Most people find it slightly difficult to sleep in a strange bed in a strange place. Children, especially babies can have a really difficult time sleeping in a hotel room. There are many factors that can turn blissful sleepers to up-all -nighters when on the road. But there are creative and sometimes downright wacky solutions that have brought us the sleep we need . Most of these we stumbled upon out of sheer sleepless desperation.
Sleeping with Baby: The Basics
• Along with your reservation, request a crib for your room. Be sure you know the safety requirements for cribs so that you can check your hotel crib for safety.
• Set up a pack and play at home a few days before your trip and let your little one get used to sleeping in a different bed.
• Bring along your own sheets and blankets so that your baby can feel closer to home. Don’t forget your baby’s favorite toy or lovey. If your baby uses a nightlight at home, bring it along too.
• Bring a small white noise machine to help lull your baby to sleep. I like this one. You can also download a white noise app for your portable devices.
• Request a room at the end of a hallway, but not next to a stairway. This will reduce the amount of traffic parading past your door just as your little one is drifting off to dreamland.
• If your budget will allow, book a suite to allow your baby to have their own room to sleep.
Sleeping with Baby: The Advanced Case
So, you’ve requested a crib for your hotel room. You’ve brought your little ones loveys, and pacis, and blankies. You’ve sung your goodnight song, but your sweetie just won’t sleep. What now?
In our house ,we have been blessed with four pretty great sleepers, at least at home. Most of the troubles we had with babies on the road had to do with the fact that our babies were used to sleeping in a room alone. If there were people around, then they were ready to party. At home, I’m a stickler for everyone sleeping in their own bed. On the road, I’m willing to do anything that gets everyone a good night’s sleep. With our first son, we tried rocking, co-sleeping, you name it, but it just didn’t work for that kid. He needed to sleep in a bed alone with no one around, which is not exactly easy in a hotel room. So, I present wacky solution #1
The Canary Baby
In desperation in a hotel in DC, we learned that our first son would go to sleep happily if his crib was covered and he could not see us in the bed across the room. We learned to travel with a loose weave cotton blanket that we could toss over the pack and play. Ideally, we would nestle the pack and play close to a wall and cover three sides of the pack and play, but not the back closest to the wall, so to allow for plenty of ventilation. Under the blanket, he slept like a charm, and we slept happily beside him.
Wacky Solution #2 came along with Son #2. Canary sleeping was not for him, and neither were any of the other tricks up my sleeve. All the credit for this wacky idea goes to dad.
The Car Sleeper
Once again desperate for sleep, this time in Orlando, we were searching for a way to get our baby to sleep. Without even thinking, dad scooped up the restless baby boy, grabbed his shoes and keys, and headed out the door. About an hour later, he returned with a blissfully sleeping baby and dropped into bed himself. In the morning he revealed his secret involved buckling baby boy into the car seat, cranking up the heat and waiting for sleep to come. We only needed to use this trick a handful of times, but we were grateful to have it when we needed it.
You’ve probably guessed by now that Son #3 led us to Wacky Solution #3. Neither the canary nor the car worked for him. He needed his own space, like Son # 1 but didn’t like being covered up. Sometimes we found that we could stay in a suite and give him his own space, but often that wasn’t in the budget.
The Room within a Room
For Son #3 we began traveling with an expandable curtain rod and an inexpensive curtain. Most of the time, we found that the pack and play would fit in the hall way next to the bathroom. Then, we could attach the curtain in the entry to the bedroom and create a little room in the hallway that was separated from the bedroom and the other members of the family. With a nightlight in the bathroom,he was ready for a good night’s sleep.
Surprisingly, I have no wacky solutions inspired by Son #4. After ten years of sleeping with canaries and car babies, the powers that be decided to throw me a bone. Son #4 is an angelic hotel sleeper. We pop him in the crib; he smiles and coos, plays peekaboo awhile and then lies down and goes to sleep. My husband and I are still shocked at the ease of it all, but we loving every blissful minute of sleep it brings.