Hotel stays with a Baby

I never minded staying in a hotel room, it’s a nice feeling of stepping away from your everyday life. And adding a baby to the hotel room isn’t all that bad. We started traveling with our daughter when she was 5 months old. We flew to Phoenix Arizona, spent a few days there and then drove up to Sedona. It was such a great experience after that first night of adjusting with the time change. Since then, our daughter has stayed in probably 50 hotels, if I had to count. She is almost 4. Now we have our second baby and he is just starting to gain his experience with little hotel getaways.

I hope this read finds you planning a getaway.  Here’s some great tips to surviving a hotel stay with a baby.

Special Requests

Before arriving to the hotel, call ahead to make some special requests. First, ask if they can set up the pack and play or crib prior to your arrival. This is especially important if you are getting in during the night. And hotels are NOT baby proof…at all. So you’ll need this safe space to place baby while you’re preoccupied.

Ask for a fridge. Some hotels don’t come with them anymore, which I think is crazy. But they are so useful for obvious reasons. Particularly with a baby, you may need it for breastmilk, formula, yogurt, or fresh snacks.

If it’s in the budget, ask for a suite so you have a kitchenette available. The clean kitchen sink is important for washing baby bottles, feeding items, and pacifiers. If not, no big deal, just bring a washing brush and dish soap to wash those items in the bathroom sink.

Things to Bring

Sheets – Bring a top sheet or ask the hotel at check in for an extra sheet, it’s great to throw a big sheet down on the floor for your crawling baby.  This creates a nice clean space for baby to play with toys and worry less about all the floor germs. Also, I always bring my own baby’s crib sheet. Some hotels may have a crib but they usually don’t have actual crib sheets and end up using their big bed sheets to fold over the crib mattress. Using our own crib sheets make me feel better about cleanliness anyways. These days we’re packing our own portable crib, but when we start flying again I won’t be bringing that along. 

Bedtime – Be sure to pack all the necessities your baby needs for sleep. While packing for a trip I had all our clothes and pajamas but completely forgot a swaddle! That would have been a bit of a disaster, my babies loved their swaddle. But luckily my husband was coming later in a separate car, so he was able to grab it. Other sleep aids may include a sound machine, nightlight, pacifier, etc.  We always always use our portable sound machine. And most recently we prefer to bring our own portable crib. It’s super easy to set up and take down.

Feeding Time – Bottles, sippy cup, baby spoons, bibs… whatever you use to feed you baby, you’ll likely have to wash them at some point. I breastfeed my baby 90% of the time, but every night he gets extra breastmilk in a bottle and I pump once a night. So I have a whole separate bag packed with the breast pump and parts, and all the washing items with it. Bottle brush, dish detergent, drying towel (I prefer to place the clean bottles on my own clean dish towel). It’s also good to have these washing items to clean pacifiers or teething toys…or let’s face it, any toy because they all end up in baby’s mouth. For longer hotel stays consider bringing a travel booster chair, we use the Cirrus from Baby Delight Inc. It is so compact and convenient, it’s silly not to bring it.

Bath Time – Bring your own baby wash cloths because it’s typical for those hotel wash cloths to be rough. And your own baby soap/shampoo. Baby skin can be so delicate or sensitive, so stick with what you know to prevent any skin or eye irritation.

Cleaning Time – Particularly now, I take extra steps in cleaning the hotel room. I bring disinfectant wipes, Lysol spray and paper towels. Before unpacking, I do my best to clean everything. I Lysol all the door knobs and furniture handles. And wipe down any surface I may be putting our things on or think we will be touching. I clean the bathroom just as I would at home and run the shower water to wash anything away. It sounds like a lot, but it is rather quick and I don’t stress over it more than just giving it a good run through. After all, we made the choice to leave our house so I’m going to enjoy it.

First Aid – As with any travel time away from home, better to be prepared than dealing with an uncomfortable baby in a foreign town. Consider bringing along nasal saline drops, Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, Band-Aids, and alcohol swabs. Just in case. Because if you have them packed, of course you won’t need them.

Location

Ideally you want to pick a hotel that is central to everything, although that may not be possible. But if you plan on visiting a city and exploring different parks, museums, attractions etc, you’ll want to strategically choose a hotel that can be walking distance. It’s so nice to be able to use a stroller and get around everywhere.

Inside your hotel, you’ll want to request a room away from the elevator. Elevators on their own can be noisy and then add other people in and out of them. You don’t need that waking up baby during naps or night time. Or consider the first floor if you don’t care for a room with a view. It’s nice going in and out of the hotel and keeping your baby in the stroller, whether it’s to keep your hands free or load the stroller up with bags and things from your outings.

Sleeping Arrangements

We all know babies tend to go to sleep and stay asleep better when they can’t see you. A second bedroom would be wonderful but that could be doubling your hotel expense. I’m not for that.  Instead we book a two queen bed room, place the crib or pack and play on the far side of the bed furthest from the bathroom (the bed we don’t sleep in).  Stack the pillows from that bed up in the middle to make a wall. It works sooo well to basically hide yourselves from the sleeping child. Because that is what parenting has come to.  And you know what, I’m ok with it.  It means we can still travel and get a good nights sleep.

My best advice to you is to lower your expectations and let go of the little things. You may forget something, but it’s likely you can buy whatever it is you need or live without it. Not everything will go as planned, but make the most of it and have fun. You’ll be home before you know it. Oh and don’t forget to use that “Do Not Disturb” sign so the hotel staff doesn’t wake your baby! Go ahead and just leave it on the door the whole stay.

>>The New England Momma

3 Tips to Surviving Road Trips with a Baby

Times are weird right now. Personally, we’re not ready to fly anywhere quite yet because of our baby, but we do miss traveling so much. I think I’m even willing to drive 22 hours just to get down to some family in Florida.  However, then we have to follow state regulations with COVID testing and self-quarantining when we return..eek. In the meantime, we have some closer road trips planned and will be spending just a few hours in the car. So here’s how to survive a road trip with a baby.

photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. Timing

They say timing is everything. It is, it really is. Especially when you have kids, timing out the day as best you can makes such a big difference.  The best time to leave on a road trip is shortly after a feeding. This way, baby is not going to be hungry for a while. You can play with them in the car seat hopefully for a good hour depending on how old your baby is, then it’s that lovely car ride motion that lulls them off to nap or a decent sleep if you’ve left in the evening! We took a 7 hour drive from Massachusetts to Virginia when our son was 4 months old, only stopping once for 30 minutes. It was perfect. We left at about 4pm, after he had just nursed. He was awake for a good hour, napped for 2 hours and then we pit-stopped for gas and breastfeeding! Back on the road, the little guy stayed awake til 9pm and then slept until we got to our destination at 11pm.

2. Entertainment

Sure you could easily play the iPad or DVD player the whole way there, but I try to use that as my last resort. If you are driving with another adult, definitely have one of you sit in the back with baby. For obvious reasons, this will help a ton. The entertainer can keep your little one busy for much longer. Pack toys, books, random safe objects that grab your baby’s attention. Pick books with “touch and feel” or toys with sound or light to spice things up. Sometimes I will buy a special “never been seen” toy for the trip just so it’s something new and exciting that will hold their attention longer. But really just any toy that hasn’t been over used at home will do.  Even a mirror for baby to look into keeps them occupied for some time.  Bring a small ball along to place by baby’s feet, its so fun for them to kick around into the back seat. Then there’s our secret weapon…bubbles! We had a blast blowing bubbles for baby and you can even roll the window down for a wild effect. If you’re driving solo, many of these options won’t be feasible.  Have a playlist ready with your baby’s favorite songs and plan to make a few more stops. But, you can do it!

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3. Be Prepared

Be prepared to stop every few hours…for when the baby needs to feed, and possibly an extra stop if baby needs to be changed, but hopefully those can be done at the same stop! Fuel up on gas when you’re stopping to feed baby so you can make the best of your little pit stop. Pack the vehicle in a way that you won’t have to pull over unnecessarily. Have the diaper bag, snacks, toys and wet ones close by. Pack one diaper for every hour you’ll be driving.  It’s good to have plenty on hand because you know this will be the day that baby pees and poops through everything! So that being said, pack extra clothes that are easily accessible! Have any sleep items your baby needs nearby as well. Maybe a sound machine, pacifier, or lovey, whatever makes falling asleep and staying asleep easier. Have your own snacks, drinks, or even meals within arm’s reach so you won’t have to stop. Don’t forget your phone charger of course! If you’re on an extra long road trip, consider mapping out a few parks and maybe stop at one. This will allow baby (and yourselves) to stretch out comfortably.  Going into all of this, prepare to lower your travel expectations… this could be a bumpy road.

Lastly, remember how important car seat safety is. Double check that baby’s car seat is secure and follows proper guidelines before leaving. Don’t rush or put anyone in danger, it’s not worth it. You’ll get there eventually.

Safe travels!

>>Erin

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