children. Beyond a lactation room, for instance, we offered a list of local, vetted caregiver services to call upon, a free livestream pass for caregivers, a free breast-milk shipping service, and a suite at a nearby hotel where attendees and caregivers with small children could gather and watch the livestream together.

We did not, however, reverse our grownups-only policy. That’s because, simply put, our attendees have been vocal about us maintaining it.

But in our attempt to accommodate all our audiences, we fell short: A newborn was turned away from TEDWomen last week, and the disappointed mother wondered how an organization like TED could leave her with so few options.

That disappointment touches a nerve here at TED. Many of us are parents, and there’s no denying that many of the moving ideas shared on stage last week — ones that demanded a healthier world for babies and their parents — prompt us to ask: How can TED do its part to set a new standard?

We haven’t figured this out yet, but we are trying — and listening. We’ve been in touch with parents from this event and others to help us take a hard look at how we can better support parents of babies and small children. We recognize the importance of getting this right. Stay tuned.