Planning a perfect little getaway to relax and recharge the batteries? Carried away by images of parents with their babies having wonderful holidays? Imagine the pure bliss of staying in a hotel with a spa and gorgeous restaurant? DON’T DO IT! LEAVE THE BABY OR TODDLER WITH GRANNY! If you decide to completely ignore that gem of advice and go on a hotel break with baby, then read on because you’ll need tips, believe me you’ll need them all.
We decided to head away for a couple of nights with our 13 month old to Johnstown Estate Hotel. In theory, it seemed like a good idea – not too far away to travel, hotel with a swimming pool, just 2 nights, baby already great sleeper… Sure what could go wrong? We also had the added bonus of extended family staying in hotel too. So off we went on our merry way with the car packed up to full capacity, there was nothing I hadn’t thought of. Bag of baby toys, bag of baby clothes, bag with baby swimming gear, bag with baby snacks, bag with baby sleeping stuff – sleeping bag, cuddly toy, cot sheet, etc so he’d feel at home. There might have also been a bag for ourselves but the little guy certainly doesn’t travel light.
First night went very well when he eventually went to sleep – we were luckily upgraded to a suite with separate living room and bedroom. So we put baby in living room in his cot at 7pm and off he went to sleep; we thought this was a clever idea as it meant one of us could sit in bed watching tv and use bathroom without disturbing the baby. The only problem being when the other one of us went to leave to join extended family in bar, it was necessary to pass through baby’s room who decided that he wasn’t the heavy sleeper we thought he was and the room door was not as quiet as he would have liked. But after a few false starts, he eventually nodded off and slept an hour later than usual the next morning! Result!
Busy second day of eating, swimming, eating, shopping and more eating. Naps went out the window. Bedtime later than usual. The outcome of this being baby conked as soon as he touched the cot BUT woke around midnight and stayed in that mode until 4.30am. He was also intent on letting anyone that would listen know about it. The problem with a hotel is that as soon as baby makes a sound you feel the need to run to them in case people in nearby rooms are woken. So our little angel who has slept through the night solid for the last 7 months (apart from if he’s unwell); decided an all nighter was the order of the day (or night I guess?). OK so I may have fallen asleep around 2am (I’m allowed a pass, I’m pregnant) but the other half decided to stay up to party with the bubs. And the little munchkin (I could think of more choice descriptions but he is cute) STILL woke at 7am that morning. The mood was not good – with any of us…
So here’s the tips I have for what it’s worth. They are all common sense but we all know that goes out the window at the first hint of sleep deprivation.
1. Request a room that has 2 separate rooms!
In fact if you must go to a hotel, ask the hotel if they have any houses/lodges on the grounds. These are far more practical as you don’t need to worry about noise, you have far more freedom and you get full use of hotel facilities. If that’s not an option – pay a bit extra for a suite; a family room might sound like the job but there’s definitely some comfort in being able to have somewhere to go when baby goes to bed.
2. Get your baby used to napping in a buggy
At least this means if you don’t get back to your room for the naps, you have a chance of keeping some routine. Also, it may allow you to stay out a bit later for dinner if you can get baby asleep in buggy – good luck with the cot transfer though!
3. Bring familiar items for your baby
I may have overpacked a little bit BUT I think having his teddy and some familiar toys helped him settle into the new surroundings. Check that the room has a fridge and have some snacks for baby with you. Baby proof the room the same as you have at home – eg socket covers, etc. We brought his push along walker which he got great use out of around the room in the morning when we were getting ready and a few small toys. Also, a light buggy is a must, we even brought him as far as the poolside in his and had his towel and everything on it for after.
4. Blackout blinds
There were incredible curtains in the room that had it in total darkness but if that wasn’t the case, we would have been in bother. You can get portable black out blinds and they would be very useful if there was an issue with light – especially in the summer. If all else fails, pack some black bin bags and sellotape.
5. Bring a Babysitter
Seriously, it’s worth considering if it’s an option at all. Some hotels even have a babysitting service but I think I’d be happier having someone I know do the babysitting. Otherwise prepare for early nights.
And lastly, book a child free break because you’ll possibly need it after your family break. Happy Holidays, let me know if you have any other tips!!!