Everything was easier before you had a baby, but now even simple things like staying in a hotel room can become the next installment in Mission: Impossible. You usually take a vacation so that you can rest, but suddenly, your vacation depends on your baby’s rest. Well, here are some tips to help your baby sleep soundly in a hotel room so that you can too.
How do you get a baby to sleep in a hotel room? The most important thing to do is keep to their normal sleeping routine, come prepared, and try and make the room as comfortable as possible for your baby.
Now the only questions that remain are simple. What should you bring with you to the hotel room? How should you go about getting the room ready for the baby? How are you going to sleep after this process? Like I said, simple. Who am I kidding? After a baby, nothing is simple. But I can help make it a little easier for you.
The first thing to consider when leaving your house is what to pack. I’m sure that by now, you’re quite used to this. I’ve had enough experience rushing to pack a diaper bag as I’m running late to a church service. And there is nothing more horrible than the sinking of your heart when you realize that you are down to the last two baby wipes, and you forgot to throw another pack in the bag. There’s nothing like desperation that can turn you into your own mommy version of McGyver.
You know what you need because it’s your baby. Pack what you think you are going to need. Most of the time, you’re going to need the following items:
You’re going to want to pack anything and everything within reason that could help the unfamiliar hotel room seem for comfortable for your child. Babies are more perceptive than we give them credit for, and they are going to notice that the hotel room is not home. Try and pack the things that your baby has everyday interactions with like their usual changing cloth, stuffed animal, and bottles.
A lot of times, hotels can provide most of the things you’re going to need. Many hotels offer cribs and high chairs, and some even will provide bottles and bottle warmers. Call ahead and ask if your hotel of choice has parental accommodations. You’d be surprised how often hotels are willing to cater to your every whim. You are, after all, their source of income, and they would be loath to lose you.
Despite their eagerness to accommodate you, I doubt that many hotels have changing stations or tables on hand. In this case, you might end up having to turn the desk into a changing station or bring along your own changing station. A shoe organizer you can hang on the door might be a great option since you can put all of your diapers, wipes, powders, and ointments in the pouches and have them readily available when you are trying to change a squirming baby’s diaper.
Hotels also provide fridges to store your baby’s food in, but you might want to bring along a cooler just in case. You can fit more food that way, and if it’s small enough, you can carry it along with you as you go on whatever daily adventures necessitated the hotel stay in the first place.
If you do decide to use the hotel’s crib and high chair, you’re going to want to bring your own sheets and blankets, and be sure to sanitize the crib and chair (told you I would explain the sanitation wipes). The sheets have a dual purpose. For one, you know that your sheets are clean (you definitely washed them, right?), and you have no such guarantees from the hotel, despite what their adds and flyers say. The familiar sheets will also help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. I think we can all attest to the effectiveness of aromatherapy when it comes to trying to fall asleep in unfamiliar places.
And if you don’t want to have to pack all of that junk with you on your vacation (I mean, who would?), you can always have things delivered to your hotel room in advance so that they are there when you arrive. You can use your Amazon Prime membership here or the local grocery delivery service. Or you can use a rental service in the location you are going to be staying. Often, rental car companies have the option of renting car seats as well.
Surprisingly, there are actually certain rooms that are better suited for babies within the same hotel. Try and get a room that only shares one wall with another room. A room at the end of the hall would be a great choice. This is good for two reasons. You’ll only have to deal with the noise from one adjacent room, as well as not having to deal with a lot of people walking back and forth in front of your room. Plus, if you only have one room close to you, that’s fewer people who could get annoyed at you if- who am I kidding?- when your baby won’t stop crying.
A wheelchair accessible bathroom is also going to be super helpful. If you have a bigger bathroom without a bathtub, you’re going to have more room that you could put your baby’s crib. I know, it sounds weird to have your child sleeping in the bathroom, but if your baby is used to their own room, it’s going to help a lot. Plus, a lot of parents actually find it more manageable if their baby sleeps in a separate room. It means you can be a little less cautious when walking around and working because you aren’t in as much danger of waking your baby. The bathroom is also dark, so you can put your baby down to sleep at any time of the day or night.
If you do get a wheelchair accessible room, you might want to consider letting the hotel desk know that you are willing to switch if a disabled person needs the room. I’m giving you tips for easier vacationing, not tips for becoming an inconvenience.
Speaking of having your baby in a different room, you could completely forgo the hotel rental and instead rent an Airbnb, a suite, or two connecting rooms. This is the more expensive option, but it will give you, your spouse, and your baby more room and allow your child to sleep in a separate room if that is what you want. And we all know that Airbnb’s are just so much homier than a hotel room.
Now it’s time to talk about that tape.
When you first enter the room, secure your baby. That could be by setting up a crib, giving them to your spouse, or setting up a little nest for them in the middle of the bed.
Next, you’re going to need to sanitize as much as possible with those sanitizing wipes from earlier. Pay careful attention to things that your baby will likely put in their mouth. Baby’s will try and suck on anything they can wrap their cute, chubby fingers around, and often times anything they can’t wrap their cute, chubby fingers around. These items could include, but are not limited to: the remote, the chair leg, the telephone, pens, that binder thing with all of the TV information in it, wires, and any and all shoes you brought with you. You know your baby, so just try and do your best to clean anything they might feel the desire to try to eat.
Get on your hands and knees and view the world from the perspective of your baby. Are there any gaps between the wall and furniture where they could fall or get stuck? Any sharp corners? Anything they could open, or stick their fingers in? Any hanging cords? Now that you’ve assessed the minefield, it’s time to get to work neutralizing all the threats.
Use that good old fashioned scotch tape as your cheap, easy to pack baby proofer. Tape closed toilet seats and drawers. Secure curtains, cords, and the strings attached to the blinds to the walls. Cover power outlets and try to only plug in your electronics to outlets high above the ground.
Create a baby cave, if you can. If your baby is used to sleeping in their own room, they would really appreciate it if you would provide a little makeshift room for them. Rearrange the furniture to create a little “walled off” space to put their crib. Or put their crib in a room by itself. You could also put half of the crib in a closet. You might want to use a baby monitor to watch your baby if they are halfway in the closet or in a different room.
Try and provide a dark place for your baby to sleep. There are products like Snooze Shade that can help block light from getting into your child’s crib. Some parents do something as simple as using black trash bags taped to the windows to block out the sunlight. Of course, you can put your baby in another dark room or halfway in the closet, just like I mentioned before.
Babies are nothing more than little humans. Consequently, they are creatures of habit, just like us adults. So when it comes to going to sleep, babies like their routine. Try to put them to bed at the same time you would put them to bed at home.
If might be useful to turn on a sound machine to help drown out the nightly noise that often accompanies hotels. You can also use products like “The Baby Shusher” to play white noise for your baby. Read more about “The Baby Shusher” Here. If neither of those options are available, you can always turn on the radio alarm clock and move the dial to a static station. The white noise will help the baby tune out and go to sleep. You could also play some soft music or even a quiet audiobook. That way you could enjoy the bedtime routine as well.
Try and stick to your routine. Feed them at the same time and put them down at the same time. Try and keep nap times consistent. This might not be possible because the hotel is going to be unfamiliar and your baby might not feel comfortable enough to go to bed. If they are really fussy, you can make them a nest on your bed. Please, please, be careful if you do this. You do not want to smother your baby and you don’t want to let them roll off of the bed. But if your baby is sleeping next to you or your spouse, they will be more comfortable.
You can also sing your child a lullaby, read them a story, or rock them before they go to bed. If this is part of their usual nightly routine, this is going to be even more effective. But even if it’s not part of their normal routine, the baby will feel calmer hearing your voice or being close to you.
If you are going to be taking your baby with you when you go on vacation and need to stay in a hotel room, you’re going to want to pick the best hotel with the best accommodations. Here are a few hotels that have been rated as some of the best hotels when it comes to babies.
Once you get your baby to sleep, now you can do what you came to do: relax. You’re going to have to stay quiet anyway if you want your baby to stay asleep. You can sleep yourself (which is honestly what I would want to do), or watch some quiet TV. You can hang out on the balcony, snack on some Hot Cheetos, or enjoy some time with your spouse. If you have to, you can get some work done. Just remember that this is your vacation too. Taking your baby with you doesn’t have to change that.
If you are trying to get some sleep, it’s best to sleep when your baby is sleeping. If you stay up and do things like clean (even though that’s a great thing to do), you’re only going to get more exhausted, and by the time you’re ready to go to bed, your baby will probably wake up. That’s just the way life likes to throw curve balls. My advice would be to sleep when you get your baby to nap.
Do hotels charge for cribs? If your hotel does charge for cribs, it will likely be between $10 and $25 a night. However, many hotels don’t charge for the use of cribs. Find out before you start your vacation. Also, another thing to think about is that hotels only have a certain amount of cribs, so call well in advance. You can also pack along your own portable crib with you if you want. You’ll lose some space but save some money.
How can I get a baby to sleep during a road trip? Get the car ready well in advance, and be sure to be full on gas so you don’t have to stop early. Install a sunshade and keep pacifiers within arm’s reach. It’s nice to drive with a copilot who can help the baby if they are fussy.