A relaxing stay at a hotel sounds like the perfect vacation, but having a baby in a hotel means doing some pre-planning. The focus: potential hazards and figuring out how your child will eat, sleep and have their diaper changed in your new space. Read on for 7 tips on how to rock the hotel room like a parenting pro.
1. Borrow the hotel's baby supplies.
Call ahead to find out what your hotel provides for babies so you can travel lighter. Most offer cribs free of charge (bring your own sheets), and many lend out high chairs so you can leave the travel chair at home. Some chain hotels even supply bottle warmers, diaper pails and sound machines. If you're staying at a hotel with minimal options, look online for local rental firms that can outfit you with everything you need for your room, as well as a stroller for outings.
2. Have necessities delivered.
Why waste suitcase space with extra diapers, wipes and snacks when you can have them delivered to your hotel? First confirm that your hotel will accept deliveries prior to your arrival, and then put that Amazon Prime membership to good use, or use a local grocery-store delivery service. If you're staying at a higher-end hotel, they will often pre-stock the room with all of your parenting needs.
3. Do an initial cleaning.
When you get into your room, plonk baby on the bed with a toy and give the room a quick cleaning. Bring disinfecting wipes to clean telephones, TV remotes, alarm clocks, door handles and other objects your child might touch or put in their mouth. Move garbage cans up to countertops so your little one can't get into the trash. Then get on your hands and knees to assess the room from baby level. Are there any coins or small, sharp objects on the floor? Any sharp edges on furniture to watch out for? Did a previous tenant leave anything under the bed or couch that you don't want your child to play with?
4. Create a kitchen.
If your hotel room doesn’t include a kitchen, you can easily set up a makeshift command center to handle everything from warming bottles to making oatmeal. The in-room coffee machine can steam veggies or boil eggs for your little one. And if your room doesn't have a refrigerator, bring a collapsible cooler to keep your child's food fresh. You can also tote it along on your daily adventures (ice from the ice machine keeps things cool), so it's worth making room for it in your luggage.
5. Don't forget the tape.
While your home may be decked out in safety locks, corner guards and outlet covers, all you need to pack to baby-proof the hotel is duct tape. It can be used to secure drapery cords, seal electrical outlets, keep toilet lids and mini fridges closed, and more. If your furniture has sharp edges, place a washcloth over the edge and tape it in place! Running low on tape? In a pinch, Band-Aids can cover outlets to keep curious fingers safe.
6. Create baby stations for daily tasks.
Since hotel rooms aren't set up for children, finding space to change diapers or heat bottles can be tricky. Designate the desk or dresser as your baby changing station and move other items to a different spot. Pack a small bag or portable changing station to keep diaper cream, wipes and diapers organized. A hanging cosmetic case attached to a door can double as a bottle-making station.
7. Ensure a good night’s sleep.
Re-creating the soothing comforts of home can help your child, and you, sleep better. If your child falls asleep to music or a noise machine at home, bring them. (If you play them through your smartphone, placing it in a coffee cup can help amplify the volume.) If you’re using the hotel’s crib, bring your own sheets for a sanitized snooze that smells, feels and looks like home. If your baby is used to sleeping in their own room, create a separate space by placing the crib in the bathroom or closet, or tucking the crib behind the couch or TV. And if your baby can’t get comfortable in an unfamiliar bed, make a baby nest by rolling extra-large hotel towels lengthwise on the mattress to form a pod and placing a spare fitted sheet (check the closets for extras) over the mattress to make a cozy sleeping space.
—Meghan Yudes Meyers