Hotel Life with a 10 Month Old

If you missed it, you can catch up on my first post about my li’l family’s recent trip to San Francisco here!

Soooo, living in a hotel for a week with a baby was… interesting, to say the least. We stayed at the InterContinental San Francisco, which was a very nice hotel and provided a real crib for us, as well as a mini-fridge for me to keep my milk and whatnot. But, despite having a spot for her to sleep, we were still living in one single room… when we’re used to putting her to bed in her own room, on her own, every night at home. This, naturally, made putting her to bed each night — and for naps — a bit of a challenge.

Because she’s not used to dealing with us being in her room when she goes to sleep normally, our very presence was a big distraction for her, even if we were willing to shut off all the lights and basically tried to go to sleep at the same time as her (lol.)

That said, it’s not like the two of us wanted to go to bed at 7 PM each night anyway, so we had to make a lot of in-the-moment decisions as to how to get her to sleep. In the end, we wound up getting her to go to sleep initially by strapping her into her infant carseat + stroller, and then wheeling her into the bathroom once she finally dozed off, lol. HARDLY ideal, but it at least gave us a little bit of time to unwind, order in food, and watch a show or something before we were ready to hit the sack ourselves. She’d usually snooze for a couple hours, after which point I’d try to transfer her to her crib… or I’d just bring her into bed with us.

We tried wheeling the whole crib into the bathroom and putting her down that way, but it was all still just too stimulating for her. At least by having her in the infant bucket, her vision was somewhat limited and she was also secured so she couldn’t sit up, stand up, and play around (which is what she kept every time she was in the crib).

Of course, this isn’t really a solution if A) your baby can’t fit in their infant carseat anymore (which, honestly I think that this might have been our last trip with it, since she’s just about outgrown the height limit), or B) your hotel bathroom isn’t big enough to put anything in. It’s literally just what happened to work for this singular trip, lol. It’s also worth noting that you should fully buckle your kid, with straps tightened, whenever they’re in their carseat — for Penny, it’s mainly because she could easily launch herself out of it were she so inclined, but also there’s always a chance of them slipping down in their seats, which isn’t safe.

Anyway, the sleep thing aside, everything else went pretty smoothly as far as hotel life can go. Since hotel rooms are relatively bare-bones, it was a pretty easy, sparse space for her to crawl around without me fearing her death. I read a tip online that said to bring a thing of scotch tape with you for easy baby-proofing — you can tape washcloths over corners, put tape over outlets, tape up wires, etc. So I did bring some, but we actually didn’t end up using any of it.

Some other things I packed for the trip that we did end up using included an inflatable bathtub (<– this one from Munchkin is $12 on Amazon) which was great because there were no grippies in the bathtub.

I also packed our portable high chair, which we had previously purchased so we had a place to put Penny when visiting Sean’s parents, but turned out to be great for giving Penny her breakfasts and snacks in-room.

Overall, though, the experience mostly made me thankful that normally when I travel, it’s to someone’s house (my sister’s, for example, where I’m actually headed with Penny next week) where I have access to a lot of extra amenities, room, and freedom for the bebe. And also that going with an AirBNB or springing for a multi-room suite is probably the way to go for future vacations when a home isn’t an option, lol.

At least I can say that we successfully tackled a cross-country flight (two of them, technically!) as well as a week-long hotel stay and the only damage that seems to have been done is to my milk supply (womp womp, but that’s a story for another post.) And most importantly, of course, is recognizing that while I’m sure I’ll never stop getting anxious and somewhat stressed when it comes to traveling with Penny (at least not until she can be easily bribed with candy and an iPad, lol), everything does tend to work out. After all: have love, will travel!

Penny Takes Flight: Flying with an Infant

Hi there, folks! Penny and I just got back from Atlanta after great visit with my sister, her hubs, and their littles!

 
 
I gotta say, nothing really puts the struggles of mothering one baby into perspective like visiting a household with a baby PLUS a four-year-old AND two-year-old. My sister = #supermom for REAL.

Mia and Kira were soooo sweet with Penny, and I loved getting to see my new nephew Alex again — he’s already changed so much since he was up here with Jenny last month! He’s just three and a half weeks older than Penny, so it’s really cool getting to see a little glimpse into her developmental future.

 
I had a wonderful time visiting, as I always do (if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you probably know that my sister and I visit each other A LOT), but this trip obviously was a smidgen more stressful this time due to it being the first time I was traveling with, y’know, my new baby. Sean had to work as he sadly used up most of his PTO when Penny was born, so I was also flying solo (pun intended).

But I’m happy to report that we successfully survived both the flight there and back! We flew Southwest from DCA to ATL, and the process was pretty painless all the way through. Getting Penelope on my itinerary was super easy, I just called Southwest a couple days before our flight and they added her to my ticket as a lap infant.

Then, at the airport I just had to go to the ticket counter where they issued her a Boarding Verification Document — kind of like her very own boarding pass, hehe.

Everything from there on out was business as normal! Those of you who have flown Southwest before know that there are no assigned seats, just a boarding group order (A, B, or C) that’s determined when you check-in for your flight. I didn’t want to worry about having to check in exactly 24 hours before my flight, so I paid for Early Bird checkin (guarantees you an A group spot). In retrospect, however, I realize that I’m now able to do family boarding (in between A & B groups) so I won’t have to worry about checking in on time again for like the next 6 years! Gahahaha.

We sat in the window and lucked out with an empty middle seat on both flights (funny how holding up your baby makes people less inclined to sit with you, hahahaha. Penny did ooookay on the flight down to Atlanta — she didn’t fall asleep until a little after halfway through the flight and was a smidgen fussy, so I tried to nurse her on the plane but got really flustered (I still haven’t really mastered nursing in public and planes make for especially tight quarters.) But once she fell asleep she was out for the count (huzzah!), and fortunately even when she was fussing, her little cries were drowned out by the plane noise. The people seated behind us said they didn’t even realize there was a baby in front of them when we landed, hehe.

On the flight back home, she slept pretty much the entire time which was awesome. All in all, two successful flights — one slightly more successful than the other, hehe.

And now that I’ve gone through the process of traveling with an infant, I definitely feel way more confident about doing it more in the future. Sean and I are going to Texas to see his family for Thanksgiving, and even though the flight will be twice as long, it’s going to be twice as easy because just having an extra set of hands is going to be sooooooo helpful. The hardest part about flying with Penny by myself really wasn’t the actual flight, it was more getting through the airport and security and whatnot. It was kind of a challenge juggling her while breaking down the stroller + carseat at security and then again on the gangplank (to gate check them.)

I did bring my Baby K’Tan carrier and found it super helpful. It’s kind of like the cheater’s version of a baby sling/wrap — it’s made of two loops and you can kind of wear it like an infinity scarf when you’re not using it, making it incredibly convenient to travel with! I was able to pop her into it while waiting in line on the gangplank, which freed up my hands to deal with the stroller and carseat once I got to the plane door. Also if you don’t already have a backpack style diaper bag, I highly recommend getting one (I have the Ju-Ju-Be BFF, a gift from my amazing friend Jackie), as just having your hands free as much as possible is what you wanna go for if you’re traveling alone.

My other rather obvious tip is that you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of extra time at the airport. Depending on which airports you’re flying in/out of, you might be able to use the stroller lane to get through security more quickly (ATL offers this), but time still goes by crazy fast when you’re taking your baby in and out of her carseat, changing diapers, and waiting for the big stall to open up in the bathroom — not to mention if you’ve got to feed baby before takeoff!

 

Some of my other travel tips include:

  • Bring extra pacifiers — In a hilarious turn of events that would probably only happen to me, I dropped two of her pacifiers on the airplane floor in the span of like 3 minutes. Airplane floor + baby’s mouth = not gonna happen so I was really glad that I had so many extras.

  • Bring one or two little bottles of ready-made formula for emergencies. As mentioned, I nursed her on the flight there and nursed her in the airport before flying home, but snagged a couple 2oz bottles of ready-to-go formula just in case things had gotten hairy while on the plane. I ended up using one when she got hangry as we were waiting for Sean to pick us up from the airport.
  • Wear something with pockets – I can’t tell you how many times my phone slid off of my legs when I shifted Penny on my lap. Luckily I had very understanding people sitting in the aisle seat that kept picking it up for me, but just one flipping pocket would have made a world of difference, hahaha.
  • Get a PopSocket for your phone. Not only will it make your phone easier to hold (thus lessening the likelihood of dropping said phone on your child NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT) but you’ll be able to take all the unabashed sleeping-baby-plane-selfies your heart desires.
  • Bring a portable phone charger as well, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll put your diaper bag juuuuuust far enough under the seat that you’re unable to reach it once baby falls asleep, and all you’ll have within reach is your phone. So your only entertainment options during the flight are to browse social media thanks to Southwest’s $8 wifi, or stare at the back of the seat in front of you.

So yeah, I’d say that Penny’s jetsetting life is off to a good start! If you have any questions about my experience traveling with a baby, lay ’em on me — I’m sure I left tons out, heh. And until next time…!