Hotel Rooms & Babies

We went away last weekend for a work commitment and a friend’s kids birthday.

My work thing went really well, which is always a good thing.

Our friend’s kids birthday also went well, which is also always a good thing.  In fact, we showed up (with their permission) in the morning long before the birthday party actually started.  It gave us a great chance to visit and for Baby MPB to play with the other kids and explore new toys and a new space, which he always loves to do.

But, here’s what had me thinking all weekend, and still has me thinking today.  How do people stay in hotel rooms with young children?  We’ve done it before, when Baby MPB was born we were in a hotel room for a few weeks, we managed to make that work.  And we went away for a long weekend a few months ago, and we had 2 bedrooms and a full kitchen, and that didn’t go particularly well thanks to the appearance of new teeth.  This time, we had a standard hotel room – 2 queen beds and a mini-fridge.  Of course, we brought the pack n’ play for Baby MPB.

So, what do parents do at 7pm when they are trying to get a small child to go to sleep?  Baby MPB is not used to us being in his room at night – so it seemed as though in his mind the hotel room set-up meant it was play time.  In fact, one night he played for 2 hours in his pack n’ play, rather then sleeping like he normally does. All the while Mr. MPB and I sat quietly in the dark reading news and playing games on our phones – not the most riveting of evenings we’ve ever had.

How do other parents do this?  In the future should we just pay for a larger hotel rooms with an extra bedroom to separate Baby MPB from us?  (Of course this is an option, but an option that means spending more money which we really didn’t want to do).  Or is this just the new way of staying in hotels for the foreseeable future?

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40 Comments on “Hotel Rooms & Babies

  1. I would love to know the answer to this. We have had the same problem when traveling and staying in hotels or my Mom’s home. Basically I just know none of us are getting sleep. I have yet to figure out the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are going away in June and his brother/SIL are staying in the room with us. Sleep in the car with a baby that will play all night? I’m dreading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We brought our monitor and sat in the hall. At S’s bedtime, we brushed our teeth and put on our PJs, and then sat in the hall with the monitor until we were ready to go to bed, at which point we snuck in and went to bed without waking up the baby. Sitting in the hall for long periods of time can get really uncomfortable (also, people sometimes give you funny looks or ask if you’re OK, but if you show them the sleeping baby on the video monitor they just go “Awwwww!”), so in the evenings we traded off watching the monitor and going to sit in the lobby where there were comfy chairs. Ubiquitous wifi is key for this scheme. But yeah, I agree, it sucks, and there is no good solution!

    Liked by 2 people

      • The last time we stayed in a hotel, when S was ~9.5 months old, the first night he was very unsettled and woke up crying every ~2ish hours — but it was pretty easy to settle him again (also, poor guy’s naps were all thrown off because we arrived at the hotel right at naptime, and they kept telling us over and over that they were going to bring a pack ‘n’ play, but then it didn’t arrive for almost two hours, so he was totally sleep deprived, which probably also contributed to the bad night. It was so frustrating, because if we had known in advance that the pack ‘n’ play was going to take two hours to arrive, I would have just tried to get him to nap in the stroller, but they kept assuring us it would be there in 10 minutes!). The next day he was pretty much back on his nap and night schedule without a problem.

        Liked by 2 people

      • That’s so great that he adjusted quickly. You’re giving me hope this is doable! That sucks it took so long for them to get it to you. When babies are sleep deprived they do fight sleep even more!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha… do you remember when we went to Mexico over the summer and I shared pictures of me and Catch sitting on the bathroom floor playing on our phones?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We are planning a trip for the summer and will be renting a cottage. I’ll be following the comments you get here to see if we should splurge on a 2 BDRM cottage… Something I hadn’t thought of!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Then I’d absolutely splurge on 2 rooms! But remember baby MPB has never really slept in the same room as us (even when he was really little I barely sleep next to him because I’d obsessively watch him and listen to him so Mr. MPB tended to sleep next to him), so this just wasn’t any of us were used to.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been fortunate to have hotels most of the time that have a large enough bathroom to stow the playpen in there 👍🏽👍🏽 other than that, it’s bedtime for all 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We’ve traveled a ton with our little one. We get ready for bed with her and make the room completely dark. It’s not the most exciting time, but life is different once you have a kid. We follow her bedtime routine of story, bath, and then either being walked a tiny bit by Dad or held by me. Once we put her down, we stay as still as possible, turn down brightness on phones, etc. We’ve always been lucky and she’ll go to sleep after a little bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh man! Please tell me! We cut a weekend trip short because Luke refused to sleep anywhere in the hotel room. We said next time we’d get a second room that was attached. It makes total sense that babies would have trouble sleeping in a hotel room. I’m now terrified to travel anywhere because our last trip was so horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally hear you!! If I recall correctly our last weekend trips away were virtually at the exact same time and they went almost equally as horrible!
      I’ll admit this weekend was much better, maybe age had something to do with it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so and I’m glad to hear this weekend was better. I have to say I’m impressed baby MPB played in his pack and play for a few hours. Luke tolerates his for only a few minutes before crying. Maybe we should give it another go!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The playing shocked us!!! Normally he cries for us and doesn’t just play. But since he wasn’t crying we just left him to play and continued to sit quietly.

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      • We’ve had some bad travel experiences too, so I totally get your hesitation to travel more with Luke! One thing we try to balance is S’s obvious comfort with his daily routine, against meeting our family’s needs (visiting grandparents/cousins, work) and exposing S to different places and people. We try to remind ourselves that these experiences and people are valuable for S as he grows, and that he’ll never have the opportunity to develop flexibility if we don’t nudge him out of his comfort zone once in a while. That said, it’s sometimes really hard to justify it when they’re so little — it seems kinder sometimes to just keep them in familiar situations, even if it makes the grandparents sad or makes work more challenging, and it’s hard to know if any world-broadening experiences they have as such young kids will have any impact on their long-term development. So, I’m just saying that I get the dilemma. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I echo these comments. Adjoining rooms when possible but head phones, wine and iPad date with my husband in the bathroom when not possible. So romantic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • We totally had wine as part of our silent evening! We even paid a small fortune for it from room service….maybe next time that money would be better put towards a second room and wine from a liquore store. Haha! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We have had good success staying at a few hotels with our 17 month old son. Usually we try to splurge on a room that has a separate little living room and proper bedroom. So once the baby is in bed in his travel crib, we can still hang out in the living room. But when we can’t do that we have done things like tucked part of his crib into the closet, with the door open, so where his head was positioned was out of view of us. Or we have pushed the two beds together and put his crib against the wall as far away from the bed that we would be sleeping on as possible. Then we just act like stealth ninjas getting around. Both of us brought headphones and two ipads and we sat on the bed and watched Netflix with our screen brightness turned away from the direction of the crib. I’ve heard of some people bringing pillows into the bathroom and sitting on the floor or in the tub and playing on their phone or ipad quietly. We are lucky that once our son is asleep, he’s out cold and it would take a louder noise to wake him up. So if we stay quiet enough and keep the lights dark and just use the flashlights on our phones to get around, then we are pretty problem free. But my best suggestion, as awful as it will likely make you feel, is if there is a closet in the room and the crib fits in it, put it in there and half close the door. That can muffle some sound, block some noise and give you a bit more freedom to move about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We totally tried to fit the crib into the closet! Haha! Of course it didn’t fit. It also didn’t fit in the bathroom, we tried that too!
      I think your suggestion of splurging on a room with a seperate living room is what we will be doing next time!

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  11. We almost always just pay for a suite so there is some sort of separation between sleeping areas. Expensive but to us, it’s necessary. When the kids are older, we will do adjoining rooms but for now they are too little.

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  12. Yep, I would have to agree, a suite with a separate bedroom/living room is the way to go. You don’t necessarily need two bedrooms, just two separate areas (with a door you can close). Otherwise we usually end up with C in the bathroom which is unfortunate for my hubs as he almost always has to pee in the night so then he has to use a bathroom in the lobby ha ha.

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  13. Like others have mentioned, we bring the monitor and sit in the hall. On a recent trip there was a small sitting area within view of our room and the monitor worked so we just sat there and played on our phones, read, talked, ordered pizza, etc. Another trip we had adjoining rooms with friends so we brought the monitor into their room and another trip we were staying somewhere with amazing weather so we just went out on our balcony with the monitor. But if we had the money to splurge, we’d definitely get a suite with a separation of rooms or an adjoining room. After parenting twin toddlers all day, especially in vacation, I need my unwind time after they go to bed and if we’re in the room with them they’d just play play play.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should mention that when we sit in the hall we totally drag out the desk chair to take turns using and if there’s a bigger seating option we’ll bring out its cushions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. We always just put the kids in their cribs, shut off the lights and lay down. They are often asleep in minutes, then we can watch TV or whatever. I know that may not work all the time or for all babies so I pack my back up plan (which we haven’t needed so far, thankfully) which is a thick curtain and push pins to hang from the ceiling to create a wall. Not sure the hotels would be crazy about this idea but I’ve heard of other families doing it…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Do you have Air BnB near you? We have taken three trips where we did a 2-bedroom apartment rental for less than most hotel rooms. I’ll never do anything else if I can avoid it!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We always get a suite. We have done a standard room, but decided for our sanity, we now need a suite with a separate room for us to go once H goes to bed.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I have slept in the same bed with all three of my kids and still sleep with the toddler. Our youngest doesn’t actually have a bed, even for appearances. With the third one we just knew how it was going to be in advance and didn’t bother to get one yet. 🙂 When we travel (which we do quite a lot as my husband and me are from different countries) I simply go to bed with them all, we make the room dark and the hubby goes to wait in the bathroom. They are used to falling asleep close to someone, except for the oldest who of course falls asleep on her own at home but can also do it next to any of us. Once they are all asleep we can hang out in the room, turn some lights on and watch a movie. I don’t know why but our kids are amazing sleepers, after the baby time and breastfeeding is over I mean. 🙂 After the kids have fallen asleep we can move the oldest ones onto extra beds.. or really anybody anywhere we need to. This might not be helpful to anyone but, yeah, this is how we make it work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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