There is an interesting discussion going on at MomSpark about Taking Babies to Blogging Conferences. What is the Proper Etiquette?
Note that I have not attended a blogging conference yet but I have attended many conferences for work. I personally like an open invitation for children to be at blogging conferences but it may be more appropriate if it is a predominantly female audience (like BlogHer) and has a higher ratio of moms attending the event. That is one of the most supportive statements you can make for moms - be it part-time or full-time bloggers. Of course, this is not to say that if your child is going through a phase where it is just not appropriate to bring them, that you should be oblivious to that fact and bring them anyway. However, I do have some proposed ideas to enhance and build a support network around making this happen.
1) Have on-site childcare available (either sponsored or at a small fee)
2) Section off a "cry room" so mothers can attend the conference but if baby cries, they are in a sound proof room. We have cry rooms in churches, why not at a conference?
3) Appoint a "committee" of staff who have the right to request that a parent with a disruptive child exit the main hall into the cry room - if an upfront form is signed by attendees indicating the policies clearly and that they cannot refuse the request when such a committee member approaches them, then it's clear for everyone. This puts a little pressure on the mom to remove herself before she is asked. And relieves the awkwardness and frustration experienced by other paying participants if you are more "oblivious" to the cries/fussing of your children than the average parent.
4) Communicate and enforce the policy on not allowing sick children in the main area of the conference. There's really no need to get other moms or other children sick!
What do you think? Some of the comments so far are for parents bringing their children as long as they have the initiative to leave the conference area if their children are fussing. But some related their experience with the babies being too distracting. How do you feel about this?